26 April 1865: “Conference between General Sherman and General Johnston”

Item Description: An image published in Harper’s Weekly Newspaper depicting General Johnston and General Sherman meeting to negotiate terms of surrender. Jefferson Davis had ordered Johnston to continue fighting, but Johnston had heard about the General Lee’s surrender and recognized the futility of continued hostilities. They negotiated terms that covered the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida, making it the largest surrender of the Civil War. The two Generals met at Bennett Place in Durham, NC. The home where they met was owned James and Nancy Bennett who were farmers.


Item Citation: Print Box 09, in the North Carolina County Photographic Collection #P0001, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


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25 April 1865: “I have about recovered the entire use of my leg and havent thrown away my crutch yet as I do not wish to suffer any further from my wound”

Item Description: Letter from Robert D. Graham to his mother, Susannah Sarah Washington. He is writing from a hospital under Union control at Petersburg, VA. He is healing from his wound and hopes to be paroled from the hospital soon. His brother John is also in hospital and is healing more quickly than expected. Robert and John were both wounded at Fort Stedman on March 25, 1865.


Item Citation: Folder 213, in the William A. Graham Papers, #285, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Petersburg Va

April 25th 1865

Dear Mother

Hearing of a chance opportunity to send a letter to N.C. I drop you a line I hope Jimmie who I left in good health at Appomattox left on the 13th instant had reached home before this and informed up that John and myself are also doing well. I have about recovered the entire use of my leg and havent thrown away my crutch yet as I do not wish to suffer any further from my wound, if possible. John is improving much more rapidly than either had expected Uses two crutches and can get about the room very well He has not yet been paroled , but we do not suppose there will be any difficulty about it as some wounded officers have been paroled from the hospital here I reached here eight days ago was admitted to the United States Hospital as an outdoor patient The trip to Appomattox Court House injured me considerably, but as I before said I have almost entirely recovered. Shall start home by the first opportunity should like to get a horse and come through the country- it is so hard to find out when the rail roads will be in order Dave is still with me and anxious like myself to get home We are still with Mr Johnson- Capt Chambers of our Brig is with us, slightly wounded will start to N.C. with me lives near Statesville. Much love to Father sisters and brothers.

Your affectute son

R D Graham

Mrs Wm A Graham

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24 April 1865: “the vessel and ways were put in order under my direction”

Item Description: Two telegraph reports from the U.S. Navy regarding the seizure of the C.S.S. Beaufort by the U.S.S. Maumee, and the seizure of a confederate tug boat by U.S.S. Phlox in the James River. These telegrams display of the actions taken by the U.S. Navy after the confederate surrender.

[Scans courtesy of Google Books and Cornell University. This item can also be found via the North Carolina Collection, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.]




Item Citation: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series 1, Volume 12.  Washington : Government Printing Office, 1901. C970.75 U58no Ser. I, vol. 12. p.121North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

 U.S.S. Maumee
Richmond, April 24, 1865

SIR: In regard to theletter of James C. Slaught, captain and assistant quartermaster, referred to you by Major-General ORd, I have respectfully to state that I took possession of the Confederate naval steamer Beaufort by the order of Rear-Admiral Porter, and under an order of Marjor General Weitzel, at that time commanding Richmond. 
Captain and Assistant Quartermaster Slaght was fully informed of the facts and the order of General Weitzel was by me exhibited to him personally at the time. The machinery of the Beaufort has been overhauled by the engineers of the Maumee,  and the vessel and ways were put in order under my directions. The Beaufort was launched and is now in my keeping alongside of the vessel, as stated. As to the other matters set forth in the letter of Captain and Assistant Quartermaster Slaght, above referred to, I know nothing. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Lieutenant-Commander, Commanding Maumee

Commodore Wm. Radford, 
Commanidng James River Flotilla


U.S.S. Phlox 
Richmond, Va. April 24, 1865

Sir: In obedience to your order. I have the honor to report that being in advance of the fleet ascending James River, on board the Lilac, I discovered a tug ahead, near the upper bridge below Richmond and on boarder her found that she was in possession of a crew from the Engineer Corps, rebel Army. I therefore took possession of her. I was careful to ask if any army officers or soldiers had been on board, or given any orders in reference to her, and was told there had been none on board, and no orders received from anyone. 
Respectfully, etc., 

K.R. Breese
Fleet Captain

Commodore Wm. Radford, 
COmmanding North Atlantic Squadron, pro tem. 

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23 April 1865: “Mankind has lost its best friend since the crusifiction of Christ” and “How I loved him! He was my hero.”

As this blog’s end draws near, we present two different accounts of grief. The first letter mourns the loss of Abraham Lincoln, while the second diary entry laments the loss of Stonewall Jackson.

Item Description: Letter dated 23 April 1865 from R. E. Harris, a Union soldier, to his mother. He describes the funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the search for John Wilkes Booth. This letter was copied from the original manuscript.


Item Citation: Folder 1, Nathaniel Harrison Harris Papers, #1297-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

On board Government

Transport Potomac River

April 23th 1865

Dear Mother

My situation as I write is rather a pleasant one. We are sailing down the Potomac river from Washington intending to land at Chaplain Point about 60 miles from Washington on the Maryland side. We are in search of J. Wilkes Booth the Murderer of our Dear President. We mean to scout three counties in search of him If we get him I fear we will not be able to get him to Washington alive. We have been stationed in Washington since the buriel of the President. Our Quarters were at Mrs. Carpenters boarding house on Penna Avenue while our men were in Barracks beside the Capitol  I tell you this is rather rich soldiering to have Hd. Qr. on Penna Avenue.

We return there when this scout is over. I think we will stay there this summer. Don’t you think we must have a popular Reg’ when they sent for us the only Reg’ from the Army of the James to attend the Funeral of the President. Secretary Stanton sent for us I believe and he has sent us on this raid he has great confidence in this Reg’ And I tell you he might well have   They are Penna Colored men and you can trust them any where and for any thing they can not be bribed. Our Reg’ will be likely to stay in the service. Now is Wills chance as I wrote. While I write the Officers are singing all kinds of songs around and in high glee.

the burriel of the President was one of the most impressing sight I ever witnessed. Delligations from all the Principal Cities and every thing in the grandest order. Our Reg’ led the Procession. I commanded the second company. I suppose we marched apass one hundred thousand people passing up Penna Avenue The Presidents Body was placed under the dome of the Capitol and the day following the funeral he lay in State for the purpose of permitting all the American people who desired to see him to do so. Hundreds of thousands came and passed through to see him  I never wept so much over the death of any person as his. O’ to think that great, good, and honest man to be murdered so. Mankind has lost its best friend since the crusifiction of Christ. I do think there never has been so great and such greatness and such honesty combined in one man “So gentle and so Kind His life was gentle and the elements were so mixed up in him that nature might stand & say to all the world this was a man.”

It has caused the hearts of those who sensured him so harshly to smite them I have had men to me since who had before denounced him as a corrupt man that they felt so miserable since his assassination that they could neither sleep nor eat and were satisfied that he was a pure honest and good man. He is the greatest man I think that ever lived. I sent several papers home I sent a bundle by express. I have never heard whether you received the hundred dollars or not I sent. I am well I want to know whether Will is thinking of doing what I wrote him or not.

My respects to all the family

Write soon I have no more time to write

Your affectionate

son R E H ??? [illegible]

[Herrin?] [Harris?] [Heuse?]



Item Description: Diary entry dated 23 April 1865 by Emma LeConte. She laments the recent defeat of the Confederacy. In particular, she remembers her grief over the death of Stonewall Jackson.


Item Citation: Folder 1, Emma LeConte Diary, #420-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Sunday April 23rd.
– Dr. Palmer this morning preached a fine and encouraging sermon. He says we must not despair yet, but even if we should be overthrown – not conquered – the next generation would see the South free and independent.

There is another rumor in town to the effect that the French fleet has defeated the Yankee fleet and taken New Orleans. It is only a rumor, and alas, I dare not believe it. The air is so full of rumors that one does not know what to believe – they only keep us in a feverish state of uncertainty.

The more I think of Lee’s surrender the harder it is to bear.

That army – that General – We idolized Stonewall Jackson – we worshipped Lee. It is perhaps well that president has so many enemies, for if all loved as the others, something would happen to him too. How well I remember the death of Stonewall Jackson! I can never forget my feelings when I heard of it. We had heard he was very low, but I did not dream he could die. I was lying on the lounge alone in the library when father came in looking very sad. “Emma” he said gravely, “Stonewall Jackson is dead.” How I loved him! He was my hero. I then admired Lee as grand, magnificent – but Jackson came nearer my heart. There was mourning deep and true throughout the land when that news came. Since then Lee has had the hero-worship, all – both his and Jackson’s – though the dead hero will always be shrined in every southern heart. But I am allowing old reminiscences to fill my mind and page. Not so old either – only two years – but events have crowded so thickly that it seems a long, long time ago. Our beloved Lee! Now that the first crushing grief for the country is passed in some measure away, how deeply I feel for him – how he must suffer – Not only the humiliation, but to hold his hands in this hour of his country’s greatest need – What must it have meant to him to yield that sword! And what are we to do without him! I cannot feel hopeless. Today I do not feel as disheartened as I did last Thursday when the news came – the terrible news. We still have an army in the West – and dark as everything is we must hope. The conviction that the South can not be conquered – that it can never be re-united with the North, is so deeply rooted in my heart. Since the war began that conviction has never been shaken once till last Thursday. Then I was so overwhelmed by the thought of Lee’s surrender that there seemed no ground under my feet. Even now there can be no hope but in foreign aid. But something must turn up – help must come – “The darkest hour’s before the dawn” – If there should be no dawn!

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22 April 1865 : “everything seems to indicate a speedy termination of the Confederacy & a restoration to the old state of affairs which though it is very humiliating to us still has its pleasant features”

Item Description: Letter from George P. Collins to his wife Anne Cameron Collins. He writes about his duty in a Confederate camp in Greensboro and how he believes the end of the war is imminent.  He is relieved that the war is ending, even if it means a Confederate defeat. He also mentions supply wagons for the Confederates. George P. Collins served as a major in the Confederate Army.


Item Citation: Folder 2, in the Anne Cameron Collins Papers, #3838, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Greensboro N.C.

22nd Apl. 1865

My Darling-

I write a few lines which I hope to send you by Capt Hampton as I hear he is going down to Hillsboro this morning, but you must be content with a short note as I am suffering with an attack of diarhea which though it is not much still makes me feel very stupid. I came on from H. on Saturday dined with the Judge’s family who were all very glad to see me & very kind indeed I slept with Will Shepard & next morning came on here I staid a day or two with B. Jn & Arthur at the house of a Capt Hildescheimer a member of Genl. Leventhorpe’s staff & after that I came out to Genl Johnstons Hd. Qrs & got myself ordered on duty with Cons. Wm Govan who is chief paymaster of this army, he is doing nothing & I am helping him. Arthur is with us also. You know as much probably as I do of the state of affairs- everything seems to indicate a speedy termination of the Confederacy & a restoration to the old state of affairs which though it is very humiliating to us still has its pleasant features- everyone is or worn out with war, & I am almost inclined to believe that our people scarcely deserve freedom as they would stand up better- Give best love to Mother & all at our house as well as the other members of our family. Arthur sends love. I heard that Barney was coming out with my horses with Capt Gatley has anything been beard from him yet.

I feard Harry was lost as I could not find the wagons on my arrival but Harry turned up after two or three days, the wagons had been loaded up & sent off by order of the Q. M. Genl & Harry brought the boxes back from Jamestown, they came in good time.

God bless & keep you my sweet wife is my constant prayer that we may be united soon if it be his will

Your devoted


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21 April 1865: “Hurrah! Old Abe Lincoln has been assassinated!”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 21 April by Emma LeConte. LeConte lived in Columbia, South Carolina and was the daughter of the scientist Joseph LeConte. She reacts to the news that Abraham Lincoln has been assassinated.


Item Citation: Folder 1, Emma LeConte Diary, #420-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Friday, April 21st.
Hurrah! Old Abe Lincoln has been assassinated! It may be abstractly wrong to be so jubilant, but I just can’t help it. After all the heaviness and gloom of yesterday this blow to our enemies comes like a gleam of light. We have suffered till we feel savage. There seems no reason to exult, for this will make no change in our position – will only infuriate them against us. Never mind, our hated enemy has not the just reward of his life. The whole story may be a Yankee lie. The despatch purports to be from Stanton to Sherman – It says Lincoln was murdered in his private box at the theatre on the night of the 14th – (Good Friday – at the theatre) The assassin brandished a dagger and shouting, “Sic semper tyrannis – Virginia is avenged”, shot the president through the head. He fell senseless and expired next day a little after ten. The assassin made his escape in the crowd. No doubt it was regularly planned and he was surrounded by Southern sympathizers. “Sic semper tyrannis.” Could there have been a fitter death for such a man? At the same hour nearly Seward’s house was entered – he was badly wounded as also his son. Why could not the assassin have done his work more thoroughly? That vile Seward – he it is to whom we owe this war – it is a shame he should escape.

I was at Mrs. Leland’s saying my German when Mrs. Snowden brought in the news. We were all so excited and talked so much that Wilhelm Tell was quite forgotten. Our spirits had been so low that the least good news elevated them wonderfully and this was so utterly onlooked-for-took us so completely by surprise. I actually flew home and for the first time in oh, so long I was trembling and my heart beating with excitement. I stepped in at Aunt Josie’s to talk it over.

As soon as I reached the head of the stairs they all cried – “What do you think of the news?” – “Isn’t it splended -” etc..

We are all in a tremor of excitement. At home it was the same. If it is only true! The first feeling I had when the news was announced was simply gratified revenge. The man we hated has met his proper fate. I thought with exultation of the howl it had by that time sent through the North, and how it would cast a damper on their rejoicings over the fall of our noble Lee. The next thought was how it would infuriate them against us – and that was pleasant too. After talking it over the hope presented itself that it might produce a confusion that would be favorable but there is scarcely any likelihood of that – he is hardly important enough for that. Andy Johnson will succeed him – the rail-splitter will be succeeded by the drunken ass. Such are the successors of Washington and Jefferson – such are to rule the South. “Sic semper tyrannis” – it has run in my head all day,

                        ” Trembles tyrans! ‘et vous perfides
                         L’opprobres de toutes les parties –
                         Tremblez! vos projets parricides
                         Mont enfin recevoir leur prix!”

What exciting, what eventful times we are living in.


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20 April 1865: “I used to dream about peace – to pray for it – but this is worse than war.”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 20 April by Emma LeConte. LeConte lived in Columbia, South Carolina and was the daughter of the scientist Joseph LeConte. She expresses her anguish over the defeat of the Confederate Army.


Item Citation: Folder 1, Emma LeConte Diary, #420-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

[ca. April 20th.]
         *** (armistice or truce (?) between) Generals Johnston and Sherman not to be broken without 40 hours notice. Couriers have been despatched to stop Stoneman’s raid at Camden. What it is I do not know, but it can bode no good to us. This the Grand Army of Virginia which has heretofore never known defeat, but has stood like some great rock against which the huge waves of our enemies have dashed themselves in vain, is now melted away. All that is left is Johnston’s small army, cooped up between Grant’s hordes on the one hand and Sherman’s on the other. Wiser heads than mine say it must surrender, and then the waves will roll over us. The South lies prostrate – their foot is on us – there is no help. During this short time we breathe, but – O who could have believed who has watched this four years’ struggle that it could have ended like this! They say right always triumphs, but what cause could have been more just than ours? Have we suffered all – have our brave men fought so desperately and died so nobly for this? For four years there has been throughout this broad land little else than the anguish of anxiety – the misery of sorrow over dear ones sacrificed – for nothing! Is all this blood spilled in vain – will it not cry from the ground on the day we yield to these Yankees! We give up to the Yankees! How can it be? How can they talk about it?

Why does not the President call out the women? If there are enough men? We would go and fight too – we would better all die together. Let us suffer still more – give up yet more – anything, anything that will help the cause – anything that will give us freedom and not force us to live with such people – to be ruled by such horrible and contempible creatures – to submit to them when we hate them so bitterly. It is cruel – it is unjust. I used to dream about peace – to pray for it – but this is worse than war. What is such peace to us? What horrible fate has been pursuing us the last six months? Not much farther back than that we had every reason to hope for success. What is the cause of this sudden crushing collapse? I cannot understand it – I never loved my country as I do now – I feel I could sacrifice everything to it – and when I think of the future – Oh God! It is too horrible. What I most fear is a cancilistory policy from the North – that they will offer to let us come back as before – Oh, no – no! I would rather we were held as a conquered province – rather sullenly submit and bide our time. Let them oppress and tyrannize, but let us take no favors of them. Let them send us away out of the country – anywhere away from them and their hateful presence. We are all very wretched. Poor father! he had Carrie in his arms just now, but her innocent joy and laughter so grated upon him that he had to send her away. It seems dreadful to see any one smile. It seems impossible to utterly despair. If we did we would be even more miserable than we are. We feel instinctively that something must happen to avert our doom. It is so terrible as to be unthinkable. We have been so confident of final success that we cannot believe we are conquered. What misfortune will I have to chronicle tomorrow I am too sick at heart to write any more.


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19 April 1865: “By accepting the terms proposed, you will preserve Western Louisiana and Texas from the devastation and misery which have been the lot of nearly every Southern State”

Item Description: This is a copy of an official communication regarding negotiations between Grant and General Lee to the confederate army in Missouri. The communication asks for surrender to the terms made by the representing U.S. military official.

18650419_01 18650419_02 18650419_03

Item Citation: From Folder 51, in the Edmund Kirby-Smith Papers, #404, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Item Transcription:

Head Quarters Military Division of the MS

St. Louis, MO April 19, 1865

Lieut. General E. Kirby Smith
Comd’g Confederate Forces
Trans Miss Dept. 


I have the honor to transmit enclosed for your information by the hands of Colonel John B Sprague. U.S. Army, the chief of my staff, certified copies of a correspondence between Lieut. Genererl U. S. Grant, General in chief of the United States and General R. E. Lee, General in chief of the Confederate armies leading to the capitulation of the latter, with army of Northern Virginia.  

Official communications received today inform me, that negotiations leading to the same result are now in progress between Maj. General Wm T. Sherman Commanding U. S. forces in North Carolina and General Joseph E. Johnston, Commanding Confederate forces in the same section of the country. 

Authentic, though no official information has also reached here, of the surrender of Mobile with its garrison to Maj. General Canby U. Army. 

In view of these results, accomplished and in progress of speedy accomplishment, I am authorized by the General in Chief of the armies of the United States to offer to yourself and the army under your command, the same terms accorded to and accepted by General R. E. Lee. 

It seems not improper for me to invite your attention to the fact, that a large part of the great armies of the United States, are now available for operations in the Trans Mississippi Department; that they are sufficiently strong to render effective resistance impossible, and that by prolonging a contest, now manifestly hopeless for any of the purposes for which it was inaugurated, you will be made responsible for any unnecessary bloodshed and for the devastation and suffering which must follow the movement of large armies into Texas and extensive military operation in that State. 

By accepting the terms proposed, you will preserve Western Louisiana and Texas from the devastation and misery which have been the lot of nearly every Southern State, east of the Mississippi, and you will aid in restoring peace to this distracted country. 

The duty of an officer is performed and his honor maintained, when he has prolonged resistance until all hope of success has been lost. Any farther continuance of hostilities, simply leads to the certainty of inflicting upon a people, incapable of successful resistance, all the honors of violent subjugation. 

Wisdom and humanity alike require that this contest, under the circumstances, be brought to an end, without further suffering or shedding of blood. 

I am unwilling that it should be charged upon military authorities of this military Division that they omit too a single effort to restore peace without further bloodshed. 

In all good faith and earnestness therefore, I proffer you the terms accepted by your General in Chief and beg to express the hope that you will accept them and spare the necessity of farther hostile operations. 

Colonel Sprague is empowered to make all necessary arrangements in perfecting the object of his mission. 

I am General, Very Respectfully, 
Your Obt. Sevt. 
(Signed) Jn. Pope

Maj. Genl. Comd’g

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18 April 1865: “I feel provoked to hear the college bell sounding on as though the college was in full blast—a miserable set— not one true man among them and they desire to hand it down in History that the dear Yankees, did not interfere with the regular exercise of the college—when in truth there were not five students here when Wheeler left us.”

Item Description: Letter from Charles P. Mallet to his son Charles B. Mallet.  Written over the course of a few weeks, he describes the Confederate retreat from Chapel Hill and the Union occupation.  He describes the pillaging and foraging going on in the area and the Union Army has assigned guard to protect the personal property of civilians in Chapel Hill.18650418_0118650418_02 18650418_03 18650418_04 18650418_05 18650418_06 18650418_07 18650418_08 18650418_09 18650418_10 18650418_11 18650418_12 18650418_13 18650418_14 18650418_15 18650418_16 18650418_17 18650418_18 18650418_19 18650418_20 18650418_21 18650418_22



Item Citation: Folder 3, in the C. B. Mallet Papers, #3165, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Chapel Hill 18th April 65

My Dear Son,

My last letter to you was sent by mail via High Point, informing you that I was about sending off Dr Closs, with a load of flour for you, saving one Blb. which I had marked for W.G. Broadfoot and one Blb. contributed by a farmer for the town, but rumour after rumour came so fast upon us that Closs would not risk his team and I was obliged to give it up. And afterwards when I found that it might either be given to Johnson’s Army or taken by the Yankees, I prepared the former and gave to 18 Division eighteen Blbs. of flour and to Wheeler forty bus. of corn and about 1000. lb fodder – I will give you a brief sketch of matters as they have fallen under my observation.

Saturday 8th your Bro. Peter came over from Greensboro bringing intelligence of the cutting of the Danville road, and also of the N.C. road and further that Gen. Johnson had notified Gov. Vance that he would be compelled to uncover the Capitol on Sunday – we learned also that Gov. Swain and Gov. Graham had gone with a flag of truce to Genl. Sherman. Sunday 9th rumours of Johnson falling back was sustained by the passing of trains of artillery wagons and all other indications of retreat. Monday 10th we have the first intimation of the surrender of Gen. Lee, which altho coming very strait we could not believe – all day, troops, wagons, &c were passing. Peter went to Greensboro. I made inquiry about Hokes Division and found they were in the rear of all the infantry and that Wheelers Cavalry brought up the rear. Tuesday 11th. about 300 mules in a drove with an interminable length of Army Wagons and Artillery. Wednesday 12th. one continuous column of infantry 8 abreast all in good condition and spirits passed along. Thursday 13th Hokes Division passed through. I saw the Genl. he was staggered by the report of Lee’s disaster but unwilling to believe it, expressing at the same time much anxiety about Johnson’s; that night John and Herbert staid with us both looking wel and in good health and spirits having left their commands encamped at New Hope, five miles back, and making twenty four miles of March for Herbert. His mother provided a warm bath for him and other comforts; which enabled him to proceed to overtake his co. on Friday morning 14th after parting with John and Herbert at the corner of that my attention was called to a cavalry company- The officers at the head of the Column beckoned me, and made enquiry about all the roads I knew anything about, and halted in my turn I asked who command it was. A Capt. in front answered. Gen. Wheeler’s staff and Escort. I asked if Gen. Wheeler was along-when a small man rough and weather beaten rode up took off his hat–Gen. Wheeler at your service sir– I took off my hat and reintroduced myself. He said you speak of a military road will you point it out on the map: dismounted and in a moment had a Map spread out, was down upon his knees in the sand and with a pencil traced out the line of the old Cornwallis road, which, did not cross New Hope at all. I asked him to take supper with me and bring his friend, which he said he would be pleased to do, as he desired further information from me. He came up with a Capt. Steele from Tennessee who proved to be an old friend of Fridges. We had a very pleasant evening. He is a mild pleasant little Gentleman about 26 year of age. but is roughly clad, and with a small faded wool hat upon his head that no man at first sight would have classed him above a private.

I urged upon him to remain all night, which he declined like a Gentleman and soldier – saying he always preferred to be in the midst of his men and to fare as they fared and this causes the enthusiastic love of the men towards him when we parted he offered me a hand, such as I had never shaken as being that of a man it was ever more delicate to the touch than that of a boy-he went out to his encampment and that night we had a most prodigious fall of rain. Saturday 15 met Genl Wheeler by appointment at his office, found him in the wet clothes of the previous night, and whilst there learned that Gov. Swain had reached home. Gen. Wheeler expressed a desire to see him, and I walked over with him, and found several gentlemen with him but in compliment to Gen. Wheeler, he began the story of his Experience in the Yankee camp he and Gov. Graham– and after talking full hour and a half the Gen. withdrew seemingly disappointed he asked me what sort of man the ex Gov. could be; for that he had not yet learned what business he had and how he succeeded, certainly said I have learned nothing of the least importance to me. 16th Easter Major McNiell of 46th a friend of Dear Richies passed through: leaving Durhams that morning and also Dr. John DeRossett who confirmed the reported capture of Gen. Lee, brought a passport from Gen. Kilpatrick to Gen. Atkins at this place; Gen. Wheeler told me early that his scouts had all come in reporting that the Yankees had disappeared from every position they held the day before. He ordered the Piney Prospect Hill barracaded and sent two Regiments down there for a parting fight. He promised to dine with me at half past 12 o’clock: was evidently uneasy: punctual to the minute he and Capt. Steel made their appearance and to the credit of my wife we had a very excellent dinner-(he neither drinks, smokes, or chews)- Whilst at dinner and before and after I urged upon not to make a resistance it would do the cause no good, and our village much harm- and without saying a word wrote a brief order and dispatched a courrier after a very few minutes he and the captain went off at half speed and by 3 o’clock there was not one of his men in or about the village, I was at Church in the afternoon. Mr. Mickle called out, and when I met him in the street, found that another paroled prisoner from Lees Army had come in, and reported the Yankees approaching in force on the town road, which of course produced great excitement. The citizens met and appointed a committee to meet them and ask a safeguard; between sun down and dark some forty or fifty under a Lieut —came dashing into the village and inquired for Wheelers men—some few separated from the others and behaved badly, took away some watches &c; but when the Lt was informed he called them off, and returned to the Head Quarters, appointing 8 oclock the next morning to meet the Army, and make our terms. I was on the committee, and if Gov Swain did nothing more on his mission, he procured favorable terms for Raleigh and Chapel Hill. Monday 17. the committee met the column on the Hill were very courteously received by Genl. Atkins who upon being assured that all of Wheelers men had gone, and that no resistance would be made, called a halt, and informed us, that his orders were positive to respect all private property; (provisions and forage excepted)—Seeing many of the men break the lines, I remarked to Genl that those men would rush in and pillage before the regular guard could be arranged; he then gave orders to a Michigan Col. to take his Regt with speed into the village and protect every house that desired it; and by the time we came back through the efforts of your Brother and some others guards were soon established and besides the watches and some bacon hams I have heard of nothing to complain of up to the present writing, and whilst I write, my safeguard is indulging in a sound snoring sleep in my large easy chair now

Tuesday 18th has dawned upon us after as quiet a night as I have ever known at Chapel Hill–I learn from the Captain in charge of the guards that dispatches have come in this morning announcing the death of Lincoln–having been shot in the theatre– and that Jonson has certainly capitulated. I am disposed to believe the later, as he is certainly cut off from his supplies and surrounded on all sides, and the Yankees are now sending trains without let or hindrance through from Wilmington to Hillsboro over. Wednesday morning 19th last night there was more moving in the village- our dogs kept up a continued barking, and I learn this morning, that a general stampede of negroes took place many families left without a servant. All of Mr. Water’s except her maid. All of Wm A. Wrights – The Doctors two girls, Elsey and Betty– Fridges Fred and very many others, mine are all here yet. Altho the guard I have spends his whole time in the kitchen, and I am looking for their move- they went off to Durhams there to take the train to Wilmington. W. A. Wright left here Sunday morning with a New two horse wagon with all his own and his wifes and  daughters clothes, and valuables- and about $10,000, in coin. The horses and wagon had been brought into camp and the presumption is the whole has fallen into the enemies hands. Judge Person left. here on Capt. Ashe’s poney- which is now in the camp, and the Judge not heard from- Additional and confirmatory reports of Johnson’s capitulation- And Lincoln’s Assassinations at a Theatre in Washington. And just while I write an officer states. That Peace has been declared. Articles begin by Gen. Breckenridge, and Johnson and Sherman have proceeded to Washington so that I fear the Yankees will remain here until they are heard from. 19th Afternoon I have been W.A. Wright, he is much depressed says that he is ruined loosing not only his own effects, but that of others intrusted to him; Thus far the Yankees have confined themselves to foraging on Town and County for provisions have molested no house where a guard has been staitioned, have not even looked into our smoke house or store room; they billet upon me a man and two horses, which may consume all I leave at command, on the lot– and thus far have not discovered what I have in another place– atltho they have found a very large amt of bacon; and silver, clothing and blankets could I have foreseen I would not have taken any thing off my lot. for they have passed over and around my home deposits without seeming to be on the search. I learn from the officers that quite a storm was raised by Hampton and Wheeler. who opposed the surrender or capitulation or reconstruction. I have felt thankful that the Holden party of N.C. have lost the opportunity of disgracing the State by a separate state action, I feel conquered but not subdued. Might has overcome right- my opinions and feelings are the same, and will go down with me to the grave.—– just now two very good looking fellows came to the door- I called my guard- they sat down in the porch and after a while said they were informed that a young lady here played on the piano- they were fond of music and asked if she would play for them. I told them I thought the request unreasonable and could not consent, they did not behave amiss and went off I have not heard of a fowl hog- sheep or cow being taken, horses and mules they search for; since the forgoing, I have been down to Judge Battles to make inquiry about Miss Mary Smith, her place was stripped of evry thing, she and her brother had and some of their negroes have gone off after betraying them and aiding Yankees to find what had been secreted. A guard was at last sent out but too late, I will afford Miss Mary an opportunity of sending a letter to Miss Maria by the bearer of this my negroes are still on the lot but I have no idea they will remain after so many have gone, it is my intention to send a special message and only want to see what will be the course of my man Moses; Thursday 20th April This is the fourth day of Yankee occupation- evrything as quiet and ordely as could be expected. We had taken all possible care that no whiskey should be found, and I am satisfied that things would have been wose had Wheeler given them battle- a squad rode up and insisted that Wheeler was secreted in my house, which was the last place he was at in the village. My guard would not allow them to enter for search- he said they would make it a pretext for plunder- he is taking his usual mornings knap in my large chair, his rifle and revolver on the marble stand in the corner. My only mode of getting information is by sending my guard (who is a very clean youth from Michigan and says that he has not particle of plunder of any hince) into the different camps and this afternoon he brings in a report contradicting the rumour of Lincoln’s death.

Friday morning 21st—fifth day of occupation—I feel provoked to hear the college bell sounding on as though the college was in full blast—a miserable set— not one true man among them and they desire to hand it down in History that the dear Yankees, did not interfere with the regular exercise of the college—when in truth there were not five students here when Wheeler left us. Gov. Swain has over five hundred bus of corn, and I learn that he has lost nothing. Mr Wright is the greatest sufferer I have heard of Mr Mickles deposites have been rifled loosing his coin—silver—watches &c; of his own, and some entrusted to him by others. up to a late hour yesterday no tidings had been received from or of Judge Person. Genl. Atkins who is in command is a Gentleman and a Lawyer, and he told Judge Battle yesterday—that he should return home without the slightest evidence of his ever having been south, but his commission that he had not the value of one cent of spoil, and certainly he has used great effort to suppress pillage and wrong, by allowing a guard to the most humble applicant and even to the Doctors woman Judy. I am now feeling anxious about our bacon which has been under ground ten days, could I have foreseen it—I would have left it in the smoke house—where no one has offered to look: Just now a report is in that Prest Davis is at Durham. Gov Atkins went down there yesterday: I saw Mr Wright on the street, his top in coin was by no means so made as reported, and Mr Michke says they gave to an old negro all of his silver crockery &c: reserving to them silver, only the coin and watches- he has recovered evry thing else.
Saturday 22d April- Sixth day of occupation a quiet night nothing of moment has occurred, the Yankees are putting up tents and shantees as tho they intend to spend the summer with us- I took my usual walk to visit Anna and Mary; Anna says that her bacon was secreted underground and a Yankee tent is now over it. Mary fears that her man Sitter has betrayed her and gone off. I saw a man just from Durhams he says there are thousands of negroes there waiting transportation and I have no doubt but there are as many at other points. Mine are all here for the present and going on with their work better than they have ever done. I called in at Dr Jones: a Col has taken up his quarters there, has allocated one half the house to his own care, has erected tents and shantees all over the yard and ordered the house and were raising a flag staff in the front yard while I was there. The news my guard brings me this morning is that they are to remain here until they hear from Washington which they expect on 25th- I must say that so far as I can learn they have behaved very well. They are from New York, Michigan and Illinois, very few foreigners- they have plundered no homes in the village but look upon evrything outside as spoils whether in a house or concealed- and very many hidden deposits have been found and plundered by them- I have seen none drunk. The Doctor and myself went to a position this morning a spy-glass and we could not perceive any thing amiss about our deposits though I now being to fear we may lose our bacon. Moses knows I have buried it but has no idea where, but speaks experimentally that there is no danger but it will keep. Whilst we were making our observations more a doz rode over the ground. I have not be able to hear further of Miss Marry- but feel easy as I know that Judge Battle is in communication with her.
Sunday, 23d—Seventh day of occupation The College Bell rang for prayers as usual. I know there is but one in the Senior andone in the junior classes, and I am credibly informed there is but one other student in college. We will see, (maybe) what the Faculty will publish on the subject. every thing quiet and I hear of nothing wrong in the village. Young Ladies are getting over their fright—and becoming quite sociable—I learn that Misses Fetters are walking the streets with them, and Miss Ella Swain sent to Carrie to borrow her side saddle to write ride out with some officer—Several other Ladies—or I would rather call them women—have been riding out with them. A rumour was current yesterday, that articles had been signed—restoring the Union &c; &c.; of course we cannot know yet— Lincoln’s death is not believed— Mary’s man Sitter has been seen at Durhams.
Monday. 24th eighth day of occupation
The College bell ringing up three students to prayer yesterday a Yankee Chaplain of Presbyterian order rode around the town giving notice that Prof. Chas Philips would preach before the —– Regt— at 3 oclock PM. I have not heard how it went off. I have spent some hours in private with Gov. Swain who has read over to me his correspondence with Gov. Graham– once their doings, and upon the whole – I been there out in their efforts to stop the War after Genl Lee’s surrender. It would have been madness to strive longer- and Genl Lee Judge Campell Hon. R.J. Hunter- and other men of high standing thought so too– Genl Atkins informed Gov. Swain last night that peace was declared and as soon as he could be officially informed he would remove from this place- altho we have been spared having a safe guard in the house. I hear very deplorable accounts from the country. Altho we will not believe and Genl Wheeler did not believe in the surrender of Genl. yet Govr. Swain saw a telegram from Prest Davis to Gov. Vance- in which he said these words, “I have had no communication from Genl Lee since the 6th but am informed by reliable scouts that his disaster is extreme” Afraid “I no longer look upon Gen. Lee’s Army as an organized body” — so soon as I could believe this I considered that we were conquered and now wait for the yoke. Ding dong the college bell for three boys to come in for morning prayer, Chas. Phillips distinguished himself yesterday and to day– he was heard today to exclaim hurrah for Gov. Holden. Lincoln’s death is announced again to day. haveing been killed on the night of the 14th (the man not taken) once that the authorities at Washington refuse all terms. nothing but an unconditional surrender. I hear today of a great quantity of secreted articles being discovered. A Yankee rode over my Bbl of flour; all safe thus far.
Tuesday morning, 25th April, 9th day of occupation What can be more ridiculous than the continued ding dong of the College bell for prayers and all the usual recitation hours, when there are now but one Senior and one junior in College—and besides in my usual walks to visit Anna and Mary I pass through the campus and between the college buildings, and I can always hear the Yankees at nine pins or some other such game on the several floors and passages—and stories, as well of the College buildings as of the Chapel itself. I asked Joe Mickle yesterday to go out and see Miss Mary Smith, which he did and reports things in a better condition, although she has been pillaged of of every thing, all her bed and table linen and to wells not one left. having a guard she is in better spirits and more composed and has had supplies sent to her. Frank staid at home but Sidney took the woods; and with a long beard and mean apparel. passed himself off as the Uncle of some poor family in the neighborhood and Joe says that the more effectually to carry out the deception that he made a rent in his garments about six inches below the small of his back out which protruded the insignia of “Dicky Dout” My guard has just come in—says the camp rumours confirm the death of Lincoln on 14th and that the man escaped, that Andy Johnson refused to accept the terms of capitulation &c; &c;—says that Kilpatrick is to be here to day, for review—and they hope to leave tomorrow. I would much prefer they were here, than 10 miles off, when we should be subject to continued raids. My guard also informs me, (and he believes it) that his captain is to be married before they leave to Miss Fetter —certainly those girls with Beck Ryan and Ella Swain have lain themselves open to much scandel—I have just seen John Patterson, who is immediately from Durhams, where he saw the Philadelphia enquirer of the 17, in which is a full account of the killing of Lincoln which was done by a son of Booth, the Tragedian—the same paper also announces the death of Sewards son, and that Seward is not expected to recover from his wounds. Johnsons terms of capitulation were not accepted, and a flag of truce went up the road yesterday to meet him—I have seen a young man, who went off with the Doctors wagon; he says they were safe yesterday morning about twenty five miles from here—and that Wheeler and Johnson are disbanding their men—that the whole country is covered with parties returning home the best way they can—are selling good mules and horses at $15. to $20. each.
Tuesday 25th April- 9th day of occupation, the streets are filled with rumours today. It is said that Prest Davis has setout with a picked escort of 1000 men and a large amount of gold to get cross the Miss- Neither Hampton or Wheeler will surrender: Johnson Infantry I learned have stacked their army, and are being disband I hear nothing of John or Herbert there are strong indications today of the Yankees leaving- and we have some manifestations of a disposition on the part of our servants to go with them- I am not surprised at it, they have no ties up here and their only difficulty has been in the condition of Elvia and her children, they can get not transportation. I shall not be surprised indeed I expect them to go by afternoon. Afternoon 5 oclock-  Yankees still here: our meat having lain so long underground that we began to fear it would be spoiled, and we applied to the Capt of our guard for protection until we could remove it, he smiled and said it was discovered- and unless you take it up at once you will lose it- I could not bileve it- but as soon as we got to my look out, we saw three men hard at work by the time and by the time we came to them they had exhumed a box of bacon, my silver and gold; gold watches bonds and other papers they all not found; our guards soon took possession and we lost nothing- but sad to relate the boxes were all wet, having had tremendous rains, and evrything being fifteen days underground. I fear the watches are ruined everyone being wet- and in fact if the boxes had been immersed in the Mill pond, they could not have been more perfectly saturated. We look the precaution to use melted wax about them; then put them into my black bag- and buried them in as dry a place as could be found; and the ground was ploughed over and laid our for corn- I am satisfied four the Capts remarks that they would come clue to it- altho no negros were with us yet two negroes helped to load the wagon after 12 oclock at night, one or both may have followed at a distance and made the communication our several guards all said that no man would have found them without some clue. I think we shall save the meat, it does not appear to be injured.
Wednesday Morning 26 April, 10th day- I have been all morning endeavoring to put the watches in such condition that they will not receive further injury by rust. Have opened each one and packed them in a jar and then filled jar with pea nut oil- All the other trinkets have had attention and are in order. We do not consider the mean spoiled- Thursday, 27th, 11th day. I have just returned from my usual walk to Mary and Annas- all well- official information to day of the surrender of Johnson’s Army, the fall of Mobile, capture of Forrest, of Salisbury- with all the stores and munitions- so that the death of the Confederacy is inevitable and we are now a subjected people. Better far better so than to have been Legislated back by the Holden clique- Yes, I acknowledge myself conquered- but my opinions, my heart and soul are unchanged and will always be. There country for ten miles around is stripped of evrything, and I cannot see how the corn crop can be made or the wheat harvested- They have abstained I learn from killing any stock- and my hogs as well as others are gitting fat in their camps, one of which 92d Illinois- is in the grove around me, where is exhibited the greatest waste immaginable. No news to day from John and Herbert or from any one in whom we feel deep interest.
Friday 28th April- 12th day
We have had a quiet day and no official news from any quarter. A rumour prevails that Holden will be appointed Military Gov. of N.C. and a part of S.C. and that the state lines of S.C. are to be obliterated, the whole Confederacy under Martial Law. Gen. Atkins told Mrs Ashe that no Secessionist, or any one who had given voluntary aid to the rebellion could have any redress of grievences- and that he had seen Ladies who carried their heads as hers, who had to walk forty miles to draw rations from the Commissary.
Saturday 29th April, 13th Day
There has been a grand review to day, evry thing quiet- no official news of any kid. I had a message sent me last night, that the Yankees had commenced pillaging our goods at old Atwaters, 8 up miles from town- I took a wagon and a guard and rode myself on horse back, but was too late. They had carried away every piece we had at that point- but that was one out of five and the rest is all safe yet, altho some of it- in very much more exposed situations. On my return I was amused with my guard- when finding a fellow dead drunk and asleep by the road side he calmly took his horse- viz one he had stolen- and rode him off with acknowledged intention of keeping him as he was by odds a better horse than the one he rode. I have not heard recently from Miss Mary Smith. She has a guard and is in communication with Judge Battle. I hear nothing of John and Herbert, altho I am told there are soldiers returned from Johnsons Army- Rumour says that Hampton and Wheeler would not surrender. I have seen Mary and Anna to day; doing full as well as could be expected. Nothing further from Peter. My love to all.
Affectionately yours
C. P. Mallet
Posted in Southern Historical Collection | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on 18 April 1865: “I feel provoked to hear the college bell sounding on as though the college was in full blast—a miserable set— not one true man among them and they desire to hand it down in History that the dear Yankees, did not interfere with the regular exercise of the college—when in truth there were not five students here when Wheeler left us.”

17 April 1865: “we were aroused by the report that General Johnson had surrendered his army to Sherman and you can have no idea of the excitement that reigned around the city at the announcement as it is surrounded by our army.”

Item Description: Letter from George Washington Baker to his mother from Raleigh, NC. He writes about General Johnston’s (who he refers to as Johnson) surrender to General Sherman. He talks about the feeling amongst the Union soldiers and in the city. He wishes that he was up north to witness the peace and mentions his hatred for Copperheads. He also mentions the reaction to Lincoln’s death.  George Washington Baker served as a Lieutenant with Company K, 123rd New York Volunteers in the Civil War.





Item Citation: Folder 6, in the George Washington Baker Papers, #4909, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Camp 123rd N.Y.V.

Raleigh N.C. April 17th 1865

My Dear Mother

Events of great importance are constantly passing before us and our fighting days are probably ended, for last night about 12 am, we were aroused by the report that General Johnson had surrendered his army to Sherman and you can have no idea of the excitement that reigned around the city at the announcement as it is surrounded by our army. Cheer upon cheer was heard Guns fired contiens loaded with powder were fired and every Band & drum corps were doing their best to swell the din and we were about as happy as could be.

I have been all over the City and find a strong Union feeling here and it is rather laughable to see the Guards on the houses smoking with the citizens and holding the children, all seem to be at home and enjoying themselves and the soldiers anxiously wishing for the order sending them to their homes. Rebellion has gone down very sudden and I think they are satisfied with what they have gone through with at least I am and an it seems wonderful that I have been spared through so many dangers for I have not spared myself any since my return to the army.

I would like to be North and see what an excitement there will be there over peace and see the Copperheads who no doubt will say how we conquered them as for me I can take a Rebel that has fought me three years by the hand with a good stomach but I wish every Copperhead was hung.

I hardly know what they will do with us I supposed part of the army will be kept in the field to support the laws and get thing in running order but it does not seem as if they would want to keep us all at such an expense. We are to move somwhere for camp untill some cours of action is formed but we may have to go to Georgia again to settle things there unless they act sensible and drop all ?.

April 18th We just heard of the death of Lincoln and it seems to cast a gloom over everything it seems as if it was the great calamity that could have befel us and it felt by all even his Enemies still it may all be for the best as the South may be more willing to come in to the Union under some other man and what is one mans life to the good of the country.

I am one of the kind that think one great calamity come upon us unless for some great good still I feel as if we had lost some dear friend. Things seem to be undecided here as yet and we do not hear what success Sherman and Johnson have in negotiations but think everything will be well the trouble is Sherman claims the Cavalry and Johnson wants to save the horses to distribute among the inhabitants where we have passed through or makes it a pretext but if Johnson does not give up I pity him for we shall exterminate them in a short time.

We have received no male as yet but expect one to day or tomorrow and and then I hope to receive a Diary and some postage stamps or I shall have to quit waiting. Col Johnson is within a short distance of us but I have not been over lately to see him. We have not laid out any camp yet as we do not know what we shall do it depends on what Johnson does.

Love to all from your affectionate son


Posted in Southern Historical Collection | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on 17 April 1865: “we were aroused by the report that General Johnson had surrendered his army to Sherman and you can have no idea of the excitement that reigned around the city at the announcement as it is surrounded by our army.”