The Confederate Cabinet Meets in Charlotte

A circa 1860-1880 composite image of the Confederate Cabinet now held by the N.C. Museum of History

On April 22, 1865, the Confederate Cabinet held the first of a series of meetings in Charlotte to determine their final official actions as an organized government. The Confederate Cabinet began its journey south on April 2 , when Confederate General Robert E. Lee recommended that the Confederate Capitol, Richmond, should be evacuated due to the advance of Lieutenant General U.S. Grant’s Spring Offensive.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his fellow cabinet members traveled first by rail to Greensboro. On April 12, President Davis conferred with Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and other officials concerning potential surrender negotiations with Major General William T. Sherman. The Cabinet then moved south to Charlotte, and arrived there on April 19.

Davis and his cabinet held their final meetings in the Branch office of the Bank of North Carolina on Tryon Street, which served as the final center of the Confederate government. Faced with the inevitability of defeat, Davis adjourned his government, and planned to escape southwest overland to Mexico, where he could establish a government in exile. On May 10, Davis and his wife, Varina, were captured near Irwinville, Georgia.

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