Ulysses S. Grant increased pressure on the Confederates defending Petersburg and Richmond. William T. Sherman’s Federals invaded South Carolina. All major Confederate seaports were sealed by Federal naval forces. Officials on both sides clamored for peace as the futility and desperation of southern resistance became more apparent.

The Burning of Columbia | Image Credit: Bing Public Domain

South Carolina: The Federal Destruction Begins

1 Feb – William T. Sherman’s Federal armies continued moving into South Carolina, disregarding the elements and sporadic Confederate resistance along the way.

Peace Talks: Lincoln Leaves for Hampton Roads

2 Feb – Abraham Lincoln accepted a suggestion to meet with Confederate envoys in person to discuss possible peace.

Peace Conference at Hampton Roads

3 Feb – Abraham Lincoln and William H. Seward met with three Confederate envoys to discuss a possible end to the war.

South Carolina: Sherman’s Entire Force Arrives

4 Feb – William T. Sherman’s two Federal armies were now entirely in South Carolina while what remained of a Confederate resistance scrambled to stop them.

The Battle of Hatcher’s Run

5 Feb – Fighting erupted over Ulysses S. Grant’s effort to extend his Federal siege line around Petersburg, Virginia.

The Hampton Roads Conference: Southern Reaction

6 Feb – Jefferson Davis submitted his report on the Hampton Roads peace conference to the Confederate Congress, along with his denunciation of the Federals’ insistence on reunion.

The Battle of Hatcher’s Run Ends

7 Feb – The fighting in the southwestern sector of the Petersburg lines ended inconclusively, which by this time meant Federal victory because the dwindling Confederate Army of Northern Virginia could no longer afford to just hold off the enemy.

Compensated Emancipation and the Hampton Roads Fallout

10 Feb – Abraham Lincoln unveiled a new plan for slave emancipation, and members of Congress demanded to know what happened at Hampton Roads.

Lee Becomes General-in-Chief

11 Feb – Robert E. Lee issued his first order as the new general-in-chief of the Confederacy.

South Carolina: Federals Destroy Orangeburg

12 Feb – William T. Sherman’s Federal armies continued storming through South Carolina, leaving destruction in their wake.

South Carolina: Federals Cross the Congaree

14 Feb – By this time, William T. Sherman’s Federal armies were moving directly toward the South Carolina capital of Columbia.

The Fall of Columbia

17 Feb – William T. Sherman’s Federals captured the South Carolina capital of Columbia.

The Fall of Charleston

18 Feb – City officials surrendered Charleston, South Carolina, to Federal forces this morning.

The Fall of Fort Anderson

19 Feb – The Confederate garrison guarding Wilmington, North Carolina, became one of many to fall to overwhelming Federal numbers this month.

Black Confederate Soldiers

20 Feb – The Confederate House of Representatives approved a measure allowing for the recruitment of slaves into the military.

The Fall of Wilmington

22 Feb – John Schofield’s new Federal army captured a once-vital Confederate port city on the North Carolina coast.

The Thirteenth Amendment: Ratification Begins

23 Feb – Minnesota became the 15th state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution permanently abolishing slavery.

Johnston Returns to Duty

25 Feb – Joseph E. Johnston reluctantly took command of the shattered Army of Tennessee and all other Confederates in Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas.

The South Carolina Campaign Ends

27 Feb – William T. Sherman’s Federals continued their devastating northward march and approached the North Carolina state line by month’s end.

Sheridan’s Valley Raid

28 Feb – Philip Sheridan’s Federal cavalry struggled through harsh weather to cut the Confederate supply line into the Shenandoah Valley and starve Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia into submission.


Last Updated: 2/28/2020