Sunday, May 28, 1865

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Camp near Finley Hospital, Washington, May 28, 1865. 7 a.m.

General GRANT:
I got your letter late last evening, and hastened down to see General Augur, but he was not in, when I saw his officer of the day and provost-marshal, and asked them as a favor to me to arrest and imprison any officer or man belonging to my command who transgressed any orders, rules, or regulations of the place, more especially for acts of drunkenness, noise, or rowdyism.

I also went around to your office, but you were not there, but I saw Colonel Bowers, and told him what I had done. I was on the streets until midnight, and assure you I never saw more order and quiet prevailing. I had also, during yesterday, ridden all through the camps and observed no signs of riot and drunkenness, and believe I may assure you that there is no danger whatever that the men we know so well, and have trusted so often, will be guilty of any acts of public impropriety. The affair at Willard’s Hotel was a small affair, arising from a heated discussion between a few officers in liquor, late at night, and unobserved save by the few who were up late. I will see that no officers presume to misbehave because of the unfortunate difference between the Secretary of War and myself. Of that difference I can only say that every officer and man regarded the Secretary’s budget in the papers of April 24, the telegram of General Halleck indorsed by himself in those of the 28th, and the perfect storm of accusation which followed, and which he took no pains to correct, as a personal insult to me. I have not yet seen a man, soldier or civilian, but takes the same view of it, and I could not maintain my authority over troops if I tamely submitted to personal insult, but it is none the less wrong for officers to adopt the quarrel, and I will take strong measures to prevent it. I hope the good men of the command will have a few days in which to visit the Capitol and public grounds, to satisfy the natural curiosity, and then if the presence of so large a body of men so near Washington is deemed unpleasant I would suggest that the armies be dissolved, and all matters of discharge be imposed by commanders, who have the lawful power in the premises, and during the period of pay and discharge and consolidation, these corps might be scattered, say one to Bladensburg (Twentieth), one to Relay House (Fourteenth), one to Monocacy (Fifteenth), and one to Frederick (Seventeenth). I would much prefer this to sending them back to the south bank of the Potomac, where they are crowded in with other troops, and have only choice of inferior ground for camps. I thank you for leaving the matter of orders to my management, and I will put myself and command perfectly on an understanding with General Augur and his garrison, and assure you that nothing offensive shall occur of any importance. Such little things as a tipsy soldier occasionally cannot be helped, but even that shall be punished according to “local orders. ”

With great respect,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding


Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT, Commander-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:
As I am today making my arrangements to go West preparatory to resuming my proper duties, I think it proper to state a few points on which there is misapprehension in the minds of strangers. I am not a politician, never voted but once in my life, and never read a political platform. If spared, I never will read a political platform or hold any civil office whatever. I venerate the Constitution of the United States, think it as near perfection as possible, and recent events have demonstrated that it vests Government with all the power necessary for self-vindicaiton and the protection to life and property of the inhabitants. To accuse me of giving aid and comfort to copperheads who opposed the war or threw obstacles in the way of its successful prosecution is an insult. My opinions on all matters are very strong, but if I am possessed properly of the views and orders of my superiors I make them my study and conform my conduct to them as though they were my own. The President has only to tell me what he wants done and I will do it.

I was hurt, outraged, and insulted at Mr. Stanton’s public arraignment of my motives and actions, at his indorsing General Halleck’s insulting and offensive dispatch, and his studied silence when the press accused me of all sorts of base motives, even of selling myself to Jeff. Davis for gold, of sheltering criminals, and entertaining ambitious views at the expense of my country. I respect his office, but cannot him personally till he undoes the injustice of the past. I think I have soldierly instincts and feelings, but if this action of mine at all incommoded the President or endangers public harmony all you have to do is to say so and leave me time to seek civil employment and I will make room. I will serve the President of the United States not only with fidelity, but with zeal. The Government of the United States and its constituted authorities must be sustained and perpetuated, not for our good alone, but for that of rising and coming generations. I would like Mr. Johnston to read this letter, and to believe me that the newspaper gossip of my having Presidential aspirations is absurd and offensive to me, and I would check it if I knew how.

As ever, you ardent friend and servant,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Camp near Washington, May 28, 1865.

Colonel T. S. BOWERS, Asst. Adjt. General, Headquarters Armies of the United States:
COLONEL: I see no public business that calls for my further stay at Washington. I have made my full testimony before the Committee on the Conduct of the War, as ordered, and the four corps under my command here are in good camps, and the company and field officers are busy upon the muster-rolls and papers needed for the payment of the troops, and for disbanding of such as are entitled to discharge under existing orders. You remember that the commanders of military divisions have nothing to do with such matters, so that my longer presence is unnecessary. I will therefore ask for an order or for instructions to return to the West, say Louisville, Ky., or wherever the general thinks I should take post. If the territory north of the Ohio River is to be included in the Military Diivsion of the Mississippi, I would prefer, for the sake of economy, to reside in Cincinnati. I would like to take New York and Chicago in my route west, to keep appointments made by my family before my arrival here. I will be ready to leave Washington on Wednesday.

I am, with great respect,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding

Lieutenant Colonel T. S. BOWERS, Asst. Adjutant General, Hdqrs. Army of the United States, Washington, D. C.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to report, in compliance with instructions of the 26th instant from headquarters Armies of the United States, the inclosed list of general officers of this command now here, with their station.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General, Commanding


Major-General LOGAN, Commanding Army of the Tennessee:
Major-General Slocum, commanding Army of Georgia
GENERALS: The major-general commanding has received a communication from Lieutenant-General Grant advising him of complaints received of the conduct of the officers and men of this command while in the city of Washington. He directs me to advise you of the fact and request you take measures to prevent a renewal of the same, as the men of this army are closely watched in the city.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. M. SAWYER, Assistant Adjutant-General.


Major General H. W. SLOCUM, Commanding Army of Georgia:
GENERAL: It has been represented at these headquarters that there are many escaped prisoners of the Forty-fourth U. S. Colored Troops, captured at Dalton, Ga., October 13, 1864, serving in this army in the capacity of teamsters, officers’ servants, &;c. If there are any such serving in your army you will please cause them to be forwarded to their regiment at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

By order of Major-General Sherman:
R. M. SAWYER, Assistant Adjutant-General

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Camp near Washington, D. C., May 28, 1865.

Major-General SCHOFIELD, Commanding Department of North Carolina, Raleigh:
DEAR SCHOFIELD: Colonel Wherry has waited for me some days till I could find leisure to write you fully, but even now I feel pressed and cannot promise to tell you all I would. The army reached Alexandria May 19, and we met an order for the grand review. It came off in magnificent style, and Wherry can tell you all about it. Stanton offered to shake hands with me in the presence of the President, but I declined, and passed him to shake hands with Grant. I have been before the war coimmittee and gave a minute account of all matters connected with the convention, which will soon be published in full. Halleck tries to throw off on Stanton, and Stanton on Halleck, and many men want me to be patient under the infliction for the sake of patriotism. But I will not, the matter being more than official, a personal insult, and I have resented it, and shall cointinue to do so. No man, I don’t care who he is, shall insult me publicly or arraign my motives. Mr. Johnston has been more than kind to me, and the howl against me is narrowed down to Halleck and Stnaton, and I have particularly resented both.

I have watched your course, and approve highly. Maintain peace and good order, and let law and harmony grow up naturally. I would have preferred to leap more directly to the results, but the same end may be attained by the slower process you adopt. I cannot yet learn that the Executive has clearly laid down any policy, but I have reason to believe Mr. Johnston is not going as far as Mr. Chase in imposing negro votes on the Southern or any States. I never heard a negro ask for that, and I think it would be his ruin. I believe it would result in riots and violence at all the polls, North and South. Besides it is not the province even of our Congress, much less the Executive, to impose conditions on the voters in “organized States.” That is clearly reserved to them. So strong has become the National Government by reason of our successful war, that I laugh at the fears of those who dread that rebels may regain some political powr in their several States. Supposing they do, it is but local and can in no way endanger the whole country. If politicians are going to divide again into two parties nearly equal and enable the minority of the South to throw its weigh into one or the other scale to govern both it is our fault, not theirs. I believe the whole idea of giving gvotes to the negroes is to create just that many votes to be used by others for political uses, because I believe the negro don’t want to vote now, when he is mixed up with the whites in nearly equal portion, making ship dangerous. I think I see already signs that events are sweeping all to the very conclusion I mapped to in my terms, but I have refrained from discussing them till in after times it will be demonstrated that that was the only constitutional mode, whether popular or not. The people of this country are subject to the Constitution, and even they cannot disregard it without revolution, the very thing we have been fighting against.

I am to go West in a few days to resume command of the Division of the Mississippi, embracing all west of the Alleghanies and east of the Mississippi. All Grant waits for is Kirby Smith’s action, and I know he will not fight. In that event I will go to Cincinnati or Louisville. I go in a day or so to Chicago to attend the Fair, and thence home to Lancester, Ohio, where I should be delighted to hear from you. I esteem you as one of the best military minds of our country and hope you will attain the highest honors. I read your letter on the subject of Chase’s propositions, and I indorse your action perectly and think Grant does also. You may give to General Cox the assurance of my high esteem, and I commend to you Colonel Willard Warner, whom you will remember as once on my staff. My best regards to all.

As ever, your friend,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General

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