Tuesday, May 30, 1865

HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, IN THE FIELD, WASHINGTON, D.C. May 30, 1865
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS NO. 76

The general commanding announces to the Armies of the Tennessee and Georgia that the time has come for us to part. Our work is done, and armed enemies no longer defy us. Some of you will go to your homes, and others will be retained in military service till further orders.

And now that we are all about to separate, to mingle with the civil world, it becomes a pleasing duty to recall to mind the situation of national affairs when, but little more than a year ago, we were gathered about the cliffs of Lookout Mountain, and all the future was wrapped in doubt and uncertainty.

Three armies had come together from distant fields, with separate histories, yet bound by one common cause–the union of our country, and the perpetuation of the Government of our inheritance. There is no need to recall to your memories Tunnel Hill, with Rocky-Face Mountain and Buzzard-Roost Gap, and the ugly forts of Dalton behind.

We were in earnest, and paused not for danger and difficulty, but dashed through Snake-Creek Gap and fell on Resaca; then on to the Etowah, to Dallas, Kenesaw; and the heats of summer found us on the banks of the Chattahoochee, far from home, and dependent on a single road for supplies. Again we were not to be held back by any obstacle, and crossed over and fought four hard battles for the possession of the citadel of Atlanta. That was the crisis of our history. A doubt still clouded our future, but we solved the problem, destroyed Atlanta, struck boldly across the State of Georgia, severed all the main arteries of life to our enemy, and Christmas found us at Savannah.

Waiting there only long enough to fill our wagons, we again began a march which, for peril, labor, and results, will compare with any ever made by an organized army. The floods of the Savannah, the swamps of the Combahee and Edisto, the “high hills” and rocks of the Santee, the flat quagmires of the Pedee and Cape Fear Rivers, were all passed in midwinter, with its floods and rains, in the face of an accumulating enemy; and, after the battles of Averysboro’ and Bentonsville, we once more came out of the wilderness, to meet our friends at Goldsboro’. Even then we paused only long enough to get new clothing, to reload our wagons, again pushed on to Raleigh and beyond, until we met our enemy suing for peace, instead of war, and offering to submit to the injured laws of his and our country. As long as that enemy was defiant, nor mountains nor rivers, nor swamps, nor hunger, nor cold, had checked us; but when he, who had fought us hard and persistently, offered submission, your general thought it wrong to pursue him farther, and negotiations followed, which resulted, as you all know, in his surrender.

How far the operations of this army contributed to the final overthrow of the Confederacy and the peace which now dawns upon us, must be judged by others, not by us; but that you have done all that men could do has been admitted by those in authority, and we have a right to join in the universal joy that fills our land because the war is over, and our Government stands vindicated before the world by the joint action of the volunteer armies and navy of the United States.

To such as remain in the service, your general need only remind you that success in the past was due to hard work and discipline, and that the same work and discipline are equally important in the future. To such as go home, he will only say that our favored country is so grand, so extensive, so diversified in climate, soil, and productions, that every man may find a home and occupation suited to his taste; none should yield to the natural impatience sure to result from our past life of excitement and adventure. You will be invited to seek new adventures abroad; do not yield to the temptation, for it will lead only to death and disappointment.

Your general now bids you farewell, with the full belief that, as in war you have been good soldiers, so in peace you will make good citizens; and if, unfortunately, new war should arise in our country, “Sherman’s army” will be the first to buckle on its old armor, and come forth to defend and maintain the Government of our inheritance.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Washington, D. C., May 30, 1865.

Colonel T. S. BOWERS, Asst. Adjt. General, Headquarters Armies of the United States:
COLONEL: I have this day recommended for brevet the officers of my personal staff, including Colonel O. M. Poe, of the engineers. You will remember that Colonel Poe was at one time appointed by President Lincoln a brigadier-general and actually exercised the command, but by reason of the numbers of appointments exceeding the law some were not confirmed, amng the number Colonel Poe. This reason, together with the more important one of services of the highest value, induces me to write this special letter again recommending that Colonel Poe be brevetted a brigadier-general U. S. Army.

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

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Washington, D. C., May 30, 1865.

Colonel THOMAS M. VINCENT, Assistant Adjutant-General, War Department:
SIR: Yours of May 25, duplicate, reached me here last night. The original was duly received and copies furnished army commanders (Logan and Thomas), with instructions to answer direct. But as the information may be wanted by the Secretary I answer your inquiries as freely as I can.

First. Much progress has been made in the muster out and rolls of discharges and actual muster out will begin today. General Slocum thinks he can complete the rolls and discharges in the course of ten days.

Second. Regiments will commence returning to their respective destinations tomorrow at the rate of about 7,000 per day.

Third. In ten days I think all my army should be en route for their homes or to their new camps of rendezvous. I now add that the theory of the military division as communicated to me was to leave the commander

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