Tuesday, April 18, 1865

Raleigh, North Carolina

I saw nearly all the general officers of the army- Schofield, Slocum, Howard, Logan, Blair- and we talked over the matter of the conference at Bennett’s house of the day before, and, without exception, all advised me to agree to some terms, for they all dreaded the long and harassing march in pursuit of a dissolving and fleeing army, a march that might carry us back again over the thousand miles that we had just accomplished. We all knew that if we could bring Johnston’s army to bay, we could destroy it in an hour, but that was simply impossible in the country in which we found ourselves. We discussed all the probabilities, among which was, whether, if Johnston made a point of it, I should assent to the escape from the country of Jeff. Davis and his fugitive cabinet; and one of my general officers, either Logan or Blair, insisted that, if asked for, we should even provide a vessel to carry them to Nassau from Charleston.

I again started in the cars to Durham’s Station, accompanied by most of my personal staff, and by Generals Blair, Barry, Howard, etc., and, reaching General Kilpatrick’s headquarters at Durham’s, we again mounted, and rode, with the same escort of the day, before, to Bennett’s house, reaching there punctually at noon. General Johnston had not yet arrived, but a courier shortly came, and reported him as on the way. It must have been nearly 2 p.m. when he arrived, as before, with General Wade Hampton. He had halted his escort out of sight, and we again entered Bennett’s house, and I closed the door.

General Johnston then assured me that he had authority over all the Confederate armies, so that they would obey his orders to surrender on the same terms with his own, but he argued that, to obtain so cheaply this desirable result, I ought to give his men and officers some assurance of their political rights after their surrender. I explained to him that Mr. Lincoln’s proclamation of amnesty, of December 8, 1863, still in force; enabled every Confederate soldier and officer, below the rank of colonel, to obtain an absolute pardon, by simply laying down his arms, and taking the common oath of allegiance, and that General Grant, in accepting the surrender of General Lee’s army, had extended the same principle to all the officers, General Lee included; such a pardon, I understood, would restore to them all their rights of citizenship. But he insisted that the officers and men of the Confederate army were unnecessarily alarmed about this matter, as a sort of bugbear. He then said that Mr. Breckenridge was near at hand, and he thought that it would be well for him to be present. I objected, on the score that he was then in Davis’s cabinet, and our negotiations should be confined strictly to belligerents. He then said Breckenridge was a major-general in the Confederate army, and might sink his character of Secretary of War. I consented, and he sent one of his staff-officers back, who soon returned with Breckenridge, and he entered the room.

General Johnston and I then again went over the whole ground, and Breckenridge confirmed what he had said as to the uneasiness of the Southern officers and soldiers about their political rights in case of surrender. While we were in consultation, a messenger came with a parcel of papers, which General Johnston said were from Mr. Reagan, Postmaster-General. He and Breckenridge looked over them, and, after some side conversation, he handed one of the papers to me. It was in Reagan’s handwriting, and began with a long preamble and terms, so general and verbose, that I said they were inadmissible. Then recalling the conversation of Mr. Lincoln, at City Point, I sat down at the table, and wrote off the terms, which I thought concisely expressed his views and wishes, and explained that I was willing to submit these terms to the new President, Mr. Johnson, provided that both armies should remain in statu quo until the truce therein declared should expire. I had full faith that General Johnston would religiously respect and that I would be the gainer, for in the few days it would take to send the papers to Washington, and receive an answer, I could finish the railroad up to Raleigh, and be the better prepared for a long chase.

Neither Mr. Breckenridge nor General Johnston wrote one word of that paper. I wrote
it myself, and announced it as the best I could do, and they readily assented.
While copies of this paper were being made for signature, the officers of our staffs commingled in the yard at Bennett’s house, and were all presented to Generals Johnston and Breckenridge. All without exception were rejoiced that the war was over, and that in a very few days we could turn our faces toward home. I remember telling Breckenridge that he had better get away, as the feeling of our people was utterly hostile to the political element of the South, and to him especially, because he was the Vice-President of the United States, who had as such announced Mr. Lincoln, of Illinois, duly and properly elected the President of the United States, and yet that he had afterward openly rebelled and taken up arms against the Government. He answered me that he surely would give us no more trouble, and intimated that he would speedily leave the country forever. I may have also advised him that Mr. Davis too should get abroad as soon as possible.

The papers were duly signed; we parted about dark, and my party returned to Raleigh.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., 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 and the Rio Grande. Mr. Breckinridge was present at our conference in his capacity as major-general, and satisfied me of the ability of General Johnston to carry out to the 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 to disperse his armies absolutely. 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 to 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 Breckinridge admitted that slavely 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 if 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, Sixteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-third Corps, via Burkevill and Gordonsville, to Frederick or Hagerstown, 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 1. 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 our own.
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.

First. The contending armies now in the field to maintain the status quo until notice is given by the commanding general of any one to its opponent, and reasonable time, say forty-eight hours, allowed.

Second. 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 both 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 meantime to be used solely to maintain peace and order within the borders of the States, respectively.

Third. 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.

Fourth. The re-establishment of all the Federal courts in the several States, with powers as defined by the Constitution and laws of Congress.

Fifth. 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 and property, as defined by the Constitution of the United States and of the States, respectively.

Sixth. 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 residence.

Seventh. In general terms, the war to cease, a general amnesty, as 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 programme.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding Army United States in North Carolina.
J. E. JOHNSTON, General, Commanding C. S. Army in North Carolina.

As the avowed motive of the Government of the United States for the prosecution of the existing war with the Confederate states is to secure a reunion of all the States under one common government, and as wisdom and sound policy alike require that a common government should rest on the consent and be supported by the affections of all the people who compose it: Now, in order to ascertain whether it be practicable to put an end to the existing war and to the consequent destruction of life and property, having in view the correspondence and conversation which has recently taken place between Major

General W. T. Sherman and myself, I propose the following points as a basis of pacification:

First. The disbanding of the military forces of the Confederacy; and,

Second. The recognition of the Constitution and authority of the Government of the United States on the following conditions:

Third. The preservation and continuance of the State governments.

Fourth. The preservation to the people of all the political rights and right of person and property secured to them by the Constitution of the United States and of their several States.

Fifth. Freedom from future persecution or penalties for their participation in the present war.

Sixth. Agreement to a general suspension of hostilities pending these negotiations.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 18, 1865.

General H. W. HALLECK, Chief of Staff, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I received your dispatch describing the man Clark detailed to assassinate me. He had better be in a furry or he will be too late. The news of Mr. Lincoln’s death produced a most intense effect on our troops. At first I feared it would lead to excesses, but now it has softened down and can easily by guided. None evinced more feeling than General Johnston, who admitted that the act was calculated to stain his cause with a dark hue, and he contended that the loss was most serious to the people of the South, who had begun to realize that Mr. Lincoln was the best friend the South had. I cannot believe that even Mr. Davis was privy to the diabolical plot, but think it the emanation of a set of young men of the South who are very devils. I want to throw upon the South the care of this class of men, who will soon be as obnoxious to their industrial classes as to us.

Had I pushed Johnston’s army to an extremity these would have dispersed and would have done infinite mischief. Johnston informed me that Stoneman had been at Salisbury and was now about Statesville. I have sent him orders to come to me. General Johnston also informed me that Wilson was at Columbus, Ga., and he wanted me to arrest his progress. I leave that to you.

Indeed, if the President sanctions my agreement with Johnston, our interest is to cease all destruction. Please give all orders necessary according to the views the Executive may take, and influence him, of possible, not to very the terms at all, for I have considered everything and believe that the Confederate armies once dispersed we can adjust all else fairly and well.
I am, yours, &c.,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 18, 1865.
Commanding GENERAL ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES IN VIRGINIA:
GENERAL: I have agreed with General Joseph E. Johnston for a temporary cessation of active hostilities, to enable me to lay before our Government at Washington the agreement made between us, with the full sanction of Mr. Davis and in the presence of Mr. Breckinridge, of the disbandment of all the armies of the Confederacy from here to the Rio Grande. If any of your forces are moving toward Johnston I beg you to check them where they are or at the extremity of any railroad where they may be supplied until you receive orders from general Grant, or until I notify you that the agreement is at an end and hostilities resumed.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding.

SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS,Numbers 57.
HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 18,
1865.
I. Major Henry Hitchock, assistant adjutant-general, member of the personal staff of the general-in-chief, will proceed with dispatches from him to Washington without delay, deliver them to Major-General Halleck, receive answers to the same, and return here with all possible expedition. The quartermaster’s department will furnish the necessary transportation, and furnish Major Hitchock with all means to facilitate him in the execution of his orders.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

HDQRS. SECOND DIST., DEPT. OF NORTH CAROLINA, Nash County, N. C., April 18, 1865.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding U. S. Forces, Raleigh:
GENERAL: Finding that General Johnston has surrendered his army, of which my command forms a detached part, I have the honor to surrender the command, with the request that the same terms be allowed us as were given to General Johnston’s army.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. S. BAKER, Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

MOREHEAD CITY, April 18, 1865.
Major-General SHERMAN, Raleigh:
Troops are constantly arriving here for your army. Eleven hundred and fifty have just arrived belonging to the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps and the cavalry. Do you want them sent to the front? It will be necessary for them to march if supplies are to go forward. I have about thirty days’ grain on hand for your army and a good deal of clothing and some quartermaster’ stores. Do you think it worth while for me to send for more clothing and quartermaster’s property?
L. C. EASTON, Chief Quartermaster.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 18, 1865.
General EASTON:
Dispatch received. Let the troops march up to New Berne and there await orders. You may now send forward forage and provisions, and only enough clothing for immediate wants. I have no doubt that I have this day made terms with Johnston that will close the war and leave us only to march home. A month’s supply on hand is ample.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, April 18, 1865 – 9. 30 p. m.
General EASTON, Morehead:
Major Hitchcock leaves here in an hour for Washington with dispatches of great importance. Have the most fleet steamer you can obtain ready on his arrival to take him direct to Washington, and return subject to his orders. He will telegraph you from Goldsborough and New Berne, and you can calculate the time you will have, but he must not be delayed a minute.
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Assistant Adjutant-General.
CHAPEL HILL, N. C., April 18, 1865.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi:
GENERAL: In a hastily written communication addressed to Governor Graham on the 8th instant, which led to our visit to your headquarters on the 12th, I had occasion to remark that since the organization of our State government in 1776 North Carolina had never passed through so severe an ordeal as that in the midst of which we are at present. Unless something can be done to prevent suffering, private, death on the battle-field, death in the most horrible of all forms, the slow and ligering death of famine, is imminent to thousands – not only men, but helpless women and children. The statement was not overdrawn then, but has been rendered more emphatically true by subsequent events. On my return to this village on Saturday morning, the 15th instant, I found that General Wheeler with his division of cavalry had been encamped here for two or three days. He resumed his march the next day (Sunday), leaving the country in his rear denunded of every species of forage to a great extent, and taking with him a number of horses and mules. General Atkins arrived with his brigade, constituting a part of General Kilpatrick’s division, on Monday morning, and is in camp here at present. I have had repeated interviews with General Atkins, and take pleasure in stating that he manifests every disposition to execute his orders with all the forbearance compatible with the proper discharge of his duty. Many worthy families are, nevertheless, represented to me, on evidence the accuracy of which I cannot doubt, to be stripped of the necessary means of subsistence for man and beast. A Baptist clergyman, a most estimable, useful, and charitable citizen, and the most extensive farmer within a circle of three miles, is almost entirely destitute of provisions for man and beast, and with a family of about fifty persons (white and colored) has not a single horse or mules. Other instances not less striking of persons in more humble circumstances are supposed to exist. I refer particularly to the case of Mr. Purefoy (above) because he has been my very near neighbor for about thirty years, and I hold him in the highest estimation. He, like many others, is not only without the present means of subsistence, but unless his horses and mules can be restored or replaced can make no provisions for the future. The delay of a few days only may render it impossible to plant corn in proper time. I am satisfied from my own knowledge of your character and the impressions made upon me during our recent interview that you have no disposition to add to the horror prevailing yourself, but that, on the contrary, you are disposed to treat the peaceful tillers of the soil with no unnecessary harshness or severity. I venture to hope, moreover, that the present state of the negotiations between the authorities of the contending armies will enable you to relax the severity of the orders under which General Atkins is acting, and I am well satisfied that if you shall regard yourself justified by the course of events in doing so an intimation of your disposition will be most welcome intelligence to him,
I am, general, your most obedient servant,
D. L. SWAIN.

HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, THIRD CAVALRY DIVISION,
Chapel Hill, N. C., April 19, 1865.
At the instance of Honorable Mr. Swain I beg to state that my command has taken many animals, which we will greatly need if the campaign is to be continued, and which I would with pleasure receive an order to return to the citizens if no campaign is made, believing it would relieve much suffering in this community.
AMITH D. ATKINS, Brevet Brigadier-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY COMMAND,
April 20, 1865.
The horse and mules referred to cannot be returned without dismounting men.
J. KILPATRICK, Brevet Major-General of Volunteers.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Twenty-seven Miles Northwest of Raleigh, April 18, 1865.
Major-General STONEMAN, Commanding Cavalry:
GENERAL: General Johnston and I have agreed to maintain a truce in the nature of status quo by which each is to stand fast till certain propositions looking to a general peace are referred to our respective principals. You may therefore cease hostilities, but for supplies may come to me near Raleigh. Keep your command well in hand and approach Durham’s Station or Chapel Hill, and I will supply you by our railroad. As soon as you reach the outer pickets report to me in person or by telegraph.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding.

The above order is given by agreement between Major-General Sherman and myself. The march of Major-General Stoneman’s command under it is not to be interfered with by Confederate troops.
J. E. JOHNSTON, General.

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