Sunday, April 23, 1865

Raleigh, North Carolina

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 23, 1865 7 a.m.

General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON, Commanding Confederate Army, Greensborough:
Your communication of 2;30 p.m. yesterday is received. My line of communication with General Wilson is not secure enough for me to confuse him by a change in mere words; of course the ‘status quo” is mutual, but I leave him to apply it to his case according to his surroundings. I would not instruct him to undo all done by him between the actual date of our agreement and the time the knowledge reached him. I beg therefore to leave him free to apply the rule to his own case. Indeed, I have almost exceeded the bounds of prudence in checking him without the means of direct communication, and only did so on my absolute faith in your personal character. I inclose a dispatch for General Wilson in cipher, which translated simply advises him to keep his command well together, and to act according to the best of his ability, doing as little harm to the country as possible until he knows hostilities are resumed.
I am, with respect,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, U. S. Army.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 23, 1865.

General WILSON:
Cipher dispatch received. There is a general suspension of hostilities awaiting the assent of our new President to certain civil points before making a final military convection of peace. Act according to your own good sense until you are certain the war is over. Keep possession of some key point that will secure your present advantages, rest your men and horses, and in a few days you will receive either positive information of peace or can infer the contrary. My messenger should be back from Washington tomorrow.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 23, 1865.
Generals JOHNSTON and HARDEE:
I send bundle of papers for you jointly. These are the latest. Telegraphic dispatches are here to the 19th. Young Fred. Seward is alive, having been subjected to the trepan, and may possibly recover. There appears no doubt the murder of Mr. Lincoln was done by Booth, and the attempt on Mr. Seward by Surratt, who is in custody. All will sooner or later be caught. The feeling North on this subject is more intense than anything that ever occurred before. General Ord, at Richmond, has recalled the permission given for the Virginia Legislature, and I fear much the assassination of the President will give such a bias to the popular mind which, in connection with the desire of our politicians, may thwart our purpose of recognizing “existing local governments. ” But it does seem to me there must be good sense enough left on this continent to give order and shape to the now disjointed elements of government. I believe this assassination of Mr. Lincoln will do the cause of the South more harm than any event of the war, both at home and abroad, and I doubt if the Confederate military authorities had any more complicity with it than I had. I am thus frank with you and have asserted as much to the War Department . But I dare not say as much for Mr. Davis or some of the civil functionaries, for it seems the plot was fixed for March 4, but delayed, awaiting some instructions from Richmond. You will find in the newspaper I send you all the information I have on this point. Major Hitchcock should be back tomorrow, and if any delay occurs it will result from the changed feeling about Washington arising this new and unforeseen complication.
I am, yours,
W. T. SHERMAN.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 23, 1865 8 p.m.
General JOE E. JOHNSTON, C. S. ARMY:
Major Hitchcock reports his arrival at Morehead City with dispatches from Washington, and will be here in the morning. Please be in readiness to resume negotiations when the contents of dispatches are known.
Very respectfully,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, U. S. Army.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 23, 1865.
SUPERINTENDENTS OF RAILROAD AND TELEGRAPH, Weldon, N. C.:
General Sherman request most urgently that you will put the telegraph wire in working condition from Weldon to connect with the U. S. lines near Petersburg. The opening of this line and its use on Tuesday may be of vast importance. He will pay a reasonable sum for the expense and extra exertion to put the line working so he can use it if needed on Tuesday. Please answer.
L. M. DAYTON, Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 23, 1865
Major-General KILPATRICK, Commanding Cavalry Division:
The grades of the railroad between Goldsborough and this point are so heavy it is found impossible to spare rolling-stock to supply your command at Durham’s by railroad. If you have not sufficient wagons to supply yourself the general-in-chief is willing you should, for the convenience of supply, move the bulk of your command to within, say, ten miles of this place, leaving your pickets where now established.
I am, general, with respect,
L. M. DAYTON, Assistant Adjutant-General.

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