This Week in the Civil War - #1035
On Saturday, February 25, 1865 General Joseph E. Johnston assumed command in the field over all forces in the Confederate southeast. From Charlotte, North Carolina Johnston immediately wrote Lee, emphasizing the difficulty of concentrating his limited forces and estimated that, at best, he had no more than 20,000 to 25.000 men to confront General Sherman’s advancing Federals. Johnston wrote, “In my opinion, these troops form an army far too weak to cope with Sherman” and asked Lee to allow him to take his forces and join with Bragg in North Carolina. While Lee’s response to this request is unknown, historians acknowledge that Johnston’s candor in his assessment of Confederate troop strength was most probably not well received by either Lee or Jefferson Davis, who maintained a low opinion of Joseph Johnston.