Page images

under my command; and he has now, by my recent action, opened to him a source and route of supply, by way of Savannah River, that simplifies his military problem; so that I think I may, with a clear conscience, leave them, and turn my attention once more to my special command-the army with which I have been associated through some of the most eventful scenes of this or any war.


I hope and believe none of these commanders will ever have reason to reproach me for any "orders" they may have received from me. And the President of the United States may be assured that all of them are in position, ready and willing to execute to the letter, and in spirit, any orders he may give. I shall henceforth cease to give them any orders at all, for the occasion that made them subordinate to me is past; and I shall confine my attention to the army composed of the Fifteenth and Seventeenth, the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps, unless the commanding general of the armies of the United States orders otherwise.

At 4 o'clock P.M. of May 9, I reached Manchester, on the James River, opposite Richmond, and found that all the four corps had arrived from Raleigh, and were engaged in replenishing their wagons for the resumption of the march towards Alexandria.

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
Major-General commanding.


Chief of Staff, Washington, D. C.



In the Field, Washington, D. C., May 80, 1865.

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 be retained in service until further orders. And now that we are 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 a little more than a year ago, we were gathered about the twining 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 Tunnell Hill, with its Rocky Face Mountain, and Buzzard Roost Gap, with 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 Chattahoochie, 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 heavy

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, and destroyed Atlanta, struck boldly across the State of Georgia, secured 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 Averasboro' and Bentonville 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, and again pushed on to Raleigh, and beyond, until we met our enemy, sueing 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 further, and negotiations followed which resulted, as you all know, in his surrender. How far the operations of the army have contributed to the overthrow of the Confederacy, of the peace which now dawns on us, must be judged by others, not by us. But that you have done all hat 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 of the United States.

To such as remain in the military service, your general need only remind you that successes in the past are 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 surely find a home and occupation suited to his taste; and none should yield to the natural impotence sure to result from our past life of excitement and adventure. You will be invited to seek new adventure abroad; but do not yield to the temptation, for it will lead only to death and disappointment.

Your general now bids you all 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 the old armor and come forth to defend and maintain the Government of our inheritance and choice.

By order of


L. M. DAYTON, Assistant Adjutant-General.




With General Sherman's Orders on Peace.

HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIELD, April 14, 1865. Major-General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding United States Forces: GENERAL-The results of the recent campaigns in Virginia have changed the relative military condition of the belligerents. I am therefore induced to address you, in this form, the inquiry whether, in order to stop the further effusion of blood and devastation of property, you are willing to make a temporary suspension of active operations, and to communicate to Lieutenant-General Grant, commanding the armies of the United States, the request that he will take like action in regard to other armies, the object being to permit the civil authorities to enter into the needful arrangements to terminate the existing war. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,

J. E. JOHNSTON, General.

In the Field, Raleigh, N. C., April 14, 1865.

General J. E. JOHNSTON, Commanding Confederate Army :

GENERAL-I have this moment received your communication of this date. I am fully empowered to arrange with

« PreviousContinue »