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History of Cambria County, V.2


    The armies in front of Petersburg were apparently indolent during January, but it was not so elsewhere. Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stanton in Washington and Gen. Grant at City Point were preparing their plans for the spring campaign which should end the war. Mr. Davis and Gen. Lee likewise considered the situation. Gen. Sheridan had annihilated Gen. Early's army in the Shenandoah Valley the previous fall and winter. Gen. Sherman had reached Savannah, and about the middle of January stated to unite his army with Gen. Grant's in order to make the final assault. Mr. Davis and Lee came to a common understanding that the end was in view, so far as Virginia was concerned. The only hope Lee could give was that with Grant's non-interference he could escape from Petersburg, unite with Gen. Johnston, and destroy Sherman before he could join Grant. Gen. Sheridan and the Army of the Shenandoah joined Grant about March 27. At this time the Army of the Potomac numbered 124,700 men, with 369 guns. Lee had 59,000 and 190 guns.
    The 54th Regiment, Col. Campbell's old company, which had served with Gen. Sheridan in the Valley campaign of 1864, was reorganized and reached the Army of the James about December 23, 1864, under the command of Col. A. P. Moulton.
    Some of these soldiers had been in the first Bull Run conflict, and for four years had opposed the Confederacy. During that period many of the volunteers had been killed, and many more had been wounded; many had been taken prisoners and some had died in southern prisons; some were captured three days before Gen. Lee surrendered and were recaptured at Appomattox by Gen. Grant. These prisoners were the subject of consideration and action between Gen. Grant and Gen. Lee in the McLean House at the time of the execution of articles of surrender. Lee's admission to Grant that he had about 1,000 prisoners with his army will be remembered; that owning to the situation he could neither send them to the rear nor to prisons, but had to keep them with his army, where there was no food. Then it was that General Grant requested that they be sent within his lines, and directed that 25,000 rations be furnished Lee for his troops. Of these prisoners six hundred belonged to the 54th Pennsylvania Infantry, which had been captured at High Bridge on April 6, which will be noted more specifically elsewhere.
    In those four years Cambria county furnished about forty

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Created: 25 Mar 2003, Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury, Diann Olsen and contributors