Though Union troops took over Fort Pulaski in April 1862, Savannah remained well defended until Sherman captured it by land in December 1864, following the fall of Ft. McAllister December 13, 1864. During all of 1863 there was widespread belief that the south could either win the war or force the north into a favorable truce. At the same time, Savannah suffered from the naval blockade, effectively closing its port and impoverishing many citizens. By the time of Atlanta's fall in September 1864, it became clear that the south would not prevail. Ft McAllister was located in Bryan County, adjacent to Savannah's Chatham County. It faced the Ogeechee River, one of two main waterways that lead from the Atlantic Ocean to Savannah (the other is the Savannah River). Sherman realized that if he took Ft. McAllister his army could be resupplied from the Atlantic (where Union ships were waiting) and lay siege to Savannah indefinitely.
January 27, 1863
Montauk, accompanied by several other vessels (Seneca, Wissahickon, Dawn and C.P Williams), heads up the Ogeechee River for Fort McAllister. The ship takes many hits from the fort's guns, without damage. It bombards the fort for 4 hours, also without inflicting much damage.
February 1, 1863
The same flotilla as on January 27 makes yet another attack on Ft. McAllister, this time inflicting damage to the fort which is easily repaired (unlike with Ft. Pulaski in April 1862).
February 4, 1863
Ironclad CSS Savannah is launched on the Savannah River. It won't be officially turned over to the CSS Navy until June 30, 1865, and will not see any battle until December 1864, when it is assigned to protect General Hardee's army escaping from Savannah.
The CSS Savannah. The ship was scuttled December 21, 1864, after General Hardee's army escaped into South Carolina.
February 28, 1863
Montauk anchors within 1200 yards of the Confederate raider "Nashville (Rattlesnake)" that had earlier run aground in the Ogeechee River near Ft. McAllister. The
Montauk opens fire with 11-inch and 15-inch guns while a sister ship shells Ft. McAllister. The Rattlesnake bursts into flames and is sunk. After the attack
Montauk hits a torpedo (mine) and is damaged. The damage is soon repaired and the ship later takes part in the April 1863 bombardment of Charleston.
March 3, 1863
Three ironclads return to bombard Fort McAllister in what will be the 7th and final attack on the fort by Union boats. After 7 hours of back and forth shelling, neither the ships nor the fort are appreciably damaged. The result convinces U.S. Admiral Samuel Du Pont that the ironclads can be used effectively in battle, and the Montauk becomes the principal ironclad in the naval attack on Charleston in April 1863. The assault on Fort McAllister also proves that earthen forts, like McAllister, are better able to withstand shelling than brick forts like Pulaski.
June 17, 1863
CSS Atlanta runs aground while targeting blockaders in Wassau Sound. She is forced to surrender by Union ships USS Nahant and USS Weehawken. At the time of capture 21 officers and 124 men are on board. From there she is brought up north and enters U.S. Navy as USS Atlanta.
June 30, 1863
Ironclad CSS Savannah (see photo above) is transferred to the Confederate Navy, under the command of Flag Officer William W. Hunter. Its armament includes two 7-inch rifled cannons and two 6.4-inch Brooks guns. It has a top speed of only 6 knots. The crew consists of 180 men.
July 8, 1863
From the diary of Josephine Clay Habersham, as quoted in
Ebb Tide, page 38.
August 1, 1863
From the diary of Josephine Clay Habersham, as quoted in
Ebb Tide, page 57.
October 31, 1863
Confederate President Jefferson Davis (photo below) visits Savannah during his train tour of southern cities. [Regarding this visit, Spencer Bidwell King Jr., the author of
Ebb Tide, writes (page 104):]
[The passage below is from the October 31, 1863 diary entry of Josephine Clay Habersham, as quoted
in Spencer King's book
[Comment: Regarding Civil War activity, Savannah is relatively inactive for most of 1864. The city is effectively blockaded for sea trade, though the Savannah-Charleston railroad is still operating and there are many confederate troops in and around the city. In late November and through the end of December, General Sherman and his Army draw the nation's attention to the city.]
February 22, 1864
Union forces land on Whitemarsh Island along the Savannah River. Confederate attack causes them to retreat.
March 17, 1864
"St. Patrick's day came and went with little or no notice, most of the city's Irishmen in Confederate Service." (Derek Smith, Civil War Savannah)
[This is noteworthy because for years before the war, and every year since, there has been a large St. Patrick's Day parade in the city.]
June 3, 1864
Confederates mount 2 am surprise attack on the USS Water Witch, a 378-ton sidewheel gunboat anchored near Savannah in Bradley Creek. Though their leader Lieutenant Thomas P. Pelot is killed, Confederates overpower the Union crew and seize the boat. On June 19 the Water Witch
is burned so she cannot be recaptured by the Union navy.
October 23, 1864
600 Confederate prisoners are herded into Ft. Pulaski, as retaliation for the Confederates keeping Union prisoners in the line of fire in Charleston. [While some of the men are later transferred to Hilton Head, several hundred remain through a miserable winter, and many die of disease. In March 1865 survivors are shipped back to Fort Delaware, where 25 more succumb to illness. The last man of the group is not released until July 1865. The harsh conditions of imprisonment inspired one of the captives, John O. Murray, to record his experiences in the 1905 book The Immortal Six-Hundred. The name he gave the group stuck, and today they are still referred to as the Immortal 600.]
November 16, 1864
Sherman commences march of his 62000-man army southward. Only he and a few officers know the intended destination (Savannah), and during the march they make feints toward Augusta and Macon.
December 9, 1864
After his troops cross Ebenezer Creek near Savannah, Union General Jefferson C. Davis orders the pontoons to be taken up, before some 600 newly-freed blacks can cross over. This leaves them stranded on the other side, with Confederate cavalry closing in. Many blacks panic and jump into the creek, where they drown. Others are captured by Confederate cavalry.
Davis' action at Ebenezer Creek appalls some Union soldiers, one of whom writes his congressman. [The soldier's letter was leaked to the press and became a big story in northern papers. In January 1865 Secretary of War Edwin Stanton conducted an informal inquest while in Savannah. Sherman supported Davis' action and no charges were brought. Below is a current marker near the site where the troops crossed.]
December 8-10, 1864
Over a two-day period Sherman's army reaches outskirts of Savannah, having traveled some 300 miles since mid-November. [An outline of the paths taken by the two wings of his army is shown in the map.]
They find the city well protected by flooded rice swamps that leave only narrow causeways for foot travel. He is able to make contact with the union fleet waiting in the waters of Ossabaw Sound, but cannot receive supplies because the Ogeechee River is guarded by Fort McAllister. His next objective is to take the Fort, something Union gunboats have not been able to do since attempts began in July 1862.
Google map showing location where Fort McAllister stood on the Ogeechee River, south of Savannah
December 13, 1864 (Tuesday)
Under command of Brig. Gen. William B. Hazen, troops storm Ft. McAllister, which only has about 120 Confederate troops, under the command of Maj. George A. Anderson. Commencing about 4:45 pm, the
battle is over in 15 minutes. Total estimated casualties: 92 Union, 50 Confederate. With his supply line now open to the Navy supply ships, General Sherman prepares for the siege and capture of Savannah.
General Hazen's Division, Fifteenth Corps, Storming Fort McAllister, December 13, 1864, as published in Harper's Weekly, January 14, 1865
December 17, 1864 (Saturday)
Sherman sends following message to General Hardee, demanding surrender of the city.
Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi,In the Field, near Savannah, Ga.,
December 17, 1864.
General William J. Hardee,Commanding Confederate Forces in Savannah:
GENERAL: You have doubtless observed from your station at Rosedew that sea-going vessels now come through Ossabaw Sound and up Ogeechee to the rear of my army, giving me abundant supplies of all kinds, and more especially heavy ordnance necessary to the reduction of Savannah. I have already received guns that can cast heavy and destructive shot as far as the heart of your city; also, I have for some days held and controlled every avenue by which the people and garrison of Savannah can be supplied, and I am therefore justified in demanding the surrender of the city of Savannah, and its dependent forts, and shall wait a reasonable time for your answer, before opening with heavy ordnance. Should you entertain the proposition, I am prepared to grant liberal terms to the inhabitants and garrison; but should I be forced to resort to assault, or the slower and surer process of starvation, I shall then feel justified in resorting to the harshest measures, and shall make little effort to restrain my army—burning to avenge the national wrong which they attach to Savannah and other large cities which have been so prominent in dragging our country into civil war. I inclose a copy of General Hood's demand for the surrender of the town of Resaca, to be used by you for what it is worth.I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
W.T. Sherman, Major-General
Headquarters Department South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, Savannah, Georgia, December 17, 1864.
December 18, 1864 (Sunday)
General Hardee Replies to General Sherman's surrender demand.
Major-General W.T. Sherman, commanding Federal Forces near Savannah, Georgia
...Your demand for the surrender of Savannah and its dependent forts is refused.
With respect to the threats conveyed in the closing paragraphs of your letter (of what may be expected in case your demand is not complied with), I have to say that I have hitherto conducted the military operations intrusted to my direction in strict accordance with the rules of civilized warfare, and I should deeply regret the adoption of any course by you that may force me to deviate from them in the future. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. J. Hardee, Lieutenant-General
Headquarters Military Division of the Missisippi, in the Field, near Savannah, Georgia, December 18, 1864- 8 p.m.
December 19, 1864 (Monday)
Mayor Richard Arnold learns that Sherman's troops are advancing on the city and that the Confedate army plans to evacuate.
Having received General Hardee's refusal to surrender, Sherman assumes he will have to invade Savannah, Preparatory to this invasion, Sherman travels by boat to Hilton Head Island, SC, to secure support from General Foster. Sherman doesn't want to split his army above and below the Savannah River. He arranges for General Foster's troops to aid the invasion from the South Carolina side of the river, mainly by blocking Hardee from escaping.
December 20, 1864 (Tuesday)
By late afternoon, plans for evacuation of all able-bodied Confederate troops are complete. General Hardee gives order for evacuation to begin in the evening, under cover of darkness. Unaware of these developments, General Sherman departs Port Royal to make his way back to Savannah. Bad weather delays his ship, and after changing to a smaller boat, Sherman finally reaches King's Point on the Ogeechee River (south of Savannah and one mile upstream from Ft. McAllister) late on December 21st. There he spends the night.
Also evacuated on this date are troops from Fort Jackson, which guarded the Savannah River just 3 miles upstream from the city. During the day the Confederates scuttle the CSS Georgia just 200 yards from the fort.
December 20-21, 1864 (Tuesday night - Wednesday morning)
General Hardee begins evacuation of all able-bodied confederate troops. They march over a pontoon causeway laid over two branches of the Savannah River; the first section goes from the foot of West Broad Street to Hutchinson Island, and the second section from the island to South Carolina. An estimated 10,000 troops escape in this manner. (A contemporary drawing of the evacuation is shown below.)
December 21, 1864 (Wednesday)
In the early morning hours, after Hardee's army has evacuated Savannah, Mayor Arnold and a group of Alderman rush to meet up with Union General John W. Geary; his troops are closest to Savannah. They plead for a peaceful surrender, to avoid any destruction of property. Just before dawn, Geary and his soldiers enter the city unopposed. They walk up West Broad Street (now Martin Luther King Blvd.) and turn right on Bay St. Geary stops at the Customs House (Bay and Bull streets) and climbs to the roof to survey the city. As illustrated in Harper's Weekly, later in the day the
Union Army marches triumphantly down Bay Street, past the Customs House (columned building on the left).
Pages from the Cornelius C. Platter Civil War Diary, December 21, 1864. (A transcription for entries of 12/21/1864 is below the diary photocopies; click on either image for enlargement. Platter's diary is of historical significance because it gives a Union Soldier's first person account of Sherman's March. Note in this entry his comment on Savannah's beauty at the time, and also about General Sherman being "out generaled" in letting General Hardee's army escape.)
This morning after breakfast we were informed that the "Rebs" had taken up their departure last night not believing it I went down to the front and seen for myself that the enemy had indeed left. We were immediately ordered to cross. 81st and 66th crossed in a pontoon boat at the same point where Lt [Lieutenant] Pittman and party effected a crossing. We supposed at first that the enemy had only fallen back to a stronger line of works. - so after crossing we advanced cautiously - but soon discovered that they had bid the city of Savannah adieu.
-- We soon struck the Gulf RR and proceeded directly towards the City - down the RR track - Major Henry & I had left our horses on the other side of the "Little Ogeechee - so we took it "afoot" and reached the "suburbs" of S about 3 PM and went into camp southeast of the city among the "dutch gardens" Which are full of all kinds of vegetables. As soon as our horses arrived Maj [Major] H and I rode into the city -- With the exception of Huntsville it is the prettiest city I have seen in the 'Southern Confederacy" - The "Wharfs and docks" are magnificent but on account of the obstructions in the River below [illegible] Jackson our fleet cannot come up. The town was quite full of Soldiers - quite a number of stores were plundered by soldiers assisted by negros and "poor white folks" who seemed delighted at having a chance to pillage - As a general thing the Citizens kept 'in doors". Saw the Rebel [illegible] Savannah and a gun boat laying on the opposite side of the river -- The enemy finished crossing this morning about daylight and are supposed to be making for Charleston. I think Sherman has rather been "out generaled" by Hardee. or since he couldn't have gotten away so easily - Who is to blame for allowing him to escape -- time alone can tell. but it is the general [unclear: informs] us that Gen [General] Foster is the "guilty man" -- We found a great many Guns Cotton & c [et cetera] which the enemy had to leave. Cold and windy this evening -- Procured some nice riding bridles today Retired early.
December 22, 1864 (Thursday)
Early in the morning General Sherman enters Savannah, stops at Pulaski House to secure lodging and establish his Savannah headquartes. There he meets Mayor Arnold and one Charles Green, an English cotton merchant. Green offers Sherman his mansion on Madison Square. At first Sherman declines, but later that same morning accepts, and moves his headquarters there. Green remains in the home, occupying just two of the rooms.
(Photo on left shows Green's house in 1865. Right photo is a current view of front entrance of house on Macon St. Now known as the Green-Meldrim house, it is restored and open for visitors.)
In the afternoon of December 22, 1864, as recorded in Sherman's Memoirs, published 1875:
"Within an hour of taking my my quarters in Mr. Green's house, Mr. A.G. Browne, of Salem, Massachusetts, United States Treasury agent for the Department of the South, made his appearance to claim possession, in the name of the Treasury Department...".
During this discussion, Browne suggests that Sherman send a telegram to president Lincoln offering him the city of Savannah as a Christmas present. Sherman writes out the message (below), which is then sent by ship to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, from where it is wired to the white house. (Click on photo for larger image):
"To his excellency President Lincoln. I beg to present you as a Christmas Gift the City of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition and also about 25,000 bales of cotton".
THE CAPTURE OF SAVANNAH, story from Harper's Weekly, January 14, 1865.
AFTER having completed his grand march through Georgia, from Atlanta to Savannah, General SHERMAN'S first object was to communicate with the fleet off Savannah. This he accomplished by the capture of Fort McAllister, the only serious obstruction to the navigation of the Ogechee River. The fort was sixteen miles from the mouth of the Savannah. This was the first fort ever bombarded by our Monitors. It was now, however, taken by direct assault. The party to whom the work was assigned was General HAZEN'S Division. The garrison of the fort was insignificant in point of number, there being only men enough to man the guns, of which there were twenty-one. The assault was most spirited. The men marched at double-quick, penetrated the abatis, and, crossing the ditch, scaled the parapets of the fort, and in three minutes the garrison were prisoners. The capture of the fort gave us a large quantity of ordnance stores, guns, ammunition, etc. The guns were taken to the headquarters of the ordnance-officer, Lieutenant SPENCER, near the fort.
Pretty closely investing the city, except at a point on the north side directly across the river, SHERMAN at length determined to make an assault. Previous to this attempt, however, he sent a message to General HARDER [sic] demanding the surrender of the city. The latter assumed a rather defiant attitude and refused. But during the night he slipped across the Savannah on a pontoon with his fifteen thousand men. The movement was soon observed by General GEARY, who immediately pushed his division (the Second of the Twentieth Corps) on into the city. Before his arrival he was met by the Mayor and Commonalty of Savannah, who surrendered the city unconditionally. The forts were then taken possession of with all their ordnance The captures included 150 guns, 13 locomotives, and 35,000 bales of cotton. The rebels had destroyed their shipping. A floating battery was sunk. The Savannah, a formidable war vessel, was blown up. When the troops entered the city there was no disorder except that occasioned by ill-disposed people in the city, who plundered every thing within reach. Even the rebel soldiers had been participating in acts of violence. Order was soon restored, and the next Sabbath the churches were attended as usual. General GEARY has been appointed commander of the city, which is divided into two Departments, the Eastern and Western, commanded respectively by Colonel WOOD and Colonel BARNUM. GEARY took all the Commissary stores which be found in the city and placed them at the disposal of the Mayor and Common Council. It is estimated that 25,000 inhabitants remained in the city. The illustration on the first page [See December 21, 1864] shows our troops entering Savannah at sunrise. Colonel BARNUM'S brigade was the first in town. General SHERMAN'S loss, after he invested Savannah, was from six to eight hundred men.
December 25, 1864 (Sunday)
- General Sherman celebrates Christmas dinner in the Green mansion with his officers: As depicted in
Harper's Weekly for January 28, 1865 (with accompanying story).
- President Lincoln receives Sherman's telegram offering him the city as Christmas gift (see December 22, 1864).
- Fanny Yates Cohen, a 24-year-old Savannah woman, writes in her diary:
"Christmas is here again...A season of sadness & gloomy retrospection for us of the South, one of joy & gayety to the people of the North. This is the saddest Christmas that I have ever spent and my only pleasure during the day has been in looking forward to spending my next Christmas in the Confederacy."
January 12, 1865
General Sherman and U.S. War Secretary Edwin Stanton hold an historic meeting with 20 black leaders of Savannah, to discuss emancipation. They meet at Sherman's headquarters in the Charles Green mansion. The black Savannahians, mostly ministers and clergy, choose Reverend Garrison Frazier, age 67, to represent their views, He is asked a series of 12 questions, and the answers were are down by Stanton's aide and recorded Sherman's Memoirs. From this meeting came Field Order No. 15, approved by President Lincoln. The first 11 questions are asked with General Sherman in the room. For the twelfth question, Sherman is asked to leave, since it is about him. As stated in the official minutes:
Twelfth. State what is the feeling of the colored people in regard to General Sherman, and how far do they regard his sentiments and actions as friendly to their rights and interests, or otherwise.
Answer. We looked upon General Sherman, prior to his arrival, as a man, in the providence of God, specially set apart to accomplish this work, and we unanimously felt inexpressible gratitude to him, looking upon him as a man that should be honored for the faithful performance of his duty. Some of us called upon him immediately upon his arrival, and it is probable he did not meet the Secretary with more courtesy than he met us. His conduct and deportment toward us characterized him as a friend and a gentleman. We have confidence in General Sherman, and think that what concerns us could not be under better hands. This is is our opinion now from the short acquaintance and intercourse we have had.
(Mr. Lynch states that, with his limited acquaintance with General Sherman, he is unwilling to express an opinion. All others present declare their agreement with Mr. Frazier about General Sherman.)
January 16, 1865
Special Field Order, No. 15 (sometimes referred to as "Field Orders No. 15") is issued by General Sherman while in Savannah. The order provides for the confiscation of 400,000 acres (1,600 km²) of land along the Atlantic coast from Charleston, South Carolina to north Florida, and dividing it into 40-acre (0.16 km2) parcels for the Negroes. Specifically, the land is to be "the islands from Charleston, south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. Johns River, Florida." These parcels are to be settled by approximately 18,000 freed slave families and other Blacks then living in the area. Brig. Gen. Rufus Saxton, an abolitionist from Massachusetts who had previously organized the recruitment of black soldiers for the Union Army, is put in charge of implementing the orders. A later order by General Sherman authorizes the army to loan mules to newly settled black farmers, hence origin of the term "forty acres and a mule." (The orders are rescinded by President Johnson in the fall of 1865.)
January 18, 1865
General Sherman orders General Slocum to turn over Savannah to Maj. Gen. Foster, who is Commander of the Department of the South, with headquarters in Hilton Head.
January 19, 1865
General Sherman gives the "first general orders for the move" of troops into South Carolina. "Thse were substantially to group the right wing of the army at Pocataligo, already held by the
Seventeenth Corps., and the left wing and cavalry at or near Robertsville, in South Carolina." [Comment: There had been troop movements all month from Savannah into South Carolina, but in his Memoirs (Chapter 22) Sherman indicates this was his "first general orders" for the move. The Union Army's goal (unknown to the Confederates, who assumed Augusta, Ga or Charleston, SC might be the intendend path) is Columbia, SC, which they will burn to the ground February 17, 1865 (though some will claim escaping Confederates caused the fires).]
January 21, 1865
Sherman leaves Savannah by steamer for South Carolina.
January 27-29, 1865
A fire erupts around 11 pm, and causes explosion of hundreds of shells in a capture Confederate Naval arsenal on West Broad Street. By the time the fire is put out next morning over 100 buildings are destroyed and 7 people (estimated) are killed. The cause is never found, though there is speculation it was caused by Rebel soldiers, southern sympathizers or departing Yankee troops.
Below are excerpts from Cornelius C. Platter Civil War Diary for Friday, January 27 through Sunday, January 29, 1865. These entries cover: receipt of orders to move out of Savannah; the above West Broad Street fire; and information about where the army is going once it is out of Savannah.
Friday Jany 27th 1865
Up early -- There is a strong probability afloat that we will move tomorrow. So Joe and I spent the forenoon in making out reports so as to be ready to move. The last of the 20th Corps move out today and the 3d Brigade moved out after them. Recd [Received] a large mail today. got 3 letters. One from home. one from Lizzie and the other announcing Dave Murphys arrival at Columbus, O. This will be our last mail for sometime as we will not join our Corps untill [until] we get near Branchville S.C. Nothing definite is known concerning the coming campaigns. It is said we will take the same amount of rations as we did on the Savannah campaign - Wrote several letters and will send them North by Leut [Lieutenant] Robinson who will start North as soon as a[illegible] leaves -- Packed up this eve and will be ready to start at 7 AM tomorrow morning - the time we are ordered to be ready to move. Retired late.
Saturday Jany 28th 1865
After retiring last night was awakened at 11 1/2 A.M. by the explosions of shells in the Rebel arsenel [arsenal] which was destroyed by fire - at times the explosions were terrific. A great many buildings were burned and a number of lives, were lost. The 'fire engines" could do but very little to extinguishe [extinguish] the flames on account of the bursting of the shells. Was up early - packed and loaded up and left at the time ordered. 81st bringing up the rear of the Brigade - rear of the Div [Division] and the rear of Shermans army. We passed through the city and took the Louisville Road and traveled briskly untill [until] sundown making 18 mile and camped 2 mile east of Eden - We passed through a low marsh country and as the roads were impassable, we marched on the RR [unclear: ( C and A RR)] the rails and this having been removed so that wagons could travel over it. This has been a cold raw day. Lt. [Lieutenant] Robinson left this morning in the "America" for the North. There are various rumors afloat as to our probable destination but the general impression is that we will make for Wilmington N.C. Our Div Div [Div [Division] ] will cross the Savannah at Sisters Ferry. The 14th and 21st Corps are ahead of us. Retired early.
Sunday Jany 29th 1865
This has not seemed much like Sunday. "Broke up" camp at 6 1/2 am and traveled until sundown, camping 1 mile south of Springfield - having marched 14 mile over the most miserable roads imaginable - Country very poor. only saw two houses to day -- No forage - The 81st being in the advance we had plenty of work to do, making "corduroy" . The country to day [today] was swampy and unproductive -- Heard to day [today] Genl [General] Shermans order concerning the coming campaigns - Army of the Tenn under Genl [General] Howard to concentrate at on Pocataligo S.C. The army of the Cumberland under [illegible] to concentrate at Robertville S.C. -- both armies to load their wagons with the same amount of supplies as on the "Savannah Campaign" and then both armies to march onwards. Retired late.
- April 2 -- With the fall of Richmond, VA to Union forces imminent, the Confederate government evacuates the city.
- April 3 -- Petersburg, VA surrenders to General Grant in the morning, and later that day Richmond, Va surrenders.
- April 4 - President Lincoln tours Richmond.
- April 9 -- General Lee surrenders at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.
- April 14 -- President Lincoln is shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC. He dies the next morning.
- April 26 -- In North Carolina, General Johnston surrenders his army to General Sherman.
[Comment: The war Civil War ended in April 1865, though there were still a few confederate troop holdouts in Mississippi (they surrendered in May). While the Civil War war ended legal slavery, it did not end oppression and brutality toward blacks in the South. The period of Reconstruction -- roughly 1865-1877 -- has been called by some a "second civil war", because bands of whites took up vigilante roles in their war against the blacks (the Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1866). For an excellent overview of the post-Civil War period in Savannah see Saving Savannah by Jacqueline Jones.]
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