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1865 March 11: “Sherman is rushing through the Carolinas like an avalanche,” and Other War-Related News

March 11, 2015

Following are the summaries of the week’s national war news from the March 11, 1865, issues of The Prescott Journal and The Polk County Press.

From The Prescott Journal:


— The war news is good.  SHERMAN [William T. Sherman], like the soul of JOHN BROWN, is “marching on.”  SHERMAN has won another splendid victory, capturing the town of Charlottesville, together with Gen. EARLY [Jubal A. Early] and 1,800 men, nearly his entire force.  The toils are closing round the rebels and the final act in the tragedy draws is the tragedy draws near.

— The inauguration of the President last Saturday was attended by an immense throng.  The inaugural address was brief and contained nothing of special importance.  [Abraham Lincoln]

News Items.

All Union prisoners at Camp Ford, Texas, have been exchanged.

The Richmond Dispatch says Gen. Jo. Johnston [Joseph E. Johnston], on Thursday last, assumed command of the army in Sherman’s front, lately commanded by Gen. Beauregard [P.G.T. Beauregard].

Advices from New Orleans state Kirby Smith’s army still refuses to cross to the east side of the Mississippi.  Two attempts to remove the men were made, and it is thought a third attempt will result in open mutiny.

The Navy Department has information that the side-wheel steamer Acadia is laying a wreck riddled by shot and shell from the U. S steamer Virginia, six miles from Velasco, where she run on shore after several attempts to get into port.

The Times’ Washington special says Mr. Washburne [Elihu B. Washburne], M. C. from Illinois, received lately a letter from Gen. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant], in which he comments upon Gen. Sherman’s movements in confident vein.  He says a few days more of success will place the rebels in position from which they cannot escape.

On the receipt of the news of the capture of Wilmington, Gov. Fenton [Reuben Fenton] sent a dispatch to the Secretary of War, offering ten regiments of the State National Guard for one hundred days’ service for garrisoning the forts at Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington and other posts.  The offer was referred to Gen. Grant, who declined to accept the regiments.  The Secretary of War sent a dispatch to Gov. Fenton this morning, concurring in the decision of Gen. Grant.

The Tribune‘s Washington special says Gen. Jo. Johnston assumed command of the forces in front and rear of Sherman on Thursday.—Gen. Lee will remain at Richmond and direct movements from that point, as well as handle his own army for the defence of Richmond.  Richmond papers of Monday are quiet as to Sherman’s exact location, and it is a matter of doubt whether they really know where his main army is, except that he has crossed into North Carolina.  [Robert E. Lee]

The Herald‘s St. Louis dispatches represent the demoralization in Kirby Smith’s Trans-Mississippi army to be equal to that of the other rebel armies in various portions of the country.  Large numbers of deserters from it are constantly coming into the Union lines at Little Rock.  Two-thirds of his men are said to be conscripts who are satisfied that the Confederacy is a failure, disgusted with the service and only desirous of making their escape and getting back to their homes.¹

The Times’ Vicksburg correspondence of the 16th gives details of the great movement in the Southwest.  An expedition has started to go to New Orleans, and from thence to Pascagoula, where it would join Thomas’ force in the investment of Mobile.  [George H. Thomas]  The first object will be the capture of Cahawba, Selma, and Columbia, Ga., and then to destroy Hood’s old army, and if everything works well Kirby Smith’s Trans Mississippi army will be attended to next summer.  [John Bell Hood]

By advices from Wilmington it appears that a warm welcome was extended to Gen. Terry’s troops when they marched into the city.  Old flags, which had long been hidden away, were brought out and given to the breeze ;  handkerchiefs waved, crowds lined the route of the march, and shouts filled the air.  The entire Union losses, in both killed and wounded, in all the operations in Cape Fear River, succeeding the occupation of Fort Fisher, up to, and including, the occupation of Wilmington, did not exceed 200 men.  [Alfred H. Terry]

At a special meeting of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, a committee was appointed and instructed to memorialize Congress for an appropriation for removing obstructions in the Passes of the Mississippi river, as mud and other matter accumulated there have become so great as to prove a source of considerable risk, delay and inconvenience to underwriters, ship owners &c. ;  also to represent to the Postmaster General the delays and irregularities of the mails by these obstructions, and the great injury resulting therefrom to the business of the city, and secure if possible, a correction of the evil.

Richmond papers are more frantic than ever.  The Enquirer calls upon Jeff Davis to arm slaves, without authority of law.  It says :  “These states and this cause stand, to-day, in need of a man who will take the power of the people and use it for their preservation.”  Further on it says :  “Sherman is rushing through the Carolinas like an avalanche, and is reported to have captured one hundred thousand bales of cotton at Columbia.  Grant is gradually and perhaps surely extending his lines around Petersburg and Richmond, and threatens every moment to burst over the lines that intervene, and the Senate are doing the conservative.  History furnishes no parallel to this.”   [Jefferson Davis]

The President has signed and approved the act to prevent officers of the army and navy and other persons engaged in military and naval service of the United States, from interfering in elections in states.  No troops or armed men are to be brought to the polls unless it shall be necessary to repel armed enemies or to keep the peace ;  nor shall it be lawful for an officer to prescribe, or fix by proclamation, order or otherwise, the qualifications of voters, or in any manner interfere with the free right of suffrage.  Officers so offending, are liable to indictment for misdemeanor, and on convictions to be fined not exceeding $5,000, and suffer imprisonment in a penitentiary for a term not less than three months, nor more than six years, and any person so convicted, shall moreover, be dis-qualified from holding any office of honor, profit or trust under the Government of the United States.

The Times Washington special claims to have accurate information as to what rebel force can be brought against Sherman.—Beauregard superceeded [sic] Hardee [William J. Hardee] when that General left Savannah, and took his force, amounting to 8,000 effective men, while Hardee went to Charleston, where there were not over two brigades.  These have since probably joined Beauregard.  At Wilmington and Weldon Gen. Baker had a brigade not over 2,000 strong.  At Salisbury about two regiments were stationed guarding prisoners.  The entire force, therefore, that Beauregard could concentrate, does not exceed 22,000.  He has cavalry sufficient to swell his force, perhaps, to 30,000.  If Sherman forms a junction with Schofield [John M. Schofield], as he undoubtedly will, it is safe to say his force will be far superior to Beauregard’s concentrated strength, and all the aid he may get from Richmond.

From The Polk County Press:


— Sherman continues his advance with but little opposition.  He has reached Fayetteville, North Carolina, and is still advancing, although rebel papers report his movements retarded on account of heavy rains.

Grant’s army is active and held ready to operate against Lee, in case the latter attempts a movement.

Sheridan has achieved a brilliant victory in the Shenandoah valley, defeating and capturing Early and nearly his entire command.  He has captured and has possession of Charlottesville, on the railroad leading from Richmond to Lynchburg, thus cutting off Lee’s best line of retreat.  The indications are, that an attempt will be made to join the forces of Sherman and Sheridan and thus completely invest Richmond.  [Philip H. Sheridan]

Gold 108.

Late News Items. 

— They are enlisting at the rate of two regiments a week in New York city.

— Our fleet off the Brazilian coast is to be re-inforced by the Hartford and Brooklyn, which are now being repaired and refitted for service.

— The Government realizes about $70,000 per month from the hides, tallow, hoofs, &c., of the cattle slaughtered for the Army of the Potomac.

— Gen. Grant reports that since the beginning of the campaign last May, 17,000 deserters have come into our lines from Lee’s army alone.

— A rebel nephew of Gen. Scott [Winfield Scott] has been released form the Old Capitol Prison and ordered to report to his old uncle in New York, and subject himself to the General’s orders.  We hope the soldier will “put him through a course of sprouts.”²

— The Tribune’s Washington special says it is estimated that Charleston and Fort Anderson, together with the certain capture of Mobile, will liberate 25,000 men from the navy who can be organized into a corps for offensive operations on land.

— It is estimated that the sugar crop in Vermont last spring was 15,000,000 pounds, worth $2,250,000, enough to pay the war expenses of the State twice over, and have enough to sweeten the tea besides.

— Gen. Carl Schurz has been assigned to duty on Gen. Hancock’s staff [Winfield S. Hancock], to assist in the organization of 1st Army corps, and to command a division when raised.  He is expected to start in few days on a tour through the West, to investigate the system at various recruiting stations there.

 1.  Confederate General Kirby Smith took command of the Trans-Mississippi Department on January 14, 1863. The Trans-Mississippi consisted primarily of Arkansas, Western Louisiana, and Texas. Smith remained west of the Mississippi River for the remainder of the War due to Union naval control of the river. He will negotiate the surrender of his Department on May 26, 1865. By then it will be the only significant Confederate field army left.
2.  To subject someone to hard work, or to examine thoroughly.

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