LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

CSS Albemarle

The CSS Albemarle, a Confederate ironclad, was sunk off the coast of North Carolina in the fall of 1864. Drawing by R.G. Skerrett, 1899. Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C. About the photograph

By late 1864, it was becoming clear that the South could not win the war. Atlanta fell to Union forces in September, and two months later Union General William Sherman began his “march to the sea,” with soldiers destroying supplies and tearing up railroads along the way. In March he reached North Carolina, and by then, Union forces had taken Wilmington and cut off the “lifeline of the Confederacy.” In April, General Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, and on April 26, Confederate General Joseph Johnston surrendered his army to Sherman near present-day Durham.

In this chapter, we’ll examine the events of the war’s last year, why the South could no longer continue fighting, and the terms of Johnston’s surrender.