In Kentucky, the state House of Representatives today passes an “An act for the benefit of the Baptist Colored Church of Shelbyville, Kentucky,” of which no further explanation is offered. The official action comes at a time when black Baptist churches are rapidly forming in areas of the South under Union control.
Meanwhile, in the Confederate capital of Richmond the Confederate Congress agrees to resume prisoner exchanges, following three years of, essentially, a moratorium on the practice, with a few exceptions. Now, the South is in desperate need of troops to replenish their decimated armies.
In the Deep South, Union General William T. Sherman, now in Beaufort, South Carolina, telegrams General Easton in Savannah with orders to prepare his soldiers and supplies for a full-scale invasion of South Carolina.
Beaufort District, before the war one of the richest counties in the United States due to profits off of the labor of hundreds of thousands of slaves, is the headquarters of Union efforts to educate and settle former slaves. The Union has controlled Beaufort since 1862, and now Sherman is anxious to conquer the rest of the state which led the South into secession from and war with the Northern states.
In the Field, Beaufort, S. C., January 24, 1865.
General EASTON, Savannah:
You may employ any vessels suitable for deep water, carrying soldiers, wagons, or ammunition of the Right Wing as long as General Logan wants you, but do not relax your efforts to get food and forage up to Sister’s Ferry by the time Davis gets there. Weather is now fine, and if it lasts will make our roads fine in a very short while. On this clear spell we must reach Barnwell and the Augusta road. Keep things moving night and day. I go to Pocotaligo to-day.
W. T. SHERMAN,
SAVANNAH, GA., January 24, 1865.
Your telegram received. The Fifteenth Corps still have here, to go by water, about 3,400 men, 2,400 animals, 280 wagons, and 16 ambulances. I will get them off as soon as possible.
L. C. EASTON,
Sources: Journal, Kentucky General Assembly House of Representatives, 1863-1864 (link); “Confederate Congress Agrees to Resume Prisoner Exchanges,” History.com (link); Letters, Sherman to Easton and Easton to Sherman, January 24, 1865 (link);