The Final Struggles: September 1864 to April 1865

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

What, meanwhile, was happening in the Confederacy?

To some extent, it could be doubted whether the Confederacy still existed. There was still a military presence, a strong one, in parts of Virginia, but most of the other Confederate states east of the Mississippi were under Union control. The two states that showed the most remaining fight were at the two extremes: Virginia and Texas.

Only one other measure could be taken to bolster the failing Confederate manpower, and Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee were on the cusp of doing it. Both men had long agonized, as well as hesitated, over the idea of putting black slaves in arms, but by March 1865 they saw there was no other alternative. Either the Confederacy would arm black men and use them in its defense, or it would be overrun. Recruiting for the first black Confederate regiments began in mid-March 1865.


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