IN THE FIELD, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA, April 18, 1865.
Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, or Major-General HALLECK,
Washington, D. C.
GENERAL: I inclose herewith a copy of an agreement made this day
between General Joseph E. Johnston and myself, which, if approved
by the President of the United States, will produce peace from the
Potomac to the Rio Grande. Mr. Breckenridge was present at our
conference, in the capacity of major-general, and satisfied me of
the ability of General Johnston to carry out to their full extent
the terms of this agreement; and if you will get the President to
simply indorse the copy, and commission me to carry out the terms,
I will follow them to the conclusion.
You will observe that it is an absolute submission of the enemy to
the lawful authority of the United States, and disperses his armies
absolutely; and the point to which I attach most importance is,
that the dispersion and disbandment of these armies is done in such
a manner as to prevent their breaking up into guerrilla bands. On
the other hand, we can retain just as much of an army as we please.
I agreed to the mode and manner of the surrender of arms set forth,
as it gives the States the means of repressing guerrillas, which we
could not expect them to do if we stripped them of all arms.
Both Generals Johnston and Breckenridge admitted that slavery was
dead, and I could not insist on embracing it in such a paper,
because it can be made with the States in detail. I know that all
the men of substance South sincerely want peace, and I do not
believe they will resort to war again during this century. I have
no doubt that they will in the future be perfectly subordinate to
the laws of the United States. The moment my action in this matter
is approved, I can spare five corps, and will ask for orders to
leave General Schofield here with the Tenth Corps, and to march
myself with the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Seventeenth, Twentieth, and
Twenty-third Corps via Burkesville and Gordonsville to Frederick or
Hagerstown, Maryland, there to be paid and mustered out.
The question of finance is now the chief one, and every soldier and
officer not needed should be got home at work. I would like to be
able to begin the march north by May 1st.
I urge, on the part of the President, speedy action, as it is
important to get the Confederate armies to their homes as well as
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.
Memorandum, or Basis of agreement, made this 18th day of April, A.
D. 1865, near Durham's Station, in the State of North Carolina, by
and between General Joseph E. JOHNSTON, commanding the Confederate
Army, and Major-General William T. SHERMAN, commanding the army of
the United States in North Carolina, both present:
1. The contending armies now in the field to maintain the statu
quo until notice is given by the commanding general of any one to
its opponent, and reasonable time--say, forty-eight hours--allowed.
2. The Confederate armies now in existence to be disbanded and
conducted to their several State capitals, there to deposit their
arms and public property in the State Arsenal; and each officer and
man to execute and file an agreement to cease from acts of war, and
to abide the action of the State and Federal authority. The number
of arms and munitions of war to be reported to the Chief of
Ordnance at Washington City, subject to the future action of the
Congress of the United States, and, in the mean time, to be needed
solely to maintain peace and order within the borders of the States
3. The recognition, by the Executive of the United States, of the
several State governments, on their officers and Legislatures
taking the oaths prescribed by the Constitution of the United
States, and, where conflicting State governments have resulted from
the war, the legitimacy of all shall be submitted to the Supreme
Court of the United States.
4. The reestablishment of all the Federal Courts in the several
States, with powers as defined by the Constitution of the United
States and of the States respectively.
5. The people and inhabitants of all the States to be guaranteed,
so far as the Executive can, their political rights and franchises,
as well as their rights of person sad property, as defined by the
Constitution of the United States and of the States respectively.
6. The Executive authority of the Government of the United States
not to disturb any of the people by reason of the late war, so long
as they live in peace and quiet, abstain from acts of armed
hostility, and obey the laws in existence at the place of their
7. In general terms--the war to cease; a general amnesty, so far
as the Executive of the United States can command, on condition of
the disbandment of the Confederate armies, the distribution of the
arms, and the resumption of peaceful pursuits by the officers and
men hitherto composing said armies.
Not being fully empowered by our respective principals to fulfill
these terms, we individually and officially pledge ourselves to
promptly obtain the necessary authority, and to carry out the above
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General,
Commanding Army of the United States in North Carolina.
J. E. JOHNSTON, General,
Commanding Confederate States Army in North Carolina.
Major Hitchcock got off on the morning of the 20th, and I reckoned
that it would take him four or five days to go to Washington and
back. During that time the repairs on all the railroads and
telegraph-lines were pushed with energy, and we also got possession
of the railroad and telegraph from Raleigh to Weldon, in the
direction of Norfolk. Meantime the troops remained statu quo, our
cavalry occupying Durham's Station and Chapel Hill. General
Slocum's head of column was at Aven's Ferry on Cape Fear River, and
General Howard's was strung along the railroad toward Hillsboro';
the rest of the army was in and about Raleigh.
On the 20th I reviewed the Tenth Corps, and was much pleased at the
appearance of General Paines's division of black troops, the first
I had ever seen as a part of an organized army; and on the 21st I
reviewed the Twenty-third Corps, which had been with me to Atlanta,
but had returned to Nashville had formed an essential part of the
army which fought at Franklin, and with which General Thomas had
defeated General Hood in Tennessee. It had then been transferred
rapidly by rail to Baltimore and Washington by General Grant's
orders, and thence by sea to North Carolina. Nothing of interest
happened at Raleigh till the evening of April 23d, when Major
Hitchcock reported by telegraph his return to Morehead City, and
that he would come up by rail during the night. He arrived at 6
a.m., April 24th, accompanied by General Grant and one or two
officers of his staff, who had not telegraphed the fact of their
being on the train, for prudential reasons. Of course, I was both
surprised and pleased to see the general, soon learned that my
terms with Johnston had been disapproved, was instructed by him to
give the forty-eight hours' notice required by the terms of the
truce, and afterward to proceed to attack or follow him. I
immediately telegraphed to General Kilpatrick, at Durham's, to have
a mounted courier ready to carry the following message, then on its
way up by rail, to the rebel lines:
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI
IN THE FIELD, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA, April 24, 1865 6 A.M.
General JOHNSTON, commanding Confederate Army, Greensboro':
You will take notice that the truce or suspension of hostilities
agreed to between us will cease in forty-eight hours after this is
received at your lines, under the first of the articles of
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.
At the same time I wrote another short note to General Johnston, of
the same date:
I have replies from Washington to my communications of April 18th.
I am instructed to limit my operations to your immediate command,
and not to attempt civil negotiations. I therefore demand the
surrender of your army on the same terms as were given to General
Lee at Appomattox, April 9th instant, purely and simply.
Of course, both these papers were shown to General Grant at the
time, before they were sent, and he approved of them.
At the same time orders were sent to all parts of the army to be
ready to resume the pursuit of the enemy on the expiration of the
forty-eight hours' truce, and messages were sent to General
Gillmore (at Hilton Head) to the same effect, with instructions to
get a similar message through to General Wilson, at Macon, by some
General Grant had brought with him, from Washington, written
answers from the Secretary of War, and of himself, to my
communications of the 18th, which I still possess, and here give
the originals. They embrace the copy of a dispatch made by Mr.
Stanton to General Grant, when he was pressing Lee at Appomattox,
which dispatch, if sent me at the same time (as should have been
done), would have saved a world of trouble. I did not understand
that General Grant had come down to supersede me in command, nor
did he intimate it, nor did I receive these communications as a
serious reproof, but promptly acted on them, as is already shown;
and in this connection I give my answer made to General Grant, at
Raleigh, before I had received any answer from General Johnston to
the demand for the surrender of his own army, as well as my answer
to Mr. Stanton's letter, of the same date, both written on the
supposition that I might have to start suddenly in pursuit of
Johnston, and have no other chance to explain.
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, April 21, 1865.
GENERAL: The memorandum or basis agreed upon between General
Sherman and General Johnston having been submitted to the
President, they are disapproved. You will give notice of the
disapproval to General Sherman, and direct him to resume
hostilities at the earliest moment.
The instructions given to you by the late President, Abraham
Lincoln, on the 3d of March, by my telegraph of that date,
addressed to you, express substantially the views of President
Andrew Johnson, and will be observed by General Sherman. A copy is
The President desires that you proceed immediately to the
headquarters of Major-General Sherman, and direct operations
against the enemy.
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
The following telegram was received 2 p.m., City Point, March 4,
1865 (from Washington, 12 M., March 3,1865)[CIPHER]
OFFICE UNITED STATES MILITARY TELEGRAPH,
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES
The President directs me to say to you that he wishes you to have
no conference with General Lee, unless it be for the capitulation
of Lee's army or on solely minor and purely military matters.
He instructs me to say that you are not to decide, discuss, or
confer upon any political question; such questions the President
holds in his own hands, and will submit them to no military
conferences or conventions.
Meantime you are to press to the utmost your military advantages.
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES
WASHINGTON, D.C. April 21, 1865.
Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, commanding Military Division of the
GENERAL: The basis of agreement entered into between yourself and
General J. E. Johnston, for the disbandment of the Southern army,
and the extension of the authority of the General Government over
all the territory belonging to it, sent for the approval of the
President, is received.
I read it carefully myself before submitting it to the President
and Secretary of War, and felt satisfied that it could not possibly
be approved. My reason for these views I will give you at another
time, in a more extended letter.
Your agreement touches upon questions of such vital importance
that, as soon as read, I addressed a note to the Secretary of War,
notifying him of their receipt, and the importance of immediate
action by the President; and suggested, in view of their
importance, that the entire Cabinet be called together, that all
might give an expression of their opinions upon the matter. The
result was a disapproval by the President of the basis laid down; a
disapproval of the negotiations altogether except for the surrender
of the army commanded by General Johnston, and directions to me to
notify you of this decision. I cannot do no better than by sending
you the inclosed copy of a dispatch (penned by the late President,
though signed by the Secretary of War) in answer to me, on sending
a letter received from General Lee, proposing to meet me for the
purpose of submitting the question of peace to a convention of
Please notify General Johnston, immediately on receipt of this, of
the termination of the truce, and resume hostilities against his
army at the earliest moment you can, acting in good faith.
Very respectfully your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI
IN THE FIELD, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA, April 25, 1865.
Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, present.
GENERAL: I had the honor to receive your letter of April 21st, with
inclosures, yesterday, and was well pleased that you came along, as
you must have observed that I held the military control so as to
adapt it to any phase the case might assume.
It is but just I should record the fact that I made my terms with
General Johnston under the influence of the liberal terms you
extended to the army of General Lee at Appomattox Court-House on
the 9th, and the seeming policy of our Government, as evinced by
the call of the Virginia Legislature and Governor back to Richmond,
under yours and President Lincoln's very eyes.
It now appears this last act was done without any consultation with
you or any knowledge of Mr. Lincoln, but rather in opposition to a
previous policy well considered.
I have not the least desire to interfere in the civil policy of our
Government, but would shun it as something not to my liking; but
occasions do arise when a prompt seizure of results is forced on
military commanders not in immediate communication with the proper
authority. It is probable that the terms signed by General
Johnston and myself were not clear enough on the point, well
understood between us, that our negotiations did not apply to any
parties outside the officers and men of the Confederate armies,
which could easily have been remedied.
No surrender of any army not actually at the mercy of an antagonist
was ever made without "terms," and these always define the military
status of the surrendered. Thus you stipulated that the officers
and men of Lee's army should not be molested at their homes so long
as they obeyed the laws at the place of their residence.
I do not wish to discuss these points involved in our recognition
of the State governments in actual existence, but will merely state
my conclusions, to await the solution of the future.
Such action on our part in no manner recognizes for a moment the
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