American Civil War Events of 1865


1865 provided an end in sight for the long and brutal war of the Divided States of America.

1864 marked the pivotal year of the American Civil War and added many former Confederate holdings to the Northern cause. General Sherman certainly made his name be known to history in his bolt 'March to the Sea' which saw him lead his troops from captured Atlanta to the port city of Savannah in Georgia. Mainly operating behind enemy lines and without steady supply lines, his army delivered Savannah to President Lincoln for Christmas - setting the stage for the last few months of the war.

1865 would see the ruin of Charleston, South Carolina, the second inauguration of President Lincoln, and the Battle of Appomattox Court House - the last engagement involving Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

There are a total of (139) American Civil War Events of 1865 in the CivilWarTimeline.net database. Entries are listed below by date-of-occurrence ascending (first-to-last).








April 9, 1865

The Battle of Fort Blakely comes to a close. It is a Union victory for Army of West Mississippi commander Edward Canby.



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May 8, 1865

On this date, Confederate forces lay claim to five Union ships. The action occurs near Alexandria, Louisiana.



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January 6, 1865

CSS Stonewall, built in French waters, leaves its port in Denmark en route to the United States.



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January 10, 1865

Congress formally congratulates General Sherman on his exploits across Georgia resulting in the capture of Savannah.



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January 11, 1865

General Robert E. Lee, realizing the fortunes of the Confederacy are growing limited, announces his support for a gradual freedom for slaves.



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January 11, 1865

Missouri, a Union state, adopts a resolution abolishing the practice of slavery within its borders.



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January 15, 1865

Fort Fisher near Wilmington, North Carolina, ultimately falls to Union forces. Another joint Army-Navy offensive is finally successful.



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January 16, 1865

Confederate President Jefferson Davis discusses peace with Francis Blair, Sr, advisor to President Lincoln. The talks are held in secret.



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January 24, 1865

A Confederate attempt to assault General Grant's headquarters at City Point (Virginia) is called off.



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January 31, 1865

Congress passes the 13th Amendment which abolishes the practice of slavery.



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January 31, 1865

By this date, the Confederate prisoner count at Camp Chase (Columbus, Ohio) nears 9,425.



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February 1, 1865

A new march by General Sherman sees his army proceed north into South Carolina and then North Carolina.



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February 3, 1865

Alexander Stephens, representing the Confederacy as its Vice President, offers a peace to President Lincoln during a meeting taking place at Hampton Roads in Virginia. The peace overture is rejected by the President.



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February 4, 1865

John C. Breckinridge is appointed the new Secretary of War for the Confederacy. The appointment is managed by Confederate President Davis himself.



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February 5, 1865

In an effort to help end the bloodshed of the Civil War, President Lincoln offers monetary compensation to the South pending their acceptance of the 13th Amendment and a cessation of fighting. However, Lincoln's own people do not support the plan so it is dropped.



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February 5, 1865

The Battle of Hatcher's Run begins in Dinwiddle County, Virginia. A 34,517 strong Union force faces a 13,835 strong Confederate army. Union forces are headed by General Andrew Hunmphreys and General Gouverneur Warren. Confederate forces are directed by John B. Gordon.



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February 6, 1865

Robert E. lee is named chief commander of the entire Confederate military by Confederate President Jefferson Davis.



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February 6, 1865

Confederate General John Pegram is killed during the Battle of Hatcher's Run.



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February 7, 1865

The Battle of Hatcher's Run in Virginia comes to a close. It is a Union victory. Losses total 1,539 for the Union and 1,161 for the Confederacy.



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February 9, 1865

The U.S. Congress officially congratulates General Philip Sheridan on his exploits centering on the Shenandoah Valley Campaign.



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February 9, 1865

Andrew Stephens, acting Vice President of the Confederacy, departs from the capital of Richmond, Virginia to Georgia.



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February 11, 1865

To deal with the issue of desertions in the Confederate ranks, General Lee offers broad forgiveness to those who return to fight with the period of twenty days.



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February 11, 1865

The Battle of Wilmington (North Carolina) begins between 12,000 Union and 6,000 Confederate troops. Generals Schofield and Porter lead the Union against General Bragg of the Confederacy. Fighting would last until February 22nd.



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February 17, 1865

Union forces, under General Sherman, take Columbia, South Carolina.



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February 17, 1865

Posing as a male Confederate soldier, Mollie Bean is taken prisoner by Union forces outside of the Confederate capital of Richmond in Virginia. Under questioning, she reveals that she has fought with the 47th (North Carolina) for a period of two years, having been wounded at least twice.



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February 18, 1865

Citizens flee Charleston, South Carolina prior to the arrival of Union troops.



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February 18, 1865

Castle Pinckney in Charleston Harbor (South Carolina) falls to the South Carolina 21st Colored Infantry of the Union army.



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February 18, 1865

CSS Shenandoah departs Melbourne, Australia.



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February 21, 1865

The Battle of Douglas Landing takes place in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. It is a Confederate victory.



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February 22, 1865

The Battle of Wilmington ends with the Union capture of Wilmington itself.



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February 23, 1865

The Confederate Senate rejects a proposal that would see as many as 200,000 blacks infused into the Confederate ranks.



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February 27, 1865

Raids under the direction of Union General Sheridan begin against Confederate holdings across northern Virginia.



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March 2, 1865

Confederate General Robert E. Lee offers peace negotiations to President Lincoln. The overture is rejected.



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March 2, 1865

The Battle of Waynesboro takes place in Virginia. It is a Union victory and notable for the destruction of General Jubal Early's army. Strength includes 2,500 Union against 1,600 Confederates with casualties being 9 to 1,500, respectively.



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March 3, 1865

The Freedmen's Bureau is established by the United States government to aid newly-freed slaves. The organizations formal name is 'Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands' as is part of the Reconstruction initiative the Union plans for the South following the end of the war.



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March 4, 1865

The second inauguration of President Lincoln is had on this date. In the audience is future assassin, actor John Wilkes Booth.



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March 4, 1865

A new national flag is approved by the Confederate Congress - the Confederate National Flag, Third Pattern. The pattern is the third of three seen during the conflict with the First Pattern showcasing a ring of stars and three stripes (red-white-red). The Second Pattern showcases the traditional Confederate flag in the upper left corner but the broad use of white space is deemed too close to a flag of surrender. Thus a new flag is commissioned as the Third Pattern.



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March 10, 1865

The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads is recorded on this date. Fighting takes place near Fayetteville in North Carolina and is an inconclusive engagement.



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March 13, 1865

Confederate President Jefferson Davis approves a bill that will allow slaves to 'earn' their freedom through enlistment in the Confederate ranks.



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March 14, 1865

Union forces under the direction of General Sheridan take Fayatteville, North Carolina.



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March 16, 1865

The Battle of Averasborough takes place in North Carolina. It is an inconclusive engagement between the forces of General Sherman and General Hardee.



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March 17, 1865

Event person portrait
Actor John Wilkes Booth abandons his plans to kidnap the President of the United States when it is learned that Lincoln will not be visiting Campbell Hospital (Washington, D.C.) as originally planned. Booth was present at Lincoln's Second Inauguration.



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March 19, 1865

The Battle of Bentonville takes place in Bentonville, North Carolina. It is a Union victory for General Sherman over General Johnston. Strength is 60,000 to 21,900 with losses reaching 1,527 to 2,606, respectively. Fighting goes into the 21st.



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March 21, 1865

Confederate President Davis is alerted by General Lee that no more can be done to slow down General Sherman's Union army.



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March 24, 1865

President Lincoln begins a three-week visit to General Grant at his headquarters in City Point, Virginia. Among those in attendance is General Sherman.



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March 24, 1865

CSS Stonewall departs Spain en route to the American coast.



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March 25, 1865

General Sheridan's cavalry raiding campaign into northern Virginia comes to a close.



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March 25, 1865

Union troops are victorious at the Battle of Fort Stedman in Petersburg, Virginia. The engagement is also known as the Battle of Hare's Hill.



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March 25, 1865

The Siege of Petersburg ends near Petersburg, Virginia. It is a Union victory.



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March 27, 1865

The Battle of Spanish Fort (Alabama) begins.



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March 28, 1865

In a meeting with top officers, President Lincoln pushes for surrender of the Confederacy under softer terms.



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March 30, 1865

Confederate General Jubal Early is relieved of duty following several notable losses. General Robert E. Lee makes the final decision, citing Early's 'ability to inspire confidence' in his men going forward.



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April 1, 1865

The Battle of Five Forks is fought between forces of General Sheridan and General Pickett near Petersburg, Virginia. It is a Union victory with lopsided losses for the Confederacy (2,950 Confederates to 830 Union).



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April 2, 1865

The Battle of Fort Blakely begins in Baldwin County, Alabama. It is part of the Mobile Campaign and pits 45,000 Union attackers against 4,000 Confederate defenders. This battle marks the last combined-force engagement of the Civil War.



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April 2, 1865

The Battle of Selma takes place in Selma, Alabama. It is a Union victory for General James Wilson and a defeat for Confederate General Nathan Forrest. Strength is 9,000 to 4,000, respectively. Confederate forces suffer mightily as some 2,700 are taken prisoner (General Forrest manages to escape capture).



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April 2, 1865

Confederate President Jefferson Davis is advised by General Lee to leave Richmond, Virginia.



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April 2, 1865

Confederate forces begin an evacuation of the capital of Richmond, Virginia.



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April 3, 1865

Important government documents and gold reserves from the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, are relocated for safety.



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April 3, 1865

Union forces claim both Petersburg and the Confederate capital city of Richmond in Virginia in a major blow to the Confederacy.



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April 4, 1865

Union forces take Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the Battle of Tuscaloosa. It is captured by General John Croxton.



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April 5, 1865

The Battle of Amelia Springs is deemed inconclusive.



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April 5, 1865

President Lincoln tours the former Confederate capital of Richmond following its capture by Union forces.



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Aptil 5, 1865

Confederate President Davis attempts to rally the people of the south after the fall of Richmond.



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April 6, 1865

The Battle of Sailor's Creek (or Sayler's) takes place between Union General Philip Sheridan and his 26,000-strong army against Generals Richard Ewell and John Gordon of the Confederacy. Confederate strength numbers 18,500 men. It is a Union victory in Virginia.



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April 8, 1865

The Battle of Spanish Fort concludes as a Union victory.



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April 8, 1865

Appomattox train station is the site of a Union capture of enemy supplies. General George Custer presides over the victory.



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April 9, 1865

The Battle of Appomattox Court House takes place marking one of the final engagements of the American Civil War. The battle is a decisive Union victory and sees General Lee surrender his Army of Northern Virginia to General Grant. The Union army is made up of 150,000 soldiers against the Confederate's 28,000.



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April 10, 1865

Washington, D.C. celebrates the Union victory at Appomattox Court House.



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April 11, 1865

Lincoln gives his last public address to the American people.



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April 12, 1865

Union forces take Mobile, Alabama.



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April 13, 1865

Confederate President Davis and his subordinates meet to discuss peace.



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April 13, 1865

Confederate General Johnston calls for an armistice.



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April 13, 1865

Raleigh, North Carolina is taken by Union forces under General Philip Sheridan.



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April 13, 1865

Washington, D.C. celebrates the surrender of General Robert E. Lee.



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April 13, 1865

The Union Army begins its massive draw down from wartime numbers.



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April 14, 1865

President Lincoln meets with his subordinates to discuss a peace with the South.



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April 14, 1865

The United States Flag once again flies over the walls of Fort Sumter - where the first shots of the war were fired.



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April 14, 1865

On this date (Good Friday), President Lincoln is shot by actor John Wilkes Booth during the play "Our American Cousin" at the Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. Other targets of the attack are Andrew Johnson and William H. Seward.



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April 14, 1865

In the same attack that would claim the life of President Lincoln, Secretary of State William Seward is stabbed but survives.



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April 15, 1865

President Lincoln dies from his wound at 7:22AM at the Petersen house across the street from Ford's Theater.



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April 15, 1865

Vice President Andrew Johnson succeeds President Lincoln in the role.



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April 16, 1865

The Battle of West Point takes place in West Point, Georgia. It is a Union victory for Oscar La Grange over Robert Tyler. This engagement marks the last battle to take place east of the Mississippi River.



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April 18, 1865

Durham Station, North Carolina is the site of a Confederate army surrender. Union General William Sherman presides as he accepts the surrender of General Joseph Johnston and his forces.



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April 19, 1865

Lincoln's funeral procession takes place down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.



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April 19, 1865

Confederate President Davis, now in Charlotte (North Carolina) is informed of President Lincoln's assassination and death.



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April 20, 1865

Macon, Georgia is taken by Union forces directed by General James Wilson.



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April 21, 1865

The Lincoln Funeral Train departs Washington, D.C. en route to Springfield, Illinois.



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April 23, 1865

Confederate President Davis attempts to negotiate a favorable peace calling for southern states to be allowed entrance into the Union without changes. The North rejects this request.



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April 24, 1865

Confederate forces set alight the side-wheel steam ram CSS Webb lest it should fall into enemy hands. This takes place in New Orleans waters.



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April 26, 1865

The army under Confederate General Johnston is formally surrendered to Union authorities.



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April 26, 1865

After a lengthy manhunt for President Lincoln's killer, John Wilkes Booth is surrounded in a barn on rural Virginia farm (Port Royal). The barn is set ablaze and Booth is fatally shot.



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April 26, 1865

Charlotte, North Carolina is the site of the final meeting of the Confederate congress.



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April 26, 1865

The Army of Tennessee formally surrenders to Union authorities. This takes place at Greensboro, North Carolina.



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April 27, 1865

USS Montauk delivers the body of assassin John Wilkes Booth to Washington, D.C.



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April 29, 1865

President Davis and several of his cabinet meet in Yorkville (York) in South Carolina and plan to relocate the Confederate government headquarters to Texas.



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May 2, 1865

Acting President Andrew Johnson places a bounty of $100,000 on the head of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.



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May 4, 1865

Citronelle, Alabama is the site of a Confederate Army surrender to Union forces. General Richard Taylor directs the Confederates. Union General Edward Canby presides over the event.



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May 5, 1865

Captain Micajah Clark is announced as the Confederate's treasurer. This is President Jefferson Davis' final act as President of the Confederacy in the war. The act takes place in Washington, Georgia.



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May 4, 1865

Slain President Abraham Lincoln is laid to rest at Oak Ridge Cemetery (Springfield, Illinois).



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May 4, 1865

While attempting to escape, Confederate President Jefferson Davis is taken prisoner by Northern forces near Irwinsville, Georgia.



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May 6, 1865

CSS Stonewall reaches port in Nassau en route to Havana, Cuba.



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May 10, 1865

En route to kill President Lincoln, Confederate Captain William Quantrill is mortally wounded by elements of the Union Army.



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May 10, 1865

Co-conspirators involved in the assassination of President Lincoln on put on trial.



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May 10, 1865

President Andrew Johnson formally proclaims the end to the years-long war.



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May 11, 1865

Alexander Stevens, former Vice President of the Confederate States, is arrested in Georgia.



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May 11, 1865

Chalk Bluff, Arkansas is the site of another Confederate Army surrender to Northern forces.



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May 11, 1865

Tallahassee, Florida is the side of another Confederate Army surrender to Union authorities.



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May 12, 1865

The last battle of the Civil War is fought at Palmetto Ranch near Brownsville (Texas). The Battle of Palmetto Ranch spans two days.



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May 13, 1865

The Battle of Palmetto Ranch ends as a Confederate victory.



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May 19, 1865

CSS Stonewall is handed over to the Cuban government by the Confederates.



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May 19, 1865

The large Confederate prison-of-war camp at Tyler, Texas - Camp Ford - is officially closed.



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May 22, 1865

Former Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, now a prisoner of the North, is relocated to Fort Monroe in Virginia.



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May 23, 1865

The U.S. Army disbands the Army of the Potomac, its services no longer in need.



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May 23, 1865

The Grand Review is held in Washington, D.C. by the Union Army covering a two-day span.



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May 26, 1865

The last major Confederate force is surrendered to authorities of the North in Galveston, Texas. This involves Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith and his Trans-Mississippi Department. General Edward Canby presides over the event.



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May 29, 1865

President Andrew Davis offers an official pardon to Southerners.



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June 2, 1865

Confederate forces at Galveston, Texas finally surrender their positions at the port.



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June 6, 1865

Amnesty is offered by the federal government to those Confederate prisoners-of-war who agree to not have fought against the Union by choice.



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June 13, 1865

Presidetn Johnson rejects an amnesty plea from Confederate General Robert E. Lee.



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June 22, 1865

The last shots of the American Civil War are fired on this date.



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June 23, 1865

The last Confederate general surrenders to Union authorities. Colonel Asa Matthews presides over the procedure which sees General Stand Waitie surrender his Cherokee cavalry.



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June 28, 1865

The last artillery shot of the war is fired, this by CSS Shenandoah, across the bow of an American whaler vessel. Eleven ships of the type are captured.



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July 5, 1865

The Union prison camp at Columbus, Ohio is closed - Camp Chase.



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July 7, 1865

Mary Surratt, George Atzerodt, Lewis Powell and David Herold are executed for their part in the plot to assassinate President Lincoln. The executions by hanging take place at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.



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July 18, 1865

The European Squadron is reactivated by the United States Navy. Admiral Louis Goldsborough is placed in command.



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July 31, 1865

The East India Squadron is reactivated by the United States Navy.



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August 2, 1865

News of the war's end reaches the crew of CSS Shenandoah which then sets sail for the neutral waters of Liverpool in England. Lt James Waddell serves as her captain.



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August 12, 1865

The Brazil Squadron is reactivated by the United States Navy.



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August 17, 1865

Nurse Clara Barton raises the American flag over the Andersonville National Cemetery in Andersonville, Georgia. The site is near the Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp.



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August 30, 1865

Judah Benjamin, former Confederate Secretary of State, safely reaches English shores.



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August 31, 1865

Washington College of Lexington, Virginia names former Confederate General Robert E. Lee as its president. The college will one day be renamed to Washington and Lee University.



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September 5, 1865

Ports along the south of the United States are now all officially open for business.



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November 6, 1865

CSS Shenandoah arrives in England.



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November 10, 1865

The commanding officer and overseer - Major Henry Wirz - of the infamous Andersonville prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia is hanged. He is the only enemy authority to be hanged a war criminal. The event takes place in Washington.



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November 24, 1865

'Black Codes' are enacted by Mississippi to limit the rights of freed slaves.



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December 1, 1865

The Writ of Habeas Corpus, suspended by now-slain U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, is reestablished by President Andrew Johnson.



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December 4, 1865

The West India Squadron is reactivated by the United States Navy.



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December 6, 1865

The 13th Amendment is ratified by the U.S. government, legally ending slavery in the United States of America.



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December 13, 1865

Attention is now put towards reconstruction of the south and its reentry into the Union. A committee is formed to head the process.



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