The American Civil War, day by day - Page 109 - Politics | PoFo

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May 3, Wednesday

By daylight President Davis and his party cross the Savannah River, moving to Washington, Georgia. And now the Cabinet is four down, two to go. Plump and chafed, Judah Benjamin takes off informally this night, after a private conversation with his chief. His goal is the Florida coast, then Bimini, and he sets out disguised variously as a farmer and a Frenchman, with a ramshackle cart, a spavined horse, and a mismatched suit of homespun clothes. Davis wishes him well.

The Lincoln funeral train reaches its destination, Springfield, Illinois.

There is skirmishing on the Missouri River near Boonville, and an affair near Pleasant Hill, Missouri. Also there are operations about Fort Adams, Mississippi, and a Union expedition from Rodney to Port Gibson, Mississippi until the 6th.
Doug64 wrote:May 3, Wednesday

By daylight President Davis and his party cross the Savannah River, moving to Washington, Georgia. And now the Cabinet is four down, two to go. Plump and chafed, Judah Benjamin takes off informally this night, after a private conversation with his chief. His goal is the Florida coast, then Bimini, and he sets out disguised variously as a farmer and a Frenchman, with a ramshackle cart, a spavined horse, and a mismatched suit of homespun clothes. Davis wishes him well.

The Lincoln funeral train reaches its destination, Springfield, Illinois.

This has been an interesting parallel journey - President Davis’ flight to nowhere in particular, and President Lincoln’s funeral train taking his body to its final resting place. It’s as though God was writing the ironic coda to an epic historical novel….
Potemkin wrote:This has been an interesting parallel journey - President Davis’ flight to nowhere in particular, and President Lincoln’s funeral train taking his body to its final resting place. It’s as though God was writing the ironic coda to an epic historical novel….

Agreed. And the reflection goes beyond that, to the two men generally. I remember a short book on the American Civil War with the title Two Miserable Presidents. Davis might have had more class (in more than one sense of the word), Lincoln might have been a better politician, but they were certainly equal in their devotion to their opposed causes. Ironically in Davis's case, seeing how he had been at best reluctant when it came to secession in the first place.
May 4, Thursday

Generals Taylor and Canby meet again, this time at Citronelle, also on the Mobile & Ohio, twenty miles north of Magee’s Farm, where, as Taylor will later put it, “I delivered the epilogue of the great drama in which I had played a humble part.” In Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana, as had already been done in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia, all butternut survivors are to lay down their arms on the 8th in exchange for assurance by the victors that they are not to be “disturbed” by the US government “so long as they continue to observe the conditions of their parole and the laws in force where they reside.” Although Sherman’s proposal for restoring peace “from the Potomac to the Rio Grande” had been rejected, more or less out of hand, the arrangement that replaced it—commander to individual army commander, blue and gray, after the pattern set by Grant and Lee—has achieved as much, in any case, for all of that region east of the Mississippi. Taylor is allowed to retain control of railways and steamers to transport troops home.

President Davis again declines an offer from Mallory, when the Floridian parts from him in Washington, Georgia, of a boat now waiting up the Indian River to take him to Cuba or the Bahamas. He says, as he said before—unaware that, even as he speaks, Dick Taylor is meeting with Canby at Citronelle to surrender the last gray army east of the Mississippi—that he cannot leave Confederate soil while a single Confederate regiment clings to its colors. Here again, as at Abbeville two days ago, he finds that his family, fearful of being waylaid by marauders, has moved on south. “I dread the Yankees getting news of you so much,” his wife had written in a note she left behind. “You are the country’s only hope, and the very best intentioned do not calculate upon a stand this side of the river. Why not cut loose from your escort? Go swiftly and alone, with the exception of two or three.... May God keep you, my old and only love,” the note ends.

Sporadic action continues, with skirmishing at Star House near Lexington, Missouri; a Yankee scout from Pine Bluff to Noble’s Farm, Arkansas; and a skirmish at Wetumpka, Alabama. Meanwhile, the dismal and dwindling procession with President Davis continues southward into Georgia.

Abraham Lincoln is buried at Springfield, Illinois.
May 5, Friday

President Davis has it in mind to do just as his wife advised in her note, or anyhow something close, and accordingly instructs Breckinridge to peel off with the five brigades of cavalry, leaving him only an escort company of Kentucky horsemen; which, on second thought—for they are, as he says, “not strong enough to fight, and too large to pass without observation”—he orders reduced to ten volunteers. He will have with him after this, in addition to a handful of servants and teamsters, only these men, his three military aides, and John Reagan. The Texan has been with him from the start and is determined to stick with him to the finish, which he hopes won’t come before they reach his home beyond the Mississippi and the Sabine. Davis is touched by this fidelity.

There now remains only the Confederate forces of E. Kirby Smith in the Trans-Mississippi as a major Southern army. Skirmishing occurs in the Perche Hills, Missouri, and at Summerville, Georgia. A Union expedition operates until the 13th from Pulaski, Tennessee, to New Market, Alabama.

Connecticut ratifies the 13th Amendment.
May 6, Saturday

President Davis is touched deeply by a message he receives when he takes up the march this morning. Robert Toombs lives in Washington, Georgia, and though none of the party has called on him, or he on them, he sends word that all he has is at the fugitive President’s disposal. “Mr. Davis and I have had a quarrel, but we have none now,” he says. “If he desires, I will call all my men around here to see him safely across the Chattahoochee at the risk of my life.” Davis, told of this, replies: “That is like Bob Toombs. He always was a whole-souled man. If it were necessary, I should not hesitate to accept his offer.” No such thoughts of another Georgia antagonist prompts a side trip when he passes within half a dozen miles of Liberty Hall, the Vice President’s estate near Crawfordville; nor does he consider getting in touch with Joe Brown at Milledgeville, twenty-five miles to the west, when he reaches Sandersville.

Pressing on—as if aware that James Wilson had issued today in Macon, less than fifty miles away, a War Department circular announcing: “One hundred thousand dollars Reward in Gold will be paid to any person or persons who will apprehend and deliver JEFFERSON DAVIS to any of the military authorities of the United States. Several millions of specie reported to be with him will become the property of the captors”—the now fast-moving column of twenty men and three vehicles make camp this evening on the east side of the Oconee, near Ball’s Ferry. Their intention is to continue southwest tomorrow for a crossing of the Chattahoochee “below the point where the enemy had garrisons,” but something Preston Johnston learns when he walks down to the ferry before supper causes a sudden revision of those plans. Mrs. Davis and the children, escorted by Burton Harrison, had crossed here this morning, headed south, and there is a report that a group of disbanded soldiers plans to attack and rob their camp this night. Hearing this, Davis remounts his horse. “I do not feel that you are bound to go with me,” he tells his companions, “but I must protect my family.” What follows turns out to be an exhausting all-night ride beyond the Oconee. Though the escort horses finally break down, Davis and his better-mounted aides keep on through the moonlit bottoms until shortly before dawn, near Dublin, close to twenty miles downstream, they come upon a darkened camp beside the road. “Who’s there?” someone calls out in an alarmed, determined voice which Davis is greatly relieved to recognize as Harrison’s. He and his wife and children are together again for the first time since he put them aboard the train in Richmond, five weeks back.

The Federal War Department issues orders setting up the military commission to try the alleged Lincoln conspirators. The commission is headed by Major General David Hunter, with Brigadier General Joseph Holt as judge advocate.

A small Federal expedition operates from Richmond to Staunton and Charlottesville, Virginia; and another until the 11th from Little Rock to Bayou Meto and Little Bayou, Arkansas. Various cavalry units, now actively pursuing the Confederate leader, scour the country.
Doug64 wrote:May 6, Saturday

President Davis is touched deeply by a message he receives when he takes up the march this morning. Robert Toombs lives in Washington, Georgia, and though none of the party has called on him, or he on them, he sends word that all he has is at the fugitive President’s disposal. “Mr. Davis and I have had a quarrel, but we have none now,” he says. “If he desires, I will call all my men around here to see him safely across the Chattahoochee at the risk of my life.” Davis, told of this, replies: “That is like Bob Toombs. He always was a whole-souled man. If it were necessary, I should not hesitate to accept his offer.” No such thoughts of another Georgia antagonist prompts a side trip when he passes within half a dozen miles of Liberty Hall, the Vice President’s estate near Crawfordville; nor does he consider getting in touch with Joe Brown at Milledgeville, twenty-five miles to the west, when he reaches Sandersville.

Touching it may be, but nothing else could prove more clearly that Jefferson Davis - and his cause with him - was politically finished. Even his former enemies no longer saw him as a threat or even as a rival. It was over.
May 7, Sunday

For General Forrest and his red-haired subordinate, W.H. Jackson, there is considerable doubt, even in their own minds, as to what course they will follow. Between Taylor’s final meeting with Canby, three days ago at Citronelle, and the issuance of paroles tomorrow, a staff colonel will recall, “all was gloom, broken only by wild rumors.” This is especially the case in Forrest’s camps around Gainesville, Alabama, fifty miles northeast of Meridian. There is much talk of “going to Mexico” as an alternative to surrender, and the general himself is said to be turning the notion over in his mind. He is in fact in a highly disgruntled state, one arm in a sling from his fourth combat wound, suffered during a horseback fight with a young Indiana captain at Ebenezer Church, just north of Selma on the day before Wilson overran him there. The Federal hacked away at the general’s upraised arm until Forrest managed to draw his revolver and kill him. “If that boy had known enough to give me the point of his saber instead of the edge,” he will later say, “I should not have been here to tell about it.” Instead the Hoosier captain became his thirtieth hand-to-hand victim within a four-year span of war that also saw twenty-nine horses shot from under him, thereby validating his claim that he was “a horse ahead at the close.” What rankles worse, despite the mitigating odds, is the drubbing Wilson had given him in what has turned out to be his last campaign. Unaccustomed to defeat, the only soldier on either side who rose from private to lieutenant general has no more fondness for surrender now than he had when he rode out of Fort Donelson, nearly forty months ago. Mexico seems preferable—at any rate up to today, the day before he and his troopers are scheduled to lay down their arms. This evening he and his adjutant set out on a quiet, thoughtful ride. Neither speak until they draw rein just short of a fork in the road. “Which way, General?” his companion asks, and Forrest replies glumly: “Either. If one road led to hell and the other to Mexico, I would be indifferent which to take.” They sit their horses in the moonlight for a time, the adjutant doing most of the talking, which has to do with the duty they owe their native land, whether in victory or defeat: particularly Forrest, who can lead into the ways of peace the young men who have followed him in war. “That settles it,” the general says, and turns back toward camp. As usual, once he makes up his mind to a course of action, he follows it all-out: as do his men, who drop all talk of Mexico when they learn that he has done so before them.

Having rested their mounts, the escort horsemen President Davis left behind during his brutal all-night ride arrive in time for breakfast, and the two groups—with Davis so bone-tired that he agrees for the first time to ride in an ambulance—push on south together to bivouac this night some twenty miles east of Hawkinsville, where 3,000 of Wilson’s raiders are reported to be in camp. Alarmed, Mrs. Davis persuades her husband to proceed without her tomorrow.
May 8, Monday

The Federal commissioners of E.R.S. Canby accept the paroles of Richard Taylor’s troops in Mississippi, Alabama, and east Louisiana. Canby is under orders to prepare part of an expedition planned by Grant into the Trans-Mississippi, where the last sizable force of Confederates still holds out. There is also talk of negotiations in the Trans-Mississippi. Throughout the Confederacy small groups and individual soldiers surrender or just go home.

President Davis proceeds ahead of his family’s party, but once across the Ocmulgee at Poor Robin Bluff he hears new rumors of marauders up ahead, and stops on the outskirts of Abbeville to wait for Mrs. Davis and the children, intending to see them through another day’s march before turning off to the southwest. They arrive this night.

Near Readsville, Missouri, there is a skirmish. Union scouts operate until the 10th in Saline, La Fayette, and Cooper counties, Missouri, and until the 20th from Plum Creek to Midway Station, Nebraska Territory. An expedition from Spring Hill, Alabama, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, lasts until the 22nd.
May 9, Tuesday

Whatever doubt Nathan Bedford Forrest’s soldiers have about not heading for Mexico is dispelled by the farewell he addresses to them at Gainesville today, the day after they furled their star-crossed flags and gave their parole to fight no more against the Union he and they rejoined.


By an agreement made between Lieutenant General Taylor, commanding the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana, and Major General Canby, commanding U.S. forces, the troops of this department have been surrendered. I do not think it proper or necessary at this time to refer to the causes which have reduced us to this extremity, nor is it now a matter of material consequence as to how such results were brought about. That we are beaten is a self-evident fact, and any further resistance on our part would be justly regarded as the height of folly and rashness.... Reason dictates and humanity demands that no more blood be shed. Fully realizing and feeling that such is the case, it is your duty and mine to lay down our arms, submit to the “powers that be,” and aid in restoring peace and establishing law and order throughout the land. The terms upon which you were surrendered are favorable, and should be satisfactory and acceptable to all. They manifest a spirit of magnanimity and liberality on the part of the Federal authorities which should be met on our part by a faithful compliance with all the stipulations and conditions therein expressed....

Civil war, such as you have just passed through, naturally engenders feelings of animosity, hatred, and revenge. It is our duty to divest ourselves of all such feelings, and, so far as it is in our power to do so, to cultivate feelings toward those with whom we have so long contested and heretofore so widely but honestly differed. Neighborhood feuds, personal animosities, and private differences should be blotted out, and when you return home a manly, straightforward course of conduct will secure the respect even of your enemies. Whatever your responsibilities may be to government, to society, or to individuals, meet them like men. The attempt made to establish a separate and independent confederation has failed, but the consciousness of having done your duty faithfully and to the end will in some measure repay for the hardships you have undergone.… I have never on the field of battle sent you where I was unwilling to go myself, nor would I now advise you to a course which I felt myself unwilling to pursue. You have been good soldiers, you can be good citizens. Obey the laws, preserve your honor, and the government to which you have surrendered can afford to be and will be magnanimous.


Lieutenant General

This morning the two Davis groups, again combined, continue to move south. Lee surrendered a month ago today; tomorrow will make a solid month that Davis has been on the go from Danville, a distance of just over four hundred miles, all but the first and last forty of which he has spent on horseback; he is understandably weary. Yet the arrangement, when they make camp at 5 pm in a stand of pines beside a creek just north of Irwinville, is that he will take some rest in his wife’s tent, then press on with his escort after dark, presumably to see her no more until she rejoins him in Texas. Outside in the twilight, seated with their backs against the boles of trees around the campfire, his aides wait for word to mount up and resume the journey. They too are weary, and lately they have been doubtful—especially during the two days spent off-course because of Davis’s concern for the safety of his wife and children—whether they would make it out of Georgia. But now, within seventy miles of the Florida border, they feel much better about their chances, having come to believe that Breckinridge, when he peeled off near Washington with the five brigades, had decoyed the Federals onto his track and off theirs. In any case, the President’s horse is saddled and waiting, a brace of pistols holstered on its withers, and they are waiting, too, ready to move on. They sit up late, then finally, receiving no call, doze off.

Two Union cavalry regiments—from Michigan and Wisconsin—are tipped off at Hawkinsville that President Davis and his party have left Abbeville, headed for Irwinville, forty-odd miles away. They set out in pursuit.

In Arkansas negotiations are going on at Chalk Bluff on the St. Francis River for the surrender of the men of Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson, the eccentric and brilliant Confederate leader in Missouri and the West. President Johnson recognizes Francis H. Pierpoint as governor of Virginia. During the war Pierpoint headed a Union “restored” state of Virginia in the territory held by Federals. The trial of the eight accused Lincoln assassination conspirators begins.
May 10, Wednesday

In Georgia, even as President Davis’s party sleeps and dawn begins to glimmer through the pines, the two regiments of Union cavalry that set off in pursuit yesterday are closing in from opposite sides of the camp, one having circled it in the darkness to come up from the south, while the other bears down from the northwest. The result, as the two mounted units converge, is the last armed clash east of the Mississippi. Moreover, by way of a further distinction, all the combatants wear blue, including the two killed and four wounded in the rapid-fire exchange. “A sharp fight ensued, both parties exhibiting the greatest determination,” James Wilson will presently report, not without a touch of pride in his men’s aggressiveness, even when they are matched against each other. “Fifteen minutes elapsed before the mistake was discovered.”

All is confusion in the night-drowsed bivouac. Wakened like the others by the sudden uproar on the fringes of the camp—he had lain down, fully dressed, in expectation of leaving before midnight, but had slept through from exhaustion—Davis presumes the attackers are butternut marauders. “I will go out and see if I can’t stop the firing,” he tells his wife. “Surely I will have some authority with Confederates.” When he lifts the tent flap, however, he sees high-booted figures, their uniforms dark in the pearly glow before sunrise, dodging through the woods across the creek and along the road on this side. “Federal cavalry are upon us!” he exclaims. Terrified, Varina urges him to flee while there is time. He hesitates, then takes up a lightweight sleeveless raincoat—which he supposes is his own but is his wife’s, cut from the same material—and starts out, drawing it on along with a shawl she throws over his head and shoulders. Before he has gone twenty paces a Union trooper rides up, carbine at the ready, and orders him to halt. Davis pauses, dropping the coat and shawl, and then comes on again, directly toward the trooper in his path. “I expected, if he fired, he would miss me,” he will later explain, “and my intention was in that event to put my hand under his foot, tumble him off on the other side, spring into his saddle, and attempt to escape.” It is a trick he learned from the Amerinds, back in his early army days, and it might have worked except for his wife, who, seeing the soldier draw a deliberate bead on the slim gray form advancing point-blank on him, rushes forward with a cry and throws her arms around her husband’s neck. With that, all chance for a getaway is gone; Davis now cannot risk his life without also risking hers, and presently other blue-clad troopers come riding up, all with their carbines leveled at him and Varina, who still clings to him. “God’s will be done,” he says in a low voice as he turns away and walks slowly past the tent to take a seat on a fallen tree beside the campfire.

Elsewhere about the camp the struggle continues on various levels of resistance. Four days ago, a wagon had gone south from Sandersville with most of the $35,000 (2020 $576,969) in gold coin; the remaining $10,000 (2020 $164,848), kept for travel expenses between there and the Gulf, was distributed among the aides and Reagan, who carried it in their saddlebags; as the bluecoats now discover. Reagan, with his own and the President’s portion of the burden—some $3,500 (2020 $57,697) in all—turns it over with no more than a verbal protest, but his fellow Texan Lubbock hangs onto his in a tussle with two of the soldiers, despite their threats to shoot him if he doesn’t turn loose. “Shoot and be damned!” he tells them. “You’ll not rob me while I’m alive and looking on.” They do, though, and Preston Johnston loses his share as well, along with the pistols his father had carried when he fell at Shiloh. Only John Wood is successful in his resistance, and that is by strategy rather than by force. Knowing that he would be charged with piracy for his work off the New England coast last August, the former skipper of the Tallahassee takes one of his captors aside, slips him two $20 gold pieces, and walks off unnoticed through the pines—eventually to make it all the way to Cuba with Breckinridge, whom he will encounter down in Florida in two weeks, determined like himself to leave the country rather than stay and face charges brought against him by the victors in their courts.

But that is later. For the present, all Wood’s friends know is that he is missing, and only one of his foes knows even that much. Besides, both groups are distracted by the loud bang of a carbine, followed at once by a shriek of pain. Convinced that the reported millions in coin and bullion must be cached somewhere about the camp, one unfortunate trooper had used his loaded weapon in an attempt to pry open a locked trunk, and the piece had discharged, blowing off one of his hands. Others take over and get the lid up, only to find that all the trunk contains is a hoop skirt belonging to Mrs. Davis. Despite their disappointment, the garment turns out to have its uses, being added to the cloak and shawl as evidence that the rebel chieftain had tried to escape in women’s clothes. Suffering the indignity of looking on powerless while the treasure-hungry bluecoats rifle his and Varina’s personal luggage, tossing the contents about and only pausing to snatch from the fire and gulp down the children’s half-cooked breakfast, “You are an expert set of thieves,” he tells one of them, who replies, “Think so?” and keeps on rifling. Presently the Michigan colonel approaches and stands looking down at the Mississippian, seated on his log beside the campfire. “Well, old Jeff, we’ve got you at last,” he declares with a grin. Davis loses his temper at this and shouts: “The worst of it all is that I should be captured by a band of thieves and scoundrels!” Stiffening, the colonel draws himself up. “You’re a prisoner and can afford to talk that way,” he says.

Unaware that the Confederate leader had been captured before sunup down in Georgia, Andrew Johnson issues a proclamation declaring that “armed resistance to the authority of this Government in the said insurrectionary States may be regarded as virtually at an end....” Therefore the Navy should arrest the crews of commerce raiders still on the high seas and bring them in. He also warns against continued hospitality by foreign powers to Confederate cruisers. The blockade of states east of the Mississippi is partially lifted. This will be subsequently taken by some, including the nine Supreme Court justices, to mark the close of the war.

During the months after losing his control of the Missouri bushwhackers in March of last year, William Clarke Quantrill found consolation in the arms of Kate Clarke. Eventually growing restless, Quantrill assembled some two dozen followers, including Frank James and Jim Younger—but not George Todd or Bill Anderson, who had been killed within a month of the Centralia massacre—and set out for a crossing of the Mississippi on New Year’s Day, just north of Memphis, at the head of a column of blue-clad horsemen he identified as a platoon from the nonexistent 4th Missouri Cavalry, US. His plan, announced at the outset, was to proceed by way of Kentucky and Maryland to Washington, and there revive Confederate hopes by killing Abraham Lincoln. He took up so much time en route, however, that he never got there. In the Bluegrass by mid-April he learned that J. Wilkes Booth had beat him to the act. Now still in Kentucky three weeks later, he is wounded in a barnyard skirmish today, thirty miles southeast of Louisville. Like Booth he is struck in the spine and paralyzed, though he will live for nearly a month in that condition. Recognizing one of the physicians at his bedside, he asks if he had not treated him previously, in another part of the state. “I am the man. I have moved here,” the doctor replies. “So have I,” Quantrill says, enigmatic to the end, which will come on June 6th.

The military trial of the eight accused of complicity with Booth in his assassination plot, presided over by nine high-ranking army officers in Washington’s Arsenal Penitentiary, begins today. Shackled at their trial, as no prisoner has been in an English-speaking court for more than a hundred and fifty years, they are kept hooded in their cells, with thick cotton pads over eyes and ears, lest they see or hear each other or their guards, and two small slits in the canvas for the admission of food and air.

Four Confederate warships that had taken refuge up the Tombigbee almost a month ago, after the evacuation of Mobile, Alabama, strike their colors in accordance with a commitment by the flotilla captain to hand over to the Federals “all public property yet afloat under his command.”

Confederate Major General Samuel Jones surrenders forces under his command at Tallahassee, Florida.
May 11, Thursday

The CSS Stonewall—a seagoing armored ram described by those who have seen her as the most powerful thing afloat, built not by amateur shipwrights in the rebel hinterland, but rather by French craftsmen at Bordeaux—has finally made its way across the Atlantic from Europe, reaching Nassau five days ago and today drops anchor at Havana, Cuba. Not only has she made poor time, but her bunkers are nearly empty again even after a refueling stop in the Canaries. Her skipper, Captain T.J. Page, a Virginian in his middle fifties, is shaking his head at her lumbering performance and the sharpness of French salesmen. “You must not expect too much of me,” he wrote his superiors from Nassau; “I fear the power and effect of this vessel have been much exaggerated.” News had not yet arrived at Havana of the capture of Jefferson Davis yesterday, but Page soon learns that both Lee and Johnston have surrendered their armies and ponders what to do.

Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson surrenders what is left of his famous brigade at Chalk Bluff, Arkansas, under the same terms as Grant offered Lee. Small groups continue to surrender east of the Mississippi as well. Federal troops, including many Blacks, move out from the Gulf Coast area of Brazos Santiago, toward Brownsville, Texas.
May 12, Friday

President Johnson’s declaration that armed resistance is “virtually at an end” is slightly premature. In the start of the last land engagement of any significance, two Union regiments of White and Black infantry, plus one of cavalry, from Brazos Santiago Post, Texas, under Colonel Theodore H. Barrett march inland toward Brownsville and attack Palmito Ranch on the banks of the Rio Grande. The camp is taken, but Federals evacuate under pressure.

In Washington the eight accused Lincoln assassination conspirators plead not guilty to both specifications and charges before the military commission sitting as their court. Taking of testimony now begins.

President Johnson appoints Major General O.O. Howard to head the Freedmen’s Bureau.
May 13, Saturday

It has taken three days for the Davis party and their captors to make the trip to Colonel James Wilson’s headquarters at Macon, Georgia, during which the soldiers have taken pains to keep Davis well reminded of his status as a prisoner. “Get a move on, Jeff,” they taunt him from time to time. He rides in an ambulance with his wife and a pair of guards, while her sister Margaret follows in another with the children, all four of whom are upset by her weeping. The other captives are permitted to ride their own horses, which are “lent” them pending arrival. There is a carnival aspect to the procession, at least among the troopers riding point. “Hey, Johnny Reb,” they greet paroled Confederates by the roadside, “we’ve got your President!” That is good for a laugh each time save one, when an angered butternut replies, “Yes, and the devil’s got yours.” A supposed greater shock is reserved for Davis along the way, when he is shown the proclamation Andrew Johnson had issued charging him with complicity in Lincoln’s assassination. He takes it calmly, however, remarking that there is one man who knows the document to be false—“the one who signed it, for he at least knew that I preferred Lincoln to himself.”

Upon arriving at Macon, Wilson informs the War Department that Davis, surprised by the dawn attack, “hastily put on one of Mrs. Davis’ dresses and started for the woods, closely pursued by our men, who at first thought him a woman, but seeing his boots while running suspected his sex at once. The race was a short one, and the rebel President soon was brought to bay. He brandished a bowie knife of elegant pattern, and showed signs of battle, but yielded promptly to the persuasion of Colt revolvers without compelling our men to fire.” This is far too good to let pass unexploited, providing as it does a counterpart to the story of Lincoln’s passage through Baltimore four years ago, similarly clad in a Scotch-plaid garment borrowed from his wife, on the way to his first inauguration. “If Jefferson Davis was captured in his wife’s clothes,” Halleck recommends after reading Wilson’s dispatch, “I respectfully suggest that he be sent North in the same habiliments.” The story will result in many jubilant cartoons and a tableau staged by P.T. Barnum to display the Confederate leader in flight through brush and briers, cavorting in hooped calico and brandishing a dagger.

The Federals driven yesterday from Palmito Ranch, Texas, return this morning, again moving toward Palmito Ranch, which has been reoccupied by the Confederates. The Union force is successful in the morning, but in midafternoon the Confederates attack and force the Union troops to withdraw downriver to the coast with a loss of 115 killed, wounded, and missing. Colonel John S. Ford, known as RIP or “Rest in Peace” Ford, has led the main Southern drive. The skirmish, to be known as Palmito Ranch, of course has little bearing on the war. However, it is the last fighting between sizable bodies of men and, ironically, is a Confederate victory. The Federals have gained nothing except the distinction of having made the last attack of the four-year conflict, as well as the last retreat.

Responding to a call from E. Kirby Smith, the exiled governors of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri meet today in Marshall, forty miles west of Shreveport, to assess the current situation, political as well as military, so far as it affects the four Trans-Mississippi states, including Texas, whose ailing chief executive has sent a spokesman in his place. Lee’s surrender has been known for about three weeks now, together with the southward flight of the government from Richmond. Kirby Smith informs the assembled heads of states that he considers himself duty bound to hold out “at least until President Davis reaches this department, or I receive some definite orders from him.” The governors, for all their admiration of his soldierly commitment, don’t agree. Speaking for their people, whose despair they understand and share, they consider it “useless for the Trans-Mississippi Department to undertake to do what the Cis-Mississippi Department had failed to do,” and accordingly recommend an early surrender—if liberal, or anyhow decent, terms can be secured. In line with this, they appoint one of their number, Governor Henry W. Allen of Louisiana, to go to Washington and confer with the Federal authorities to that end.
May 14, Sunday

After a night spent in Macon, Georgia, Davis and his wife, together with Margaret Howell and the children, Reagan, Lubbock, and Preston Johnston, are placed on a prison train for an all-day roundabout journey to Augusta, where they are driven across town to the river landing and put on a tug waiting to take them down the Savannah River to the coast. Already aboard, to his surprise, are two distinguished Confederates, now prisoners like himself. One is Joe Wheeler, who had been captured five days ago at Conyer Station, just east of Atlanta, frustrated in his no-surrender attempt to reach the Trans-Mississippi with three members of his staff and eleven privates. The other is Alexander Stephens, picked up last week at Liberty Hall after Davis passed nearby. Pale and shaken, the child-sized former Vice President looks forlorn in the greatcoat and several mufflers he wears despite the balmy late-spring weather. Davis gives him a remote but courteous bow, which is returned in kind.

Slight skirmishing on the Little Piney in Missouri, and a three-day Federal expedition from Brashear City to Ratliff’s Plantation, Louisiana, mark the day.
May 15, Monday

Returning to Shreveport with the threats of bitter-enders ringing in his ears—Jo Shelby, for one, wanted to turn him out if he so much as thought of capitulation—E. Kirby Smith today rejects terms proposed by an emissary from John Pope in Missouri, who presents him with a choice between outright surrender of the Trans-Mississippi and “all the horrors of violent subjugation.” Pope, as usual, overplays his hand. Speaking for himself as well as his country, Smith replies that he cannot “purchase a certain degree of immunity from devastation at the expense of the honor of its army.” So he says. Yet he has no sooner done so than news of a series of disasters begins arriving from beyond the Mississippi: first, that Johnston and Sherman have come to terms, and then that Taylor and Canby have followed suit. Smith now commands, such as it is, the Confederacy’s only unsurrendered department, and in reaction he orders his headquarters moved from Shreveport to Houston, where he will be less vulnerable to attack in the campaign he knows is about to be launched against him. Before he can make the shift, however, word comes that Davis himself has been captured in South Georgia. That does it. Convinced at last that he no longer has anything left to hope for, let alone fight for, Smith decides to reopen negotiations: not with Pope, up in Missouri, but with Canby, who is en route from Mobile to New Orleans. Rather than go himself he sends his chief of staff, Lieutenant General Simon Buckner, with full authority to accept whatever terms are offered. That is fitting. At Donelson, three years and three months ago, the Kentuckian had surrendered the first Confederate army to lay down its arms. Now he is charged with surrendering the last.

There is a Union scout from Pine Bluff to Johnston’s Farm, Arkansas.
May 16, Tuesday

At Port Royal, the former Confederate president’s enlarged party is transferred to an ocean-going steamer, the side-wheeler William P. Clyde. Presumably, under escort by the multi-gunned warship Tuscarora, she will take them up the coast, into Chesapeake Bay, then up the Potomac to the northern capital.
So we are approaching the end of the Civil war and the commencement of the great question. The great question that has consumed Liberals for a number of decades. Now regular posters will know that I have hypothesised that either Liberals must be extremely ignorant, or they must suffer from some kind of learning difficulties. They must be prone to some kind of intellectual impairment.

The great question is, "Why did the American Southern States not become normal, multi racial, multi-cultural democracies in 1865?"

The Liberals may not put the question in such stark form, but that question is implicit in so much of the Liberal wailing and gnashing of teeth, even outside of the United States. Hopefully I'm not the only one to see how that is a seriously dumb question.
Rich wrote:The great question is, "Why did the American Southern States not become normal, multi racial, multi-cultural democracies in 1865?"

The Liberals may not put the question in such stark form, but that question is implicit in so much of the Liberal wailing and gnashing of teeth, even outside of the United States. Hopefully I'm not the only one to see how that is a seriously dumb question.

Considering that the question would better be "Why did none of the US states become normal, multi racial, multi-cultural democracies for almost 100 years?" much less in 1865, yeah.... Of course, the problematic word in that sentence is "normal"--having the Blacks as second class citizens at best was the norm for the time, practically worldwide.
May 17, Wednesday

General Sheridan arrived in Washington yesterday, one week before he and his seven miles of horsemen are scheduled to clop up Pennsylvania Avenue in the planned Grand Review for Grant’s and Sherman’s armies, but he is informed today by Grant that he is to proceed without delay to the Trans-Mississippi and take charge of operations designed to restore West Louisiana and Texas to the Union. Although he will command a force of better than 50,000 seasoned effectives—Canby’s army from Mobile, already alerted for the move, plus one corps each from Ord and Thomas at City Point and Nashville—Little Phil doesn’t covet an assignment that will deny him a role in next week’s big parade and separate him, permanently perhaps, from his hard-riding troopers. Moreover, while the Trans-Mississippi will be the scene of what little fighting there is left, it doesn’t seem to him to offer much in the way of a chance for distinction, especially by contrast with all he has achieved in the past year. As he had done on the eve of the Appomattox campaign, when the plan had been to send him down to Sherman, he protests for all he was worth at being shifted from stage center, out of the limelight.

Now as then, Grant explains that there is more to these new orders than meet the eye, “a motive not explained by the instructions themselves.” In addition to the task of closing down Kirby-Smithdom, there is also the problem of ending defiance of the Monroe Doctrine by the French in Mexico, where their puppet Emperor has been on the throne for a full year, usurping the power of the elected leader, President Benito Juárez. Maximilian has been pro-Confederate from the outset, Juárez pro-Union, and the time has come to persuade or compel the French “to quit the territory of our sister republic.” The State Department—meaning Seward, who by now is on the mend from the slashing he had received on assassination night, just over a month ago—is “much opposed to the use of our troops along the border in any active way that would involve us in a war with European powers.” Grant however goes on to say that he doesn’t think it will come to that; the French will remain in Mexico no longer than it takes them to find that he has sent his most aggressive troop commander to patrol the border with 50,000 of the hardest-handed soldiers the world has known since Emperor Napoleon III’s illustrious uncle retired to Saint Helena. Flattered, Sheridan is more amenable to the shift, which he now perceives might involve him in still another war, despite his superior’s confidence that his presence will serve rather to prevent one. Though he complains that he cannot see why his departure cannot be delayed a couple of days, so he could ride up the avenue at the head of his column of troopers, he later declares that, “under the circumstances, my disappointment at not being permitted to participate in the review had to be submitted to, and I left Washington without an opportunity of seeing again in a body the grand Army of the Potomac.”

Through the 20th scattered Confederate troops in Florida surrender to Brigadier General Israel Vogdes.
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