April 5, 1865

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Goldsborough, N. C., April 5, 1865

Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field, Goldsboro N.C., April 5, 1865

Major General Robert Anderson Charleston S.C.

Dear General,
I see in the papers that an order has been made by the War Dept. that on the 14th instant you are to raise the same flag over Sumpter which you were compelled to lower from years ago, and that I am supposed to be Present. I will be there in thought but not in person, and I am glad that it falls to the lot of one so pure and noble to represent our country in a drama so solemn so majestic and so just. It looks as a Retribution decreed by Heaven itself. I doubt if we could have fashioned Events ourselves, we could have produced a better conclusion. Four years of bitter war have tested our Manhood, and dissipated the rude boasting of a class of men of which nothing but Horrid war could have purged our Country. But alas many of them have escaped punishment as yet, and have involved thousands & millions of innocents. But the End is not yet. The brain that first conceived the thought must burst in anguish, the heart that pulsated with hellish joy must cease to beat, and the hand that pulled the first lanyard must be palsied, before the wicked act that began in Charleston on the 13th of April 1861 is avenged. But Mine not thine is Vengeance saith the Lord, and we poor sinners must let Him work out the drama to its Close.

I have not been in Charleston since we parted then, captain & Lieutenant in the spring of 1846: but I can see it in imagination almost as clearly as you behold it with your Eyes: and though I may be far away, you may think of me as standing by your side, ready to aid you with labor to achieve the End I know you Strive to attain, Not to pull down the Sacred fabric of our Government, but to improve it, and to strengthen it, so that the good and the brave will seek the shelter of its Flag, and the Evil & treacherous shall fly to other Lands.

Your Lieutenant
W. T. Sherman, Major General

Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field, Goldsboro N.C.
April 5, 1865

Admiral Dahlgren, Washington D.C.
Dear Admiral
I was in hopes when we reached a Port I would find you, but the winds & wane of fortune carried me beyond your jurisdiction and landed me in Admiral Porter’s Dominions. I first found the Gunboat Eden in Cape Fear River, and Since have found Capt. Macomb in Pimlico Sound as well as the Admiral himself at City Point. But I hear you are relieved at your own request and gone home. I Should have much liked to have seen you and talked over the Symptoms which Our Patient Charleston exhibited as I touched her vital chords with my blunt Army. You see I was right in not wasting time on Fort Moultrie, and had Admiral Porter waited a couple months, I could have taken Wilmington, Fort Fisher and all without a blow. There was no power Save Lee & Johnston combined that could prevent me reaching Fayetteville N.C. Over there no Enemy could remain down in the Right of Cape Fear River. I told Admiral Porter that he had stolen my thunder, But on the whole we all have reason to be satisfied. No longer does a little dirty flag defy us on Salt Water. The majesty of our Government is beginning to be felt, and Rebels will pause when they think of Charleston ere they dare raise their hands in anger against the Emblem of our Nationality.

I cannot even go to Charleston to weep over its Ruins—where many a happy day of my early life was spent—nor do I feel inclined to go, but its lesson will stand long after you & I are gone, Eloquent in its Sadness.

I trust your health is better, and that you soon may realize another hope which I Know you Cherish, to go to that other proud but doomed city, and remove thence all that is left to earth of your son Ulric.

May we meet soon in Peace. Your friend,
W. T. Sherman Major General

Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field, Goldsboro N.C., April 5, 1865

Honorable T. Ewing Washington D.C.
Dear Sir,
I send a messenger tonight for Washington with my Report map &c. I also send him to Ellen to carry her some letters, the MS. of my Report with maps I have used on the Campaign for her to preserve among the family archives. The Sergeant takes to Ellen from his Regiment 13 Iowa Infantry, the Rebel flag that was over the State House Columbia S.C. as a contribution to the Fair of which it seems she is a patroness. She wrote to me for trophies. Of course I can have no trophies, nor strictly speaking should any officer or Soldier appropriate any capture. But as Flags have been taken by hundreds, and the War Dept. don’t want them I generally let the Captors take them or send them to their Sweethearts. The Colonel of this Regiment sends the flag to Ellen for the Fair, and I cannot well say nay, but if you think there is any impropriety in Ellen’s touching it as a trophy, telegraph her, and the flag can quietly go to Iowa, or come back to the Garret in the War office. It might be proper to inquire of Mr. Stanton, the only person who would be likely to notice the fact. I think Mr. Lincoln would say amen, if I had rolled & appropriated the contents of a Bank. I have been the means of saving to the Treasury Twenty millions in cotton and nearly as much in food & forage for my army and yet I have not money enough to get a pair of shoes. There is no paymaster about. I have to draw on Halleck to pay the Sergeant’s way from Washington out to South Bend. I advise this person to enquire for you that you will likely Know if Ellen be at Chicago or South Bend.

Charley has now a Brigade & must work out his destiny. It is impossible for Schofield to give Hugh a Division. The Division he was assigned to was composed of fragments belonging to this army & the moment they come together the Division was absolved & ceased to exist. I think Schofield contemplates giving Hugh a command up the Chowac, which will probably be my next Base. I would like to have you Read my Report, which goes to Halleck, the original notes to Ellen. I think you will be satisfied with the manner in which I dispose of Charleston, as also of the burning of Columbia. I am preparing to go butt end, at Joe Johnston towards Raleigh, but shall trust to manoeuvre which wins better than rough fighting. My army now is 30,000 stronger than when I left Atlanta and even more in Morale. I certainly have maintained the army in wonderful health and Strength. It has never been so hungry or tired but that it could have fought a battle at night. I have also had a full share of luck in making combinations on arrival. This at Goldsboro, surpasses that at Savannah. Still the struggle is to come and I feel ready & willing to meet it and Shall not postpone it an hour.
Affectionately, your son,
W. T. Sherman

Hdqrs. Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field, Goldsborough, N.C.,
April 5, 1865.

His Excellency Michael Hahn, Governor of Louisiana, New Orleans:
Dear Sir:
I had the honor to receive your letter of March 3 inclosing the embossed copy of the resolutions of the Legislature of Louisiana approved March 3, 1865. I will publish them in general orders to the army, and think that it will be a source of pride for the officers and men to see the deep interest that is felt in them by the constituted authorities of your favored State. I thank you kindly for recalling to me the events that attended me at Alexandria at the outset of this war. No man not actually present at the South can comprehend the toils and snares laid by old, wily, and mischievous traitors to ensnare the young and credulous. Truth was perverted, prejudices kindled into a wild passion, and a false pride begotten, calculated to mislead the youth, and even old men, into a belief that the whole fabric of our Government was weak and tottering, and was about to fall with a crash that would ruin all who clung to its fortunes. I cannot pretend to superior wisdom, but in the retirement of the pine woods of Rapides Parish my day dreams still rested on the high seas, in California, on the broad plains of Kansas, the majestic valley of the Mississippi, and the Atlantic slope with its busy, industrious people, where I had roved in former days, everywhere realizing the fact that our General Government was kind and paternal, and that its faults (if any) arose from an excess of leniency and forbearance, and I could not be made to believe that it should yield the destiny of our future to the guidance of the few discontented demagogues of the South, or its conceited cotton planters and negro owners.

I am willing to say, however, that I regarded the Constitution as a bargain. That we of the North should respect slave property without going into its abstracts, merits, or defects, and had the Southern people abided by the common laws and tribunals, would have fought to maintain such property, but the moment they ignored the compact and appealed to war we were no longer bound in law or honor to respect that obnoxious species of property. As soon as war is over I believe that good men can readjust the affairs of the country so that slaves will never again be bought and sold, and yet the labor of all be directed again to the development of the vast agricultural wealth that lies in the future fields of the South. Accept my hearty thanks for considering me still a citizen of Louisiana, and I beg you to foster and encourage all its native population to adapt their thoughts and feeling to the new order of things, which will soon efface the dread ravages of war, and make Louisiana the safe guardian of the outlet of the mightiest river on earth.

With great respect, your friend and servant,
W. T. Sherman, Major-General

Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field, Goldsboro N.C., April 5, 1865

Dearest Ellen,
I have now finished my Report, & answered all letters that called for my personal action. These are being copied and sent by a courier tomorrow and then “What Next” as old Lincoln says. That next is also thought over and it again takes me into danger and trouble, but you must now be so used to it that you can hardly care. I have no late letters from you, none since you wrote to Chicago, but you too are becoming a public character and the busy newspapers follow you. I see that the public authorities & citizens of Chicago paid you a public visit with speeches & music & that Bishop Duggan responded for you. If these give you pleasure I am glad of it for I would rather that you and the children should be benefitted by any fame I may achieve than that it Should Enure to me personally. Of Course as a General my case will be scrutinized very closely by men abroad as well as here and my reputation will rather depend on their judgment than on any mere temporary applause.

I have been trying to get some pay to send you, for I suppose you are “short”, but the Paymasters cannot catch up, and in a few days I will be off again. I have pay due since Jan. 1. and yet was unable the other day to buy a pair of shoes which I need. I have those big boots you sent me from Cincinnati but the weather is getting warmer and they are too close & heavy. They stood me a good turn however on the last march when for weeks we were up to our eyes in mud & water.

When we got here the Army was ragged & hard up, but already our new clothing is issued and I will challenge the world to Exhibit a finer looking set of men—Brawny, strong, swarthy, a contrast to the weak & sickly fellows that Came to me in Kentucky three years ago. It is a great truth that men exposed to the Elements don’t “Catch Cold” and I have not heard a man cough or sneeze for three months, but were these Same men to go into houses in a month the Doctor would have half of them. Now the Doctors have no employment. I myself am very well though in a house for the time being and to have the convenience of a table & chair to write, also to prevent the flaring of the candle which makes writing in a tent almost impossible. I write as usual very fast & can Keep half a dozen clerks busy in copying. Hitchcock (nephew of the General) writes private letters not needing my personal attention such as autographs & locks of hair. Dayton the military orders, but I must of Course keep up correspondence with War Dept., General Grant, my army commanders, Governors. of States &c. and you should be satisfied even if my letters are hasty & ill digested. You can almost trace my progress through the world by the newspapers.

Charley now has a Brigade in Leggett’s Division, Blairs Corps. I have given him the best advice, which amounts to a close & personal attention to all details and to work out his own destiny. Hugh is at Newbern waiting orders. Schofield has no Division vacant, and may have to Send him up to the Chewac likely to be our next base. It is utterly impossible for me now to amend the fatal mistake he made in quarrelling with Logan & giving up his Division in North Alabama. I offered to restore him before we started from Nashville but he emphatically declined in Spite of my earnest advice, and now I cannot & will not displace a Junior who has worked and fought as my Division Commanders have done from Chattanooga to this place. I want you to be of my mind on this point because I fear that Hugh thinks I can & will not give him a Division. Tis not so without a breach of decency. A Cry would properly go up if I were now to displace Wood, or Hazen, or Corse, or any of my 13 Division Commanders to give position to Hugh. Had he come with me from Nashville he would long since have been a Major General, with a command & history of which he would have been proud. Whereas now he is one of those Senior Brigadier Generals that any Commanders perfectly dread. They will not accept a Brigade, the legitimate command of a Brigadier General but insist on a Division which is the legitimate command of a Major General. All the young Major Generals now with me are younger men than Hugh, but the Services & Battles of the last year have carried them over him, not from any fault of his, but as a just reward for their own zeal & labor. Charley has now a Brigade and if he too is not too impatient to be commander in chief may in due season be a Major General also. In war as in Peace men must carve out their own destiny, office age & Rank are not conclusive.

I got a long letter from Bowman last night. He is resolved to write up my Campaigns, and is anxious for the most authoritative records. These are contained in my Letter & order Books. You have some up to the time of my leaving Atlanta, Webster has those for Atlanta to Savannah, and I have here the Balance. I would much prefer he would wait the end of the war, but he wants to make money out of the job, and I do not object, for he says that others less capable will do the thing, and make a botch of it. He can get access to my official Reports at Washington as also those of my subordinate Reports, but the letters I daily write give the gradual unfolding of plans & events, better than Reports made with more formality after the events are past.

The last march from Savannah to Goldsboro, with its legitimate fruits the capture of Charleston, Georgetown and Wilmington is by far the most important in conception & execution of any act of my life. You can safely trust the fame of our children on this one campaign ignoring the past & regardless of the Future. The Country owes you & my children an honorable maintenance and now let what befall me personally I believe you & they are as well provided for as if I had laid by lands & money. Yet I would be willing to know that Something more definite were concluded. I hear nothing of that Ohio Scheme and fear like most such things it too has melted into a general resolve without execution. John Sherman says no and wanted me to consent to buying for you in Cincinnati a homestead. I don’t object but think money invested in bonds the interest of which would be paid you for daily expenses would be a more wise provision than houses that call for taxes, repairs and expenses of maintenance. You ought to have 20,000 of your own money, and if possible get it also into Shape to pay you interest. If your father needs it of course you can say nothing, but rightfully it ought not be loaned to him but to some one with whom you could deal in a business like way. If you meet John this summer you might let him look over the papers & advise you. He has a good business mind.

I continue to receive the highest compliments from all quarters, and have been singularly fortunate in escaping the envy & jealousy of rivals. Indeed officers from every quarter want to join my “Great Army.” Grant is the same enthusiastic friend. Mr. Lincoln at City Point was lavish in his good wishes and Since Mr. Stanton visited me at Savannah he too has become the warmest possible friend. Of course I could not venture north, and it accords both with my pleasure and interest to Keep close with my army proper. Officers & Soldiers have in my foresight & Knowledge a child like confidence that is really most agreeable. Whilst wading through mud & water, & heaving at mired wagons the Soldiers did not indulge in a single growl but always said & felt that the Old Man would bring them out all right, and no sooner had we reached the Cape Fear River at Fayetteville than a little squeaking tug came puffing up the River with news, and we had hardly spread out in the Camps about Goldsboro than the Locomotive & train came thundering along from the Sea 96 miles distant loaded with shoes, & pants, & clothing as well as food. So remarkable and happy a coincidence which of course I had arranged from Savannah, made the woods resound with a yell that must have reached Raleigh. Some of our officers who escaped from the enemy say that these two Coincidences made the Rebel officers swear that I was the Devil himself a compliment that you can appreciate. But enough of this vanity, save & except always when it redounds to your advantage & pleasure. My wants are few & easily gained, but if this Fame which fills the world contributes to your happiness & pleasure enjoy it as much as possible. Oh, that Willy could hear & see— his proud little heart would swell to overflowing and it may be that tis better he should not be agitated with such thoughts. The girls are less thoughtful and Tommy is more calmly constituted. I see you had him with you at Chicago. I fear his thoughts will be drawn too much away from the books, for which he must gain the Knowledge on which to base his Future much more valuable than the Short Remnants left to us.

I have written to Minnie & Lizzie and will also to Tommy before I start. I may also write again to you short letters, but this is offered as the starting point of the next. The army is now well clad & fed—our wagons are loading and on the 10th I will haul out towards Raleigh. I need not tell you my plans but they are good, and I do not see but the next move and one more will determine the Fate of this war. Not conclude it—but assure the fact that the United States have not ceased to be a nation. If we can force Lee to let go Richmond, and can whip him in open fight, I think I can come home & rest and leave others to follow up the fragments.

John Sherman came with me from Old Point only staid one day & can tell or write you much more than I can because he would notice what would interest. Charley says he writes you often, but I doubt it. We are all in good health—weather fine & Spring fairly opened—Trees leafing & fruit trees in blossom. Roads sand & good.
Love to all yours ever,
W. T. Sherman

Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field Goldsboro N.C., April 5, 1865

Dearest Ellen,
I send Sergeant Wm. A. Rose, 13 Iowa Infantry as Mail messenger to Washington with a furlough to go to his home in Iowa. He brings you as a trophy for the Fair the Rebel Flag which was captured at Columbia S.C. which you can dispose of for the benefit of the Fair. I have no trophies. It would not be right for me to have any, and it is of doubtful right for any Regt. to appropriate Articles captured, but Rebel flags are not recognized and I generally let the captors hold them. You can present this and it may be some person may attach to it a value that will contribute more to the Soldiers than to have the Rag stuck away in the garret of the War Dept. If we could remain in communication any time I think the officers here would overwhelm you with trophies. I prefer you should not use any thing from me for sale simply because it is not right. Let others do that. I also send you a Raleigh paper of April 1, which some fellow may pay you $5 for as a curiosity & Keepsake. I put my name on it.

Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field, Goldsboro NC, April 5, 1865

Hon. John Sherman Washington DC.
Dear Brother,
The Bearer of this Sergeant Rose carries to Washington my Report and Dispatches. He has some papers for Ellen, and I don’t know whether she be at South Bend or Chicago. Will you ascertain by telegraph and let her know the Sergeant is coming. He takes to her the Rebel flag that was over the State House Columbia S.C. as a contribution to the Fair at Chicago.

The sergeant is represented as a brave good Soldier, and he can tell you any thing of which you wish to enquire. All has gone well since you left us. Railroads work well and our supplies are well up, and we shall march next Monday April 10. The next two months will demonstrate whether we can manouever Lee out of Richmond and whip him in open Battle.

Your brother,
W. T. Sherman

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