Timeline - Introduction
How did America avoid the cruel chain of history whereby civil war leads to more bloodshed, more civil strife, more war, as has happened to so many countries throughout the ages? Find out by exploring this timeline of April 1865! March 4, 1865Lincoln's Second Inaugural -- presents the address considered one of the great documents in American history. Many in the North want to punish the South--this, however, is not the tone of Lincoln's speech ("With malice toward none..."). The speech is eloquent and far reaching, and anything but vindictive. It is probably Lincoln's finest speech. The same day Robert E. Lee meets with Confederate Jefferson Davis to formulate a daring plan--slip out of Richmond and Petersburg, move his army southward and hook up with Gen. Joseph Johnston, and continue the war from there. This possibility, Lee slipping though Grant's grasp, is precisely what the Union desperately fears. March 28, 1865At City Point, VA (Grant's HQ) Lincoln, filled with foreboding about "many [more] bloody battles", articulates his deep foreboding about the south (with "those hardy troops") melting into the mountains and waging, in effect, a protracted guerilla war. Nonetheless, Lincoln outlines his plans for a gentle peace to Generals Grant, Sherman and Admiral Porter on board the steamer River Queen. This historic meeting guides Grant and Sherman in their dealings with Generals Lee and Johnston at the Appomattox and Bennett House surrender negotiations. But before there is peace there is still war. By the beginning of April 1865, Grant and Lee have been locked in brutal combat for almost a year in and around Petersburg, VA. This 8-month campaign itself is nearing the end: Grant is determined to mass as many men and as much force as possible to squeeze Lee's army and finally smash it once and for all. Petersburg, presaging World War I, has been a protracted siege -- the North is cutting off the railroad lines leading to Petersburg and by doing so is threatening the capital of the Confederacy in Richmond.