History of the American Civil War Part 5: Post-War and 1865

Important or Major Battles in 1865

3rd National Flag of the Confederacy, flown in the last weeks of the war.

In 1865, almost all of the Battles were Union victories, and with Robert E. Lee surrendering on April 10, ended the war in the Eastern Theatre. The Final Battle of the War was fought in Cameron County, Texas, on May 13, 1865, but mostly all Confederates stopped fighting after Appomattox Courthouse. After the war, the South was put under military occupation, and the reconstruction era started, which was a hard time for the south. 

Before the war, the south had most of the richest states in the Union, but it has the poorest states of the Union to this day. A lot of the south’s towns and cities were destroyed by the war, and they had horrible economic problems. The population had decreased greatly, both north and south. Overall the Union had 853,838 military casualties with 110,100 killed in action, 224,580 died of disease, 275,154 wounded in action, and 211,411 captured, and 30,192 died as P.O.W.s. 

Burying the Union dead at Sharpsburg Battlefield, 1862.

The Confederates had 94,000 killed in action, 164,000 disease deaths, 194,026 wounded in action, 462,343 captured, and 31,000 died as P.O.W.s. Overall for both sides, there were a total of 828,000 Union casualties and 864,000 Confederate Casualties, and for both sides there were 616,222-1,000,000 deaths, 50,000 civilian deaths, and 80,000 slave deaths. The American Civil War was the worst war ever fought on American soil, and the worst war in all United States History. 

Political Situation 

1865 was the final year of the war, and the south had basically already lost by the beginning of the year. When the south eventually lost, they were put under military occupation, and many southern civilians had to beg on the streets for food. All of the slaves in the south were freed, but they were not educated and had to fend for themselves. They were also segregated from the white southerners. Confederate President Jefferson Davis was put in prison.

The Assassination of President Lincoln.

Also, on April 14, 1865, United States President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by actor John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theatre, Washington D.C. He was succeeded by his Vice President, Andrew Johnson

Second Battle of Fort Fisher

The Second Battle of Fort Fisher was fought from January 13-15, 1865 in New Hanover County, North Carolina. Before the landings, Union gunboats shelled the fort, which made the landings easier. A landing force of 2,000 men consisting of navy and army landing near Fort Fisher on January 13. The federals were commanded by General Kidder Breese, and they were routed by the Confederates. This attack, however, drew Confederate attention away from another attack party led by Brevet General Newton M. Curtis. At 2:00 P.M. Curtis attacked and took the northern wall, but his brigade suffered heavy casualties due to Confederate snipers, and two of his colonels were killed. 

Union attack of Fort Fisher.

Seeing what he thought was an opportunity, Confederate General William H.C. Whiting ordered a counterattack. As his men charged into the Yankees, he was grabbed by a Union soldier who commanded him to surrender, and then shot Whiting who was mortally wounded. Whiting would die of his wounds on March 10, 1865. Union gunboats again kept firing at the fort with deadly aim. The battle raged on deep into the night, and the Confederate surrendered on January 15. With the capture of the fort and all of the surviving men, it was a major victory for the Union who suffered 1,057 casualties (664 army and 393 navy) while the Confederate suffered 1,900 casualties. 

Battle of Bentonville

Battle of Bentonville was in Johnston County, North Carolina and lasted from March 19-21, 1865. Following his March to the Sea, Union General William T. Sherman and his 60,000 men started the Campaign of the Carolinas in which he swept through South Carolina, and moved into North Carolina only to be met by Commanding Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston army of 21,900. The Rebels attacked on March 19, and Union General Henry W. Slocum engaged them, but he was pushed back. The Confederates were attacked by Slocum in their right wing, and after they overran the Union field hospital, they were pushed back in confusion. 

The Confederates firing a volley at Bentonville.

The Confederates tried to break the Union line at night, but they were unsuccessful. At about midnight, the Confederate fell back and dug trenches. In the Afternoon of March 20, Slocum drove the Southerns back to Mill Creek, but then the Confederate Cavalry drove Slocum back in a light skirmish. On March 21, Union General Joseph A. Mower attacked the Confederate left flank, making the Confederates retreat, ending the battle. Overall, the Union had 1,527 casualties, and the Confederates had 2,606 making it a Union victory. 

Battle of Five Forks

The Battle of Five Forks was fought on April 1, 1865 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. The Battle was part of the Appomattox Campaign, which was the final campaign in the Eastern Theatre of the war. Confederate General George Pickett had only 10,600 men, and he was hit by Union General Gouverneur K. Warren in his rear, but Union General Phillip Sheridan stupidly told Warren to let Pickett retreat. When Pickett retreated to Five Forks, Sheridan decided to pursue him, and sent General George A. Custer to do it. Custard sent them on the run at Bear Swamp. Sheridan then planned an attack: Custer’s Cavalry would attack the Confederate right flank, and Warren would attack the left flank with his infantry. 

Union Cavalry Attack at the White Oak Road.

The Union routed the Rebel’s Cavalry, and they fell back to White Oak Road after the Union charged. After that at about 4:15 P.M. the Union V Corps attacked, and there was heavy fighting at the White Oak Road. There was hand-to-hand combat, and the two armies were so close to each other that they could barely shoot. Many officers were killed or wounded in the fighting such as Union General Frederick Winthrop and Union Colonel Richard N. Bowerman. Later, Union General Charles Griffin joined the main attack, and the Confederates were pushed back even farther. 

By that point Pickett had rejoined the battle, but the Confederate right and left flank had collapsed, and they had withdrawn before nightfall, making it a Union victory. The Northerns only suffered only 830 casualties, but the Confederates suffered a whopping 2,950 casualties.  

Battle of Sailor’s Creek (Sayler’s Creek)

The Battle of Sailor’s Creek was fought on April 6, 1865 in Amelia, Prince Edward, and Nottoway County Virginia. On the Rainy Morning of April 6, Union General Andrew A. Humphreys attacked the Confederates at 9:00 A.M., and Union General Gershom Mott was wounded. Confederate General John B. Gordon’s men suffered heavy casualties, and they had 1,700 captured. Union General George Crook started to use hit and run tactics on the Rebels at Sailor’s Creek. The Union burned the Confederate Wagons, but they were driven away. 

Map of the Battle of Sailor’s Creek.

The Union deployed a pincer maneuver, and the Confederates were routed, being shot in the back as they tried to retreat. All of Confederate General Richard S. Ewell’s men were either killed, captured, missing, or captured, including Ewell himself, making it another major Union victory. The Union had a total of 1,148 casualties, and the Confederates had 7,700 captured, but the number of casualties is unknown. It probably greatly exceeded the Union’s casualties.  

Battle of Appomattox Courthouse

The Battle of Appomattox Courthouse was fought on April 9, 1865, in Appomattox County, Virginia and was the last battle of the Eastern Theatre of the war, and the final battle of the Appomattox Campaign. At Dawn on April 9, Confederate General John B. Gordon attacked Union General Phillip Sheridan’s Cavalry, and they took the ridge, but when they saw the entire Union XXIV Corps on the other side of the hill, Confederate General Robert E. Lee immediately told them to withdraw. They retreated towards Lynchburg. Lee saw that many of his men were starving, tired, and low on ammo, and he decided that the only option was to surrender. 

General Robert E. Lee surrendering to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse.

He sent a leader to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, and they met at Appomattox Courthouse. Union General George Custer wanted an Unconditional Surrender, but instead Grant decided Lee’s men would not be taken as P.O.W.s, and not be charged for treason, but they would be free to go after they were paroled. On April 10, Lee gave a farewell address to his men, and they were sent home. In the end, the Union had 164 casualties, and the Confederates had 500 casualties, and all the rest of their 26,000 men surrendered, ending the war in the Eastern Theatre.

25 Tallest Mountains in the Applachians

1. Mount Mitchell
2. Mount Craig
3. Clingman’s Dome
4. Mount Guyot
5. Mount LeConte
6. Old Black Mountain
7. Mount Washington
8. Mount Kephart
8. Mount Collins
9. Grandfather Mountain
10. Mount Adams
11. Mount Rogers
12. Mount Pisgah
13. The Devil’s Courthouse
14. Mount Jefferson
15. Silers Bald
16. Snake Mountain
17. Elk Knob
18. Mount Clay
19. Thunderhead Mountain
20. Whitetop Mountain
21. Beech Mountain
22. Boott Spur 
23. Mount Monroe
24. Mount Madison
25. Rich Mountain Bald

Mount Mitchell

Mount Mitchell.

Elevation: 6,684 Ft. 
Range: Blue Ridge Mountains
Rank: 1st tallest in North Carolina
Meters Tall: 2,037
Location: Yancey County, North Carolina

Mount Craig

Mount Craig seen from Mount Mitchell.

Elevation: 6,647
Range: Blue Ridge Mountains
Rank: 2nd tallest in North Carolina
Meters Tall: 2,026
Location: Yancey County, North Carolina

Clingman’s Dome

Clingman’s Dome observation tower.

Elevation: 6,643
Range: Great Smoky Mountains
Rank: 1st tallest in Tennessee, 3rd in North Carolina
Meters Tall: 2,025 
Location: Sevier County, Tennessee, Swain County, North Carolina 

Mount Guyot

Mount Guyot.

Elevation: 6,621
Range: Great Smoky Mountains
Rank: 4th tallest in North Carolina, 2nd in Tennessee
Meters Tall: 2,018
Location: Haywood County, North Carolina, Sevier County, Tennessee

Mount LeConte

Mount LeConte.

Elevation: 6,593
Range: Great Smoky Mountains
Rank: 3rd tallest in Tennessee 
Meters Tall: 2,010
Location: Sevier County, Tennessee

Old Black Mountain

Old Black Mountain seen from the town of Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Elevation: 6,370
Range: Great Smoky Mountains
Rank: 5th tallest in North Carolina, 4th in Tennessee
Meters Tall: 1,940
Location: Haywood County, North Carolina, Cocke County and Sevier County, Tennessee

Mount Washington

Mount Washington seen from North Conway, New Hampshire.

Elevation: 6,288
Range: White Mountains
Rank: 1st tallest in New Hampshire
Meters Tall: 1,916
Location: Coos County, New Hampshire

Mount Kephart

View from the top of Mount Kephart.

Elevation: 6,217
Range: Great Smoky Mountains
Rank: 5th tallest in Tennessee, 6th in North Carolina
Meters Tall: 1,895
Location: Sevier County, Tennessee, Swain County, North Carolina

Mount Collins

Mount Collins.

Elevation: 6,188
Range: Great Smoky Mountains
Rank: 7th tallest in North Carolina, 6th in Tennessee
Meters Tall: 1,886
Location: Swain County, North Carolina, Sevier County Tennessee

Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain’s “Mile High Bridge.”

Elevation: 5,946
Range: Blue Ridge Mountains
Rank: 8th tallest in North Carolina
Meters Tall: 1,812
Location: Avery County, Caldwell County, and Watauga County, North Carolina

Mount Adams

Mount Adams (Center) and Mount Washington (Left) seen from Mount Jefferson.

Elevation: 5,793
Range: White Mountains
Rank: 2nd tallest in New Hampshire
Meters Tall: 1,766
Location: Coos County, New Hampshire

Mount Rogers 

Mount Rogers.

Elevation: 5,730
Range: Blue Ridge Mountains
Rank: 1st tallest in Virginia
Meters Tall: 1,750
Location: Grayson County and Smyth County, Virginia

Mount Pisgah 

Mount Pisgah seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Elevation: 5,721
Range: Blue Ridge Mountains
Rank: 9th tallest in North Carolina
Meters Tall: 1,744
Location: Buncombe County, and Haywood County, North Carolina

The Devil’s Courthouse

View of the Devil’s Courthouse.

Elevation: 5,720
Range: Blue Ridge Mountains
Rank: 10th tallest in North Carolina
Meters Tall: 1,743
Location: Transylvania County, North Carolina

Mount Jefferson

Mount Jefferson.

Elevation: 5,712
Range: White Mountains
Rank: 3rd tallest in New Hampshire
Meters Tall: 1,741
Location: Coos County, New Hampshire

Silers Bald

Silers Bald.

Elevation: 5,607
Range: Great Smoky Mountains
Rank: 11th tallest in North Carolina, 7th in Tennessee
Meters Tall: 1,709
Location: Swain County, North Carolina, and Sevier County, Tennessee

Snake Mountain

Snake Mountain.

Elevation: 5,564
Range: Blue Ridge Mountains
Rank: 12th tallest in North Carolina
Meters Tall: 1,696
Location: Watauga County, North Carolina

Elk Knob

View from the summit of Elk Knob.

Elevation: 5,538
Range: Blue Ridge Mountains
Rank: 13th tallest in North Carolina
Meters Tall: 1,688
Location: Watauga County, North Carolina

Mount Clay

Sunrise seen from Mount Clay.

Elevation: 5,533
Range: White Mountains
Rank: 4th tallest in New Hampshire
Meters Tall: 1,686
Location: Coos County, New Hampshire

Thunderhead Mountain

Thunderhead Mountain.

Elevation: 5,527
Range: Great Smoky Mountains
Rank: 8th tallest in Tennessee, 14th in North Carolina
Meters Tall: 1,685
Location: Blount County, Tennessee, and Swain County, North Carolina

Whitetop Mountain

Whitetop Mountain.

Elevation: 5,525
Range: Blue Ridge Mountains
Rank: 2nd tallest in Virginia
Meters Tall: 1,684
Location: Grayson County, Smyth County, and Washington County, Virginia

Beech Mountain

Beech Mountain.

Elevation: 5,506
Range: Blue Ridge Mountains 
Rank: 15th tallest in North Carolina
Meters Tall: 1,678
Location: Avery County, North Carolina

Boott Spur

Boott Spur.

Elevation: 5,492
Range: White Mountains
Rank: 5th tallest in New Hampshire
Meters Tall: 1,674
Location: Coos County, New Hampshire

Mount Monroe

Mount Monroe.

Elevation: 5,372
Range: White Mountains
Rank: 6th tallest in New Hampshire
Meters Tall: 1,637
Location: Coos County, New Hampshire

Mount Madison 

Mount Madison.

Elevation: 5,367
Range: White Mountains
Rank: 7th tallest in New Hampshire
Meters Tall: 1,636
Location: Coos County, New Hampshire

Rich Mountain Bald

Rich Mountain Bald.

Elevation: 5,361
Range: Blue Ridge Mountains
Rank: 16th tallest in North Carolina
Meters Tall: 1,634
Location: Watauga County, North Carolina