Spring 1865: The Closing Campaigns of the Civil War

Spring 1865: The Closing Campaigns of the Civil War

Spring 1865: The Closing Campaigns of the Civil War

Spring 1865: The Closing Campaigns of the Civil War


When Gen. Robert E. Lee fled from Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia, in April 1865, many observers did not realize that the Civil War had reached its nadir. A large number of Confederates, from Jefferson Davis down to the rank-and-file, were determined to continue fighting. Though Union successes had nearly extinguished the Confederacy's hope for an outright victory, the South still believed it could force the Union to grant a negotiated peace that would salvage some of its war aims. As evidence of the Confederacy's determination, two major Union campaigns, along with a number of smaller engagements, were required to quell the continued organized Confederate military resistance.

In Spring 1865 Perry D. Jamieson juxtaposes for the first time the major campaign against Lee that ended at Appomattox and Gen. William T. Sherman's march north through the Carolinas, which culminated in Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's surrender at Bennett Place. Jamieson also addresses the efforts required to put down armed resistance in the Deep South and the Trans-Mississippi. As both sides fought for political goals following Lee's surrender, these campaigns had significant consequences for the political-military context that shaped the end of the war as well as Reconstruction.


Unlike other books in this series, this one covers campaigns that took place in both of the major theaters of the American Civil War, the eastern and the western, and it touches on a few events that occurred beyond them. It would have been impossible to synthesize such wide-ranging operations without the help of some excellent secondary sources. This volume benefited from a number of valuable works on the last campaigns of the Civil War. Their titles appear in the bibliographical essay, and some of the most helpful ones are mentioned in the text.

To treat fairly the campaigns that took place during the final months of the war in the length of a volume in this series, it was necessary to focus on planning and operations at the strategic and operational levels of warfare. Some readers may want more details about tactics or more human-interest stories. They will find them in the campaign and battle studies mentioned in the bibliographical essay.

Although this work concentrates on the senior leaders of each side, their subordinates are not forgotten. the junior officers and soldiers in the ranks suffered the brunt of the operations described in this book, and they did much to decide the outcome of the battles and campaigns. Some superb archival collections made it possible to give their perspectives, and those of some . . .

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