Their Last Full Measure: The Final Days of the Civil War

Their Last Full Measure: The Final Days of the Civil War

Language: English

Pages: 432

ISBN: 0306823608

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Dramatic developments unfolded during the first months of 1865 that brought America's bloody Civil War to a swift climax.

As the Confederacy crumbled under the Union army's relentless "hammering," Federal armies marched on the Rebels' remaining bastions in Alabama, the Carolinas, and Virginia. General William T. Sherman's battle-hardened army conducted a punitive campaign against the seat of the Rebellion, South Carolina, while General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant sought to break the months-long siege at Petersburg, defended by Robert E. Lee's starving Army of Northern Virginia. In Richmond, Confederate President Jefferson Davis struggled to hold together his unraveling nation while simultaneously sanctioning diplomatic overtures to bid for peace. Meanwhile, President Abraham Lincoln took steps to end slavery in the United States forever.

Their Last Full Measure relates these thrilling events, which followed one on the heels of another, from the battles ending the Petersburg siege and forcing Lee's surrender at Appomattox to the destruction of South Carolina's capital, the assassination of Lincoln, and the intensive manhunt for his killer. The fast-paced narrative braids the disparate events into a compelling account that includes powerful armies; leaders civil and military, flawed and splendid; and ordinary people, black and white, struggling to survive in the war's wreckage.

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General Davis about the incident at Ebenezer Creek, and when he was finished he asked Sherman to summon Savannah’s black leaders to a meeting. Stanton questioned the twenty preachers and lay leaders who gathered at Sherman’s quarters about the Emancipation Proclamation and what it meant to them. How would emancipated slaves support themselves, and would they live apart from whites or among them? “By ourselves,” replied their spokesman, Garrison Frazier, a Baptist minister. An hour into the

tombstone, ‘Died of a theory.’”32 In March, Barksdale’s bill finally passed the Senate, nine-to-eight, after it was amended to cap enlistments in each state at 25 percent of the black male slave population eligible for service. It did not guarantee emancipation for enlistees, but Davis signed it into law anyway on March 13. Ten 62 Their Last Full Measure days later he corrected the omission with General Orders No. 14, issued through the War Department. It conferred “the rights of a freedman”

five thousand cavalrymen; and Hardee’s men, now at Cheraw. When these disparate units came together, the Confederates might muster twenty-seven thousand troops, said Beauregard, which would nearly match what he erroneously believed to be the size of Sherman’s army. Near Fayetteville, Beauregard continued optimistically, “we could . . . confidently attack Sherman, expect to destroy his army, and be left free at once to effect a junction with General Lee with all our forces.” Bragg’s corps might

driving back Cox’s men three miles. When told that a Union counterattack was imminent, Bragg stopped Hill’s attack and ordered him to preempt it. But when Hill’s troops reached the place where the enemy was reportedly massing, they found no Yankees. Hill’s diversion enabled Cox’s Union troops to move to stronger positions, and the Confederate attack, which had begun so well, sputtered to a halt. On March 10, the Confederates again attacked, but Hoke’s and Hill’s disjointed assaults were repulsed.

and a thin piece of ham!” After they ate it a middle-aged corporal lit his pipe and said, “God bless our noble women! It was all they could do; it was all they had.” The veteran soldiers broke down and wept.19 The corporal was right; the women had tried their best to serve a holiday feast. The problem was that there was too little food in Petersburg and Richmond, and what was available was prohibitively expensive because of speculation and profiteering. ß The North’s “total war” strategy of

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