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Jan 23, 9:01 AM EST

This Week in the Civil War


This Week in The Civil War for Sunday, Jan. 25: Sherman's forces poised to enter the Carolinas.

News reports this week 150 years ago in the Civil War focused on reports that Gen. William T. Sherman's Union forces - after reaching Savannah, Georgia before Christmas 1864 - were now poised to enter South Carolina. The Springfield Republican of Springfield, Mass., noted the speculation on Jan. 30, 1864, that a move was planned while other reports said Sherman's forces were still resting just outside the state. The Cleveland Leader, of Cleveland, Ohio, reported, meanwhile, of a "Great Panic in South Carolina." The Newark (N.J.) Daily Advertiser cited reports of residents of South Carolina fleeing in anticipation of Sherman's advance "accompanied by families, flocks, herds, cattle, servants." Other reports, this week in 1865, spoke of the retirement of the Confederate secretary of state, saying the Confederate government appeared to be disintegrating amid a settling gloom over war developments.

This Week in the Civil War for Sunday, Feb. 1: Robert E. Lee made commander-in-chief of all Confederate forces, 13th Amendment proposal to abolish slavery passes U.S. House.

Confederate Robert E. Lee was made commander-in-chief of all Confederate forces on Jan. 31, 1865, receiving the promotion even as the Southern war effort was faring badly. By early 1865, the secessionists were hard-pressed by the Union on several sides. In early February 1865, Union Gen. William T. Sherman's troops were beginning to enter the Carolinas after their destructive march across Georgia in late 1864. In other developments, The Associated Press reported that a group of "rebel peace commissioners" had apparently arrived inside Union lines in early February 1865. But their movements remained uncertain and there was no immediate report on their intent. The U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 31, 1865, passed the 13th Amendment proposing to formally abolish slavery. President Abraham Lincoln, noting the measure had passed the senate in April 1864, submitted the proposed amendment to state legislatures for their consideration. It would obtain ratification by the required number of states by December 1865.

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