newspaper, hardly hear from our families, or stop long enough to
draw our pay. I envy not the task of "reconstruction," and am
delighted that the Secretary of War has relieved me of it.
As you did not undertake to assume the management of the affairs of
this army, I infer that, on personal inspection, your mind arrived
at a different conclusion from that of the Secretary of War. I
will therefore go on to execute your orders to the conclusion, and,
when done, will with intense satisfaction leave to the civil
authorities the execution of the task of which they seem so
jealous. But, as an honest man and soldier, I invite them to go
back to Nashville and follow my path, for they will see some things
and hear some things that may disturb their philosophy.
With sincere respect,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.
P. S.--As Mr. Stanton's most singular paper has been published, I
demand that this also be made public, though I am in no manner
responsible to the press, but to the law, and my proper superiors.
W. T. S., Major-General.
On the 28th I summoned all the army and corps commanders together
at my quarters in the Governor's mansion at Raleigh, where every
thing was explained to them, and all orders for the future were
completed. Generals Schofield, Terry, and Kilpatrick, were to
remain on duty in the Department of North Carolina, already
commanded by General Schofield, and the right and left wings were
ordered to march under their respective commanding generals North
by easy stages to Richmond, Virginia, there to await my return
from the South.
On the 29th of April, with a part of my personal staff, I proceeded
by rail to Wilmington, North Carolina, where I found Generals
Hawley and Potter, and the little steamer Russia, Captain Smith,
awaiting me. After a short pause in Wilmington, we embarked, and
proceeded down the coast to Port Royal and the Savannah River,
which we reached on the 1st of May. There Captain Hoses, who had
just come from General Wilson at Macon, met us, bearing letters for
me and General Grant, in which General Wilson gave a brief summary
of his operations up to date. He had marched from Eastport,
Mississippi, five hundred miles in thirty days, took six thousand
three hundred prisoners, twenty-three colors, and one hundred and
fifty-six guns, defeating Forrest, scattering the militia, and
destroying every railroad, iron establishment, and factory, in
North Alabama and Georgia.
He spoke in the highest terms of his cavalry, as "cavalry,"
claiming that it could not be excelled, and he regarded his corps
as a model for modern cavalry in organization, armament, and
discipline. Its strength was given at thirteen thousand five
hundred men and horses on reaching Macon. Of course I was
extremely gratified at his just confidence, and saw that all he
wanted for efficient action was a sure base of supply, so that he
need no longer depend for clothing, ammunition, food, and forage,
on the country, which, now that war had ceased, it was our solemn
duty to protect, instead of plunder. I accordingly ordered the
captured steamer Jeff. Davis to be loaded with stores, to proceed
at once up the Savannah River to Augusta, with a small detachment
of troops to occupy the arsenal, and to open communication with
General Wilson at Macon; and on the next day, May 2d, this steamer
was followed by another with a fall cargo of clothing, sugar,
coffee, and bread, sent from Hilton Head by the department
commander, General Gillmore, with a stronger guard commanded by
General Molineux. Leaving to General Gillmore, who was present,
and in whose department General Wilson was, to keep up the supplies
at Augusta, and to facilitate as far as possible General Wilson's
operations inland, I began my return on the 2d of May. We went
into Charleston Harbor, passing the ruins of old Forts Moultrie and
Sumter without landing. We reached the city of Charleston, which
was held by part of the division of General John P. Hatch, the
same that we had left at Pocotaligo. We walked the old familiar
streets--Broad, King, Meeting, etc.--but desolation and ruin were
everywhere. The heart of the city had been burned during the
bombardment, and the rebel garrison at the time of its final
evacuation had fired the railroad-depots, which fire had spread,
and was only subdued by our troops after they had reached the city.
I inquired for many of my old friends, but they were dead or gone,
and of them all I only saw a part of the family of Mrs. Pettigru.
I doubt whether any city was ever more terribly punished than
Charleston, but, as her people had for years been agitating for war
and discord, and had finally inaugurated the civil war by an attack
on the small and devoted garrison of Major Anderson, sent there by
the General Government to defend them, the judgment of the world
will be, that Charleston deserved the fate that befell her.
Resuming our voyage, we passed into Cape Fear River by its mouth at
Fort Caswell and Smithville, and out by the new channel at Fort
Fisher, and reached Morehead City on the 4th of May. We found
there the revenue-cutter Wayanda, on board of which were the Chief-
Justice, Mr. Chase, and his daughter Nettie, now Mrs. Hoyt. The
Chief-Justice at that moment was absent on a visit to Newbern, but
came back the next day. Meantime, by means of the telegraph, I was
again in correspondence with General Schofield at Raleigh. He had
made great progress in parolling the officers and men of Johnston's
army at Greensboro', but was embarrassed by the utter confusion and
anarchy that had resulted from a want of understanding on many
minor points, and on the political questions that had to be met at
the instant. In order to facilitate the return to their homes of
the Confederate officers and men, he had been forced to make with
General Johnston the following supplemental terms, which were of
course ratified and approved:
MILITARY CONVENTION OF APRIL 26, 1865.
1. The field transportation to be loaned to the troops for their
march to their homes, and for subsequent use in their industrial
pursuits. Artillery-horses may be used in field-transportation, if
2. Each brigade or separate body to retain a number of arms equal
to one-seventh of its effective strength, which, when the troops
reach the capitals of their states, will be disposed of as the
general commanding the department may direct.
3. Private horses, and other private property of both officers and
men, to be retained by them.
4. The commanding general of the Military Division of West
Mississippi, Major-General Canby, will be requested to give
transportation by water, from Mobile or New Orleans, to the troops
from Arkansas and Texas.
5. The obligations of officers and soldiers to be signed by their
6. Naval forces within the limits of General Johnston's command to
be included in the terms of this convention.
J. M. SCHOFIELD, Major-General,
Commanding United States Forces in North Carolina.
J. E. JOHNSTON, General,
Commanding Confederate States Forces in North Carolina.
The total number of prisoners of war parolled by
General Schofield, at Greensboro', North Carolina,
as afterward officially reported, amounted to ........ 38,817
And the total number who surrendered in Georgia
and Florida, as reported by General J. H. Wilson,
was .................................................. 52,458
Aggregate surrendered under the capitulation of
General J. E. Johnston ............................... 89,270
On the morning of the 5th I also received from General Schofield
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA, May 5, 1866.
To Major-General W: T. SHERMAN, Morehead City:
When General Grant was here, as you doubtless recollect, he said
the lines (for trade and intercourse) had been extended to embrace
this and other States south. The order, it seems, has been
modified so as to include only Virginia and Tennessee. I think it
would be an act of wisdom to open this State to trade at once.
I hope the Government will make known its policy as to the organs
of State government without delay. Affairs must necessarily be in
a very unsettled state until that is done. The people are now in a
mood to accept almost anything which promises a definite
settlement. "What is to be done with the freedmen?" is the
question of all, and it is the all important question. It requires
prompt and wise notion to prevent the negroes from becoming a huge
elephant on our hands. If I am to govern this State, it is
important for me to know it at once. If another is to be sent
here, it cannot be done too soon, for he probably will undo the
most that I shall have done. I shall be glad to hear from you
fully, when you have time to write. I will send your message to
General Wilson at once.
J. M. SCHOFIELD, Major-General.
I was utterly without instructions from any source on the points of
General Schofield's inquiry, and under the existing state of facts
could not even advise him, for by this time I was in possession of
the second bulletin of Mr. Stanton, published in all the Northern
papers, with comments that assumed that I was a common traitor and
a public enemy; and high officials had even instructed my own
subordinates to disobey my lawful orders. General Halleck, who had
so long been in Washington as the chief of staff, had been sent on
the 21st of April to Richmond, to command the armies of the Potomac
and James, in place of General Grant, who had transferred his
headquarters to the national capital, and he (General Halleck) was
therefore in supreme command in Virginia, while my command over
North Carolina had never been revoked or modified.[Second Bulletin.]
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, April 27 9.30 a.m.
To Major-General DIX:
The department has received the following dispatch from Major-
General Halleck, commanding the Military Division of the James.
Generals Canby and Thomas were instructed some days ago that
Sherman's arrangements with Johnston were disapproved by the
President, and they were ordered to disregard it and push the enemy
in every direction.
E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, April 26-9.30 p.m.
HON. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
Generals Meade, Sheridan, and Wright, are acting under orders to
pay no regard to any truce or orders of General Sherman respecting
hostilities, on the ground that Sherman's agreement could bind his
command only, and no other.
They are directed to push forward, regardless of orders from any
one except from General Grant, and cut off Johnston's retreat.
Beauregard has telegraphed to Danville that a new arrangement has
been made with Sherman, and that the advance of the Sixth Corps was
to be suspended until further orders.
I have telegraphed back to obey no orders of Sherman, but to push
forward as rapidly as possible.
The bankers here have information to-day that Jeff. Davis's specie
is moving south from Goldsboro', in wagons, as fast as possible.
I suggest that orders be telegraphed, through General Thomas, that
Wilson obey no orders from Sherman, and notifying him and Canby,
and all commanders on the Mississippi, to take measures to
intercept the rebel chiefs and their plunder.
The specie taken with them is estimated here at from six to
thirteen million dollars.
H. W. HALLECK, Major-General commanding.
Subsequently, before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, in
Washington, on the 22d of May, I testified fully on this whole
matter, and will abide the judgment of the country on the
patriotism and wisdom of my public conduct in this connection.
General Halleck's measures to capture General Johnston's army,
actually surrendered to me at the time, at Greensboro', on the 26th
of April, simply excited my contempt for a judgment such as he was
supposed to possess. The assertion that Jeff. Davis's specie-
train, of six to thirteen million dollars, was reported to be
moving south from Goldsboro' in wagons as fast as possible, found
plenty of willing ears, though my army of eighty thousand men had
been at Goldsboro' from March 22d to the date of his dispatch,
April 26th; and such a train would have been composed of from
fifteen to thirty-two six-mule teams to have hauled this specie,
even if it all were in gold. I suppose the exact amount of
treasure which Davis had with him is now known to a cent; some of
it was paid to his escort, when it disbanded at and near
Washington, Georgia, and at the time of his capture he had a small
parcel of gold and silver coin, not to exceed ten thousand dollars,
which is now retained in the United States Treasury-vault at
Washington, and shown to the curious.
The thirteen millions of treasure, with which Jeff. Davis was to
corrupt our armies and buy his escape, dwindled down to the
contents of a hand-valise!
To say that I was merely angry at the tone and substance of these
published bulletins of the War Department, would hardly express the
state of my feelings. I was outraged beyond measure, and was
resolved to resent the insult, cost what it might. I went to the
Wayanda and showed them to Mr. Chase, with whom I had a long and
frank conversation, during which he explained to me the confusion
caused in Washington by the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, the
sudden accession to power of Mr. Johnson, who was then supposed to
be bitter and vindictive in his feelings toward the South, and the
wild pressure of every class of politicians to enforce on the new
President their pet schemes. He showed me a letter of his own,
which was in print, dated Baltimore, April 11th, and another of
April 12th, addressed to the President, urging him to recognize the
freedmen as equal in all respects to the whites. He was the first
man, of any authority or station, who ever informed me that the
Government of the United States would insist on extending to the
former slaves of the South the elective franchise, and he gave as a
reason the fact that the slaves, grateful for their freedom, for
which they were indebted to the armies and Government of the North,
would, by their votes, offset the disaffected and rebel element of
the white population of the South. At that time quite a storm was
prevailing at sea, outside, and our two vessels lay snug at the
wharf at Morehead City. I saw a good deal of Mr. Chase, and
several notes passed between us, of which I have the originals yet.
Always claiming that the South had herself freed all her slaves by
rebellion, and that Mr. Lincoln's proclamation of freedom (of
September 22, 1862) was binding on all officers of the General
Government, I doubted the wisdom of at once clothing them with the
elective franchise, without some previous preparation and
qualification; and then realized the national loss in the death at
that critical moment of Mr. Lincoln, who had long pondered over the
difficult questions involved, who, at all events, would have been
honest and frank, and would not have withheld from his army
commanders at least a hint that would have been to them a guide.
It was plain to me, therefore, that the manner of his assassination
had stampeded the civil authorities in Washington, had unnerved
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