7 April 1865: “The evacuation of Richmond Petersburg on Sunday last was a hard blow to our cause but I am not discouraged God will yet save us from our Enemies”

Item Description: A letter from a concerned father in Greensboro to his daughter in Chapel Hill who is staying with her Aunt and Uncle. He fears that if Raleigh falls, Chapel Hill will become violent, and is expresses concern that she has not recieved his last letter. He hopes to arrive in Chapel Hill soon in order to escort her back to Greensboro before anything happens in Chapel Hill. He describes recent events’  effects on the Confederate Cause and North Carolina.

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Item Citation: From Folder 9, in the Peter Mallett Papers, #480, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Greensboro, Apl 7/65

My darling daughter

I am this morning in receipt of your precious letter of the 5 + deeply regret to learn you have received no letter. I had written several but not as often as I would if certain you would get them. I had determined last week to send for you + write to Eddi Hardin at Chapel Hill (or with Furlough) to go immediately down with Nellie the ? but I learned from Mama yesterday before receiving my letter he took your Uncle Fudge down to the ” Gorges ?  Co.” ? to return Thursday, so I have concluded to return to Chapel Hill tonight and start him off for you as soon as possible.  You shall or must come home my dear child for we are as crazzy to see you as you are to come.  Your Grandpa, + and other friends advise me to let you remain un til matters are a little more settled but I cannot face the idea of expectation any longer–have determined that if the Yankees go to Chapel Hill after you get there to keep you with me here and wherein I am ordered they shall not lay eyes on you again if I can help it. I will get a tent for you when obliged to take the Field. Be patient then my dear child little while longer. I am doing all I can to get you home with Mama. I know you are as well cared for by your Uncle and aunt as possible under the circumstances but as you say its not home where you should be now. The saddest loss of your dear Uncle has been a great blow to me is dear. I was proud of him, loved him dearly – have never been so depressed in my life. Dear Boy, he died in a noble cause defending his Country just as I wish to when necessary.

The evacuation of Richmond Petersburg on Sunday last was a hard blow to our cause but I am not discouraged God will yet save us from our Enemies if we are but true to ourselves. Mrs. J(?) + Cabes? never at ? .   Genl Lee when last heard from at Amelia’s Court House. Gnl Johnston still at Smithfield. It is supposed that Raleigh will soon be given up. If so Chapel Hill will be in danger of frequent raids, at least or it may be advisable for you to remain a little while longer. Oh it is difficult to know what is best to do. I will write you again from Chapel Hill when I will return Sunday with Mama + the Boys or return for Monday. This will be my Hd. qrs. until driven away by the Yankees. I am in receipt today of a long letter from dear John- poor fellow he misses his Uncle Ed. so much tell Bro (your Uncle) his situation is still very uncertain + I have written a priority letter to my Friend Genl Hoke to make a place for him. The Genl has on several occasions spoken of John to me in very high ter + I know will take care of him. Tell your Uncle the uncertainty of mail communication alone has prevented my writing- will now write him after. Give bushels of love to all keeping a large share for yourself. I hope it will not be long now before you will be seated on Papa’s knee, fondly petted as he love to do. God bless you my perfect daughter be patient or He will ere long I trust grant our fervent prayers.  Your devoted Papa.

 

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6 April 1865: “That Anaconda Tightening!”

Item Description: Bulletin announcing the fall of Richmond and Petersburg as well as the capture of Boone, North Carolina.

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Item Citation: The Times War Bulletin: New Berne, N.C., Thursday, April 6, 1865, No. 5.: Richmond Ours! Cb970.7 T58n    North Carolina Collection. Wilson Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

THAT ANACONDA TIGHTENING!

General Stoneman’s Raid

Capture of Boone, N.C. on the 27th ult.

Head Quarters, Dist. of East Tenn.,

Boone, N.C., March 27, 1865.

The advance of General Stoneman’s force, commanded by Major Keogh, Aid-de-Camp, entered and captured the town of Boone, Wautaga co., N.C., at twelve o’clock to-day. The rebel force was routed with a loss of ten men killed and sixty-five wounded and prisoners.  Major Barnes’ battalion of the Twelfth Kentucky cavalry lost a few men wounded.

General Stoneman’s command is now well into North Carolina, and will be heard of soon in the heart of rebeldom.

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5 April 1865: “We found that the rebel rams and gunboats had all been blown up.”

Item Description: This is a report of rear admiral Porter, U. S. Navy, regarding operations following the evacuation of Richmond. He reports on the progress of the removal of torpedoes left by Confederate ships.

[Scans courtesy of Google Books and Cornell University. This item can also be found via the North Carolina Collection, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]

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Item Citation: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series 1, Volume 12.  Washington : Government Printing Office, 1901. C970.75 U58no Ser. I, vol. 12. p.101North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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4 April 1865: “I think the end of the great conflict between the North and the South is close at hand.”

Item Description: Letter from William Horn Battle to his son Kemp Battle.  He writes about hearing that Petersburg and Richmond had been evacuated and he feels the war will soon be over.  He also mentions that Kemp’s mother is almost out of medicine and requests that Kemp buy some for her in Raleigh.  He also writes about how common robberies are in the area.

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Item Citation: Folder 54, in the Battle Family Papers, #3223, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Chapel Hill April 4th 1865

My Dear Kemp,

Just as I was about to commence this note Gov. Swain came in and reported that Wash. Davis came down from Greensboro and reported that both Petersburg and Richmond had been evacuated and the Genl Lee was retreating in the direction of Danville and further that Genl. Stoneman had possession of Salem. If there be any truth in those reports I supposed you have heard all about it in Raleigh. I think the end of the great conflict between the North and the South is close at hand. What that end is to be I suppose it is not difficult to conjecture.

The letter you forwarded from Raleigh contained an inquiry in which it is manifest the writer had no interest except to gratify his spirit and I shall not answer it.

As your mother writes to Patty and Plum I presume she will give all the home news. She was quite unwell for a day or two but is better now. She is quite feeble and very low spirited. Your mother thinks that she is afraid that she will soon be unable to procure the medicine that she is in the habit of taking and that the consequence will be that she will be unable to sleep and get back into the measurable condition in which she was some years ago. If she do I fear it will almost kill your mother. I wish you to see Richard and if he has got my money I want you to buy at least one hundred worth of the medicine & send it by the first opportunity that together with what we can get here will probably answer until the end of the war, supposing that to be as near at hand as I think it is.

We hear every day of course read cases under the system of impressment. Robberies and thefts have become so common that they have almost ceased to excite surprise. We heard a day or two ago that Mr. Bingham had kept an impressing officer off by getting his gun and declaring solemnly he would shoot him if he attempted to break open his home. They had before taken all he had to spare. He has always been very kind and liberal to the poor and has done all he could to sustain the government by vesting his money in its stock &c.

I fear none of our rule as confederate or Hate are equal to the occasion. I place more reliance in the wisdom and calm judgement of Gov. Graham than in any other person, but unfortunately he is not now in a position to do much. May God help us. We are helpless without. Best love to Patty and the children.

Affectionately yours

Will H. Battle

You may tell your uncle Richard that your mother has just returned from a trip to your grandmother & found her still improving.

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3 April 1865: “You will be careful and thorough in dragging the river for torpedoes and send men along the banks to cut the wire.”

Item Description: Report of Lieutenant Commander R. Chandler, United States Navy, 3 April 1865, regarding the removal of obstructions in the James River, transmitting instructions to Union navy ships on the James River in Virginia for similar operations.

[Scans courtesy of Google Books and Cornell University. This item can also be found via the North Carolina Collection, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]

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Item Citation: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series 1, Volume 12.  Washington : Government Printing Office, 1901. C970.75 U58no Ser. I, vol. 12. p.98-100North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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2 April 1865: “have been serving on guard at town every third night & have been as much as two weeks without taking off my clothes”

Item Description: Letter from J. C. Norwood to Walter Waightstill Lenoir regarding Stoneman’s raids through North Carolina and into Virginia.  He writes about how a detachment of soldiers burned buildings in the town and about rumors where Stoneman and his men will attack next.  He says the people live in a constant of fear of enemy soldiers and bandits.

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Item Citation: Folder 156, in the Lenoir Family Papers, #426, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Lenoir 2d Apl. 1865

Dear Walter

We are just through with a scene of alarm & very great danger. Stoneman has just swept through the country with 10,000 cavalry towards Wilkesboro, Salem Salisbury Greensboro Hillsboro & Raleigh & we fear there will be no adequate preparation made to meet him. About dark on Tuesday evening last the head of the column reached the Factory & in a few munites the people around were under guard & the command en camp? They were equipt in the very best manner & under the severest discipline & were not allowed to plunder to any great extent or commit any acts of violence. They left at 3 o’clock next day Wednesday (29th) except 2 companies that were left to burn the Factory which they did with great coolness & method. They also set fire to the storehouse & granery &c East of the storehouse they cotten-house Tanery & oil mill escaped. The little office joining the store was burned- the last of them left by sundown. They reached Wilkesboro next evening about dark taking it by surprise also we here that Justs. Findley’s house was burned- but we hope it is a mistake- many of them said that a large body of infantry was behind which we hope suppose has gone toward Virginia so complete was their guard that they were all taken by surprise down the river & lost all of their horses & mules except Gnl Patterson one a little poney which they couldn’t catch & Rufus one (?) which hapend to be out of the way. I have not seen Rufus being affraid to leave home– a soldier who was then upon theer arrival & made his escape gave us the facts about 2 Oclock that night and went on to the station. We did all we could in the way of hiding necessarious & running off negroes & stock but none of them came here. While at the Factory they made Cousin Rufus room their headqat & treated him courteously- behaved very ? at Cousin Ed; the Fest & other place- but committed no violence. They told Cousin Rufus that the secessionists down the river would fare badly- we suppose the their next stop would be Elkin or Jonesboro- The force which pass the Factory 6 thousand war commanded by General Stoneman joined him at Holoman’s Ford with 4 thousand. It is said a third column pass through Jefferson & camp. over the river from Wilkesboro. I hope that is not so- about a couple two days before a considerable number of negromen left for Tennessee & have not been heard from since including 4 from the fort. 1 Genl Patterson 12. E. Jones & 5 from here Elias John Turner Jones & Wash- from the Fort Larkin Erin Jerry & Joe. I have not heard to any event with the Cavalry some of the officers cursed  the negroes & wished them all in Hell. We had been for sometime before under constant apprehension about Tory or robber raids & have been serving on guard at town every third night & have been as much as two weeks without taking off my clothes- we are always in danger except when a portion of Avery’s command is here which is not very often- Home guard no account. a few days before these trouble commenced I rec. your War Song & other piece we were all very much pleased with them especially the song of which I had the girls to make a good many copies & distributed it pretty generally – & I was about to send it to 3 of the papers- but will wait now untill- the storm is pass: Your affecty

J. C. Norwood

The girls will write more in detail

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1 April 1865: “I am on his side in all this struggle with congress and would be in favor of making him a Dictator today.”

Item Description: Letter dated 1 April 1865 from William Dudley Gale to his wife Kate Polk Gale. Gale joined the Confederate Army to serve as a staff officer for his father in law, General Leonidas Polk. After General Polk’s death in June 1864, Gale was assigned to the staff of General Alexander P. Stewart. In this letter, Gale wishes his daughter a happy birthday and speculates upon the future of the war.

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Item Citation: Folder 6, Gale and Polk Family Papers, #266, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

April 1st 1865

My dear wife

This is our darling little Fannys birth-day and I can do nothing more towards celebrating it than to write to her dear mother and send my love to my pet. I hope your have a nice warm April day when you are as it is with me. For I am sure you will have some sort of entertainment for them. This day 5 year ago. how vividly does it not cling to memory. Yes this day 5 years our first born saw the light of this world. We both know how we hung with anxiety upon the ? of the the first ? to ? whether our darling would live or die. She lived and I hope will live long to glad our eyes and warm our hearts by her ?, her ?, and her loving heart. The ? ? little lady is ever present to me and is as dear as a child can be to a parent. God bless her and keep her always I pray. Give her a good kiss for me as a birthday present tis all I can send her now- We are all trying still now, reorganizing and preparing for the great campaign which is to come off this summer. Genl S D Lee has just arrived with reinforcements and more on the way. Genl G is busy fixing up, for the tremendous struggle we are to have this summer and will do his best but the men are confident and only need numbers. I do not think you need have any fears at any time of an invasion by the Yankees, much less an occupation, as it is not a point of any strategic value to them, an arrogance will be but to accomplish the reduction of Richmond. That is the point of all point, upon which all eyes are turned and all ? are ?. Theirs to accomplish and ours to prevent. Va + N.Carlina are to be the great theaters of blood + carnage this summer, and all other efforts will be but by-play, to serve as diversions, Mobile will be the next place of serious attack. The enemy could gain nothing by holding Asheville and in the grand plan it is of too little importance to take them that way. You may be in some danger from ? or some marauding party, who may come to pillage and ? as they can. But from all luck I hope you have the means of defense. It is thought Sherman will move on Raleigh when he does move and some think he will occupy it but I am not of this opinion. I think he will try to go to Barth Station as as to cut all R Road communication with Richmond + compel its evacuation. This I have no doubt will be done + think the last Congress has been held in Richmond. I think we will gain strength by this move. We are to have some great and bloody battles, perhaps the severest of the war. None can look forward to the end of the summer with any certainty of being unhurt. Sherman ? have behaved most savagely in the ? and many a one has fallen to atone for his own or companions guilt. The thirst for plunder caused his men to straggle very much and I am informed that every one so found was shot or hung by the citizens. No prisoner has been taken by the citizens in the Carolinas especially in S.C. The latter is a noble state and deserves greatly to be called the Sparta of the Confederacy. I heard again of the ?. All the family except Mark + Grace were + are on the plantation on Broad river near Pinkingville (?). The girls were there ? and had not lost accepting on that place but on the one before ? they had lost everything. There is a great controversy going on now ? the ? of Genl Hood + Johnston. Poor Hood has done himself more damage in his report than by his unsuccessful Ten campaign, in his review of Gel Johnstons campaign before he HOod was placed in command. This is indelicate and unfortunate. Hoods Star is now seting and Johnstons is rising. “Let him laugh who wins.” This campaign will tell. Genl Johnston is next to Genl Lee the most popular man, in the Confederacy- I admire him greatly in some things, but do not go the lengths that many do. I think him a noble fellow in many respects. At the sametime I am not among those who now cant ? at Hood. I think him a man of great military ability and one of the most unlucky men I ever knew. HIs report_or so much of it as relates to his operations after he took command is what every man in the army recognizes as the truth. I have not seen the conclusion of it yet. Senator Wigfall is here and since he has fallen out with the President + Hood, has taken his son from the latter and has brought him to Genl Johnston– I fear that man and think the country had better beware of him, I feel very much exasperated at the factions apportion to the President. I am on his side in all this struggle with congress and would be in favor of making him a Dictator today. I wish he would abolish the informal Congress which I believe is as corrupt as any body of men in the country, and would make a disgraceful ? of they ?. The ? of Vice President Stephens has been anything but commendable too__ I received a long affectionate letter from Letty a few days since. All are well– I must now close. Love to all and kisses to my little ones. Ever your own dear husband W D Gale

 

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31 March 1865: “There would probably be no difficulty is getting the men to volunteer into this service but the difficulty is to procure the horses”

Item Description: Letter from Major General Cash to South Carolina Governor A. G. Magrath. He writes that he’s raised the men for a division from the eastern counties of South Carolina but does not have the weapons, ammunition, rations, or horses to fight the enemy. He writes to Magrath asking him for orders.

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Item Citation: Folder 2, in the A. G. Magrath Papers, #467-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Society Hill March 31 1865

Governor:

In accordance with your orders I proceeded to organize the troops of this Division. I formed seven companies and put three into a Battalion- there was no report from Georgetown, Williamsburg and Horry and only a partial report from Marion- I found upon enquiry of the Cols. that the arms deposited at the respective Court Houses by the state authorities hand been loaned out to the people and were not to be had- Col. Cook of Marlboro had retained the arms placed in his care and I understand those deposited at Horry were in possession of the Col. of that District- there being no arms and no ammunition and having no provisions and no money with which to purchase and having no authority to impress I felt at a loss how to execute the orders I had received from you and consulted with your aid Col. Mullins who did not hesitate to direct me to order the men to their homes until further orders- this I proceeded to do and sent Col. Wm H. Evans to consult with you. He failed to reach Columbia the R. Road having been cut by the enemy a few hours before he reached Kingsville. I should have made an effort to communicate with you since the enemy left us but I did not know where to send and the means of communication are extremely rare between this section of the state and every other part- There being no R. Road facilities and the country having been stripped of horses. I came to this place today to send a Staff Officer to you but avail myself of the services of Mr. Frost who will pass through Columbia and Newberry. I have your communications one from Spartanburg and one from Newberry- also the orders of the Adjt. Genl. It is all important and absolutely necessary that I should have a mounted force of at least one hundred men to act as scouts and to annoy the enemy. There would probably be no difficulty is getting the men to volunteer into this service but the difficulty is to procure the horses- the Districts of Chesterfield, Marlboro and much of Darlington are almost without horses and I fear not much is to be expected from the people in the lower Districts who have heretofore manifested very little interest in the preparation for the defence of the state. Will it be in your power to  authorize me to impress such as may be necessary? The question of rations must be settled by you- there is an abundant supply of corn in the country and bacon can be procured in those Districts not overrun by the enemy. I think private arms can be had in sufficient numbers to arm the force to be called out but the supply of ammunition will be very limited. There may be some ammunition at Marion and probably some at Horry as soon as it is possible I will ascertain the amt. to be had at those points & report to you. I have been informed that all the arms and ammunition at Florence was destroyed by our own troops & under Genl. Hardee’s order. I will request the bearer of this communication to learn the facts on that point and report verbally to you.  Allow me Governor to assure you that I am fully awake to our situation and will do everything in my power to arouse the people and get them up to their duty- as soon as I can get a small force mounted I will proceed to meet the enemy whence they may be found in the state and will have Col. Evans who commands the Battalion recently formed, to call out that force and make the best use of it- with a small force well mounted I can force the enemy to advance only in large bodies through the country. I wish very much it was in my power to give more definite information in regard to affairs in this section but we have been cut off from the surrounding country and know very little of the actual state of affairs. This portion of the state has suffered severely in the loss horses bacon and other property but thanks to the brutality of the enemy, there is a spirit of resistance and undying hostility engendered that time can never overcome. We expect the R. Road to to be repaired to a point near Cheraw by the first of the ensuing week when it will be safe for me to entrust my communications to you by mail and I will report all my movements to you.

I am sir with the highest respect your obt. servt

(sgd) Eyb C. Cash

Maj. Genl. 4th Divs. S.C.

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30 March 1865: “Oh Darling my heart yearns after you by day and night and if U could only look into it and see how it is filled with love”

Item Description: Letter from Edward Porter Alexander to his wife.  He writes about how much he misses her and the children.

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Item Citation: Folder 22a, in the Edward Porter Alexander Papers, #7, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Camp Same Place March 30th 1865

Thursday P.M.

I wrote U last my Darling wife night before last about the letter in yesterday to Hill, and I would have written again last night but I did not get home until very late and having to get up at daylight this morning to ride across the river to Rice’s Turnout on the Railroad to meet Gen Pendleton. I was afraid of oversleeping myself if I sat up to write to you. This morning I got up at day and rode over without breakfast in a pouring rain to meet Gen. P. He did not come himself owing to affairs at Petersburg where there is considerable stir but sent one of his staff with whom I had a three hour talk on business matters and then came back and have just finished my breakfast. I wish so much Darling that U could have taken breakfast with me for I know U wd have enjoyed it mightily. Gibbes gave me a shad yesterday- a fine fat fellow and I had a piece of him and plenty of splendid cornbread and being hungry I appreciated it highly. I did want to help my Darling Little Woman, tho, to a piece of shad very, very much and wouldnt have begrudged her the whole breakfast. Oh Darling my heart yearns after you by day and night and if U could only look into it and see how it is filled with love of my own Benie I know you could but feel happy in it. I love to think too my Dearest that your heart is equally devoted to me for U have showing it not only in words but in many an hour of suffering for my sake. It is not thrown away upon an ungrateful heart Darling Wife for altho I may not be the best of husbands, I certainly love as warmly as ever one did. Oh if I could only see U and be with you to watch and comfort U in your suffering and on your sick bed I know it would be a relief to you- even if I could do no more than to hold your poor little hand. When I think of your trial I long so to be with U just to do that. I know it would link our souls to each other more closely than ever. I can love U however, Darling, as devotedly when away from from you and when with U, so take comfort from that thought wh. greatly comforts me. I long to see the children too very very much and I often try to imagine what they are doing and how they are looking. There will be a great change in them all before I see them again. You don’t know the love I bear your sweet little namesake, our eldest born, whom you brought to me at Gainesville that cold night all wrapped up in a bundle and in whom our earliest and fondest parental affections are centred. Her place in my heart is second to but one and that one is the place held by the Dear Woman whose hand I took one night long ago in a far country and told my dearest “secret” to. Oh Darling what happy hour have resulted from that night and tho. our present status seems a hard one yest when we think we can only be grateful for our lot- I took dinner- yesterday with Jennie who has returned from Petersburg. She sent U a great deal of love and sympathy. Augustin is moving Mary to Fredbg, Richd being too expensive.  Mrs. Jeff Davis and various high official ladies have gone south and I expect Lou and Sallie will start today also. I heard from Dudley yesterday or day before all right. I would have gone in to see them this afternoon but for the hard rain wh. has been falling all day. It will probably stop the operations commenced on the night. It is rumored that Sheridan has started on another raid. Last night there was a heavy cannonade at Petersburg and we could see from my tent the shells bursting in the air and the sky constantly lit by the flashes of the guns. Kiss all the dear little ones for me and give my love to all. May God ever bless and keep U all Dear wife and children and soon restore us to each other ever prays. Your loving husband.

I wrote to Aunt Susan yesterday by Nummie.

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29 March 1865: “I would respectfully request that you direct one or two gunboats to lay in the Appomattox…”

Item Description: Letter from Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant, U.S. Army, to Rear-Admiral David D. Porter, U.S. Navy, asking that gunboats be positioned in both the Appomattox and James Rivers.

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Item Citation: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series 1, Volume 12.  Washington : Government Printing Office, 1901. C970.75 U58no Ser.I, vol.12, p.88, North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Headquarters Armies of the United States,

City Point, Va., March 29, 1865.

ADMIRAL: In view of the possibility of the enemy attempting to come to City Point, or by crossing the Appomattox at Broadway Landing, getting to Bermuda Hundred during the absence of the greater part of the army, I would respectfully request that you direct one or two gunboats to lay in the Appomattox, near the pontoon bridge, and two in the James River, near the mouth of Bailey’s Creek, the first stream below City Point emptying into the James.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U.S. Grant, Lieutenant-General.

Admiral D.D. Porter, Commanding North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

 

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