Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman

Text to Speech

operations for the past two months. Yours truly,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.



Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, City Point, Virginia.

GENERAL: I have kept Lieutenant Dunn over to-day that I might

report farther. All the army is now in, save the cavalry (which I

have posted at Mount Olive Station, south of the Nenae) and General

Terry's command (which--to-morrow will move from Cog's Ferry to

Faison's Depot, also on the Wilmington road). I send you a copy of

my orders of this morning, the operation of which will, I think,

soon complete our roads. The telegraph is now done to Morehead

City, and by it I learn that stores have been sent to Kinston in

boats, and that our wagons are loading with rations and clothing.

By using the Neuse as high up as Kinston, hauling from there

twenty-six miles, and by equipping the two roads to Morehead City

and Wilmington, I feel certain we can not only feed and equip the

army, but in a short time fill our wagons for another start. I

feel certain, from the character of the fighting, that we have got

Johnston's army afraid of us. He himself acts with timidity and

caution. His cavalry alone manifests spirit, but limits its

operations to our stragglers and foraging-parties. My marching

columns of infantry do not pay the cavalry any attention, but walk

right through it

I think I see pretty clearly how, in one more move, we can check-

mate Lee, forcing him to unite Johnston with him in the defense of

Richmond, or to abandon the cause. I feel certain, if he leaves

Richmond, Virginia leaves the Confederacy. I will study my maps a

little more before giving my positive views. I want all possible

information of the Roanoke as to navigability, how far up, and with

what draught.

We find the country sandy, dry, with good roads, and more corn and

forage than I had expected. The families remain, but I will

gradually push them all out to Raleigh or Wilmington. We will need

every house in the town. Lieutenant Dunn can tell you of many

things of which I need not write. Yours truly,

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.



Major-General George H. Thomas, commanding Department of the


DEAR GENERAL: I can hardly help smiling when I contemplate my

command--it is decidedly mixed. I believe, but am not certain,

that you are in my jurisdiction, but I certainly cannot help you in

the way of orders or men; nor do I think you need either. General

Cruft has just arrived with his provisional division, which will at

once be broken up and the men sent to their proper regiments, as

that of Meagher was on my arrival here.

You may have some feeling about my asking that General Slocum

should have command of the two corps that properly belong to you,

viz., the Fourteenth and Twentieth, but you can recall that he was

but a corps commander, and could not legally make orders of

discharge, transfer, etc., which was imperatively necessary. I

therefore asked that General Slocum should be assigned to command

"an army in the field," called the Army of Georgia, composed of the

Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps. The order is not yet made by the

President, though I have recognized it because both, General Grant

and the President have sanctioned it, and promised to have the

order made.

My army is now here, pretty well clad and provided, divided into

three parts, of two corps each--much as our old Atlanta army was.

I expect to move on in a few days, and propose (if Lee remains in

Richmond) to pass the Roanoke, and open communication with the

Chowan and Norfolk. This will bring me in direct communication

with General Grant.

This is an admirable point--country open, and the two railroads in

good order back to Wilmington and Beaufort. We have already

brought up stores enough to fill our wagons, and only await some

few articles, and the arrival of some men who are marching up from

the coast, to be off.

General Grant explained to me his orders to you, which, of course,

are all right. You can make reports direct to Washington or to

General Grant, but keep me advised occasionally of the general

state of affairs, that I may know what is happening. I must give

my undivided attention to matters here. You will hear from a

thousand sources pretty fair accounts of our next march. Yours


W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.




Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding Armies of the Tennessee,

Georgia, and Mississippi.

Mr DEAR GENERAL: I was much gratified by a sight of your

handwriting, which has just reached me from Goldsboro'; it was very

suggestive of a past to me, when these regions were the scene of

your operations.

As you progressed through South Carolina, there was no

manifestation of weakness or of an intention to abandon Charleston,

until within a few hours of the fact. On the 11th of February I

was at Stono, and a spirited demonstration was made by General

Schimmel-pfennig and the vessels. He drove the rebels from their

rifle-pits in front of the lines, extending from Fort Pringle, and

pushed them vigorously. The next day I was at Bull's Bay, with a

dozen steamers, among them the finest of the squadron. General

Potter had twelve to fifteen hundred men, the object being to carry

out your views. We made as much fuss as possible, and with better

success than I anticipated, for it seems that the rebs conceived

Stono to be a feint, and the real object at Bull's Bay, supposing,

from the number of steamers and boats, that we had several thousand

men. Now came an aide from General Gillmore, at Port Royal, with

your cipher-dispatch from Midway, so I steamed down to Port Royal

to see him. Next day was spent in vain efforts to decipher-finally

it was accomplished. You thought that the state of the roads might

force you to turn upon Charleston; so I went there on the 15th, but

there was no sign yet of flinching. Then I went to Bull's Bay next

day (16th), and found that the troops were not yet ashore, owing to

the difficulties of shoal water. One of the gunboats had contrived

to get up to within shelling range, and both soldiers and sailors

were working hard. On the evening of the 18th I steamed down to

Stono to see how matters were going there. Passing Charleston, I

noticed two large fires, well inside--probably preparing to leave.

On the 17th, in Stono, rumors were flying about loose of

evacuation. In course of the morning, General Schimmelpfennig

telegraphed me, from Morris Island, that there were symptoms of

leaving; that he would again make a push at Stono, and asked for

monitors. General Schimmelpfennig came down in the afternoon, and

we met in the Folly Branch, near Secessionville. He was sore that

the rebs would be off that night, so he was to assault them in

front, while a monitor and gunboats stung their flanks both sides.

I also sent an aide to order my battery of five eleven-inch guns,

at Cumming's Point, to fire steadily all night on Sullivan's

Island, and two monitors to close up to the island for the same

object. Next morning (18th) the rascals were found to be off, and

we broke in from all directions, by land and water. The main

bodies had left at eight or nine in the evening, leaving

detachments to keep up a fire from the batteries. I steamed round

quickly, and soon got into the city, threading the streets with a

large group of naval captains who had joined me. All was silent as

the grave. No one to be seen but a few firemen.

No one can question the excellence of your judgment in taking the

track you did, and I never had any misgivings, but it was natural

to desire to go into the place with a strong hand, for, if any one

spot in the land was foremost in the trouble, it was Charleston.

Your campaign was the final blow, grand in conception, complete in

execution; and now it is yours to secure the last army which

rebeldom possesses. I hear of your being in motion by the 9th, and

hope that the result may be all that you wish.

Tidings of the murder of the President have just come, and shocked

every mind. Can it be that such a resort finds root in any stratum

of American opinion? Evidently it has not been the act of one man,

nor of a madman. Who have prompted him?

I am grateful for your remembrance of my boy; the thought of him is

ever nearest to my heart. Generous, brave, and noble, as I ever

knew him to be, that he should close his young life so early, even

under the accepted conditions of a soldier's life, as a son of the

Union, would have been grief sufficient for me to bear; but that

his precious remains should have been so treated by the brutes into

whose hands they fell, adds even to the bitterness of death. I am

now awaiting the hour when I can pay my last duties to his memory.

With my best and sincere wishes, my dear general, for your success

and happiness, I am, most truly, your friend,


[General Order No. 50.]


WASHINGTON, March 27, 1865

Ordered--1. That at the hour of noon, on the 14th day of April,

1885, Brevet Major-General Anderson will raise and plant upon the

ruins of Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, the same United States

flag which floated over the battlements of that fort during the

rebel assault, and which was lowered and saluted by him and the

small force of his command when the works were evacuated on the

14th day of April, 1861.

2. That the flag, when raised, be saluted by one hundred guns from

Fort Sumter, and by a national salute from every fort and rebel

battery that fired upon Fort Sumter.

3. That suitable ceremonies be had upon the occasion, under the

direction of Major-General William T. Sherman, whose military

operations compelled the rebels to evacuate Charleston, or, in his

absence, under the charge of Major-General Q. A. Gilmore,

commanding the department. Among the ceremonies will be the

delivery of a public address by the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher.

4. That the naval forces at Charleston, and their commander on

that station, be invited to participate in the ceremonies of the


By order of the President of the United States,

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

[General Order No. 41.]



Friday next, the 14th inst., will be the fourth anniversary of the

capture of Fort Sumter by the rebels. A befitting celebration on

that day, in honor of its reoccupation by the national forces, has

been ordered by the President, in pursuance of which Brevet Major-

General Robert Anderson, United States Army, will restore to its

original place on the fort the identical flag which, after an

honorable and gallant defense, he was compelled to lower to the

insurgents in South Carolina, in April, 1861.

The ceremonies for the occasion will commence with prayer, at

thirty minutes past eleven o'clock a.m.

At noon precisely, the flag will be raised and saluted with one

hundred guns from Fort Sumter, and with a national salute from Fort

Moultrie and Battery Bee on Sullivan's Island, Fort Putnam on

Morris Island, and Fort Johnson on James's Island; it being

eminently appropriate that the places which were so conspicuous in

the inauguration of the rebellion should take a part not less

prominent in this national rejoicing over the restoration of the

national authority.

After the salutes, the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher will deliver an


The ceremonies will close with prayer and a benediction.

Colonel Stewart L. Woodford, chief of staff, under such verbal

instructions as he may receive, is hereby charged with the details

of the celebration, comprising all the arrangements that it may be

necessary to make for the accommodation of the orator of the day,

and the comfort and safety of the invited guests from the army and

navy, and from civil life.

By command of Major-General Q. A. Gillmore,

W. L. M. BURGER, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Copy of Major ANDERSON's Dispatch, announcing the Surrender of Fort

Sumter, April 14, 1861.


April 10, 1861, 10.30 a.m. via New York

Honorable S. Cameron, Secretary of War, Washington

Having defended Fort Sumter for thirty-four hours, until the

quarters were entirely burned, the main gates destroyed by fire,

the gorge-walls seriously injured, the magazine surrounded by

flames, and its door closed from the effect of heat, four barrels

and three cartridges of powder only being available, and no

provisions remaining but pork, I accepted terms of evacuation

offered by General Beauregard, being the same offered by him on the

11th inst., prior to the commencement of hostilities, and marched

out of the fort, Sunday afternoon, the 14th inst., with colors

flying and drums beating, bringing away company and private

property, and saluting my flag with fifty guns.

ROBERT ANDERSON, Major First Artillery, commanding.




As before described, the armies commanded respectively by Generals

J. M. Schofield, A. H. Terry, and myself, effected a junction in

and about Goldsboro', North Carolina, during the 22d and 23d of

March, 1865, but it required a few days for all the troops and

trains of wagons to reach their respective camps. In person I

reached Goldsboro' on the 23d, and met General Schofield, who

described fully his operations in North Carolina up to that date;

and I also found Lieutenant Dunn, aide-de-camp to General Grant,

with a letter from him of March 16th, giving a general description

of the state of facts about City Point. The next day I received

another letter, more full, dated the 22d, which I give herewith.

Nevertheless, I deemed it of great importance that I should have a

personal interview with the general, and determined to go in person

to City Point as soon as the repairs of the railroad, then in

progress under the personal direction of Colonel W. W. Wright,

would permit:


CITY POINT, VIRGINIA, March 22, 1865

Major-General SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the


GENERAL: Although the Richmond papers do not communicate the fact,

yet I saw enough in them to satisfy me that you occupied Goldsboro'

on the 19th inst. I congratnlate you and the army on what may be

regarded as the successful termination of the third campaign since

leaving the Tennessee River, less than one year ago.

Since Sheridan's very successful raid north of the James, the enemy

are left dependent on the Southside and Danville roads for all

their supplies. These I hope to cut next week. Sheridan is at

White House, "shoeing up" and resting his cavalry. I expect him to

finish by Friday night and to start the following morning, raid

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