Part 13 out of 16

Very respectfully,
Lt. Gen.

When I put my pen to the paper I did not know the first word
that I should make use of in writing the terms. I only knew
what was in my mind, and I wished to express it clearly, so that
there could be no mistaking it. As I wrote on, the thought
occurred to me that the officers had their own private horses
and effects, which were important to them, but of no value to
us; also that it would be an unnecessary humiliation to call
upon them to deliver their side arms.

No conversation, not one word, passed between General Lee and
myself, either about private property, side arms, or kindred
subjects. He appeared to have no objections to the terms first
proposed; or if he had a point to make against them he wished to
wait until they were in writing to make it. When he read over
that part of the terms about side arms, horses and private
property of the officers, he remarked, with some feeling, I
thought, that this would have a happy effect upon his army.

Then, after a little further conversation, General Lee remarked
to me again that their army was organized a little differently
from the army of the United States (still maintaining by
implication that we were two countries); that in their army the
cavalrymen and artillerists owned their own horses; and he asked
if he was to understand that the men who so owned their horses
were to be permitted to retain them. I told him that as the
terms were written they would not; that only the officers were
permitted to take their private property. He then, after
reading over the terms a second time, remarked that that was

I then said to him that I thought this would be about the last
battle of the war--I sincerely hoped so; and I said further I
took it that most of the men in the ranks were small farmers.
The whole country had been so raided by the two armies that it
was doubtful whether they would be able to put in a crop to
carry themselves and their families through the next winter
without the aid of the horses they were then riding. The United
States did not want them and I would, therefore, instruct the
officers I left behind to receive the paroles of his troops to
let every man of the Confederate army who claimed to own a horse
or mule take the animal to his home. Lee remarked again that
this would have a happy effect.

He then sat down and wrote out the following letter:

April 9, 1865.

GENERAL:--I received your letter of this date containing the
terms of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia as
proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those
expressed in your letter of the 8th inst., they are accepted. I
will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the
stipulations into effect.

R. E. LEE, General.

While duplicates of the two letters were being made, the Union
generals present were severally presented to General Lee.

The much talked of surrendering of Lee's sword and my handing it
back, this and much more that has been said about it is the
purest romance. The word sword or side arms was not mentioned
by either of us until I wrote it in the terms. There was no
premeditation, and it did not occur to me until the moment I
wrote it down. If I had happened to omit it, and General Lee
had called my attention to it, I should have put it in the terms
precisely as I acceded to the provision about the soldiers
retaining their horses.

General Lee, after all was completed and before taking his
leave, remarked that his army was in a very bad condition for
want of food, and that they were without forage; that his men
had been living for some days on parched corn exclusively, and
that he would have to ask me for rations and forage. I told him
"certainly," and asked for how many men he wanted rations. His
answer was "about twenty-five thousand;" and I authorized him to
send his own commissary and quartermaster to Appomattox Station,
two or three miles away, where he could have, out of the trains
we had stopped, all the provisions wanted. As for forage, we
had ourselves depended almost entirely upon the country for that.

Generals Gibbon, Griffin and Merritt were designated by me to
carry into effect the paroling of Lee's troops before they
should start for their homes--General Lee leaving Generals
Longstreet, Gordon and Pendleton for them to confer with in
order to facilitate this work. Lee and I then separated as
cordially as we had met, he returning to his own lines, and all
went into bivouac for the night at Appomattox.

Soon after Lee's departure I telegraphed to Washington as

April 9th, 1865, 4.30 P.M.

HON. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War,

General Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia this
afternoon on terms proposed by myself. The accompanying
additional correspondence will show the conditions fully.


When news of the surrender first reached our lines our men
commenced firing a salute of a hundred guns in honor of the
victory. I at once sent word, however, to have it stopped. The
Confederates were now our prisoners, and we did not want to exult
over their downfall.

I determined to return to Washington at once, with a view to
putting a stop to the purchase of supplies, and what I now
deemed other useless outlay of money. Before leaving, however,
I thought I (*44) would like to see General Lee again; so next
morning I rode out beyond our lines towards his headquarters,
preceded by a bugler and a staff-officer carrying a white flag.

Lee soon mounted his horse, seeing who it was, and met me. We
had there between the lines, sitting on horseback, a very
pleasant conversation of over half an hour, in the course of
which Lee said to me that the South was a big country and that
we might have to march over it three or four times before the
war entirely ended, but that we would now be able to do it as
they could no longer resist us. He expressed it as his earnest
hope, however, that we would not be called upon to cause more
loss and sacrifice of life; but he could not foretell the
result. I then suggested to General Lee that there was not a
man in the Confederacy whose influence with the soldiery and the
whole people was as great as his, and that if he would now advise
the surrender of all the armies I had no doubt his advice would
be followed with alacrity. But Lee said, that he could not do
that without consulting the President first. I knew there was
no use to urge him to do anything against his ideas of what was

I was accompanied by my staff and other officers, some of whom
seemed to have a great desire to go inside the Confederate
lines. They finally asked permission of Lee to do so for the
purpose of seeing some of their old army friends, and the
permission was granted. They went over, had a very pleasant
time with their old friends, and brought some of them back with
them when they returned.

When Lee and I separated he went back to his lines and I
returned to the house of Mr. McLean. Here the officers of both
armies came in great numbers, and seemed to enjoy the meeting as
much as though they had been friends separated for a long time
while fighting battles under the same flag. For the time being
it looked very much as if all thought of the war had escaped
their minds. After an hour pleasantly passed in this way I set
out on horseback, accompanied by my staff and a small escort,
for Burkesville Junction, up to which point the railroad had by
this time been repaired.



After the fall of Petersburg, and when the armies of the Potomac
and the James were in motion to head off Lee's army, the morale
of the National troops had greatly improved. There was no more
straggling, no more rear guards. The men who in former times
had been falling back, were now, as I have already stated,
striving to get to the front. For the first time in four weary
years they felt that they were now nearing the time when they
could return to their homes with their country saved. On the
other hand, the Confederates were more than correspondingly
depressed. Their despondency increased with each returning day,
and especially after the battle of Sailor's Creek. They threw
away their arms in constantly increasing numbers, dropping out
of the ranks and betaking themselves to the woods in the hope of
reaching their homes. I have already instanced the case of the
entire disintegration of a regiment whose colonel I met at
Farmville. As a result of these and other influences, when Lee
finally surrendered at Appomattox, there were only 28,356
officers and men left to be paroled, and many of these were
without arms. It was probably this latter fact which gave rise
to the statement sometimes made, North and South, that Lee
surrendered a smaller number of men than what the official
figures show. As a matter of official record, and in addition
to the number paroled as given above, we captured between March
29th and the date of surrender 19,132 Confederates, to say
nothing of Lee's other losses, killed, wounded and missing,
during the series of desperate conflicts which marked his
headlong and determined flight. The same record shows the
number of cannon, including those at Appomattox, to have been
689 between the dates named.

There has always been a great conflict of opinion as to the
number of troops engaged in every battle, or all important
battles, fought between the sections, the South magnifying the
number of Union troops engaged and belittling their own.
Northern writers have fallen, in many instances, into the same
error. I have often heard gentlemen, who were thoroughly loyal
to the Union, speak of what a splendid fight the South had made
and successfully continued for four years before yielding, with
their twelve million of people against our twenty, and of the
twelve four being colored slaves, non-combatants. I will add to
their argument. We had many regiments of brave and loyal men who
volunteered under great difficulty from the twelve million
belonging to the South.

But the South had rebelled against the National government. It
was not bound by any constitutional restrictions. The whole
South was a military camp. The occupation of the colored people
was to furnish supplies for the army. Conscription was resorted
to early, and embraced every male from the age of eighteen to
forty-five, excluding only those physically unfit to serve in
the field, and the necessary number of civil officers of State
and intended National government. The old and physically
disabled furnished a good portion of these. The slaves, the
non-combatants, one-third of the whole, were required to work in
the field without regard to sex, and almost without regard to
age. Children from the age of eight years could and did handle
the hoe; they were not much older when they began to hold the
plough. The four million of colored non-combatants were equal
to more than three times their number in the North, age for age
and sex for sex, in supplying food from the soil to support
armies. Women did not work in the fields in the North, and
children attended school.

The arts of peace were carried on in the North. Towns and
cities grew during the war. Inventions were made in all kinds
of machinery to increase the products of a day's labor in the
shop, and in the field. In the South no opposition was allowed
to the government which had been set up and which would have
become real and respected if the rebellion had been
successful. No rear had to be protected. All the troops in
service could be brought to the front to contest every inch of
ground threatened with invasion. The press of the South, like
the people who remained at home, were loyal to the Southern

In the North, the country, the towns and the cities presented
about the same appearance they do in time of peace. The furnace
was in blast, the shops were filled with workmen, the fields were
cultivated, not only to supply the population of the North and
the troops invading the South, but to ship abroad to pay a part
of the expense of the war. In the North the press was free up
to the point of open treason. The citizen could entertain his
views and express them. Troops were necessary in the Northern
States to prevent prisoners from the Southern army being
released by outside force, armed and set at large to destroy by
fire our Northern cities. Plans were formed by Northern and
Southern citizens to burn our cities, to poison the water
supplying them, to spread infection by importing clothing from
infected regions, to blow up our river and lake steamers
--regardless of the destruction of innocent lives. The
copperhead disreputable portion of the press magnified rebel
successes, and belittled those of the Union army. It was, with
a large following, an auxiliary to the Confederate army. The
North would have been much stronger with a hundred thousand of
these men in the Confederate ranks and the rest of their kind
thoroughly subdued, as the Union sentiment was in the South,
than we were as the battle was fought.

As I have said, the whole South was a military camp. The
colored people, four million in number, were submissive, and
worked in the field and took care of the families while the
able-bodied white men were at the front fighting for a cause
destined to defeat. The cause was popular, and was
enthusiastically supported by the young men. The conscription
took all of them. Before the war was over, further
conscriptions took those between fourteen and eighteen years of
age as junior reserves, and those between forty-five and sixty
as senior reserves. It would have been an offence, directly
after the war, and perhaps it would be now, to ask any
able-bodied man in the South, who was between the ages of
fourteen and sixty at any time during the war, whether he had
been in the Confederate army. He would assert that he had, or
account for his absence from the ranks. Under such
circumstances it is hard to conceive how the North showed such a
superiority of force in every battle fought. I know they did

During 1862 and '3, John H. Morgan, a partisan officer, of no
military education, but possessed of courage and endurance,
operated in the rear of the Army of the Ohio in Kentucky and
Tennessee. He had no base of supplies to protect, but was at
home wherever he went. The army operating against the South, on
the contrary, had to protect its lines of communication with the
North, from which all supplies had to come to the front. Every
foot of road had to be guarded by troops stationed at convenient
distances apart. These guards could not render assistance beyond
the points where stationed. Morgan Was foot-loose and could
operate where, his information--always correct--led him to
believe he could do the greatest damage. During the time he was
operating in this way he killed, wounded and captured several
times the number he ever had under his command at any one
time. He destroyed many millions of property in addition.
Places he did not attack had to be guarded as if threatened by
him. Forrest, an abler soldier, operated farther west, and held
from the National front quite as many men as could be spared for
offensive operations. It is safe to say that more than half the
National army was engaged in guarding lines of supplies, or were
on leave, sick in hospital or on detail which prevented their
bearing arms. Then, again, large forces were employed where no
Confederate army confronted them. I deem it safe to say that
there were no large engagements where the National numbers
compensated for the advantage of position and intrenchment
occupied by the enemy.

While I was in pursuit of General Lee, the President went to
Richmond in company with Admiral Porter, and on board his
flagship. He found the people of that city in great
consternation. The leading citizens among the people who had
remained at home surrounded him, anxious that something should
be done to relieve them from suspense. General Weitzel was not
then in the city, having taken offices in one of the neighboring
villages after his troops had succeeded in subduing the
conflagration which they had found in progress on entering the
Confederate capital. The President sent for him, and, on his
arrival, a short interview was had on board the vessel, Admiral
Porter and a leading citizen of Virginia being also present.
After this interview the President wrote an order in about these
words, which I quote from memory: "General Weitzel is authorized
to permit the body calling itself the Legislature of Virginia to
meet for the purpose of recalling the Virginia troops from the
Confederate armies."

Immediately some of the gentlemen composing that body wrote out
a call for a meeting and had it published in their papers. This
call, however, went very much further than Mr. Lincoln had
contemplated, as he did not say the "Legislature of Virginia"
but "the body which called itself the Legislature of Virginia."
Mr. Stanton saw the call as published in the Northern papers the
very next issue and took the liberty of countermanding the order
authorizing any meeting of the Legislature, or any other body,
and this notwithstanding the fact that the President was nearer
the spot than he was.

This was characteristic of Mr. Stanton. He was a man who never
questioned his own authority, and who always did in war time
what he wanted to do. He was an able constitutional lawyer and
jurist; but the Constitution was not an impediment to him while
the war lasted. In this latter particular I entirely agree with
the view he evidently held. The Constitution was not framed with
a view to any such rebellion as that of 1861-5. While it did not
authorize rebellion it made no provision against it. Yet the
right to resist or suppress rebellion is as inherent as the
right of self-defence, and as natural as the right of an
individual to preserve his life when in jeopardy. The
Constitution was therefore in abeyance for the time being, so
far as it in any way affected the progress and termination of
the war.

Those in rebellion against the government of the United States
were not restricted by constitutional provisions, or any other,
except the acts of their Congress, which was loyal and devoted
to the cause for which the South was then fighting. It would be
a hard case when one-third of a nation, united in rebellion
against the national authority, is entirely untrammeled, that
the other two-thirds, in their efforts to maintain the Union
intact, should be restrained by a Constitution prepared by our
ancestors for the express purpose of insuring the permanency of
the confederation of the States.

After I left General Lee at Appomattox Station, I went with my
staff and a few others directly to Burkesville Station on my way
to Washington. The road from Burkesville back having been newly
repaired and the ground being soft, the train got off the track
frequently, and, as a result, it was after midnight of the
second day when I reached City Point. As soon as possible I
took a dispatch-boat thence to Washington City.

While in Washington I was very busy for a time in preparing the
necessary orders for the new state of affairs; communicating
with my different commanders of separate departments, bodies of
troops, etc. But by the 14th I was pretty well through with
this work, so as to be able to visit my children, who were then
in Burlington, New Jersey, attending school. Mrs. Grant was
with me in Washington at the time, and we were invited by
President and Mrs. Lincoln to accompany them to the theatre on
the evening of that day. I replied to the President's verbal
invitation to the effect, that if we were in the city we would
take great pleasure in accompanying them; but that I was very
anxious to get away and visit my children, and if I could get
through my work during the day I should do so. I did get
through and started by the evening train on the 14th, sending
Mr. Lincoln word, of course, that I would not be at the theatre.

At that time the railroad to New York entered Philadelphia on
Broad Street; passengers were conveyed in ambulances to the
Delaware River, and then ferried to Camden, at which point they
took the cars again. When I reached the ferry, on the east side
of the City of Philadelphia, I found people awaiting my arrival
there; and also dispatches informing me of the assassination of
the President and Mr. Seward, and of the probable assassination
of the Vice President, Mr. Johnson, and requesting my immediate

It would be impossible for me to describe the feeling that
overcame me at the news of these assassinations, more especially
the assassination of the President. I knew his goodness of
heart, his generosity, his yielding disposition, his desire to
have everybody happy, and above all his desire to see all the
people of the United States enter again upon the full privileges
of citizenship with equality among all. I knew also the feeling
that Mr. Johnson had expressed in speeches and conversation
against the Southern people, and I feared that his course
towards them would be such as to repel, and make them unwilling
citizens; and if they became such they would remain so for a
long while. I felt that reconstruction had been set back, no
telling how far.

I immediately arranged for getting a train to take me back to
Washington City; but Mrs. Grant was with me; it was after
midnight and Burlington was but an hour away. Finding that I
could accompany her to our house and return about as soon as
they would be ready to take me from the Philadelphia station, I
went up with her and returned immediately by the same special
train. The joy that I had witnessed among the people in the
street and in public places in Washington when I left there, had
been turned to grief; the city was in reality a city of
mourning. I have stated what I believed then the effect of this
would be, and my judgment now is that I was right. I believe the
South would have been saved from very much of the hardness of
feeling that was engendered by Mr. Johnson's course towards them
during the first few months of his administration. Be this as it
may, Mr. Lincoln's assassination was particularly unfortunate for
the entire nation.

Mr. Johnson's course towards the South did engender bitterness
of feeling. His denunciations of treason and his ever-ready
remark, "Treason is a crime and must be made odious," was
repeated to all those men of the South who came to him to get
some assurances of safety so that they might go to work at
something with the feeling that what they obtained would be
secure to them. He uttered his denunciations with great
vehemence, and as they were accompanied with no assurances of
safety, many Southerners were driven to a point almost beyond

The President of the United States is, in a large degree, or
ought to be, a representative of the feeling, wishes and
judgment of those over whom he presides; and the Southerners who
read the denunciations of themselves and their people must have
come to the conclusion that he uttered the sentiments of the
Northern people; whereas, as a matter of fact, but for the
assassination of Mr. Lincoln, I believe the great majority of
the Northern people, and the soldiers unanimously, would have
been in favor of a speedy reconstruction on terms that would be
the least humiliating to the people who had rebelled against
their government. They believed, I have no doubt, as I did,
that besides being the mildest, it was also the wisest, policy.

The people who had been in rebellion must necessarily come back
into the Union, and be incorporated as an integral part of the
nation. Naturally the nearer they were placed to an equality
with the people who had not rebelled, the more reconciled they
would feel with their old antagonists, and the better citizens
they would be from the beginning. They surely would not make
good citizens if they felt that they had a yoke around their

I do not believe that the majority of the Northern people at
that time were in favor of negro suffrage. They supposed that
it would naturally follow the freedom of the negro, but that
there would be a time of probation, in which the ex-slaves could
prepare themselves for the privileges of citizenship before the
full right would be conferred; but Mr. Johnson, after a complete
revolution of sentiment, seemed to regard the South not only as
an oppressed people, but as the people best entitled to
consideration of any of our citizens. This was more than the
people who had secured to us the perpetuation of the Union were
prepared for, and they became more radical in their views. The
Southerners had the most power in the executive branch, Mr.
Johnson having gone to their side; and with a compact South, and
such sympathy and support as they could get from the North, they
felt that they would be able to control the nation at once, and
already many of them acted as if they thought they were entitled
to do so.

Thus Mr. Johnson, fighting Congress on the one hand, and
receiving the support of the South on the other, drove Congress,
which was overwhelmingly republican, to the passing of first one
measure and then another to restrict his power. There being a
solid South on one side that was in accord with the political
party in the North which had sympathized with the rebellion, it
finally, in the judgment of Congress and of the majority of the
legislatures of the States, became necessary to enfranchise the
negro, in all his ignorance. In this work, I shall not discuss
the question of how far the policy of Congress in this
particular proved a wise one. It became an absolute necessity,
however, because of the foolhardiness of the President and the
blindness of the Southern people to their own interest. As to
myself, while strongly favoring the course that would be the
least humiliating to the people who had been in rebellion, I
gradually worked up to the point where, with the majority of the
people, I favored immediate enfranchisement.



When I left Appomattox I ordered General Meade to proceed
leisurely back to Burkesville Station with the Army of the
Potomac and the Army of the James, and to go into camp there
until further orders from me. General Johnston, as has been
stated before, was in North Carolina confronting General
Sherman. It could not be known positively, of course, whether
Johnston would surrender on the news of Lee's surrender, though
I supposed he would; and if he did not, Burkesville Station was
the natural point from which to move to attack him. The army
which I could have sent against him was superior to his, and
that with which Sherman confronted him was also superior; and
between the two he would necessarily have been crushed, or
driven away. With the loss of their capital and the Army of
Northern Virginia it was doubtful whether Johnston's men would
have the spirit to stand. My belief was that he would make no
such attempt; but I adopted this course as a precaution against
what might happen, however improbable.

Simultaneously with my starting from City Point, I sent a
messenger to North Carolina by boat with dispatches to General
Sherman, informing him of the surrender of Lee and his army;
also of the terms which I had given him; and I authorized
Sherman to give the same terms to Johnston if the latter chose
to accept them. The country is familiar with the terms that
Sherman agreed to CONDITIONALLY, because they embraced a
political question as well as a military one and he would
therefore have to confer with the government before agreeing to
them definitely.

General Sherman had met Mr. Lincoln at City Point while visiting
there to confer with me about our final movement, and knew what
Mr. Lincoln had said to the peace commissioners when he met them
at Hampton Roads, viz.: that before he could enter into
negotiations with them they would have to agree to two points:
one being that the Union should be preserved, and the other that
slavery should be abolished; and if they were ready to concede
these two points he was almost ready to sign his name to a blank
piece of paper and permit them to fill out the balance of the
terms upon which we would live together. He had also seen
notices in the newspapers of Mr. Lincoln's visit to Richmond,
and had read in the same papers that while there he had
authorized the convening of the Legislature of Virginia.

Sherman thought, no doubt, in adding to the terms that I had
made with general Lee, that he was but carrying out the wishes
of the President of the United States. But seeing that he was
going beyond his authority, he made it a point that the terms
were only conditional. They signed them with this
understanding, and agreed to a truce until the terms could be
sent to Washington for approval; if approved by the proper
authorities there, they would then be final; if not approved,
then he would give due notice, before resuming hostilities. As
the world knows, Sherman, from being one of the most popular
generals of the land (Congress having even gone so far as to
propose a bill providing for a second lieutenant-general for the
purpose of advancing him to that grade), was denounced by the
President and Secretary of War in very bitter terms. Some
people went so far as to denounce him as a traitor--a most
preposterous term to apply to a man who had rendered so much
service as he had, even supposing he had made a mistake in
granting such terms as he did to Johnston and his army. If
Sherman had taken authority to send Johnston with his army home,
with their arms to be put in the arsenals of their own States,
without submitting the question to the authorities at
Washington, the suspicions against him might have some
foundation. But the feeling against Sherman died out very
rapidly, and it was not many weeks before he was restored to the
fullest confidence of the American people.

When, some days after my return to Washington, President Johnson
and the Secretary of war received the terms which General Sherman
had forwarded for approval, a cabinet meeting was immediately
called and I was sent for. There seemed to be the greatest
consternation, lest Sherman would commit the government to terms
which they were not willing to accede to and which he had no
right to grant. A message went out directing the troops in the
South not to obey General Sherman. I was ordered to proceed at
once to North Carolina and take charge of matter there myself.
Of course I started without delay, and reached there as soon as
possible. I repaired to Raleigh, where Sherman was, as quietly
as possible, hoping to see him without even his army learning of
my presence.

When I arrived I went to Sherman's headquarters, and we were at
once closeted together. I showed him the instruction and orders
under which I visited him. I told him that I wanted him to
notify General Johnston that the terms which they had
conditionally agreed upon had not been approved in Washington,
and that he was authorized to offer the same terms I had given
General Lee. I sent Sherman to do this himself. I did not wish
the knowledge of my presence to be known to the army generally; so
I left it to Sherman to negotiate the terms of the surrender
solely by himself, and without the enemy knowing that I was
anywhere near the field. As soon as possible I started to get
away, to leave Sherman quite free and untrammelled.

At Goldsboro', on my way back, I met a mail, containing the last
newspapers, and I found in them indications of great excitement
in the North over the terms Sherman had given Johnston; and
harsh orders that had been promulgated by the President and
Secretary of War. I knew that Sherman must see these papers,
and I fully realized what great indignation they would cause
him, though I do not think his feelings could have been more
excited than were my own. But like the true and loyal soldier
that he was, he carried out the instructions I had given him,
obtained the surrender of Johnston's army, and settled down in
his camp about Raleigh, to await final orders.

There were still a few expeditions out in the South that could
not be communicated with, and had to be left to act according to
the judgment of their respective commanders. With these it was
impossible to tell how the news of the surrender of Lee and
Johnston, of which they must have heard, might affect their
judgment as to what was best to do.

The three expeditions which I had tried so hard to get off from
the commands of Thomas and Canby did finally get off: one under
Canby himself, against Mobile, late in March; that under Stoneman
from East Tennessee on the 20th; and the one under Wilson,
starting from Eastport, Mississippi, on the 22d of March. They
were all eminently successful, but without any good result.
Indeed much valuable property was destroyed and many lives lost
at a time when we would have liked to spare them. The war was
practically over before their victories were gained. They were
so late in commencing operations, that they did not hold any
troops away that otherwise would have been operating against the
armies which were gradually forcing the Confederate armies to a
surrender. The only possible good that we may have experienced
from these raids was by Stoneman's getting near Lynchburg about
the time the armies of the Potomac and the James were closing in
on Lee at Appomattox.

Stoneman entered North Carolina and then pushed north to strike
the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. He got upon that road,
destroyed its bridges at different places and rendered the road
useless to the enemy up to within a few miles of Lynchburg. His
approach caused the evacuation of that city about the time we
were at Appomattox, and was the cause of a commotion we heard of
there. He then pushed south, and was operating in the rear of
Johnston's army about the time the negotiations were going on
between Sherman and Johnston for the latter's surrender. In
this raid Stoneman captured and destroyed a large amount of
stores, while fourteen guns and nearly two thousand prisoners
were the trophies of his success.

Canby appeared before Mobile on the 27th of March. The city of
Mobile was protected by two forts, besides other
intrenchments--Spanish Fort, on the east side of the bay, and
Fort Blakely, north of the city. These forts were invested. On
the night of the 8th of April, the National troops having carried
the enemy's works at one point, Spanish Fort was evacuated; and
on the 9th, the very day of Lee's surrender, Blakely was carried
by assault, with a considerable loss to us. On the 11th the city
was evacuated.

I had tried for more than two years to have an expedition sent
against Mobile when its possession by us would have been of
great advantage. It finally cost lives to take it when its
possession was of no importance, and when, if left alone, it
would within a few days have fallen into our hands without any
bloodshed whatever.

Wilson moved out with full 12,000 men, well equipped and well
armed. He was an energetic officer and accomplished his work
rapidly. Forrest was in his front, but with neither his
old-time army nor his old-time prestige. He now had principally
conscripts. His conscripts were generally old men and boys. He
had a few thousand regular cavalry left, but not enough to even
retard materially the progress of Wilson's cavalry. Selma fell
on the 2d of April, with a large number of prisoners and a large
quantity of war material, machine shops, etc., to be disposed of
by the victors. Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and West Point fell in
quick succession. These were all important points to the enemy
by reason of their railroad connections, as depots of supplies,
and because of their manufactories of war material. They were
fortified or intrenched, and there was considerable fighting
before they were captured. Macon surrendered on the 21st of
April. Here news was received of the negotiations for the
surrender of Johnston's army. Wilson belonged to the military
division commanded by Sherman, and of course was bound by his
terms. This stopped all fighting.

General Richard Taylor had now become the senior Confederate
officer still at liberty east of the Mississippi River, and on
the 4th of May he surrendered everything within the limits of
this extensive command. General E. Kirby Smith surrendered the
trans-Mississippi department on the 26th of May, leaving no
other Confederate army at liberty to continue the war.

Wilson's raid resulted in the capture of the fugitive president
of the defunct confederacy before he got out of the country.
This occurred at Irwinsville, Georgia, on the 11th of May. For
myself, and I believe Mr. Lincoln shared the feeling, I would
have been very glad to have seen Mr. Davis succeed in escaping,
but for one reason: I feared that if not captured, he might get
into the trans-Mississippi region and there set up a more
contracted confederacy. The young men now out of homes and out
of employment might have rallied under his standard and
protracted the war yet another year. The Northern people were
tired of the war, they were tired of piling up a debt which
would be a further mortgage upon their homes.

Mr. Lincoln, I believe, wanted Mr. Davis to escape, because he
did not wish to deal with the matter of his punishment. He knew
there would be people clamoring for the punishment of the
ex-Confederate president, for high treason. He thought blood
enough had already been spilled to atone for our wickedness as a
nation. At all events he did not wish to be the judge to decide
whether more should be shed or not. But his own life was
sacrificed at the hands of an assassin before the ex-president
of the Confederacy was a prisoner in the hands of the government
which he had lent all his talent and all his energies to destroy.

All things are said to be wisely directed, and for the best
interest of all concerned. This reflection does not, however,
abate in the slightest our sense of bereavement in the untimely
loss of so good and great a man as Abraham Lincoln.

He would have proven the best friend the South could have had,
and saved much of the wrangling and bitterness of feeling
brought out by reconstruction under a President who at first
wished to revenge himself upon Southern men of better social
standing than himself, but who still sought their recognition,
and in a short time conceived the idea and advanced the
proposition to become their Moses to lead them triumphantly out
of all their difficulties.

The story of the legislation enacted during the reconstruction
period to stay the hands of the President is too fresh in the
minds of the people to be told now. Much of it, no doubt, was
unconstitutional; but it was hoped that the laws enacted would
serve their purpose before the question of constitutionality
could be submitted to the judiciary and a decision obtained.
These laws did serve their purpose, and now remain "a dead
letter" upon the statute books of the United States, no one
taking interest enough in them to give them a passing thought.

Much was said at the time about the garb Mr. Davis was wearing
when he was captured. I cannot settle this question from
personal knowledge of the facts; but I have been under the
belief, from information given to me by General Wilson shortly
after the event, that when Mr. Davis learned that he was
surrounded by our cavalry he was in his tent dressed in a
gentleman's dressing gown. Naturally enough, Mr. Davis wanted
to escape, and would not reflect much how this should be
accomplished provided it might be done successfully. If
captured, he would be no ordinary prisoner. He represented all
there was of that hostility to the government which had caused
four years of the bloodiest war--and the most costly in other
respects of which history makes any record. Every one supposed
he would be tried for treason if captured, and that he would be
executed. Had he succeeded in making his escape in any disguise
it would have been adjudged a good thing afterwards by his

As my official letters on file in the War Department, as well as
my remarks in this book, reflect upon General Thomas by dwelling
somewhat upon his tardiness, it is due to myself, as well as to
him, that I give my estimate of him as a soldier. The same
remark will apply also in the case of General Canby. I had been
at West Point with Thomas one year, and had known him later in
the old army. He was a man of commanding appearance, slow and
deliberate in speech and action; sensible, honest and brave. He
possessed valuable soldierly qualities in an eminent degree. He
gained the confidence of all who served under him, and almost
their love. This implies a very valuable quality. It is a
quality which calls out the most efficient services of the
troops serving under the commander possessing it.

Thomas's dispositions were deliberately made, and always good.
He could not be driven from a point he was given to hold. He
was not as good, however, in pursuit as he was in action. I do
not believe that he could ever have conducted Sherman's army
from Chattanooga to Atlanta against the defences and the
commander guarding that line in 1864. On the other hand, if it
had been given him to hold the line which Johnston tried to
hold, neither that general nor Sherman, nor any other officer
could have done it better.

Thomas was a valuable officer, who richly deserved, as he has
received, the plaudits of his countrymen for the part he played
in the great tragedy of 1861-5.

General Canby was an officer of great merit. He was naturally
studious, and inclined to the law. There have been in the army
but very few, if any, officers who took as much interest in
reading and digesting every act of Congress and every regulation
for the government of the army as he. His knowledge gained in
this way made him a most valuable staff officer, a capacity in
which almost all his army services were rendered up to the time
of his being assigned to the Military Division of the Gulf. He
was an exceedingly modest officer, though of great talent and
learning. I presume his feelings when first called upon to
command a large army against a fortified city, were somewhat
like my own when marching a regiment against General Thomas
Harris in Missouri in 1861. Neither of us would have felt the
slightest trepidation in going into battle with some one else
commanding. Had Canby been in other engagements afterwards, he
would, I have no doubt, have advanced without any fear arising
from a sense of the responsibility. He was afterwards killed in
the lava beds of Southern Oregon, while in pursuit of the hostile
Modoc Indians. His character was as pure as his talent and
learning were great. His services were valuable during the war,
but principally as a bureau officer. I have no idea that it was
from choice that his services were rendered in an office, but
because of his superior efficiency there.



Things began to quiet down, and as the certainty that there
would be no more armed resistance became clearer, the troops in
North Carolina and Virginia were ordered to march immediately to
the capital, and go into camp there until mustered out. Suitable
garrisons were left at the prominent places throughout the South
to insure obedience to the laws that might be enacted for the
government of the several States, and to insure security to the
lives and property of all classes. I do not know how far this
was necessary, but I deemed it necessary, at that time, that
such a course should be pursued. I think now that these
garrisons were continued after they ceased to be absolutely
required; but it is not to be expected that such a rebellion as
was fought between the sections from 1861 to 1865 could
terminate without leaving many serious apprehensions in the mind
of the people as to what should be done.

Sherman marched his troops from Goldsboro, up to Manchester, on
the south side of the James River, opposite Richmond, and there
put them in camp, while he went back to Savannah to see what the
situation was there.

It was during this trip that the last outrage was committed upon
him. Halleck had been sent to Richmond to command Virginia, and
had issued orders prohibiting even Sherman's own troops from
obeying his, Sherman's, orders. Sherman met the papers on his
return, containing this order of Halleck, and very justly felt
indignant at the outrage. On his arrival at Fortress Monroe
returning from Savannah, Sherman received an invitation from
Halleck to come to Richmond and be his guest. This he
indignantly refused, and informed Halleck, furthermore, that he
had seen his order. He also stated that he was coming up to
take command of his troops, and as he marched through it would
probably be as well for Halleck not to show himself, because he
(Sherman) would not be responsible for what some rash person
might do through indignation for the treatment he had
received. Very soon after that, Sherman received orders from me
to proceed to Washington City, and to go into camp on the south
side of the city pending the mustering-out of the troops.

There was no incident worth noting in the march northward from
Goldsboro, to Richmond, or in that from Richmond to Washington
City. The army, however, commanded by Sherman, which had been
engaged in all the battles of the West and had marched from the
Mississippi through the Southern States to the sea, from there
to Goldsboro, and thence to Washington City, had passed over
many of the battle-fields of the Army of the Potomac, thus
having seen, to a greater extent than any other body of troops,
the entire theatre of the four years' war for the preservation
of the Union.

The march of Sherman's army from Atlanta to the sea and north to
Goldsboro, while it was not accompanied with the danger that was
anticipated, yet was magnificent in its results, and equally
magnificent in the way it was conducted. It had an important
bearing, in various ways, upon the great object we had in view,
that of closing the war. All the States east of the Mississippi
River up to the State of Georgia, had felt the hardships of the
war. Georgia, and South Carolina, and almost all of North
Carolina, up to this time, had been exempt from invasion by the
Northern armies, except upon their immediate sea coasts. Their
newspapers had given such an account of Confederate success,
that the people who remained at home had been convinced that the
Yankees had been whipped from first to last, and driven from
pillar to post, and that now they could hardly be holding out
for any other purpose than to find a way out of the war with
honor to themselves.

Even during this march of Sherman's the newspapers in his front
were proclaiming daily that his army was nothing better than a
mob of men who were frightened out of their wits and hastening,
panic-stricken, to try to get under the cover of our navy for
protection against the Southern people. As the army was seen
marching on triumphantly, however, the minds of the people
became disabused and they saw the true state of affairs. In
turn they became disheartened, and would have been glad to
submit without compromise.

Another great advantage resulting from this march, and which was
calculated to hasten the end, was the fact that the great
storehouse of Georgia was entirely cut off from the Confederate
armies. As the troops advanced north from Savannah, the
destruction of the railroads in South Carolina and the southern
part of North Carolina, further cut off their resources and left
the armies still in Virginia and North Carolina dependent for
supplies upon a very small area of country, already very much
exhausted of food and forage.

In due time the two armies, one from Burkesville Junction and
the other from the neighborhood of Raleigh, North Carolina,
arrived and went into camp near the Capital, as directed. The
troops were hardy, being inured to fatigue, and they appeared in
their respective camps as ready and fit for duty as they had ever
been in their lives. I doubt whether an equal body of men of any
nation, take them man for man, officer for officer, was ever
gotten together that would have proved their equal in a great

The armies of Europe are machines; the men are brave and the
officers capable; but the majority of the soldiers in most of
the nations of Europe are taken from a class of people who are
not very intelligent and who have very little interest in the
contest in which they are called upon to take part. Our armies
were composed of men who were able to read, men who knew what
they were fighting for, and could not be induced to serve as
soldiers, except in an emergency when the safety of the nation
was involved, and so necessarily must have been more than equal
to men who fought merely because they were brave and because
they were thoroughly drilled and inured to hardships.

There was nothing of particular importance occurred during the
time these troops were in camp before starting North.

I remember one little incident which I will relate as an
anecdote characteristic of Mr. Lincoln. It occurred a day after
I reached Washington, and about the time General Meade reached
Burkesville with the army. Governor Smith of Virginia had left
Richmond with the Confederate States government, and had gone to
Danville. Supposing I was necessarily with the army at
Burkesville, he addressed a letter to me there informing me
that, as governor of the Commonwealth of the State of Virginia,
he had temporarily removed the State capital from Richmond to
Danville, and asking if he would be permitted to perform the
functions of his office there without molestation by the Federal
authorities. I give this letter only in substance. He also
inquired of me whether in case he was not allowed to perform the
duties of his office, he with a few others might not be permitted
to leave the country and go abroad without interference. General
Meade being informed that a flag of truce was outside his pickets
with a letter to me, at once sent out and had the letter brought
in without informing the officer who brought it that I was not
present. He read the letter and telegraphed me its contents.
Meeting Mr. Lincoln shortly after receiving this dispatch, I
repeated its contents to him. Mr. Lincoln, supposing I was
asking for instructions, said, in reply to that part of Governor
Smith's letter which inquired whether he with a few friends would
be permitted to leave the country unmolested, that his position
was like that of a certain Irishman (giving the name) he knew in
Springfield who was very popular with the people, a man of
considerable promise, and very much liked. Unfortunately he had
acquired the habit of drinking, and his friends could see that
the habit was growing on him. These friends determined to make
an effort to save him, and to do this they drew up a pledge to
abstain from all alcoholic drinks. They asked Pat to join them
in signing the pledge, and he consented. He had been so long
out of the habit of using plain water as a beverage that he
resorted to soda-water as a substitute. After a few days this
began to grow distasteful to him. So holding the glass behind
him, he said: "Doctor, couldn't you drop a bit of brandy in
that unbeknownst to myself."

I do not remember what the instructions were the President gave
me, but I know that Governor Smith was not permitted to perform
the duties of his office. I also know that if Mr. Lincoln had
been spared, there would have been no efforts made to prevent
any one from leaving the country who desired to do so. He would
have been equally willing to permit the return of the same
expatriated citizens after they had time to repent of their

On the 18th of May orders were issued by the adjutant-general
for a grand review by the President and his cabinet of Sherman's
and Meade's armies. The review commenced on the 23d and lasted
two days. Meade's army occupied over six hours of the first day
in passing the grand stand which had been erected in front of the
President's house. Sherman witnessed this review from the grand
stand which was occupied by the President and his cabinet. Here
he showed his resentment for the cruel and harsh treatment that
had unnecessarily been inflicted upon him by the Secretary of
War, by refusing to take his extended hand.

Sherman's troops had been in camp on the south side of the
Potomac. During the night of the 23d he crossed over and
bivouacked not far from the Capitol. Promptly at ten o'clock on
the morning of the 24th, his troops commenced to pass in
review. Sherman's army made a different appearance from that of
the Army of the Potomac. The latter had been operating where
they received directly from the North full supplies of food and
clothing regularly: the review of this army therefore was the
review of a body of 65,000 well-drilled, well-disciplined and
orderly soldiers inured to hardship and fit for any duty, but
without the experience of gathering their own food and supplies
in an enemy's country, and of being ever on the watch. Sherman's
army was not so well-dressed as the Army of the Potomac, but
their marching could not be excelled; they gave the appearance
of men who had been thoroughly drilled to endure hardships,
either by long and continuous marches or through exposure to any
climate, without the ordinary shelter of a camp. They exhibited
also some of the order of march through Georgia where the "sweet
potatoes sprung up from the ground" as Sherman's army went
marching through. In the rear of a company there would be a
captured horse or mule loaded with small cooking utensils,
captured chickens and other food picked up for the use of the
men. Negro families who had followed the army would sometimes
come along in the rear of a company, with three or four children
packed upon a single mule, and the mother leading it.

The sight was varied and grand: nearly all day for two
successive days, from the Capitol to the Treasury Building,
could be seen a mass of orderly soldiers marching in columns of
companies. The National flag was flying from almost every house
and store; the windows were filled with spectators; the
door-steps and side-walks were crowded with colored people and
poor whites who did not succeed in securing better quarters from
which to get a view of the grand armies. The city was about as
full of strangers who had come to see the sights as it usually
is on inauguration day when a new President takes his seat.

It may not be out of place to again allude to President Lincoln
and the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, who were the great
conspicuous figures in the executive branch of the government.
There is no great difference of opinion now, in the public mind,
as to the characteristics of the President. With Mr. Stanton the
case is different. They were the very opposite of each other in
almost every particular, except that each possessed great
ability. Mr. Lincoln gained influence over men by making them
feel that it was a pleasure to serve him. He preferred yielding
his own wish to gratify others, rather than to insist upon having
his own way. It distressed him to disappoint others. In matters
of public duty, however, he had what he wished, but in the least
offensive way. Mr. Stanton never questioned his own authority
to command, unless resisted. He cared nothing for the feeling
of others. In fact it seemed to be pleasanter to him to
disappoint than to gratify. He felt no hesitation in assuming
the functions of the executive, or in acting without advising
with him. If his act was not sustained, he would change it--if
he saw the matter would be followed up until he did so.

It was generally supposed that these two officials formed the
complement of each other. The Secretary was required to prevent
the President's being imposed upon. The President was required
in the more responsible place of seeing that injustice was not
done to others. I do not know that this view of these two men
is still entertained by the majority of the people. It is not a
correct view, however, in my estimation. Mr. Lincoln did not
require a guardian to aid him in the fulfilment of a public

Mr. Lincoln was not timid, and he was willing to trust his
generals in making and executing their plans. The Secretary was
very timid, and it was impossible for him to avoid interfering
with the armies covering the capital when it was sought to
defend it by an offensive movement against the army guarding the
Confederate capital. He could see our weakness, but he could not
see that the enemy was in danger. The enemy would not have been
in danger if Mr. Stanton had been in the field. These
characteristics of the two officials were clearly shown shortly
after Early came so near getting into the capital.

Among the army and corps commanders who served with me during
the war between the States, and who attracted much public
attention, but of whose ability as soldiers I have not yet given
any estimate, are Meade, Hancock, Sedgwick, Burnside, Terry and
Hooker. There were others of great merit, such as Griffin,
Humphreys, Wright and Mackenzie. Of those first named, Burnside
at one time had command of the Army of the Potomac, and later of
the Army of the Ohio. Hooker also commanded the Army of the
Potomac for a short time.

General Meade was an officer of great merit, with drawbacks to
his usefulness that were beyond his control. He had been an
officer of the engineer corps before the war, and consequently
had never served with troops until he was over forty-six years
of age. He never had, I believe, a command of less than a
brigade. He saw clearly and distinctly the position of the
enemy, and the topography of the country in front of his own
position. His first idea was to take advantage of the lay of
the ground, sometimes without reference to the direction we
wanted to move afterwards. He was subordinate to his superiors
in rank to the extent that he could execute an order which
changed his own plans with the same zeal he would have displayed
if the plan had been his own. He was brave and conscientious,
and commanded the respect of all who knew him. He was
unfortunately of a temper that would get beyond his control, at
times, and make him speak to officers of high rank in the most
offensive manner. No one saw this fault more plainly than he
himself, and no one regretted it more. This made it unpleasant
at times, even in battle, for those around him to approach him
even with information. In spite of this defect he was a most
valuable officer and deserves a high place in the annals of his

General Burnside was an officer who was generally liked and
respected. He was not, however, fitted to command an army. No
one knew this better than himself. He always admitted his
blunders, and extenuated those of officers under him beyond what
they were entitled to. It was hardly his fault that he was ever
assigned to a separate command.

Of Hooker I saw but little during the war. I had known him very
well before, however. Where I did see him, at Chattanooga, his
achievement in bringing his command around the point of Lookout
Mountain and into Chattanooga Valley was brilliant. I
nevertheless regarded him as a dangerous man. He was not
subordinate to his superiors. He was ambitious to the extent of
caring nothing for the rights of others. His disposition was,
when engaged in battle, to get detached from the main body of
the army and exercise a separate command, gathering to his
standard all he could of his juniors.

Hancock stands the most conspicuous figure of all the general
officers who did not exercise a separate command. He commanded
a corps longer than any other one, and his name was never
mentioned as having committed in battle a blunder for which he
was responsible. He was a man of very conspicuous personal
appearance. Tall, well-formed and, at the time of which I now
write, young and fresh-looking, he presented an appearance that
would attract the attention of an army as he passed. His genial
disposition made him friends, and his personal courage and his
presence with his command in the thickest of the fight won for
him the confidence of troops serving under him. No matter how
hard the fight, the 2d corps always felt that their commander
was looking after them.

Sedgwick was killed at Spottsylvania before I had an opportunity
of forming an estimate of his qualifications as a soldier from
personal observation. I had known him in Mexico when both of us
were lieutenants, and when our service gave no indication that
either of us would ever be equal to the command of a brigade. He
stood very high in the army, however, as an officer and a man.
He was brave and conscientious. His ambition was not great, and
he seemed to dread responsibility. He was willing to do any
amount of battling, but always wanted some one else to direct.
He declined the command of the Army of the Potomac once, if not

General Alfred H. Terry came into the army as a volunteer
without a military education. His way was won without political
influence up to an important separate command--the expedition
against Fort Fisher, in January, 1865. His success there was
most brilliant, and won for him the rank of brigadier-general in
the regular army and of major-general of volunteers. He is a man
who makes friends of those under him by his consideration of
their wants and their dues. As a commander, he won their
confidence by his coolness in action and by his clearness of
perception in taking in the situation under which he was placed
at any given time.

Griffin, Humphreys, and Mackenzie were good corps commanders,
but came into that position so near to the close of the war as
not to attract public attention. All three served as such, in
the last campaign of the armies of the Potomac and the James,
which culminated at Appomattox Court House, on the 9th of April,
1865. The sudden collapse of the rebellion monopolized attention
to the exclusion of almost everything else. I regarded Mackenzie
as the most promising young officer in the army. Graduating at
West Point, as he did, during the second year of the war, he had
won his way up to the command of a corps before its close. This
he did upon his own merit and without influence.


The cause of the great War of the Rebellion against the United
Status will have to be attributed to slavery. For some years
before the war began it was a trite saying among some
politicians that "A state half slave and half free cannot
exist." All must become slave or all free, or the state will go
down. I took no part myself in any such view of the case at the
time, but since the war is over, reviewing the whole question, I
have come to the conclusion that the saying is quite true.

Slavery was an institution that required unusual guarantees for
its security wherever it existed; and in a country like ours
where the larger portion of it was free territory inhabited by
an intelligent and well-to-do population, the people would
naturally have but little sympathy with demands upon them for
its protection. Hence the people of the South were dependent
upon keeping control of the general government to secure the
perpetuation of their favorite institution. They were enabled
to maintain this control long after the States where slavery
existed had ceased to have the controlling power, through the
assistance they received from odd men here and there throughout
the Northern States. They saw their power waning, and this led
them to encroach upon the prerogatives and independence of the
Northern States by enacting such laws as the Fugitive Slave
Law. By this law every Northern man was obliged, when properly
summoned, to turn out and help apprehend the runaway slave of a
Southern man. Northern marshals became slave-catchers, and
Northern courts had to contribute to the support and protection
of the institution.

This was a degradation which the North would not permit any
longer than until they could get the power to expunge such laws
from the statute books. Prior to the time of these
encroachments the great majority of the people of the North had
no particular quarrel with slavery, so long as they were not
forced to have it themselves. But they were not willing to play
the role of police for the South in the protection of this
particular institution.

In the early days of the country, before we had railroads,
telegraphs and steamboats--in a word, rapid transit of any
sort--the States were each almost a separate nationality. At
that time the subject of slavery caused but little or no
disturbance to the public mind. But the country grew, rapid
transit was established, and trade and commerce between the
States got to be so much greater than before, that the power of
the National government became more felt and recognized and,
therefore, had to be enlisted in the cause of this institution.

It is probably well that we had the war when we did. We are
better off now than we would have been without it, and have made
more rapid progress than we otherwise should have made. The
civilized nations of Europe have been stimulated into unusual
activity, so that commerce, trade, travel, and thorough
acquaintance among people of different nationalities, has become
common; whereas, before, it was but the few who had ever had the
privilege of going beyond the limits of their own country or who
knew anything about other people. Then, too, our republican
institutions were regarded as experiments up to the breaking out
of the rebellion, and monarchical Europe generally believed that
our republic was a rope of sand that would part the moment the
slightest strain was brought upon it. Now it has shown itself
capable of dealing with one of the greatest wars that was ever
made, and our people have proven themselves to be the most
formidable in war of any nationality.

But this war was a fearful lesson, and should teach us the
necessity of avoiding wars in the future.

The conduct of some of the European states during our troubles
shows the lack of conscience of communities where the
responsibility does not come upon a single individual. Seeing a
nation that extended from ocean to ocean, embracing the better
part of a continent, growing as we were growing in population,
wealth and intelligence, the European nations thought it would
be well to give us a check. We might, possibly, after a while
threaten their peace, or, at least, the perpetuity of their
institutions. Hence, England was constantly finding fault with
the administration at Washington because we were not able to
keep up an effective blockade. She also joined, at first, with
France and Spain in setting up an Austrian prince upon the
throne in Mexico, totally disregarding any rights or claims that
Mexico had of being treated as an independent power. It is true
they trumped up grievances as a pretext, but they were only
pretexts which can always be found when wanted.

Mexico, in her various revolutions, had been unable to give that
protection to the subjects of foreign nations which she would
have liked to give, and some of her revolutionary leaders had
forced loans from them. Under pretence of protecting their
citizens, these nations seized upon Mexico as a foothold for
establishing a European monarchy upon our continent, thus
threatening our peace at home. I, myself, regarded this as a
direct act of war against the United States by the powers
engaged, and supposed as a matter of course that the United
States would treat it as such when their hands were free to
strike. I often spoke of the matter to Mr. Lincoln and the
Secretary of War, but never heard any special views from them to
enable me to judge what they thought or felt about it. I
inferred that they felt a good deal as I did, but were unwilling
to commit themselves while we had our own troubles upon our

All of the powers except France very soon withdrew from the
armed intervention for the establishment of an Austrian prince
upon the throne of Mexico; but the governing people of these
countries continued to the close of the war to throw obstacles
in our way. After the surrender of Lee, therefore, entertaining
the opinion here expressed, I sent Sheridan with a corps to the
Rio Grande to have him where he might aid Juarez in expelling
the French from Mexico. These troops got off before they could
be stopped; and went to the Rio Grande, where Sheridan
distributed them up and down the river, much to the
consternation of the troops in the quarter of Mexico bordering
on that stream. This soon led to a request from France that we
should withdraw our troops from the Rio Grande and to
negotiations for the withdrawal of theirs. Finally Bazaine was
withdrawn from Mexico by order of the French Government. From
that day the empire began to totter. Mexico was then able to
maintain her independence without aid from us.

France is the traditional ally and friend of the United
States. I did not blame France for her part in the scheme to
erect a monarchy upon the ruins of the Mexican Republic. That
was the scheme of one man, an imitator without genius or
merit. He had succeeded in stealing the government of his
country, and made a change in its form against the wishes and
instincts of his people. He tried to play the part of the first
Napoleon, without the ability to sustain that role. He sought by
new conquests to add to his empire and his glory; but the signal
failure of his scheme of conquest was the precursor of his own

Like our own war between the States, the Franco-Prussian war was
an expensive one; but it was worth to France all it cost her
people. It was the completion of the downfall of Napoleon
III. The beginning was when he landed troops on this
continent. Failing here, the prestige of his name--all the
prestige he ever had--was gone. He must achieve a success or
fall. He tried to strike down his neighbor, Prussia--and fell.

I never admired the character of the first Napoleon; but I
recognize his great genius. His work, too, has left its impress
for good on the face of Europe. The third Napoleon could have no
claim to having done a good or just act.

To maintain peace in the future it is necessary to be prepared
for war. There can scarcely be a possible chance of a conflict,
such as the last one, occurring among our own people again; but,
growing as we are, in population, wealth and military power, we
may become the envy of nations which led us in all these
particulars only a few years ago; and unless we are prepared for
it we may be in danger of a combined movement being some day made
to crush us out. Now, scarcely twenty years after the war, we
seem to have forgotten the lessons it taught, and are going on
as if in the greatest security, without the power to resist an
invasion by the fleets of fourth-rate European powers for a time
until we could prepare for them.

We should have a good navy, and our sea-coast defences should be
put in the finest possible condition. Neither of these cost much
when it is considered where the money goes, and what we get in
return. Money expended in a fine navy, not only adds to our
security and tends to prevent war in the future, but is very
material aid to our commerce with foreign nations in the
meantime. Money spent upon sea-coast defences is spent among
our own people, and all goes back again among the people. The
work accomplished, too, like that of the navy, gives us a
feeling of security.

England's course towards the United States during the rebellion
exasperated the people of this country very much against the
mother country. I regretted it. England and the United States
are natural allies, and should be the best of friends. They
speak one language, and are related by blood and other ties. We
together, or even either separately, are better qualified than
any other people to establish commerce between all the
nationalities of the world.

England governs her own colonies, and particularly those
embracing the people of different races from her own, better
than any other nation. She is just to the conquered, but
rigid. She makes them self-supporting, but gives the benefit of
labor to the laborer. She does not seem to look upon the
colonies as outside possessions which she is at liberty to work
for the support and aggrandizement of the home government.

The hostility of England to the United States during our
rebellion was not so much real as it was apparent. It was the
hostility of the leaders of one political party. I am told that
there was no time during the civil war when they were able to get
up in England a demonstration in favor of secession, while these
were constantly being gotten up in favor of the Union, or, as
they called it, in favor of the North. Even in Manchester,
which suffered so fearfully by having the cotton cut off from
her mills, they had a monster demonstration in favor of the
North at the very time when their workmen were almost famishing.

It is possible that the question of a conflict between races may
come up in the future, as did that between freedom and slavery
before. The condition of the colored man within our borders may
become a source of anxiety, to say the least. But he was brought
to our shores by compulsion, and he now should be considered as
having as good a right to remain here as any other class of our
citizens. It was looking to a settlement of this question that
led me to urge the annexation of Santo Domingo during the time I
was President of the United States.

Santo Domingo was freely offered to us, not only by the
administration, but by all the people, almost without price. The
island is upon our shores, is very fertile, and is capable of
supporting fifteen millions of people. The products of the soil
are so valuable that labor in her fields would be so compensated
as to enable those who wished to go there to quickly repay the
cost of their passage. I took it that the colored people would
go there in great numbers, so as to have independent states
governed by their own race. They would still be States of the
Union, and under the protection of the General Government; but
the citizens would be almost wholly colored.

By the war with Mexico, we had acquired, as we have seen,
territory almost equal in extent to that we already possessed.
It was seen that the volunteers of the Mexican war largely
composed the pioneers to settle up the Pacific coast country.
Their numbers, however, were scarcely sufficient to be a nucleus
for the population of the important points of the territory
acquired by that war. After our rebellion, when so many young
men were at liberty to return to their homes, they found they
were not satisfied with the farm, the store, or the work-shop of
the villages, but wanted larger fields. The mines of the
mountains first attracted them; but afterwards they found that
rich valleys and productive grazing and farming lands were
there. This territory, the geography of which was not known to
us at the close of the rebellion, is now as well mapped as any
portion of our country. Railroads traverse it in every
direction, north, south, east, and west. The mines are
worked. The high lands are used for grazing purposes, and rich
agricultural lands are found in many of the valleys. This is
the work of the volunteer. It is probable that the Indians
would have had control of these lands for a century yet but for
the war. We must conclude, therefore, that wars are not always
evils unmixed with some good.

Prior to the rebellion the great mass of the people were
satisfied to remain near the scenes of their birth. In fact an
immense majority of the whole people did not feel secure against
coming to want should they move among entire strangers. So much
was the country divided into small communities that localized
idioms had grown up, so that you could almost tell what section
a person was from by hearing him speak. Before, new territories
were settled by a "class"; people who shunned contact with
others; people who, when the country began to settle up around
them, would push out farther from civilization. Their guns
furnished meat, and the cultivation of a very limited amount of
the soil, their bread and vegetables. All the streams abounded
with fish. Trapping would furnish pelts to be brought into the
States once a year, to pay for necessary articles which they
could not raise--powder, lead, whiskey, tobacco and some store
goods. Occasionally some little articles of luxury would enter
into these purchases--a quarter of a pound of tea, two or three
pounds of coffee, more of sugar, some playing cards, and if
anything was left over of the proceeds of the sale, more whiskey.

Little was known of the topography of the country beyond the
settlements of these frontiersmen. This is all changed now. The
war begot a spirit of independence and enterprise. The feeling
now is, that a youth must cut loose from his old surroundings to
enable him to get up in the world. There is now such a
commingling of the people that particular idioms and
pronunciation are no longer localized to any great extent; the
country has filled up "from the centre all around to the sea";
railroads connect the two oceans and all parts of the interior;
maps, nearly perfect, of every part of the country are now
furnished the student of geography.

The war has made us a nation of great power and intelligence. We
have but little to do to preserve peace, happiness and prosperity
at home, and the respect of other nations. Our experience ought
to teach us the necessity of the first; our power secures the

I feel that we are on the eve of a new era, when there is to be
great harmony between the Federal and Confederate. I cannot
stay to be a living witness to the correctness of this prophecy;
but I feel it within me that it is to be so. The universally
kind feeling expressed for me at a time when it was supposed
that each day would prove my last, seemed to me the beginning of
the answer to "Let us have peace."

The expression of these kindly feelings were not restricted to a
section of the country, nor to a division of the people. They
came from individual citizens of all nationalities; from all
denominations--the Protestant, the Catholic, and the Jew; and
from the various societies of the land--scientific, educational,
religious or otherwise. Politics did not enter into the matter
at all.

I am not egotist enough to suppose all this significance should
be given because I was the object of it. But the war between
the States was a very bloody and a very costly war. One side or
the other had to yield principles they deemed dearer than life
before it could be brought to an end. I commanded the whole of
the mighty host engaged on the victorious side. I was, no
matter whether deservedly so or not, a representative of that
side of the controversy. It is a significant and gratifying
fact that Confederates should have joined heartily in this
spontaneous move. I hope the good feeling inaugurated may
continue to the end.


ARMIES 1864-65.

July 22, 1865.

HON. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the
operations of the Armies of the United States from the date of
my appointment to command the same.

From an early period in the rebellion I had been impressed with
the idea that active and continuous operations of all the troops
that could be brought into the field, regardless of season and
weather, were necessary to a speedy termination of the war. The
resources of the enemy and his numerical strength were far
inferior to ours; but as an offset to this, we had a vast
territory, with a population hostile to the government, to
garrison, and long lines of river and railroad communications to
protect, to enable us to supply the operating armies.

The armies in the East and West acted independently and without
concert, like a balky team, no two ever pulling together,
enabling the enemy to use to great advantage his interior lines
of communication for transporting troops from East to West,
reinforcing the army most vigorously pressed, and to furlough
large numbers, during seasons of inactivity on our part, to go
to their homes and do the work of producing, for the support of
their armies. It was a question whether our numerical strength
and resources were not more than balanced by these disadvantages
and the enemy's superior position.

From the first, I was firm in the conviction that no peace could
be had that would be stable and conducive to the happiness of the
people, both North and South, until the military power of the
rebellion was entirely broken.

I therefore determined, first, to use the greatest number of
troops practicable against the armed force of the enemy;
preventing him from using the same force at different seasons
against first one and then another of our armies, and the
possibility of repose for refitting and producing necessary
supplies for carrying on resistance. Second, to hammer
continuously against the armed force of the enemy and his
resources, until by mere attrition, if in no other way, there
should be nothing left to him but an equal submission with the
loyal section of our common country to the constitution and laws
of the land.

These views have been kept constantly in mind, and orders given
and campaigns made to carry them out. Whether they might have
been better in conception and execution is for the people, who
mourn the loss of friends fallen, and who have to pay the
pecuniary cost, to say. All I can say is, that what I have done
has been done conscientiously, to the best of my ability, and in
what I conceived to be for the best interests of the whole

At the date when this report begins, the situation of the
contending forces was about as follows: The Mississippi River
was strongly garrisoned by Federal troops, from St. Louis,
Missouri, to its mouth. The line of the Arkansas was also held,
thus giving us armed possession of all west of the Mississippi,
north of that stream. A few points in Southern Louisiana, not
remote from the river, were held by us, together with a small
garrison at and near the mouth of the Rio Grande. All the
balance of the vast territory of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas
was in the almost undisputed possession of the enemy, with an
army of probably not less than eighty thousand effective men,
that could have been brought into the field had there been
sufficient opposition to have brought them out. The let-alone
policy had demoralized this force so that probably but little
more than one-half of it was ever present in garrison at any one
time. But the one-half, or forty thousand men, with the bands of
guerillas scattered through Missouri, Arkansas, and along the
Mississippi River, and the disloyal character of much of the
population, compelled the use of a large number of troops to
keep navigation open on the river, and to protect the loyal
people to the west of it. To the east of the Mississippi we
held substantially with the line of the Tennessee and Holston
rivers, running eastward to include nearly all of the State of
Tennessee. South of Chattanooga, a small foothold had been
obtained in Georgia, sufficient to protect East Tennessee from
incursions from the enemy's force at Dalton, Georgia. West
Virginia was substantially within our lines. Virginia, with the
exception of the northern border, the Potomac River, a small area
about the mouth of James River, covered by the troops at Norfolk
and Fort Monroe, and the territory covered by the Army of the
Potomac lying along the Rapidan, was in the possession of the
enemy. Along the sea-coast footholds had been obtained at
Plymouth, Washington, and New Bern, in North Carolina; Beaufort,
Folly and Morris Islands, Hilton Head, Fort Pulaski, and Port
Royal, in South Carolina; Fernandina and St. Augustine, in
Florida. Key West and Pensacola were also in our possession,
while all the important ports were blockaded by the navy. The
accompanying map, a copy of which was sent to General Sherman
and other commanders in March, 1864, shows by red lines the
territory occupied by us at the beginning of the rebellion, and
at the opening of the campaign of 1864, while those in blue are
the lines which it was proposed to occupy.

Behind the Union lines there were many bands of guerillas and a
large population disloyal to the government, making it necessary
to guard every foot of road or river used in supplying our
armies. In the South, a reign of military despotism prevailed,
which made every man and boy capable of bearing arms a soldier;
and those who could not bear arms in the field acted as provosts
for collecting deserters and returning them. This enabled the
enemy to bring almost his entire strength into the field.

The enemy had concentrated the bulk of his forces east of the
Mississippi into two armies, commanded by Generals R. E. Lee and
J. E. Johnston, his ablest and best generals. The army commanded
by Lee occupied the south bank of the Rapidan, extending from
Mine Run westward, strongly intrenched, covering and defending
Richmond, the rebel capital, against the Army of the Potomac.
The army under Johnston occupied a strongly intrenched position
at Dalton, Georgia, covering and defending Atlanta, Georgia, a
place of great importance as a railroad centre, against the
armies under Major-General W. T. Sherman. In addition to these
armies he had a large cavalry force under Forrest, in North-east
Mississippi; a considerable force, of all arms, in the Shenandoah
Valley, and in the western part of Virginia and extreme eastern
part of Tennessee; and also confronting our sea-coast garrisons,
and holding blockaded ports where we had no foothold upon land.

These two armies, and the cities covered and defended by them,
were the main objective points of the campaign.

Major-General W. T. Sherman, who was appointed to the command of
the Military Division of the Mississippi, embracing all the
armies and territory east of the Mississippi River to the
Alleghanies and the Department of Arkansas, west of the
Mississippi, had the immediate command of the armies operating
against Johnston.

Major-General George G. Meade had the immediate command of the
Army of the Potomac, from where I exercised general supervision
of the movements of all our armies.

General Sherman was instructed to move against Johnston's army,
to break it up, and to go into the interior of the enemy's
country as far as he could, inflicting all the damage he could
upon their war resources. If the enemy in his front showed
signs of joining Lee, to follow him up to the full extent of his
ability, while I would prevent the concentration of Lee upon him,
if it was in the power of the Army of the Potomac to do so. More
specific written instructions were not given, for the reason that
I had talked over with him the plans of the campaign, and was
satisfied that he understood them and would execute them to the
fullest extent possible.

Major-General N. P. Banks, then on an expedition up Red River
against Shreveport, Louisiana (which had been organized previous
to my appointment to command), was notified by me on the 15th of
March, of the importance it was that Shreveport should be taken
at the earliest possible day, and that if he found that the
taking of it would occupy from ten to fifteen days' more time
than General Sherman had given his troops to be absent from
their command, he would send them back at the time specified by
General Sherman, even if it led to the abandonment of the main
object of the Red River expedition, for this force was necessary
to movements east of the Mississippi; that should his expedition
prove successful, he would hold Shreveport and the Red River
with such force as he might deem necessary, and return the
balance of his troops to the neighborhood of New Orleans,
commencing no move for the further acquisition of territory,
unless it was to make that then held by him more easily held;
that it might be a part of the spring campaign to move against
Mobile; that it certainly would be, if troops enough could be
obtained to make it without embarrassing other movements; that
New Orleans would be the point of departure for such an
expedition; also, that I had directed General Steele to make a
real move from Arkansas, as suggested by him (General Banks),
instead of a demonstration, as Steele thought advisable.

On the 31st of March, in addition to the foregoing notification
and directions, he was instructed as follows:

"1st. If successful in your expedition against Shreveport, that
you turn over the defence of the Red River to General Steele and
the navy.

"2d. That you abandon Texas entirely, with the exception of
your hold upon the Rio Grande. This can be held with four
thousand men, if they will turn their attention immediately to
fortifying their positions. At least one-half of the force
required for this service might be taken from the colored troops.

"3d. By properly fortifying on the Mississippi River, the force
to guard it from Port Hudson to New Orleans can be reduced to ten
thousand men, if not to a less number. Six thousand more would
then hold all the rest of the territory necessary to hold until
active operations can again be resumed west of the river.
According to your last return, this would give you a force of
over thirty thousand effective men with which to move against
Mobile. To this I expect to add five thousand men from
Missouri. If however, you think the force here stated too small
to hold the territory regarded as necessary to hold possession
of, I would say concentrate at least twenty-five thousand men of
your present command for operations against Mobile. With these
and such additions as I can give you from elsewhere, lose no
time in making a demonstration, to be followed by an attack upon
Mobile. Two or more iron-clads will be ordered to report to
Admiral Farragut. This gives him a strong naval fleet with
which to co-operate. You can make your own arrangements with
the admiral for his co-operation, and select your own line of
approach. My own idea of the matter is that Pascagoula should
be your base; but, from your long service in the Gulf
Department, you will know best about the matter. It is intended
that your movements shall be co-operative with movements
elsewhere, and you cannot now start too soon. All I would now
add is, that you commence the concentration of your forces at
once. Preserve a profound secrecy of what you intend doing, and
start at the earliest possible moment.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

Major-General Meade was instructed that Lee's army would be his
objective point; that wherever Lee went he would go also. For
his movement two plans presented themselves: One to cross the
Rapidan below Lee, moving by his right flank; the other above,
moving by his left. Each presented advantages over the other,
with corresponding objections. By crossing above, Lee would be
cut off from all chance of ignoring Richmond or going north on a
raid. But if we took this route, all we did would have to be
done whilst the rations we started with held out; besides, it
separated us from Butler, so that he could not be directed how
to cooperate. If we took the other route, Brandy Station could
be used as a base of supplies until another was secured on the
York or James rivers. Of these, however, it was decided to take
the lower route.

The following letter of instruction was addressed to
Major-General B. F. Butler:

"FORT MONROE, VIRGINIA, April 2, 1864.

"GENERAL:-In the spring campaign, which it is desirable shall
commence at as early a day as practicable, it is proposed to
have cooperative action of all the armies in the field, as far
as this object can be accomplished.

"It will not be possible to unite our armies into two or three
large ones to act as so many units, owing to the absolute
necessity of holding on to the territory already taken from the
enemy. But, generally speaking, concentration can be
practically effected by armies moving to the interior of the
enemy's country from the territory they have to guard. By such
movement, they interpose themselves between the enemy and the
country to be guarded, thereby reducing the number necessary to
guard important points, or at least occupy the attention of a
part of the enemy's force, if no greater object is gained. Lee's
army and Richmond being the greater objects towards which our
attention must be directed in the next campaign, it is desirable
to unite all the force we can against them. The necessity of
covering Washington with the Army of the Potomac, and of
covering your department with your army, makes it impossible to
unite these forces at the beginning of any move. I propose,
therefore, what comes nearest this of anything that seems
practicable: The Army of the Potomac will act from its present
base, Lee's army being the objective point. You will collect
all the forces from your command that can be spared from
garrison duty--I should say not less than twenty thousand
effective men--to operate on the south side of James River,
Richmond being your objective point. To the force you already
have will be added about ten thousand men from South Carolina,
under Major-General Gillmore, who will command them in person.
Major-General W. F. Smith is ordered to report to you, to
command the troops sent into the field from your own department.

"General Gillmore will be ordered to report to you at Fortress
Monroe, with all the troops on transports, by the 18th instant,
or as soon thereafter as practicable. Should you not receive
notice by that time to move, you will make such disposition of
them and your other forces as you may deem best calculated to
deceive the enemy as to the real move to be made.

"When you are notified to move, take City Point with as much
force as possible. Fortify, or rather intrench, at once, and
concentrate all your troops for the field there as rapidly as
you can. From City Point directions cannot be given at this
time for your further movements.

"The fact that has already been stated--that is, that Richmond
is to be your objective point, and that there is to be
co-operation between your force and the Army of the
Potomac--must be your guide. This indicates the necessity of
your holding close to the south bank of the James River as you
advance. Then, should the enemy be forced into his
intrenchments in Richmond, the Army of the Potomac would follow,
and by means of transports the two armies would become a unit.

"All the minor details of your advance are left entirely to your
direction. If, however, you think it practicable to use your
cavalry south of you, so as to cut the railroad about Hicksford,
about the time of the general advance, it would be of immense

"You will please forward for my information, at the earliest
practicable day, all orders, details, and instructions you may
give for the execution of this order.

"U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.

On the 16th these instructions were substantially reiterated. On
the 19th, in order to secure full co-operation between his army
and that of General Meade, he was informed that I expected him
to move from Fort Monroe the same day that General Meade moved
from Culpeper. The exact time I was to telegraph him as soon as
it was fixed, and that it would not be earlier than the 27th of
April; that it was my intention to fight Lee between Culpeper
and Richmond, if he would stand. Should he, however, fall back
into Richmond, I would follow up and make a junction with his
(General Butler's) army on the James River; that, could I be
certain he would be able to invest Richmond on the south side,
so as to have his left resting on the James, above the city, I
would form the junction there; that circumstances might make
this course advisable anyhow; that he should use every exertion
to secure footing as far up the south side of the river as he
could, and as soon as possible after the receipt of orders to
move; that if he could not carry the city, he should at least
detain as large a force there as possible.

In co-operation with the main movements against Lee and
Johnston, I was desirous of using all other troops necessarily
kept in departments remote from the fields of immediate
operations, and also those kept in the background for the
protection of our extended lines between the loyal States and
the armies operating against them.

A very considerable force, under command of Major-General Sigel,
was so held for the protection of West Virginia, and the
frontiers of Maryland and Pennsylvania. Whilst these troops
could not be withdrawn to distant fields without exposing the
North to invasion by comparatively small bodies of the enemy,
they could act directly to their front, and give better
protection than if lying idle in garrison. By such a movement
they would either compel the enemy to detach largely for the
protection of his supplies and lines of communication, or he
would lose them. General Sigel was therefore directed to
organize all his available force into two expeditions, to move
from Beverly and Charleston, under command of Generals Ord and
Crook, against the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad.
Subsequently, General Ord having been relieved at his own
request, General Sigel was instructed at his own suggestion, to
give up the expedition by Beverly, and to form two columns, one
under General Crook, on the Kanawha, numbering about ten
thousand men, and one on the Shenandoah, numbering about seven
thousand men. The one on the Shenandoah to assemble between
Cumberland and the Shenandoah, and the infantry and artillery
advanced to Cedar Creek with such cavalry as could be made
available at the moment, to threaten the enemy in the Shenandoah
Valley, and advance as far as possible; while General Crook would
take possession of Lewisburg with part of his force and move down
the Tennessee Railroad, doing as much damage as he could,
destroying the New River Bridge and the salt-works, at
Saltville, Va.

Owing to the weather and bad condition of the roads, operations
were delayed until the 1st of May, when, everything being in
readiness and the roads favorable, orders were given for a
general movement of all the armies not later than the 4th of May.

My first object being to break the military power of the
rebellion, and capture the enemy's important strongholds, made
me desirous that General Butler should succeed in his movement
against Richmond, as that would tend more than anything else,
unless it were the capture of Lee's army, to accomplish this
desired result in the East. If he failed, it was my
determination, by hard fighting, either to compel Lee to
retreat, or to so cripple him that he could not detach a large
force to go north, and still retain enough for the defence of
Richmond. It was well understood, by both Generals Butler and
Meade, before starting on the campaign, that it was my intention
to put both their armies south of the James River, in case of
failure to destroy Lee without it.

Before giving General Butler his instructions, I visited him at
Fort Monroe, and in conversation pointed out the apparent
importance of getting possession of Petersburg, and destroying
railroad communication as far south as possible. Believing,
however, in the practicability of capturing Richmond unless it
was reinforced, I made that the objective point of his
operations. As the Army of the Potomac was to move
simultaneously with him, Lee could not detach from his army with
safety, and the enemy did not have troops elsewhere to bring to
the defence of the city in time to meet a rapid movement from
the north of James River.

I may here state that, commanding all the armies as I did, I
tried, as far as possible, to leave General Meade in independent
command of the Army of the Potomac. My instructions for that
army were all through him, and were general in their nature,
leaving all the details and the execution to him. The campaigns
that followed proved him to be the right man in the right
place. His commanding always in the presence of an officer
superior to him in rank, has drawn from him much of that public
attention that his zeal and ability entitle him to, and which he
would otherwise have received.

The movement of the Army of the Potomac commenced early on the
morning of the 4th of May, under the immediate direction and
orders of Major-General Meade, pursuant to instructions. Before
night, the whole army was across the Rapidan (the fifth and sixth
corps crossing at Germania Ford, and the second corps at Ely's
Ford, the cavalry, under Major-General Sheridan, moving in
advance,) with the greater part of its trains, numbering about
four thousand wagons, meeting with but slight opposition. The
average distance travelled by the troops that day was about
twelve miles. This I regarded as a great success, and it
removed from my mind the most serious apprehensions I had
entertained, that of crossing the river in the face of an
active, large, well-appointed, and ably commanded army, and how
so large a train was to be carried through a hostile country,
and protected. Early on the 5th, the advance corps (the fifth,
Major-General G. K. Warren commanding) met and engaged the enemy
outside his intrenchments near Mine Run. The battle raged
furiously all day, the whole army being brought into the fight
as fast as the corps could be got upon the field, which,
considering the density of the forest and narrowness of the
roads, was done with commendable promptness.

General Burnside, with the ninth corps, was, at the time the
Army of the Potomac moved, left with the bulk of his corps at
the crossing of the Rappahannock River and Alexandria Railroad,
holding the road back to Bull Run, with instructions not to move
until he received notice that a crossing of the Rapidan was
secured, but to move promptly as soon as such notice was
received. This crossing he was apprised of on the afternoon of
the 4th. By six o'clock of the morning of the 6th he was
leading his corps into action near the Wilderness Tavern, some
of his troops having marched a distance of over thirty miles,
crossing both the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers. Considering
that a large proportion, probably two-thirds of his command, was
composed of new troops, unaccustomed to marches, and carrying the
accoutrements of a soldier, this was a remarkable march.

The battle of the Wilderness was renewed by us at five o'clock
on the morning of the 6th, and continued with unabated fury
until darkness set in, each army holding substantially the same
position that they had on the evening of the 5th. After dark,
the enemy made a feeble attempt to turn our right flank,
capturing several hundred prisoners and creating considerable
confusion. But the promptness of General Sedgwick, who was
personally present and commanded that part of our line, soon
reformed it and restored order. On the morning of the 7th,
reconnoissances showed that the enemy had fallen behind his
intrenched lines, with pickets to the front, covering a part of
the battle-field. From this it was evident to my mind that the
two days' fighting had satisfied him of his inability to further
maintain the contest in the open field, notwithstanding his
advantage of position, and that he would wait an attack behind
his works. I therefore determined to push on and put my whole
force between him and Richmond; and orders were at once issued
for a movement by his right flank. On the night of the 7th, the
march was commenced towards Spottsylvania Court House, the fifth
corps moving on the most direct road. But the enemy having
become apprised of our movement, and having the shorter line,
was enabled to reach there first. On the 8th, General Warren
met a force of the enemy, which had been sent out to oppose and
delay his advance, to gain time to fortify the line taken up at
Spottsylvania. This force was steadily driven back on the main
force, within the recently constructed works, after considerable
fighting, resulting in severe loss to both sides. On the morning
of the 9th, General Sheridan started on a raid against the
enemy's lines of communication with Richmond. The 9th, 10th,
and 11th were spent in manoeuvring and fighting, without
decisive results. Among the killed on the 9th was that able and
distinguished soldier Major-General John Sedgwick, commanding the
sixth army corps. Major-General H. G. Wright succeeded him in
command. Early on the morning of the 12th a general attack was
made on the enemy in position. The second corps, Major-General
Hancock commanding, carried a salient of his line, capturing
most of Johnson's division of Ewell's corps and twenty pieces of
artillery. But the resistance was so obstinate that the
advantage gained did not prove decisive. The 13th, 14th, 15th,
16th, 17th, and 18th, were consumed in manoeuvring and awaiting
the arrival of reinforcements from Washington. Deeming it
impracticable to make any further attack upon the enemy at
Spottsylvania Court House, orders were issued on the 15th with a
view to a movement to the North Anna, to commence at twelve
o'clock on the night of the 19th. Late in the afternoon of the
19th, Ewell's corps came out of its works on our extreme right
flank; but the attack was promptly repulsed, with heavy loss.
This delayed the movement to the North Anna until the night of
the 21st, when it was commenced. But the enemy again, having
the shorter line, and being in possession of the main roads, was
enabled to reach the North Anna in advance of us, and took
position behind it. The fifth corps reached the North Anna on
the afternoon of the 23d, closely followed by the sixth corps.
The second and ninth corps got up about the same time, the
second holding the railroad bridge, and the ninth lying between
that and Jericho Ford. General Warren effected a crossing the
same afternoon, and got a position without much opposition. Soon
after getting into position he was violently attacked, but
repulsed the enemy with great slaughter. On the 25th, General


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