On February 26, 1865, ten miles northeast of downtown Wilmington, NC, Union and Confederate forces began negotiations that saw 8,684 Union soldiers, including 992 commissioned officers and 120 African American troops, exchanged for an unknown number of Confederate prisoners of war. Wilmington fell to Union forces under the command of Maj. Gen. J.M. SCHOFIELD on February 22.
Union forces were ready for the sick paroled prisoners as evidenced by the 8 x 12 ½ single-page manuscript document offered here. Signed by Schofield and NORMAN S. BARNES, Lt. Col. and Medical Director, the requisition seeks supplies of medicine and hospital stores from the Quartermaster Department at Wilmington, March 18th, 1865.
The list includes spoons, cups, water buckets, brooms, tin plates, wash basins, coffee pots, nails and pails. Barnes writes, “I certify that the medicines and hospital stores above required are necessary for the use of the sick at the port in consequence of the large number of sick paroled prisoners sent in our lines at this place and that the requisition is agreeable to the supply table. Norman S. Barnes, Surgeon, U.S.N., Lt. Col & Medical Director.”
Schofield has signed as “approved and ordered.”
The document offered here comes after the surrender of Joseph E. Johnston at Durham Station, part of Schofield’s highly impressive service to the country, which was quite extensive.
He first served as mustering officer for the state of Missouri. He received a promotion of major in the 1st Missouri Infantry and served as chief-of-staff under Gen. Nathaniel Lyon at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. He was promoted to brigadier general and placed in charge of the Union militia in Missouri on November 21, 1861. In January 1864, he led the Army of the Ohio during the Atlanta Campaign under William T. Sherman. On November 30, 1864, Schofield successfully repulsed John Bell Hood during the Battle of Franklin and effectively crippled Hood’s army. Two weeks later, during the Battle of Nashville, Schofield and his troops destroyed the remainder of Hood’s army. Schofield received a promotion to brigadier in the regular army and was again moved to fight under Sherman in North Carolina. He captured Wilmington and fought at the Battle of Kinston before meeting up with Sherman on March 23, 1865 at Goldsboro. Working together with Sherman, Schofield led the Department of North Carolina until the surrender of Joseph E. Johnston at Durham Station.
After the war, Schofield went on to become Secretary of War under President Andrew Johnson. He also helped with making a naval base at Pearl Harbor and was eventually promoted to lieutenant general.
The document is in excellent condition with light toning and is a superb piece of Civil War history, just weeks before the official ending of the war.
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