« PreviousContinue »
loyalty and friendship on the part of the claimant, or unless some other positive end is to be gained.
I am, with great respect,
Your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS, MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI, In the Field, Savannah, January 19. Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
SIR-When you left Savannah a few days ago, you forgot the map which General Geary had prepared for you, showing the route by which his division entered the city of Savannah-being the first troops to occupy that city. I now send it to you. I avail myself of the opportunity also to inclose you copies of all my official orders touching trade and intercourse with the people of Georgia, as well as for the establishment of the negro settlements. Delegations of the people of Georgia continue to come, and I am satisfied a little judicious handling, and by a little respect being paid to their prejudices, we can create a schism in Jeff. Davis's dominions. All that I have conversed with realize the truth that slavery, as an institution, is defunct, and the only questions that remain are, what disposition shall be made of the negroes themselves. I confess myself unable to offer a complete solution for these questions, and prefer to leave it to the slower operations of time. We have given the initiative, and can afford to wait the working of the experiment.
As to trade matters, I also think it is to our interest to keep the people somewhat dependent on the articles of commerce to which they have been hitherto accustomed. General Grover is now here, and will, I think, be able to manage this matter judiciously, and may gradually relax and invite cotton to come in in large quantities.
But at first we should manifest no undue anxiety on that score, for the rebels would at once make use of it as a power against us. / We should assume a tone of perfect contempt for cotton and every thing else, in comparison with the great object of the war-the restoration of the Union, with all its rights and powers. If the rebels burn cotton as a war measure, they simply play into our hands, by taking away the only product of value they now have to
exchange in foreign ports far war-ships and munitions. By such a course, also, they alienate the feelings of the large class of small farmers, that look to their little parcels of cotton to exchange for food and clothing for their families. I hope the Government will not manifest too much anxiety to obtain cotton in large quantities, and especially that the President will not indorse the contracts for the purchase of large quantities of cotton. Several contracts, involving from six to ten thousand bales, indorsed by Mr. Lincoln, have been shown me, but were not in such a form as to amount to an order for me to facilitate their execution.
As to treasury trade-agents, and agents to take charge of confiscated and abandoned property, whose salaries depend on their fees, I can only say that, as a general rule, they are mischievous and disturbing elements to a military government, and it is almost impossible for us to study the law and regulations so as to understand fully their powers and duties. I rather think the quartermaster's department of the army could better fulfil all their duties, and accomplish all that is aimed at by the law. Yet, on this subject, I will leave Generals Foster and Grover to do the best they can. I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Major-General HALLECK, Washington, D. C.:
My report is done, and will be forwarded as soon as I get a few more of the subordinate reports. I am now awaiting a courier from General Grant. All well, and troops in fine healthy camps, and supplies coming forward finely. Governor Brown has disbanded his militia, to gather the corn and sorghum of the State. I have reason to believe that he and Stephens want to visit me, and I have sent them a hearty invitation. I will exchange 2,000 prisoners with Hood, but no more.
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General commanding.
WASHINGTON, D. C., Sept. 17, 1864—10 a. M.
I feel great interest in the subjects of your dispatch mentioning corn and sorghum, and contemplated a visit to you.
A. LINCOLN, President U. S.
I have not possession here of all my official records, most of which are out West, and I have selected the above from my more recent letter-books, and I offer them to show how prompt and full have been my official reports, and how unnecessary was all the clamor made touching my action and opinions at the time the basis of agreement of April 18 was submitted to the President.
All of which is most respectfully submitted.
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General United States Army.
ANIMADVERSIONS UPON GENERAL SHERMAN,
A DEFENCE OF HIS PROCEEDINGS;
ALSO THE CALL FOR THE ASSEMBLING OF THE REBEL LEGISLATURE OF VIRGINIA.
[The following is the " Official War Gazette," forwarded to the newspapers by Secretary Stanton, and referred to in General Sherman's report, Part IV., and in his letter to General Grant, April 28, page 180.]
WASHINGTON, April 22.
YESTERDAY evening a bearer of a dispatch arrived from General Sherman. An agreement for the suspension of hostilities, and a memorandum of what is called a basis for peace, had been entered into, on the 13th instant, by General Sherman with the rebel General Johnston, the rebel General Breckinridge being present at the conference.
A Cabinet meeting was held at 8 o'clock in the evening, at which the action of General Sherman was disapproved by the secretary of war, by General Grant, and by every member of the Cabinet.
General Sherman was ordered to resume hostilities immediately, and he was directed that the instructions given by the late President in the following telegram, which was penned by Mr. Lincoln himself, at the Capitol, on the night of the 2d of March, were approved by President Andrew Johnson, and were reiterated to govern the action of military commanders.
On the night of the 2d of March, while President Lin
coln and his Cabinet were at the Capitol, a telegram from General Grant was brought to the secretary of war, informing him that General Lee had requested an interview or conference to make arrangements for terms of peace. The letter of General Lee was published in the message of Davis to the rebel Congress.
General Grant's telegram was submitted to Mr. Lincoln, who, after pondering a few minutes, took up his pen and wrote with his own hand the following reply, which he submitted to the secretary of state and secretary of war. It was then dated, addressed, and signed by the secretary of war, and telegraphed to General Grant:
PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S INSTRUCTIONS.
WASHINGTON, March 3, 1865-12 P. M.
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 General Lee's army, or on some minor and purely military matter.
He instructs me to say that you are not to decide, discuss, or confer upon any political questions. Such questions the President holds in his own hands, and will not submit them to military conference or conventions. In the mean time you are to press to the utmost your military advantages.
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
The orders of General Sherman to General Stoneman, to withdraw from Salisbury and join him, will probably open the way for Davis to escape to Mexico or to Europe with his plunder, which is reported to be very large, including not only the plunder of the Richmond banks, but previous accumulations.
A dispatch received from Richmond says: "It is stated here, by responsible parties, that the amount of specie taken