MOREHEAD CITY, May 5, 1865.
General Sherman is still here. The vessel which he is to go north on is taking coal on for the trip, but the wind is now blowing high, and the captain thinks it doubtful if he can get out. He will have all day at least. If you have anything to communicate to the general you can do so here.
L. M. DAYTON. Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.
RALEIGH, N. C, May 5, 1865
Major-General SHERMAN, Morehead City:
When General Grant was here, as you doubtless recollect, he said the lines had been extended to embrace this and other States south. The order, it seems, has been modified so as to include only Virginia and Tennessee. I think it would be an act of wisdom to open this State to trade at once. I hope the Government will make known its policy as to organization of State governments without delay. Affairs must necessarily be in a very unsettled state until that is done. The people are now in a mood to accept almost anything which promises a definite settlement. What is to be done with the freedmen is the question of all, and it is the all-important question. It requires prompt and wise action to prevent the negro from becoming a huge elephant on our hands. If I am to govern this State it is important for me to know it at once. If another is to be sent here it cannot be done too soon, for he will probably undo the most of what I shall have done. I shall be most glad to hear from you fully when you have time to write. I will send your message to Wilson at once.
J. M. SCHOFIELD. Major-General.
MOREHEAD CITY, May 5, 1865.
General SCHOFIELD, Raleigh:
Your dispatch of today is just received, and I feel deeply the embarrassment that is sure to result from the indefinite action of our Government. It seems to fail us entirely at this crisis, for I doubt if any one at Washington appreciates the true state of affairs South. Their minds are so absorbed with the horrid deformities of a few assassins and Southern politicians that they overlook the wants and necessities of the great masses. You have seen how Stanton and Halleck turned on me because I simply submitted a skeleton as basis. Anything positive would be infinitely better than the present doubting halting, nothing-to-do policy of our bewildered Government. After Stanton’s perfidious course toward me officially I can never confer with him again, and therefore am compelled to leave you to approach him as best you can. Now that all danger is past, and our former enemy simply asks some practicable escape from the terrible vicissitudes of his position, it is wonderful how brave and vindictive former non-combatants have become. It makes me sick to contemplate the fact, but I am powerless for good, and must let events drift as they best may. If left alone I know you could guide the State of North Carolina into a path of peace, loyalty, and security in three months, and could place every negro in the State in a way to make an honest livelihood, with his freedom secure, but I doubt whether those who were so slow to come to the fight will permit you to act. Whatever you may do I will back you with my influence, which however, cannot amount to much in the present attitude of affairs.
With sincere respect, your friend and servant,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding