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1865 April 22: The Fall of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, the Battle of Selma, and Assorted Other News

April 28, 2015

Following are the smaller local and national news items from the April 22, 1865, issues of The Prescott Journal and The Polk County Press.  The last item refers to the fall of Spanish Fort (April 8) and Fort Blakely (April 9), near Mobile, Alabama; and the Battle of Selma (April 2), in which General Roddey¹ lost most of his command.

From The Prescott Journal:

News Items.

Only 800 hogsheads of the French tobacco in Richmond were destroyed by fire.

The Richmond Whig of Monday is received. It says”whatever may be the fate of the constitutional amendment it is as certain as the sun rises, that slavery in Virginia is dead.”

A national bank of the United States is to be at once established in Richmond, where U. S. stocks will be sold at rates established in northern cities.

All the hospitals of Richmond have beer, taken possession of by the military authorities and are used for the care and comfort equally of the Federal and Confederate sick and wounded.

The Herald‘s Washington special says there is the best authority for the statement that Kirby Smith and the rebel trans-Mississippi army are ready to surrender.  The State of Texas is all ready to come back.

The Richmond Whig of Monday contains a long account of a grand review, on Saturday, of the 2d Division, 24th Corps, by Gen. Divens [sic].²  It was witnessed by nearly the whole populace, and passed off in almost creditable manner.

The Richmond Whig says the aggregate assessed value of property destroyed in Richmond foots up $2,146,240.  Imposing as these figures appear they are far short of the truth, for the reason that real estate was before invariably assessed much below the value it would have commanded in market.

The Herald‘s Richmond correspondent says a committee has gone to Lynchburg to invite the Virginia Legislature to return to Richmond.  Several of the members who remained in the city are working for the restoration of the State to the Union on the condition of the abolition of slavery.

The proceedings of the Virginia secession Convention are published, showing that Lee, when notified in presence of the Convention, of his selection as commander of the Virginia military and naval forces said :  “trusting in an approving conscience and the aid of my fellow-citizens, I devote myself to the [service of my native state, in whose behalf alone will I ever again draw my sword.”]³

Orders have been issued by the War Department to stop recruiting and drafting.

Those drafted under the last call, who have not been forwarded to General Rendezvous, will be discharged.  This is welcome news.

— Mobile, the last of the great cities of the South, has been captured by our forces.

— It is reported that Johnston has surrendered his army to Sherman.  [William T. Sherman]

— Jeff Davis is said to be at Macon, Georgia.  [Jefferson Davis]

From The Polk County Press:

DONT FORGET.—The box that is going to be sent to the Sanitary Fair.  There will be room for all who wish to cast in their mite.

WOUNDED.—We notice in the list of wounded of the 7th Wis.Vol. the names of John Rice, Co. A, and Geo. Matawas, Co. G.  They are probably from this county.

— The Wisconsin Branch of the United States Christian Commission has appealed to the friends of the Soldiers, throughout the State for Vegetables-Potatoes, Onions, Pickles, Sour-krout, Dried Fruit, &c.  Any of our citizens who have any of these which they can possibly spare will please leave them at the store of Dresser, Wilson & Co.

— At last accounts Jeff. Davis was at Macon, Georgia.

— Stoneman’s Cavalry captured Gov. Vance, of North Carolina.  Also all the munitions of war and supplies, that were left to the Confederate Army—said to be worth $25,000,000.  [George Stoneman]

In accordance with instructions from the War Department Col. Averill “retrenched” yesterday in the Provost Marshall [sic] and recruiting bureaus in this State by the dismissal of twenty-three Deputy Provost Marshalls [sic], twelve clerks and two assistant surgeons, reducing the monthly expenses nearly four thousand dollars.

A Washington despatch of the 14th thus speaks of the President’s last cabinet meeting alluded to in Secretary Stanton’s mournful bulletin of that night :

A cabinet meeting lasting several hours and at which Gen. Grant was present, was held to-day.  The important questions connected with reconstruction were discussed, but no definite results were arrived at.  Gen. Grant expressed confidence in the result of Gen. Lee’s mission to North Carolina—that it would be the unconditional surrender of Johnston’s army.  [Ulysses S. Grant]

NEW YORK, April 18.

On Monday, the 10th Jeff. Davis was in Macon, Ga.  It is said that Lee is endeavoring to prevail on Davis to give up the contest.

The surrender of Johnston to Sherman is again reported.  It is probably correct though not official.  [Joseph E. Johnston]

Lee surrendered about 16,000 including officers and privates, 170 pieces of artillery and 700 wagons.  The soldiers of our army are greatly incensed at the assassination, but they are counselled [sic] to calmness.

The following incident illustrative of the President’s paternal kindness of heart, has a touching interest now that he is laid low by the savage hand of treason.  A City Point correspondent says :

The President [Abraham Lincoln], accompanied by Mrs. Lincoln, Senators Harlan [James Harlan], Sumner [Charles Sumner] and others, yesterday paid a visit to the general hospitals here the President shaking hands with every man and to every one saying a word or two of commendation.  He looked very feeble, and was remonstrated with by the Surgeon in charge for attempting the hand-shaking of several thousand men, but in answer he said :  “Gentlemen, the war seems about over, and I must shake hands with, and say a good word to every brave fellow who has aided in the glorious work.”

Another notorious guerilla [sic] known as White Cotton, was killed near Huntsville Ala., on the 15th.  The guerillas [sic] appear to have a severe time of it just now.

A full company of Pawnes Indians has been mustered into the United States service at Fort Kearney.


HUNTSVILLE, Ala., April 11—9 A. M.

To Maj. Gen. Thomas:

The following is just received from Colonel Hooker at Somerville:  Men direct through from Selma report that place captured by Gen. Wilson’s forces on the 2d instant.
Forrest and Roddy, with their entire commands were captured
Our men dismounted and charged the entrenchments and carried all before them.
They also report Montgomery captured.

.               .R. G. GRANGER,4 Gen.
.      .Signed,
GEO. H. THOMAS, Maj. Gen. [George H. Thomas]

 CITY POINT, April 12, M.

To Hon. E. M. Stanton :

 Lynchburg surrendered yesterday to Lieut. Griffin’s forces at the head of a scouting party.
Gen. Grant has ordered McKintry’s brigade of cavalry to occupy the town and take care of public property.  [Justus McKinstry]

C. A. DANA, A. S. W.

CHICAGO, April 16.

A Cairo special says that our forces occupied Mobile on the 9th, Spanish Fort was captured with 3,000 prisoners.  Three hundred guns were captured in Modile [sic].  The garrison fell back up the river to Chickasaw Bluff.  Gen. Wilson [James H. Wilson] captured all of Roddy’s [sic]¹ command.

LATER, 3 P. M.

From a reliable source it is learned that Mobile was captured on the evening of the ninth, by a portion of General Smith’s command assisted by light draft gunboats, after a severe resistance by the enemy.  [A. J. Smith]

1.  Phillip Dale Roddey (1826-1897) had not supported secession and hoped to remain out of the Civil Wart. But after the fall of Fort Henry in February 1862, Union gunboats were able to threaten his steamboat. Rather than allow his steamboat to be seized and used by the enemy, Roddey burned her and then raised a cavalry company. They participated in the Battle of Shiloh and the advance on Corinth, where Roddey was praised by superiors. In October 1862 he was authorized to increase his command to a regiment and he became colonel of the 4th Alabama Cavalry. By April 1864 he was leading a brigade and was promoted to brigadier general. Much of the time they were stationed in their own home area, and Roddey is thus called the “Defender of North Alabama.” Roddey fought a delaying action during Abel D. Streight’s 1863 raid across Alabama and Georgia, and remained in Alabama during John Bell Hood’s 1864 Nashville campaign. Roddey joined Forrest in trying desperately to stop Union General James H. Wilson’s cavalry raid into south Alabama in March 1865. Roddey’s command fought for the last time in April at the Battle of Selma, where Forrest’s men were overpowered by the more numerous and better armed Union horse soldiers. Most of Roddey command was captured at Selma. The remainder surrendered at Pond Springs (now Wheeler), Alabama, in May 1865.
2.  Alexander Samuel Diven (1809-1896) was a lawyer and politician in New York before the Civil War, serving in the New York Senate (1858-9) and the U.S. House of Representatives (1861-3). Diven entered the Army in August 1862, as lieutenant colonel of the 107th New York Infantry regiment and was promoted to colonel in October. He was granted a leave of absence from the Army to take his seat in Congress. Honorably discharged as colonel in May 1863, Diven was brevetted brigadier general of Volunteers in April 1864.
3.  The end of this quotation was cut off on the microfilm. The rest was found in the April 13, 1865, issue of The Daily Milwaukee News.
4.  Robert Seaman Granger (1816-1894) graduated from West Point in 1838 and was a career military officer, serving in the Seminole War, the Mexican War, and on the Texas frontier. He was captured in Texas very early in the Civil War and was exchanged on September 1, 1862, when he was commissioned a brigadier general of Kentucky volunteers. He served mainly in Kentucky and Alabama.

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