The American Civil War 150th Anniversary – January 5-11, 1865

Some ships of the James River Squadron were built at the Confederate naval shipyards on the far side of the James River, in this photograph. (Source)

Some ships of the James River Squadron were built at the Confederate naval shipyards, on the far side of the James River in this photograph. (Source)

Here is a look at the events happening in the Civil War, 150 years ago this week.

It seems that few are in winter quarters during the winter of 1864-1865. Armies and fleets are still in motion and, unfortunately, so are the Lincoln assassination conspirators.

Here is a discussion on the importance of naval forces around Richmond. It’s worth including because history for the general public tends to focus only on the land forces, and certainly I have done that, too. An entire timeline could be (and probably has been) done on the naval history of the Civil War.

Also of note, I have just found an excellent general photograph resource, The American Civil War Photo Gallery. They say, that unless noted on the individual picture, these images are public domain.

January 5

Military events: North Carolina operations: US army and naval forces leave Fort Monroe on a second expedition against Fort Fisher. (6)

The CSS Stonewall, before she became the Kotetsu.  (Wikipedia)

The “CSS Stonewall,” before she became the “Kotetsu.” (Wikipedia)

January 6

Military events: General Grant tells General Sherman to garrison coastal forts in Georgia and South Carolina with African American troops. (6)

January 7

Military events: Naval operations: “The Danish ironclad Sphinx left Copenhagen for Quiberon Bay, France. She had been secretly purchased by the Confederates and would become C.S.S. Stonewall (31, including quote).” Apparently the Stonewall never reached the Confederacy and ended up as Japan’s first ironclad warship, the Kotetsu.

Lincoln assassination conspiracy: On or around this date, Confederate Treasury agent Eddy Martin hires blockade runner George Atzerodt to smuggle him across the Potomac River as part of a $700,000 tobacco deal that’s going on. Atzerodt agrees, but will renege on the deal after meeting John Surratt and Tom Harbin. (24, 30)

Part of the Fort Fisher expedition fleet in December 1864, during a squall.  (Library of Congress)

Part of the Fort Fisher expedition fleet in December 1864, during a squall. (Library of Congress)

January 8

Military events: North Carolina operations: “The 60-ship Federal naval fleet seeking to capture Fort Fisher arrived at its rendezvous point at Beaufort, North Carolina along with Alfred Terry’s expeditionary force on transports. Colonel William Lamb, commanding Confederates at Fort Fisher, notified General Braxton Bragg, commanding all Confederates in the area, of the Federal fleet’s arrival.” (31, including quote)

January 9

Military events: Mississippi/Tennessee events: CS General Nathan Bedford Forrest dispatches scouts into central Tennessee around this time to find out what Federal forces are up to. (3)

Lincoln assassination conspiracy: On or around this date, John Wilkes Booth writes to Samuel Chester, saying, “You must come [to Washington and join the conspiracy]. Enclosed you will find $50 to pay your expenses and more money when you get here. If you can’t come keep the money.” (24, 30)

January 11

Battles: West Virginia operations: The Battle of Beverly.

Military events: Carolina operations: “President Davis continued trying to build an army to oppose William T. Sherman. He planned to bring the remnants of the Army of Tennessee to the east coast, and to gather all available reserves, militia, and recruits.” (31, including quote)

Lincoln assassination conspiracy: When Chester balks, Booth travels to New York and charms him into joining the plot. While in New York, Booth buys 2 Spencer carbines, 6 Colt revolvers, and 3 Bowie knives, plus ammo, belts, and two pairs of handcuffs. He takes these to his fellow conspirators Samuel Arnold and Michael O’Laughlen in Baltimore and asks them to personally bring the carbines and revolvers to Washington and to ship the rest.

Troops camped at Beverly.  (Source)

Troops camped at Beverly. (Source)




(1) The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

(2) Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson (2003 – see side bar for link).

(3) The Campaigns of Lieut.-Gen. N.B. Forrest, and of Forrest’s Cavalry by Thomas Jordan, J. P. Pryor (1868).

(4) The Lincoln Log timeline.

(5) Blue and Gray Timeline.

(6) Grant Chronology, Mississippi State University.

(7) Civil War Interactive.

(8) Life of Lieutenant-General Nathan Bedford Forrest, by John A. Wyeth (1908/2011).

(9) This Week in the Civil War.

(10) The Siege of Charleston, “The State.” (South Carolina)

(11) CWSAC Battle Summaries

(12) The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War.” (2002) David J. Eicher.

(13) A Brief Naval Chronology of the Civil War (1861-65).

(14) The Pictorial Book of Anecdotes and Incidents of the War of the Rebellion…, Richard Miller Devens (1866).

(15) Memoirs of W. T. Sherman

(16) The Louisiana Native Guards: The Black Military Experience During the Civil War. James G. Hollandsworth, Jr., 1995.

(17) A. Lincoln, A Biography, Ronald C. White, Jr. (2009)

(18) Confederate Strategy, Fort Tyler Association.

(19) The Sword of Lincoln, the Army of the Potomac. Jeffrey Wert (2005)

(20) Black Artillerymen from the Civil War through World War I (PDF), Roger D. Cunningham.

(21) Siege of Petersburg, Wikipedia.

(22) Petersburg National Battlefield.

(23) James F. Epperson’s Siege of Petersburg site.

(24) Michael W. Kauffman. American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies. Random House. New York. 2004.

(25) Timeline 1865. State of Tennessee

(26) Up From Slavery. Booker T. Washington

(27) Civil war battles in Alabama list.

(28) Wilmington, Fort Fisher, and the Lifeline of the Confederacy. North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial.

(29) Naval History of the Civil War. History Central.

(30) Arthur F. Loux. John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day. McFarland & Company. Jefferson, North Carolina. 2014. (Note: I have more confidence in Kauffman’s dates (source 24, above), but will use this to work in the other conspirators and events. Take these dates as general times of the month unless backed up by Kauffman.)

(31) The Legacy of the Civil: January 1865.

(32) The American Civil War Photo Gallery.

Categories: American Civil War


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