Tag: Robert E. Lee
This post was originally published as an article by Trevor Plante in the Spring 2015 issue of Prologue magazine. Trevor K. Plante is chief of the Reference Services Branch at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. He is a supervisory archivist who specializes in 19th- and early 20th-century military records and is an active lecturer and a frequent contributor to Prologue.
To many Americans the word Appomattox is synonymous with the end of the Civil War.
The war, however, did not officially conclude at that tiny village west of Petersburg, Virginia. But what happened there in early April 150 years ago certainly marked the beginning of the end for the Confederacy.
After the fall of Richmond, the Confederate capital, on April 2, 1865, officials in the Confederate government, including President Jefferson Davis, fled. The dominoes began to fall. The surrender at Appomattox took place a week later on April 9.
While it was the most significant surrender to take place during the Civil War, Gen. Robert E. Lee, the Confederacy’s most respected commander, surrendered only his Army of Northern Virginia to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
Several other Confederate forces—some large units, some small—had yet to surrender before President Andrew Johnson could declare that the Civil War was officially over.
The Grant-Lee agreement served not only as a signal that the South had lost the … [ Read all ]
Today’s guest post comes from Robert Lee Tringali, program analyst at the National Archives.
Starting on July 1, the last three days have marked the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the turning point of the Civil War. In particular, today marks the anniversary of Pickett’s Charge, the defining event of the battle.
The battle of Gettysburg had raged furiously for two days. On the first day’s action—after bloody fighting at McPherson’s Ridge, Oak Hill, Oak Ridge, and Barlow’s Knoll—Union troops were forced to retreat and occupy a position southeast of town on Cemetery Hill. The second day’s action was marked with savage fighting at Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield, the Peach Orchard, Culp’s Hill, Cemetery Ridge, and Cemetery Hill.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee failed to dislodge the Union forces on both the left and right flanks. Consequently, at a meeting late on July 2, Union General George Meade warned that the following day’s attack would descend upon the Union center. Meade’s reasoning proved correct as Lee’s battle plan for July 3 called for an assault on the Federal center.
The attack was preceded by a massive Confederate artillery bombardment of the Union center. Shortly after … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on July 3, 2013, under - Civil War.
Tags: Cemetery Ridge, Confederate, Copse of Trees, General Alexander Webb, Gettyburg, guest post, Pickett's charge, Pickett’s Charge, Robert E. Lee, Seminary Ridge, The angle, Union
Today’s post comes from our summer intern Caroline Isleib.
The Battle of Gettysburg raged 150 years ago today, and many lives were lost or forever changed by the Civil War. It was a war that ripped our country apart and, in quite a literal sense, pitted brother against brother.
“This was never more true than in the case of Wesley Culp and Jack Skelly, two young men who grew up together in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania,” writes Jay Bellamy in the latest issue of Prologue, the National Archives quarterly magazine.
Both young men chose to enlist when the war began, but these best friends gave their allegiances to different forces. Culp, who had just moved to Virginia, joined the Hamtramck Guards, which became the Second Virginia Infantry in the Confederate army. Skelly joined the Union’s Second Pennsylvania Volunteers and later the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry.
From prisoner of war camps and hospital infirmaries to battlefields, they frequently came into contact with one another throughout the war. In June 1863, Culp visited Skelly as he lay in a Confederate hospital, due to injuries incurred in battle. There, Skelly asked if Culp ever went back to Gettysburg, and, if so, would he pass along a letter to his sweetheart and their childhood friend, … [ Read all ]
This week saw the 150th anniversary of the first Battle of Manassas, with hundreds of reenactors and spectators ignoring the extreme heat and coming to the Virginia battlefield.
There was another, stranger Civil War anniversary today.
On July 22, 1975, the House of Representatives joined the Senate in voting to restore full American citizenship to Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The joint resolution made the restoration retroactive to June 13, 1865.
More than a hundred years earlier, Lee had signed his Amnesty Oath in Lexington, Virginia, on October 2, 1865, the same day he was inaugurated as president of Washington College. He swore to defend the Constitution and all laws that had “been made during the existing rebellion with reference to the emancipation of slaves.”
Lee died in October 1870.
Why did it take so long for his citizenship to be restored if he had signed an amnesty oath? According to this Facebook post from the National Archives at Boston, “Apparently Secretary of State William H. Seward had given Lee’s application to a friend as a souvenir, and the State Department had pigeonholed the oath.”
The document was filed away with the State Department records, eventually coming to the National Archives, where an archivist came across it in 1970, more than one hundred years later.
Posted by Hilary on July 22, 2011, under - Civil War, Facial Hair Fridays, petitions, Unusual documents.
Tags: 1865, American citizenship, Battle of Manassas, civil war, Lexingon VA, Robert E. Lee
January 31, 1865, was a busy day for the war-torn United States. The House of Representatives passed a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery. Meanwhile, Robert E. Lee was named general-in-chief of the Confederate armies.
On January 31, 1919—50 years to the day after slavery was abolished—Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia.
On April 10, 1947—82 years after the Civil War ended—Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball when he was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers and became the first African American to play in the major leagues. He went to have a successful career in baseball and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. His number, 42, was retired in 1997.
After he retired from baseball, Robinson continued to fight for equal rights and treatment in other ways. The National Archives has some of his letters to politicians, including this letter to President Eisenhower.
Ninety-years after the 13th amendment was ratified, Robinson exercised his first amendment rights in the fight for civil rights.
Posted by Hilary on January 31, 2011, under - Civil Rights, - Constitution, - The 1960s.
Tags: April 10 1947, Cairo GA, First Amendment, Jackie Robinson, January 31 1865, President Eisenhower, Robert E. Lee, Thirteenth Amendment