THE LAST PHASE
LEE'S army in Richmond was now the only remaining force of the South which counted for anything. Hood's army in the West had been dispersed by defeat at Nashville; Johnston was sent to rally the remnants and in March he had collected about 30,000 men in North Carolina, but they were badly organized and poorly equipped.
In August 1864 the blockade had been advanced a stage by the capture of the forts at Mobile; this was the wonderful naval exploit of gallant old Admiral Farragut. By the end of the year Charleston and Wilmington were the only ports of value in the hands of the Confederates: both were taken by the Federals in February 1865.
There were small garrisons at a few places inland such as Lynchburg: some guerrilla bands, under leaders like Forrest and Mosbey, were still at large, but they had no effect on the major operations.
At Richmond the Federals were firmly established close up to the fortifications on the east and south sides, but they had not sufficient force to extend their siege lines to the west. Thus two lines of railway were still open, to bring into the city the scanty supplies which could still be collected outside.
Lee's situation was desperate. We know now that he wanted to break out to the south-west and join Johnston, but his horses were starved and the state of the roads made movement impossible till the worst months of winter were over.