March 3, 1865

Hugh McCulloch.

The New York Tribune thus flatteringly notices his appointment: “We understand that the President, after a full and free conference with his friends in and out of Congress, has concluded to appoint Hon. Hugh McCulloch, of Indiana – now comptroller of the Currency – as Secretary of the Treasury, Governor Morton having persisted in declining the post. Mr. McCulloch has had an eminent and successful experience as a financier, and emphatically possesses the confidence of the patriotic capitalists of the whole country.  Under his auspices we may hope for a steady improvement in our national finances and a rapid decline in the premium on gold.

March 6, 1865

Mr. Lincoln’s Inaugural, Washington, March 4, 3 p.m.

…On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war.  All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. ... Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war….Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained.  Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. ... Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other….The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes….If we shall supposes that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?  Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toils shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

March 27, 1865

Disastrous Affair for the Rebels

…Major General Dix: This morning at half past four the enemy by a strong and sudden assault captured Fort Steadman, but after a vigorous contest, the fort was recaptured, with 1,600 prisoners and two battle flags.  Gen. McLaughlin was taken prisoner by the rebels, who assaulted Fort Haskell, but they were repulsed with great loss… E.M. Stanton.

Also March 27, 1865

The Late Battle before Petersburg.

Headquarters Army of the Potomac, March 26. – The engagement here yesterday was without doubt the most important and successful for the Union that has taken place since our arrival in front of Petersburg.  Not only was the enemy met and defeated at every point, but the result demonstrated the fact that they have lost heart in their cause, and that large numbers are ready and anxious to lay down their arms and give up the struggle.

After they had succeeded in gaining possession of Fort Steadman they at once fell to plundering the baggage in the tents, and all that their officers could do would not induce them to desist.

Those who remained in line fought with nothing like the enthusiasm they exhibited last summer, and many laid down their arms at the first opportunity of reaching the rear.  On witnessing this the rebel officers determined to return to their own lines as rapidly as possible, and urging their men over the works, managed to get a large portion of the assaulting column back in safety; hundreds, however, ran and hid in the bomb-proofs, and waited for our men to come and take them prisoners.