MARCH 1ST, 1865: As the month of March opened, General Grant was preparing for a massive spring attack against General Lee's defending lines near Richmond. Throughout the North, optimism ran high and the feeling prevailed that the offensive would be the final thrust and that Grant would take Richmond.
It was widely believed that the Confederacy was on the threshold of defeat.
Since the beginning of the new year, Charleston and Wilmington had fallen, sealing off the South from the sustaining flow of supplies from Europe. Moreover, General Sherman's army had devastated the heart of the Confederacy with his march through Georgia and South Carolina; by the end of February Sherman was preparing to enter North Carolina.
The Union confidence was further fed by the widespread knowledge that General Lee and Confederate officials were openly grappling with the problems of desertions. During the winter these had become considerable as men became concerned about their families in Union occupied areas..
Finally, Lee further revealed his hard pressed position by appealing to the civilian population to search their houses for any spare guns, cutlasses, equestrian gear and tools.
Things Looking Mighty Bad for the South As the War Neared Its End. --Old B-Runner