This Week in the Civil War - #1033
On Tuesday, February 21, 1865 Confederate General Braxton Bragg arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina and immediately ordered the city’s evacuation. Federal forces were within seeing distance from the city; any war supplies which could not be evacuated from Wilmington were to be burned on site. On the same day Robert E. Lee wrote Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge of his plan to evacuate his army’s position on the James River, if the Federals breached his defenses. If that occurred, Lee hoped to reunite his army near Burkeville, Virginia and maintain lines of communication to the west and south with other Confederate forces. Lee also requested that the War Department restore General Joseph Johnston to active duty, given Lee’s belief that General Pierre G.T. Beauregard’s health was suspect.