Monday, April 24, 1865

Raleigh, North Carolina

Major Hitchcock reported by telegraph his return to Morehead City, and that he would come up by rail during the night. He arrived at 6 a.m., April 24th, accompanied by General Grant and one or two officers of his staff, who had not telegraphed the fact of their being on the train, for prudential reasons. Of course, I was both surprised and pleased to see the general, soon learned that my terms with Johnston had been disapproved, was instructed by him to give the forty-eight hours’ notice required by the terms of the truce, and afterward to proceed to attack or follow him. I immediately telegraphed to General Kilpatrick, at Durham’s, to have a mounted courier ready to carry the following message, then on its way up by rail, to the rebel lines:

HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI IN THE FIELD, RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA, April 24, 1865 6 A.M.
General JOHNSTON, commanding Confederate Army, Greensboro’:
You will take notice that the truce or suspension of hostilities agreed to between us will cease in forty-eight hours after this is received at your lines, under the first of the articles of agreement.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General.

I wrote another short note to General Johnston:
I have replies from Washington to my communications of April 18th. I am instructed to limit my operations to your immediate command, and not to attempt civil negotiations. I therefore demand the surrender of your army on the same terms as were given to General Lee at Appomattox, April 9th instant, purely and simply.

Of course, both these papers were shown to General Grant at the time, before they were sent, and he approved of them.

I sent ordersto all parts of the army to be ready to resume the pursuit of the enemy on the expiration of the forty-eight hours’ truce, and messages were sent to General Gillmore (at Hilton Head) to the same effect, with instructions to get a similar message through to General Wilson, at Macon.

General Grant had brought with him, from Washington, written answers from the Secretary of War, and of himself, to my communications of the 18th. They embraced the copy of a dispatch made by Mr. Stanton to General Grant, when he was pressing Lee at Appomattox.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, April 21, 1865.
Lieutenant-General GRANT.
GENERAL: The memorandum or basis agreed upon between General Sherman and General Johnston having been submitted to the President, they are disapproved. You will give notice of the disapproval to General Sherman, and direct him to resume hostilities at the earliest moment.

The instructions given to you by the late President, Abraham Lincoln, on the 3rd of March, by my telegraph of that date, addressed to you, express substantially the views of President Andrew Johnson, and will be observed by General Sherman. A copy is herewith appended.

The President desires that you proceed immediately to the headquarters of Major-General Sherman, and direct operations against the enemy.
Yours truly,
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War

Grant showed me his copy of the telegram:

City Point, March 4, 1865
OFFICE UNITED STATES MILITARY TELEGRAPH, HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES
Lieutenant-General GRANT:
The President directs me to say to you that he wishes you to have no conference with General Lee, unless it be for the capitulation of Lee’s army or on solely minor and purely military matters.

He instructs me to say that you are not to decide, discuss, or confer upon any political question; such questions the President holds in his own hands, and will submit them to no military conferences or conventions.
Meantime you are to press to the utmost your military advantages.
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War

This is the Letter that Grant handed me:

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES WASHINGTON, D.C. April 21, 1865.

Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi.
GENERAL: The basis of agreement entered into between yourself and General J. E. Johnston, for the disbandment of the Southern army, and the extension of the authority of the General Government over all the territory belonging to it, sent for the approval of the President, is received.

I read it carefully myself before submitting it to the President and Secretary of War, and felt satisfied that it could not possibly be approved. My reason for these views I will give you at another time, in a more extended letter.

Your agreement touches upon questions of such vital importance that, as soon as read, I addressed a note to the Secretary of War, notifying him of their receipt, and the importance of immediate action by the President; and suggested, in view of their importance, that the entire Cabinet be called together, that all might give an expression of their opinions upon the matter. The result was a disapproval by the President of the basis laid down; a disapproval of the negotiations altogether except for the surrender of the army commanded by General Johnston, and directions to me to notify you of this decision. I cannot do no better than by sending you the inclosed copy of a dispatch (penned by the late President, though signed by the Secretary of War) in answer to me, on sending a letter received from General Lee, proposing to meet me for the purpose of submitting the question of peace to a convention of officers.

Please notify General Johnston, immediately on receipt of this, of the termination of the truce, and resume hostilities against his army at the earliest moment you can, acting in good faith.
Very respectfully your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General

 

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 24, 1865.
General GILLMORE, Hilton Head, S. C.:
Send several couriers by different routes by land from Savannah to General Wilson, at Macon, that the truce is at an end hostilities are resumed, and that he will go on and act according to original orders. You will also do the same.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

My troops are busy preparing to move within 48 hours.

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