February - Sherman Marches through North and South Carolina.
Union General Sherman moved from Georgia through South Carolina, destroying almost everything in his path.
February 3, 1865 Rivers' Bridge / Owens' Crossroads
February 3 -- Rivers' Bridge
Confederate force under McLaws held the crossings of the Salkehatchie River against the advance of the right wing of Sherman's Army. Federal soldiers began building bridges across the swamp to bypass the road block. In the meantime, Union columns worked to get on the Confederates' flanks and rear. On February 3, two Union brigades waded the swamp downstream and assaulted McLaws's right. McLaws retreated toward Branchville after stalling Sherman's advance for only one day.
February -- A Chance for Reconciliation Is Lost.
Confederate President Jefferson Davis agreed to send delegates to a peace conference with President Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward, but insisted on Lincoln's recognition of the South's independence as a prerequisite. Lincoln refused, and the conference never occurred.
February 5-7 Hatcher's Run / Dabney's Mill / Rowanty Creek
February 12-22, 1865 Wilmington / Forks Road / Sugar Loaf Hill
March 2 Waynesboro
March 4 Abraham Lincoln Second Inaugural Address
March 5 --Skirmish At Gamble's Hotel
500 federal soldiers, under the command of Colonel Reuben Williams of the 12th Indiana Infantry, marched into the Florence area to destroy the railroad depot. These federal troops were met by a group of Confederate soldiers who drove them away with the help of 400 reinforcements from the area home guard. The Columns is a popular name for The Harwell House at Rankin Plantation, a beautiful antebellum home that dates back over 100 years. The name refers to the 22 Greek style, Doric columns that surround the home on three sides.
March 6, 1865 Natural Bridge Florida
March 6 --Natural Bridge
Union Major General John Newton had undertaken a joint force expedition (including 2nd U.S. Colored Infantry and 99th U.S. Colored Infantry) to engage and destroy Confederate troops that had attacked at Cedar Keys and Fort Myers and were allegedly encamped somewhere around St. Marks. The Navy had trouble getting its ships up the St. Marks River. The Army force, however, had advanced and, after finding one bridge destroyed, started before dawn on March 6 to attempt to cross the river at Natural Bridge. The troops initially pushed Rebel forces back but not away from the bridge. Confederate forces, protected by breastworks, guarded all of the approaches and the bridge itself. The action at Natural Bridge lasted most of the day, but, unable to take the bridge, the Union troops retreated to the protection of the fleet.
March 7-10, 1865 Wyse Fork / Wilcox's Bridge / Second Southwest Creek
March 10, 1865 Monroe's Cross Roads / Fayetteville Road / Blue's Farm
March 16, 1865 Averasborough / Smiths Ferry / Black River
March 19-21, 1865 Bentonville / Bentonsville
March 25 Fort Stedman
March 27-April 8 -- Spanish Fort.
Maj. Gen. E.R.S. Canby's forces, the XIII and XVI corps, moved along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, forcing the Confederates back into their defenses. Union forces then concentrated on Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely. On March 27, 1865, Canby's forces rendezvoused at Danley's Ferry and immediately undertook a siege of Spanish Fort. The Union had enveloped the fort by April 1, and on April 8 captured it. Most of the Confederate forces, under the command of Brig. Gen. Randall L. Gibson, escaped and fled to Mobile, but Spanish Fort was no longer a threat.
April 2 -- Selma.
Maj. Gen. James H. Wilson, commanding three divisions of Union cavalry, about 13,500 men, led his men south from Gravelly Springs, Alabama, on March 22, 1865. Opposed by Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan B. Forrest, Wilson skillfully continued his march and eventually defeated him in a running battle at Ebenezer Church, on April 1. Continuing towards Selma, Wilson split his command into three columns. Although Selma was well-defended, the Union columns broke through the defenses at separate points forcing the Confederates to surrender the city, although many of the officers and men, including Forrest and Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor, escaped. Selma demonstrated that even Forrest, whom some had considered invincible, could not stop the unrelenting Union movements deep into the Southern Heartland.
March 29 Lewis's Farm / Quaker Road / Military Road
March 31 White Oak Road / Hatcher's Run / Gravelly Run
March 31 Dinwiddie Court House
April 2-9, 1865 Fort Blakely
April 2-9-- Canby's forces, the XVI and XIII corps, moved along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, forcing the Confederates back into their defenses. Union forces then concentrated on Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely. By April 1, Union forces had enveloped Spanish Fort, thereby releasing more troops to focus on Fort Blakely. Brig. Gen. St. John R. Liddell, with about 4,000 men, held out against the much larger Union force until other Confederate forces disengaged and Spanish Fort fell on April 8, allowing Canby to concentrate 16,000 men for the attack on April 9. Sheer numbers breached the Confederate earthworks compelling the Confederates to capitulate. The siege and capture of Fort Blakely was basically the last combined-force battle of the war. African-American forces played a major role in the successful Union assault.
April -- Fallen Richmond.
On March 25, General Lee attacked General Grant's forces near Petersburg, but was defeated -- attacking and losing again on April 1. On April 2, Lee evacuated Richmond, the Confederate capital, and headed west to join with other forces.
April 1 Five Forks
April 2, 1865 Ebenezer Church / Selma / Alabama
April 2, 1865 Hill's Plantation / Cache River / Cotton Plant
April 2 Petersburg / The Breakthrough
April 2 Sutherland's Station
April 3 Namozine Church
April 5 Amelia Springs
April 6 Sailor's Creek / Hillsman Farm
April 6 Rice's Station
April 6-7 High Bridge
April 7 Cumberland Church / Farmville
April 8 Appomattox Station
April 8 Spanish Fort
April 9 Fort Blakely Alabama
April 9 -- Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.
General Lee's troops were soon surrounded, and on April 7, Grant called upon Lee to surrender. On April 9, the two commanders met at Appomattox Courthouse, and agreed on the terms of surrender. Lee's men were sent home on parole -- soldiers with their horses, and officers with their side arms. All other equipment was surrendered.
April -- The Assassination of President Lincoln.
On April 14, as President Lincoln was watching a performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., he was shot by John Wilkes Booth, an actor from Maryland obsessed with avenging the Confederate defeat. Lincoln died the next morning. Booth escaped to Virginia. Eleven days later, cornered in a burning barn, Booth was fatally shot by a Union soldier. Nine other people were involved in the assassination; four were hanged, four imprisoned, and one acquitted.