Friday, April 21, 1865

Raleigh, North Carolina

I received this report from General Wilson in Macon, Georgia via General Johnston:

Headquarters Cavalry Corps, Military Division of the Mississippi, Macon, April 20:
Major General W. T. SHERMAN: (Through headquarters General Beauregard.)
My advance received the surrender of this with its garrison this evening. General Cobb had previously se3nt me, under flag of truce, a copy of a telegram form General Beauregard declaring the existence of an armistice between all the troops under your command and those of General Johnston. Without question the authority of this dispatch or the application to my command. I could not communicate orders to my advance in time to prevent the capture of the place. I shall therefore hold its garrison, including Major-Generals Cobb and G. W. Smith and Brigadier-General Mackall, prisoners of war. Please send me orders. I shall remain here a reasonable length of time to hear from you.
J. H. WILSON, Brevet Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 21 1865.
General J. E. JOHNSTON, Commanding Confederate Army:
GENERAL: I send you a letter for General Wilson, which, if sent by telegraph and courier, will check his career. He may mistrust the telegraph, therefore better send the original, for he cannot mistake my handwriting, with which he is familiar. He seems to have his blood up and will be hard to hold. If he can buy corn, fodder, and rations down about Fort Valley it will obviate the necessity of his going up to Rome or Dalton. It is reported to me from Cairo that Mobile is in our possession, but it is not minute or official. General Baker sent in to me wanting to surrender his command on the theory that the whole Confederate Army was surrendered. I explained to him or his staff officer the exact truth and left him to act as he thought proper. He seems to have disbanded his men, deposited a few arms about twenty miles from here and himself awaits your action. I will not hold him, his men, or arms subject to any condition other than final one we may agree on.

I shall look for Major Hitchcock back from Washington on Wednesday and shall promptly notify you of the result. By the action of General Weitzel, in relation to the Virginia Legislature, I feel certain we will have no trouble on the score of recognizing existing State governements. It may be the lawyers will want us to define more minutely what is meant by the guarantee of rights of person and property. It may be construed into a compart for us to undo the past as to the righst of slaves and “leases of plantations” on the Mississippi, of “vacant and abandoned” plantations. I wish you would talk to the best men you have on these points and if possible let us in the final convention make these points so clear as to leave no room for angry controversy. I believe, if the South publicly declare what we all feel, that slavery, is dead, that you would inaugurate an era of peace and prosperity that would soon efface the ravages of the past four years of war. Negroes would remain in the South and afford you abundance of cheap labor which otherwise will be driven away, and it will save the country the senseless discussions which have kept us all in hot water for fifty years.

Although strictly speaking this is no subject of a military convention, yet I am honestly convinced that our simple declaration of a result will be accepted as good law everywhere. Of course I have not a single word from Washington on this or any other point of our agreement, but I know the effect of such a step by us will be universally accepted.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, U. S. Army.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 21, 1865.

General JAMES H. WILSON, Commanding Cavalry, Division of the Mississippi, Macon, Ga.: (Through General J. E. Johnston)
GENERAL: A suspension of hostilities was agreed on between General Johnston and myself on Tuesday, April 18, at 12 noon. I want that agreement religioulsy observed, and you may release the generals captured at Macon, occupy ground convenient, contract for supplies for your command, and forbear any act of hostility until you hear or have reason to believe hostilities are resumed. In the meanitime, it is also agreed the position of the enemy’s forces must not be altered to our prejudice. You know by this time that General Lee has surrendered to General Grant the rebel Army of Northern Virginia, and that I only await the sanction of the President. You will shape your conduct on this knowledge unless you have overwhelming proof to the contrary.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 21, 1865.
General BRIDGE, Goldsborough:
Notify General Prince that all bridges over Neuse River have been destroyed but the one known on our maps as Hinton’s Bridge. He had therefore better send a pioneer party in advance of his command to build a trestle-bridge at Smithfield. He will find plenty of material there by using houses.
L. M. DAYTON, Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 21, 1865.
S. L. FREMONT, Esq, Wilmington, N. C.:
SIR: I have before me your letter addressed to General Hawley, inclosing a paper signed by John Dawson, Edward Kiddon, and others testifying to your feelings of loyalty and attachment to the Government of the United States. Of course I am gratifield to know the truth as to one for whom I entertained friendship dated far back in other and better days. I will be frank and honest with you. Simple passive submission to events by a man in the prime of life is not all that is due to society in times of revolution. Had the Northern men residing at the South spoken out manfully and truly at the outset, the active secessionists could not have carried the masses of men as they did. It may not be that the war could have been avoided, but the rebellion would not have assumed the mammoth proportions it did.

The idea of war to perpetuate slavery in the year 1861 was insult to the intelligence of the age. As long as the South abided by the conditions of our fundamental contract of government, the Constitution, all law abiding citizens were bound to respect the property in slaves, whether they approved it or not, but when the South violated that compact openly, publicly, and violently, it was absurd to suppose we were bound to respect that kind of property or any kind of property. I do have a feeling allied to abhorrence toward Northern men resident South, for their silence or asquiescence was one of the causes of the war assuming the magnitude it did, and in consequence we mourn the loss of such men as John F. Reynolds, McPherson, and thousands of noble gentlemen, any one of whom was worth all slaves of the South and half of the white popultion thrown in.

The result is nearly accomplished, and is what you might have foreseen, and in a measure prevented: desolation from the Ohio to the Gulf, and mourning in every household. I am not made of stone, and cannot help indulging in a feeling toward the Union men South who failed at the proper time to meet the storm and check it before it gained full headway. I have a right to speak thus, because I was South in 1861 and saw myself such men as Duncan, Bush, Johnston, and others join in the popular sneer at Yankees when they knew better. For them I have not aparticle of sympathy, and for the other calsses of Northern men who were coerced or wheedled into asquiescence or neutrality, all I can say is that I will not sit in judgment on them, but I shall never confide in their courage, manliness, or virtue.
I am, with respect,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

NEW BERNE, April 21, 1865.
Major-General SHERMAN:
The members of the legisltaure now here request me to say to you that they do not expect an early meeting, but they desire to have an interview with you, hoping to aid the pacifiacation of the State and make suggestions thereto. Can they go to Raleigh?
I. N. PALMER, Brigadier-General.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, April 21, 1865.
Brigadier-General PALMER, New Berne, N. C.:
The State legistature can do no good here at present, and not until the military authorities have settled military matters. Then they will be duly notified and can come up.
L. M. DAYTON, Assistant Adjutant-General

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