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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that the enemy fleet’s return meant that it had “the means and the will for a desperate effort.” 2 Their Last Full Measure Confederate President Jefferson Davis had sent Bragg to the Carolinas the previous fall as a troubleshooter. In November Bragg took charge in Wilmington when an attack on Fort Fisher began to appear imminent. He was a native North Carolinian and West Point graduate who had risen to prominence as commander of the Army of Tennessee following General Albert Sidney Johnston’s

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

our struggle written by New England historians.”35 ß On Saturday, March 11, Sherman’s army marched into Fayetteville, and its commander established his headquarters in the cream-colored buildings of the old US Arsenal, which the Confederates had enlarged and converted for their own use during the war. Fayetteville was one of the largest cities in North Carolina, with four thousand residents. It was founded by exiled Highland Scots in the eighteenth century and named for the Marquis de Lafayette

as noiseless and shadowy as the flitting of ghosts,” wrote one observer. It was Gordon’s plan, first to last; Lee had left the details to the Second Corps commander. The day before, when Gordon had requested more men, Lee had ordered General George Pickett’s First Corps division of more than six thousand men to leave its positions at Richmond to reinforce Gordon, although Lee did not think they would arrive in time. Two brigades of General Henry Heth’s division from the Third Corps might be

[Ambrose] Burnside’s army was after the mud march of 1863.” Soon after that failed maneuver Burnside was relieved of command of the Army of the Potomac. The cavalry, Sheridan said, was ready to push on toward Lee’s right. Sheridan’s arguments and abundant confidence buoyed Grant. “We will go on,” Grant said. Sheridan asked Grant to send him VI Corps, which had been his primary infantry force in the Shenandoah Valley; the Cavalry Corps and VI Corps had grown fond of one another during their joint

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