In honor of Pvt. Nathan R. Oakes, CSA

150 years ago, my great grandfather, Nathan Richardson Oakes, served as a private in Company D of the distinguished 32nd Mississippi Infantry Regiment in the Army of Tennessee. He participated in the great Civil War campaigns, including the battles of Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Atlanta, Franklin, Nashville, and Bentonville. I am writing about his engagements as well as some details about fighting for the Lost Cause. I hope to honor him and commemorate the events and individuals that contributed to making this a renowned unit in the Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lee surrenders, 1864

Robert E. Lee at home in Richmond, April 1865
Source: Brady Civil War Collection
On the morning of today's date in 1865, Palm Sunday, the Battle of Appomattox Court House in Virginia was fought. It proved to be Gen. Robert E. Lee's last engagement with Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

Relentlessly pressed by Grant's army and cut off from turning south to possibly join Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's force in North Carolina, Lee arrived in Appomattox County on April 8th. On his way for the South Side Railroad at Appomattox Station where supplies awaited his army, Lee's Confederates were cut off and nearly surrounded by Federal troops near the village of Appomattox Court House. Tapped, Gen. Lee surrendered his remaining troops to Gen. Grant at the McLean House on the afternoon of today's date.

While the war was over for Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, it took 2 more weeks for the end to finally come for Great Grandfather Nathan R. Oakes and his dedicated and forebearing comrades serving under Gen. Johnston in Greensboro.

To make matters worse for Johnston's army, many of Lee's men who were paroled at Appomattox began making their way home through Greensboro, passing through the camps of Johnston's disheartened men. Not knowing what their own fate may be, demoralization in Johnston's army gave way to desertion in increasing numbers. One more reason in a few days for Johnston to extend an offer of peace to his opponent, William T. Sherman.

Sources: Civil War Trust; The Confederate Surrender at Greensboro, Robert M. Dunkerly

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