The Final Months Of The Civil War — страница 2

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they had arrived. Cotton bales were set on fire by the Confederate Calvary to prevent the Federal Army from getting to them and the high winds quickly spread the fire. The controversary was short lived as no proof was ever presented. After Columbia, Charleston and Augusta had fallen, Sherman continued his move north toward Goldsboro. His progress was delayed not by the Confederate army but by the runaway slaves. The slaves joined the Union columns. They numbered in the thousands by the time they had reached North Carolina. (Barrett, John G., Sherman?s March through the Carolinas. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1956.) Sherman?s force pushed on and finally met up with Schofield in Goldsboro on March 23rd. Immediately leaving Goldsboro, Sherman was to travel to

City Point to meet Grant and discuss plans of an attack. Upon arriving, not only did he find Grant, but Admiral David Porter as well. They would all wait to meet with President Lincoln. The three soldiers met with Lincoln on the morning of March 28th on the river boat ?River Queen? to discuss a strategy against General Lee and General Johnston of the Confederate Army. Lincoln asked several times, ?Can?t this last battle be avoided?? (Angle and Miers. Tragic Years, II.) However, both Generals expected the Rebels, Confederate Soldiers, to put up at least one more fight. All were sure of a surrender, it was to be decided how to handle the Rebels in regard to the upcoming surrender. Lincoln made his intentions very clear: ?I am full of bloodshed. You need to defeat the opposing

armies and get the men composing those armies back to their homes to work on their farms and in their shops.? (Sherman, William T., Memoirs of General William T. Sherman. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1972.) The meeting lasted for a number of hours. Near the end of the meeting Lincoln made his orders clear, ?Let them once surrender and reach their homes, they won?t take up arms again. They will at once be guaranteed all their rights as citizens of a common country. I want no one punished, treat them liberally all around. We want those people to return to their allegiance to the Union and submit to the laws.? (Porter, David D., Campaigning with Grant. New York: The Century Co., 1897.) The Generals and Admirals now knew what had to be done. Sherman returned to Goldsboro by

steamer and Grant and Porter left by train to go back up north. Sherman?s course would be to continue north with Schofield?s men and meet Grant in Richmond. This would not happen as Lee would surrender to Grant before Sherman could ever get there. General Grant returned to his troops which were in the process of besieging Petersburg and Richmond. These battles had been going on for months. Before the meeting with President Lincoln, on March 24, Grant drew up a new plan for a flanking movement against the Confederates right below Petersburg. This would be the first large scale operation to take place and would begin five days later. Two days after Grant had made preparations to move again, Lee had assessed the situation and informed President Davis that Richmond and Petersburg

were doomed. Lee?s only chance wold be to move his troops out of Richmond down a southwestern path. They were to meet with General Johnston?s forces. Johnston had been dispatched to Virginia after being ordered not to resist the advance of Sherman?s Army. Lee chose a meeting point to the west, in the small town of Amelia Court House. He made a narrow escape. The soldiers could see Richmond burning as they made their way across the James River and to the west. Grant had finally broken through. Richmond and Petersburg were finished on the second day of April. President Lincoln visited the fallen city of Richmond after a brief visit to Petersburg on April 4th. He arrived by boat with his son, Tad, and was led ashore by no more than twelve armed sailors. The city had not yet been

secured by Federal forces. Lincoln had barely stepped out of the boat as former slaves began crowding around him singing praises. Lincoln proceeded to join with General Godfrey Weitzel, who had been placed in charge of the occupation of Richmond, and took his headquarters in Jefferson Davis? old residence. When he arrived there, he and Tad took an extensive tour of the residence and discovered Weitzel was not there. Some of the soldiers remarked that Lincoln had a boyish expression and no one was sure what he was thinking as he sat in Davis? office. When Weitzel arrived he asked the President what to do with the conquered people. Lincoln replied that he no longer gave direction in military manners, but went on to say, ?If I were in your place, I?d let ?em up easy, let ?em up