Battle of Ebenezer Church Alabama, April 1, 1865

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By the spring of 1865

much of the Confederacy teetered on the brink of defeat, yet Alabama remained relatively unscathed from military activity. The largest cavalry force (15,000 men) in the entire Civil War was organized under General  James Wilson. As he headed south his main goal was to destroy the Selma Ordnance and Naval Foundry. 

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By April 1, 1865, the only resistance

that Wilson encountered was a group of about 4000 men led by the famous Confederate General N.B. Forrest. Action broke out at the intersection of two small country roads near Ebenezer Church. Hand to hand fighting began to occur and Forrest was wounded by a saber wielding Union officer resulting in a wound. The unflinching Forrest pulled his revolver and shot his assailant. Wilson won the battle and quickly  moved to take Selma and destroy its works. 

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At the Ebenezer Church cemetery

there are several very large cedar trees under which 12 Union soldiers were interred after the battle. In April  of 2019, a plaque commemorating their service was erected at the cemetery in a joint effort between the Sons Confederate Veterans & Sons Union Veterans. It is the only known plaque in Alabama strictly dedicated to Union soldiers. The Eastern Red Cedar trees shown in the photo at the cemetery witnessed the battle of Ebenezer Church. It is from the largest one that a sample was taken to make this gorgeous pen.  

Battle Of Bentonville, North Carolina March 19 - 21 1865

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In late 1864

as Union General Sherman marched through Georgia and then South Carolina he continued to move north into North Carolina where by March 19, 1865 he confronted a military trap set by Confederate General Joe Johnston. After a Union probing attack failed, the Confederates launched a massive assault which drove Gen. William P. Carlin's XIV Corps division from the field. Morgan's division managed to hold on despite being surrounded on three sides by Confederate adversaries. 

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Late That Afternoon

a strong Federal defense of the Morris Farm by the Left Wing's XX Corps managed to squelch the Confederate advance. The first day's fighting ended in a tactical draw. Ultimately after several more days in conflict, Johnston left the field and an agreed peace was made with the Union army a few week later. 

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On The Morris Farm

was a huge Swamp Chestnut Oak that was the victim of one of the recent hurricanes hitting that area of the south. Now only a large stump remains. The tree measured over 15 ft in circumference and was dated at about 290 years. This is done by counting the rings in the tree cross section or by drilling the standing tree and removing a  cylinder of wood and counting the rings.  Swamp white oaks are also known as basket oaks and their wood can be wet and woven into baskets or other objects.

The Battle Of Appomattox, Virginia April 9th 1865

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The Army of Northern Virginia

had quickly moved out of a nine month long siege of Petersburg to the west along the Appomattox River. General Lee’s ultimate goal was to link up with General Joe Johnston in North Carolina, unite forces and continue the war. However, near Appomattox Station, just to the west of Appomattox Courthouse, the westward movement of the Confederate Army was abruptly halted. One last attempt of a breakout was led by General John Brown Gordon and his artillery. 

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His troops had moved to the

Tibbs farm and fierce fighting broke out near the farm home. Today, the old farm house is gone but the foundation and old oak tree still stands nearby. In fact, it is within view of the McLean Home where the surrender of General Lee to General Grant was signed on April 9, 1865.   

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Ranger Ernie Price

provided me with a nice box of cut pieces of the Tibbs white oak made from a dead stem of the tree for pen making  purposes. In fact, he provided enough wood for me to make a set of pens and other objects annually for the Friends of Appomattox sale each year which provides support for the  battlefield. The rangers at Appomattox are truly a wonderful group of folks who dearly love the site and wish the best visit to all who go there. 

The Battle Of Fort Blakeley Alabama

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April 9, 1865,

Was not only the last major battle of the war but was also the climax of the Union military campaign aimed at capturing the city of Mobile, the last major port that remained in Confederate hands. The battle took place at the site of Fort Blakeley, an earthen Confederate  fortification about six miles north of present-day Spanish Fort.  In it, some 16,000 Union troops fought against approximately 3,500  Confederates, with the Union gaining a decisive victory and taking the  city of Mobile soon after. 

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About The Same Time

General  Lee was surrendering at Appomattox in Virginia, the battle of Fort  Blakeley was raging.  A live oak tree known as  “ye old house tree”  was present near to the center of the confederate line on the day of the battle. The live oak tree was almost 100 years old at the time of the battle. 

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The Original

Blakeley town site stood near to the tree when the battle occurred.  It still exits today. Mike Bunn, park superintendent, supplied a workable amount of wood from this oak tree.   mike.historicblakeley@aol.com