Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Events of April 1865

Posted By on April 30, 2015

April 9.  Confederate States Army General Robert E. Lee surrenders to Union Army General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the American Civil War.

April 14. U.S. Secret Service is created to fight counterfeiting.

April 14 (Good Friday). Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: President of the United States Abraham Lincoln is shot while attending a performance of the farce Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., by actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth, dying the following day.

April 20. Crosby Opera House opens in Chicago.  It construction left the developer, Uranus H. Crosby, deep in debt. After holding only occasional performances, an association formed to relieve the house of its great debt. A lottery was held that distributed over 210,000 tickets, awarding purchasers great works of art and even the building itself. After it was sold back to Crosby by the lottery winner, the hall saw more consistent performances. The hall hosted the 1868 Republican National Convention. It was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and never rebuilt.




April 27. The steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,300 passengers, explodes and sinks in the Mississippi River, killing

Photo taken the day before the ship was destroyed.

1,800, mostly Union survivors of the Andersonville Prison. It is considered the greatest maritime disaster in U.S. history. An estimated 1,800 of her 2,427 passengers died when three of the boat’s four boilers exploded and she burned to the waterline and sank near Memphis, Tennessee. This disaster has long been overshadowed in the press by other contemporary events; John Wilkes Booth,President Lincoln’s assassin, was killed the day before. The wooden steamboat was constructed in 1863 by the John Litherbury Boatyard in Cincinnati, and intended for the lower Mississippi cotton trade. Registering 1,719 tons, the steamer normally carried a crew of 85. For two years, she ran a regular route between St. Louis and New Orleans, frequently commissioned to carry troops.

April 28.  Giacomo Meyerbeer’s opera L’Africaine is premiered in Paris at the Grand Opéra, after the composer’s death. The opera is about fictitious events in the life of the real historical person Vasco da Gama. (Meyerbeer’s working title for the opera was Vasco de Gama.) The opera was enormously successful in the 19th century, but today it is rarely revived. The picture below shows the four principal singers at the premiere.


2 Responses to “Events of April 1865”

  1. Cj says:

    What were so many survivors of a POW camp in Georgia doing on the Mississippi River?

  2. Barry Stoocker says:

    I May be too picky

    But that’s the way us that are deeply involved in Civil War history are at times.

    I just caught this, but on the 9th April blog you noted the event as Confederate States Army General——-etc.
    This should have, I believe, been noted as Army of Northern Virginia General—–.

    There were still two Confederate Armies that continued the War of Northern Aggression until the middle of August. Gen. Joe Johnston surrendered the end of April and the Cherokee Nations in August.

    Friend of Norm’s and sometimes collaborator.

    Barry Stocker

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