Friday, April 14, 1865

Raleigh, North Carolina

General Kilpatrick reported from Durham’s Station, twenty-six miles up the railroad toward Hillsboro’, that a flag of truce had come in from the enemy with a package from General Johnston addressed to me. Taking it for granted that this was preliminary to a surrender, I ordered the message to be sent me at Raleigh, and I received from General Johnston a letter dated April 13, 1865, in these words:

The results of the recent campaign in Virginia have changed the relative military condition of the belligerents. I am, therefore, induced to address you in this form the inquiry whether, to stop the further effusion of blood and devastation of property, you are willing to make a temporary suspension of active operations, and to communicate to Lieutenant- General Grant, commanding the armies of the United States, the request that he will take like action in regard to other armies, the object being to permit the civil authorities to enter into the needful arrangements to terminate the existing war.

To which I replied as follows:

HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI IN THE FIELD, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA, April 14, 1865.

General J. E. JOHNSTON, commanding Confederate Army.
I have this moment received your communication of this date. I am fully empowered to arrange with you any terms for the suspension of farther hostilities between the armies commanded by you and those commanded by myself, and will be willing to confer with you to that end. I will limit the advance of my main column, tomorrow, to Morrisville, and the cavalry to the university, and expect that you will also maintain the present position of your forces until each has notice of a failure to agree.

That a basis of action may be had, I undertake to abide by the same terms and conditions as were made by Generals Grant and Lee at Appomattox Court-House, on the 9th instant, relative to our two armies; and, furthermore, to obtain from General Grant an order to suspend the movements of any troops from the direction of Virginia. General Stoneman is under my command, and my order will suspend any devastation or destruction contemplated by him. I will add that I really desire to save the people of North Carolina the damage they would sustain by the march of this army through the central or western parts of the State.

I am, with respect, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

I sent my aide-de-camp, Colonel McCoy, up to Durham’s Station with this letter, with instructions to receive the answer, to telegraph its contents back to me at Raleigh, and to arrange for an interview.

RALEIGH, April 14, 1865

General EASTON, New Berne:
I want the road repaired up to Raleigh and put in order, but no stores sent up till you hear we need them. I suppose Johnston to be about Greensborough and Salisbury, and I must go there, and will endeavor to capture his army and material. Of course he cannot fight mw now, and all I fear is he may scatter his men and escape. We will take vast amounts of railroad stock and other property, because it can’t escape us, but it will take time to run to down to the sea coast. Governor Vance sought an interview wi me, but before I got his messenger back our cavalry approached Raleigh, and he went off for fear of arrest. I have sent out for him to come and see me, with a promise of safety. Keep General Grant advised of my whereabouts by all chances. The troops are now moving, but I will not go till to-morrow. I will garrison Goldsborough and Raleigh. Send me any news that may reach you. Trains all up and in good condition. I think I will find forage enough, but in any event the grass and wheat fields begin to give us pasturage.

W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

RALEIGH, April 14, 1865.
Colonel W. W. WRIGHT, Goldsborough:
We have secured two locomotives and twenty-odd good cars, and will send material down to the Neuse River, to which point the road is all good. Work up this way and run a daily train, but I will not want stores for a month, and do not want any sent until ordered from this end. Use the iron north of Goldsborough, viz, toward weldon, and keep up repairs from Goldsborough to Morehead City and Wilmington, and forward to Raleigh. I hardly think we will ever need railroad west of Raleigh.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

NEW BERNE, April 14, 1865. 10:25 p. m.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Raleigh:
Your dispatch of this date is received and your orders shall be carried out. We are pushing forward the Raleigh road with all possible dispatch night and day. Having completed my arrangements for forwarding track material I will go to the front tomorrow morning.
W. W. WRIGHT, Colonel, Chief Engineer, and General Superintendent.

SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, Numbers 55
HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 14, 1865.
The next movement will be on Ashborough to turn the position of the enemy at Company’s Shops in rear of Haw River bridge and at Greensborough, and to cut off his only available line of retreat by Salisbury and Charlotte.

I. General Kilpatrick will keep up a show of pursuit in the direction of Hillsborough and Graham, but be ready to cross the Haw River on General Howard’s bridge near Pittsborough, and thence will operate toward Greensborough on the right front of the Right Wing.

II. The Right Wing, Major-General Howard commanding, will move out on the Chapel Hill road and send a light division up in the direction of Chapel Hill University in connection with the cavalry, but the main columns and trains will move via Hackney’s Cross-Roads and Trades Hill, Pittsborough, Saint Lawrence, &c., to be followed by the cavalry and light division as soon as the bridge is laid over Haw River.

III. The Center, Major-General Schofield commanding, will move via Holly Springs, New Hill, Haywood, and Moffitt’s Mills.

IV. The Left Wing, Major-General Slocum commanding, will move rapidly by the Aven’s Ferry road, Carthage, Caledonia, and Cox’s Mills.

V. All the troops will draw well out on the roads designated during today and tomorrow, and on the following day will move with all possible rapidity for Ashborough.

No further destruction of railroads, mills, cotton, and produce will be made without specific orders of an army commander, and the inhabitants will be dealt with kindly, looking to an early reconciliation. The troops will be permitted, however, to gather forage and provisions as heretofore, only more care should be taken not to strip the poorer classes too closely.

By order of Major General W. T. Sherman

Howard Positions the Right Wing:

I. Major General John A. Logan, commanding Fifteenth Army Corps, will move his command at 6 a. m. tomorrow to Morrisville, by roads to the north of Crabtree Creek, sending a light division up in the direction of Chapel Hill University in connection with the cavalry. In the absence of further orders to the contrary this division will continue its march to Chapel Hill and rejoin the main column at the crossing of Haw River, near Hackney’s Cross-Roads.

II. Major-General Blair, commanding Seventeenth Army Corps, will move at 6 a. m. tomorrow to Jones’, by roads south of Crabtree Creek, being careful to clear the intersection of the road to Holly Springs at as early hour as possible.
* * * * *
By order of Major General O. O. Howard

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 14, 1865.

Major General H. W. SLOCUM, Commanding Army of Georgia:
GENERAL: I think it advisable that the Twentieth Corps should proceed direct from its camp on its march, and not try to pass through. I will review them at some other place on the march. Please say so to General Mower. General Schofield has 30,000 men, and I know it will be as much as I should attempt to see them pass and ride ten miles afterward. For this reason I ask to be excused from reviewing the corps tomorrow.
Yours, truly,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

HDQRS. CAVALRY COMMAND, MIL. DIV OF THE MISS., In the Field, April 14, 1865. 2 p. m.

Major L. M. DAYTON, Asst. Adjt. General, Military Division of the Mississippi:
MAJOR: I send Lieutenant Holligsworth, of my staff, for instructions. I have been resting all day, and my command has been well fed and is in good condition. My advance is within nine miles of Chapel Hill. I have a strong scouting party in upon the south of Chapel Hill watching the movements of the enemy. Johnston is evidently moving upon Greensborough, and is taking the direct road through Chapel Hill, leaving Hillsborough to his right. Such is the information I have. The troops that passed up on the cars passed through Hillsborough, making no stop. All the artillery has been shipped on the cars from that point to Greensborough. Johnston’s army is deserting him in large numbers. One sharp fight, and he is gone. I was close on his cavalry this morning, and can break it all to pieces the moment they offer me battle.
Very respectfully,
J. KILPATRICK, Brevet Major-General, Commanding Cavalry

HDQRS. MILLITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, April 14, 1865.
Major-General KILPATRICK, Commadning Cavalry:
GENERAL: I sent your orders today, but now inclose a copy. You will see I am to put my army where, if Johnston tries to pass out by Charlotte, I can strike him in flank, but if he remains at Greensborough I shall capture the whole. All I expect of you is to keep up a delusion, viz, that we are following him via the University and Hillsborough until I get my infantry heads of column across the Haw River, when I want you to cross also and feel out toward Greensborough till I get to Ashborough, when, if he remains at Greensborough, I can approach him from the south and force him to battle, to surrender, or disperse. You will perceive that we save a couple of days by cutting across the bend in the direction of Salisbury. I am very anxious to prevent his escape toward Georgia. If he does go to Georgia we can capture all the rolling-stock and vast amounts of property on the road from Salisbury back to Greensborough.

The governor asks me to suspend hostilities and to confer with him. I am willing to confer with him but not to suspend hostilities. I will not suspend hostilities till Johnston’s army is captured or scattered. General Howard tomorrow will have one corps at Jones’s Station and one at Morrison’s Station. Next day all move by separate roads for Ashborough. My army is very large, and cannot more as fast as Johnston’s, whom has the assistance of the railroad. I am in hopes that General Sheridan will come down, when he, with the aid of your cavalry, can get ahead of him and hold him until we get up, when we can make short work of him. The people here manifest more signs of subjugation than I have yet seen, but Jeff. Davis has more lives than a cat and we must not trust him. If you reach the University do not disturb its library, buildings, or specific property.
Yours truly,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 14, 1865.
General KILPATRICK, Commanding Cavalry:
GENERAL: The letter by flag of truce is from General Johnston, which is the beginning of the end. Send my answer at once, and tomorrow do not advance your cavalry beyond the University, or to a point abreast of it on the railroad. I will be up to Morrisville tomorrow to receive the answer, and it may be to confer with General Johnston. The infantry will come to Morrisville.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 14, 1865. 12 m.

Major General J. M. SCHOFIELD, Commanding Army of the Ohio:
GENERAL: The general-in-chief is just in receipt of a communication from General Johnston, C. S. Army, which is the forerunner to events that may obviate our contemplated long arch. You will, therefore, by his direction tomorrow (15th) place one corps of your command at Holly springs and the other just outside of Raleigh, in the direction of the proposed march, and there await further directions from him.
I have the honor to be, general, yours, &c.,
L. M. DAYTON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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