City Point, Virginia
Early this morning, all the principal officers of the Army and Navy called to see me, Generals Meade, Ord, Ingalls, etc., and Admiral Porter. The River Queen was at anchor out in the river, abreast of the wharf, and we again started to visit Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln. We took a small, tug at the wharf, which conveyed us on board, where we were again received most courteously by the President, who conducted us to the after-cabin. After the general compliments, General Grant inquired after Mrs. Lincoln, when the President went to her stateroom, returned, and begged us to excuse her, as she was not well. We then again entered upon a general conversation, during which General Grant explained to the President that at that very instant of time General Sheridan was crossing James River from the north, by a pontoon-bridge below City Point; that he had a large, well-appointed force of cavalry, with which he proposed to strike the Southside and Danville Railroads, by which alone General Lee, in Richmond, supplied his army; and that, in his judgment, matters were drawing to a crisis, his only apprehension being that General Lee would not wait long enough.
I explained that my army at Goldsboro’ was strong enough to fight Lee’s army and Johnston’s combined, provided that General Grant could come up within a day or so; that if Lee would only remain in Richmond another fortnight, I could march up to Burkesville, when Lee would have to starve inside of his lines, or come out from his intrenchments and fight us on equal terms.
Both General Grant and myself supposed that one or the other of us would have to fight one more bloody battle, and that it would be the last. Mr. Lincoln exclaimed, more than once, that there had been blood enough shed, and asked us if another battle could not be avoided. I said that we could not control that event; that this necessarily rested with our enemy; and I inferred that both Jefferson Davis and General Lee would be forced to fight one more desperate and bloody battle.
I suppose it would fall on me, somewhere near Raleigh; and General Grant added that, if Lee would only wait a few more days, he would have his army so disposed that if the enemy should abandon Richmond, and attempt to make junction with General Jos. Johnston in North Carolina, he would be on his heels. Mr. Lincoln more than once expressed uneasiness that I was not with my army at Goldsboro’, when I again assured him that General Schofield was fully competent to command in my absence; that I was going to start back that very day, and that Admiral Porter had kindly provided for me the steamer Bat, which he said was much swifter than my own vessel, the Russia.
I inquired of the President if he was all ready for the end of the war. What is to be done with the rebel armies when defeated? And what should be done with the political leaders, such as Jeff. Davis, etc.? Should we allow them to escape, etc.? He said he was all ready; all he wanted of us was to defeat the opposing armies, and to get the men composing the Confederate armies back to their homes, at work on their farms and in their shops. As to Jeff. Davis, he was hardly at liberty to speak his mind fully, but intimated that he ought to clear out, “escape the country,” only it would not do for him to say so openly.
As we parted at the gangway of the River Queen, about noon the president said he would feel better when I was back at Goldsboro. I arranged with General Grant for changes in the organization of my army; and the general also undertook to send to North Carolina some tug-boat and barges to carry stores from Newbern up as far as Kinston, whence they could be hauled in wagons to our camps, thus relieving our railroads to that extent. I undertook to be ready to march north by April 10th, and then embarked on the steamer Bat, Captain Barnes, for North Carolina. We steamed down James River, and at Old Point Comfort took on board my brother, Senator Sherman, and Mr. Edwin Stanton, son of the Secretary of War, and proceeded at once to our destination.
Slocum was offically named to command the Army of Georgia:
GENERAL ORDERS, WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENEAL’S OFFICE, Numbers 51.
Washigton, March 28, 1865
By direction of the president, the Fourteenth and Twentieth Army Corps will constitute the Army of Georgia, of which Major General H. W. Slocum is assigned to the command.
By order of the Secretary of War:
E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General
Washington City, March 28, 1865- 10. 45 a. m.
Major- General SHERMAN, City Point:
General McCallum is on his way from Fortess Monroe to City Point to report to you. From him you can get all the information you desire respecting rolling-stock, railroads, &c., and you will please give him such instructions as you desire him to follow. Your brother, Honorable John Sherman, left here last night for City Point.
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES, City Point, March 28, 1865.
General DODGE, Norfolk:
General McCallum will meet me today here at City Point, or at old Point Comfort. He has sent down to Morehead City several locomotives and cars of the narrow gauge, and I will see him before taking any fromNorfolk. General Ingalls has promised me a fair share of barges, and I will procure his order for them this morning. I will be down to old Point tonight on the navy boat Bat.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major- General
CITY POINT, VA., March 28, 1865.
Honorable E. M. STANTON:
I await the arrival of General McCallum until his arrival here at 3 p.m., when I will take him with me to New Bern. Before leaving I will arrange with General Ingalls and Admiral Porter for barges and tugs to transport stores from New Bern up to Kinston, where my wagons can meet them and fill up. I will be at Goldsborough the day after tomorrow. Whilst here also I shall make complete arrangements for my next port of entery at Winton, on the Chowan, or Halifax, on the Roanoke. I have had a long interview with Geneal Grant and the President, and think that everything wears a most favorable aspect. I suppose John Sherman to be with General McCallum, and will prevail on him to go with me as far as Goldsborough. Many thanks for the prompt attention given to our wants.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.
Washington, March 28, 1865. 7:30 p.m.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Fortress Monroe:
God speed you; and that He may have you in his keeping, shield you from every danger, and crown you with victory, is my earnest prayer.
E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War