Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant [Volume Two]
Ulysses S. Grant

Part 6 out of 9

main successful until they had conquered all the territory from
the Mississippi River to the State of North Carolina, and were
now almost ready to knock at the back door of Richmond, asking
admittance. I said to him that if the Western armies should be
even upon the field, operating against Richmond and Lee, the
credit would be given to them for the capture, by politicians
and non-combatants from the section of country which those
troops hailed from. It might lead to disagreeable bickerings
between members of Congress of the East and those of the West in
some of their debates. Western members might be throwing it up
to the members of the East that in the suppression of the
rebellion they were not able to capture an army, or to
accomplish much in the way of contributing toward that end, but
had to wait until the Western armies had conquered all the
territory south and west of them, and then come on to help them
capture the only army they had been engaged with.

Mr. Lincoln said he saw that now, but had never thought of it
before, because his anxiety was so great that he did not care
where the aid came from so the work was done.

The Army of the Potomac has every reason to be proud of its four
years' record in the suppression of the rebellion. The army it
had to fight was the protection to the capital of a people which
was attempting to found a nation upon the territory of the United
States. Its loss would be the loss of the cause. Every energy,
therefore, was put forth by the Confederacy to protect and
maintain their capital. Everything else would go if it went.
Lee's army had to be strengthened to enable it to maintain its
position, no matter what territory was wrested from the South in
another quarter.

I never expected any such bickering as I have indicated, between
the soldiers of the two sections; and, fortunately, there has
been none between the politicians. Possibly I am the only one
who thought of the liability of such a state of things in

When our conversation was at an end Mr. Lincoln mounted his
horse and started on his return to City Point, while I and my
staff started to join the army, now a good many miles in
advance. Up to this time I had not received the report of the
capture of Richmond.

Soon after I left President Lincoln I received a dispatch from
General Weitzel which notified me that he had taken possession
of Richmond at about 8.15 o'clock in the morning of that day,
the 3d, and that he had found the city on fire in two places.
The city was in the most utter confusion. The authorities had
taken the precaution to empty all the liquor into the gutter,
and to throw out the provisions which the Confederate government
had left, for the people to gather up. The city had been
deserted by the authorities, civil and military, without any
notice whatever that they were about to leave. In fact, up to
the very hour of the evacuation the people had been led to
believe that Lee had gained an important victory somewhere
around Petersburg.

Weitzel's command found evidence of great demoralization in
Lee's army, there being still a great many men and even officers
in the town. The city was on fire. Our troops were directed to
extinguish the flames, which they finally succeeded in doing.
The fire had been started by some one connected with the
retreating army. All authorities deny that it was authorized,
and I presume it was the work of excited men who were leaving
what they regarded as their capital and may have felt that it
was better to destroy it than have it fall into the hands of
their enemy. Be that as it may, the National troops found the
city in flames, and used every effort to extinguish them.

The troops that had formed Lee's right, a great many of them,
were cut off from getting back into Petersburg, and were pursued
by our cavalry so hotly and closely that they threw away
caissons, ammunition, clothing, and almost everything to lighten
their loads, and pushed along up the Appomattox River until
finally they took water and crossed over.

I left Mr. Lincoln and started, as I have already said, to join
the command, which halted at Sutherland Station, about nine
miles out. We had still time to march as much farther, and time
was an object; but the roads were bad and the trains belonging to
the advance corps had blocked up the road so that it was
impossible to get on. Then, again, our cavalry had struck some
of the enemy and were pursuing them; and the orders were that
the roads should be given up to the cavalry whenever they
appeared. This caused further delay.

General Wright, who was in command of one of the corps which
were left back, thought to gain time by letting his men go into
bivouac and trying to get up some rations for them, and clearing
out the road, so that when they did start they would be
uninterrupted. Humphreys, who was far ahead, was also out of
rations. They did not succeed in getting them up through the
night; but the Army of the Potomac, officers and men, were so
elated by the reflection that at last they were following up a
victory to its end, that they preferred marching without rations
to running a possible risk of letting the enemy elude them. So
the march was resumed at three o'clock in the morning.

Merritt's cavalry had struck the enemy at Deep Creek, and driven
them north to the Appomattox, where, I presume, most of them were
forced to cross.

On the morning of the 4th I learned that Lee had ordered rations
up from Danville for his famishing army, and that they were to
meet him at Farmville. This showed that Lee had already
abandoned the idea of following the railroad down to Danville,
but had determined to go farther west, by the way of
Farmville. I notified Sheridan of this and directed him to get
possession of the road before the supplies could reach Lee. He
responded that he had already sent Crook's division to get upon
the road between Burkesville and Jetersville, then to face north
and march along the road upon the latter place; and he thought
Crook must be there now. The bulk of the army moved directly
for Jetersville by two roads.

After I had received the dispatch from Sheridan saying that
Crook was on the Danville Road, I immediately ordered Meade to
make a forced march with the Army of the Potomac, and to send
Parke's corps across from the road they were on to the South
Side Railroad, to fall in the rear of the Army of the James and
to protect the railroad which that army was repairing as it went

Our troops took possession of Jetersville and in the telegraph
office, they found a dispatch from Lee, ordering two hundred
thousand rations from Danville. The dispatch had not been sent,
but Sheridan sent a special messenger with it to Burkesville and
had it forwarded from there. In the meantime, however,
dispatches from other sources had reached Danville, and they
knew there that our army was on the line of the road; so that
they sent no further supplies from that quarter.

At this time Merritt and Mackenzie, with the cavalry, were off
between the road which the Army of the Potomac was marching on
and the Appomattox River, and were attacking the enemy in
flank. They picked up a great many prisoners and forced the
abandonment of some property.

Lee intrenched himself at Amelia Court House, and also his
advance north of Jetersville, and sent his troops out to collect
forage. The country was very poor and afforded but very
little. His foragers scattered a great deal; many of them were
picked up by our men, and many others never returned to the Army
of Northern Virginia.

Griffin's corps was intrenched across the railroad south of
Jetersville, and Sheridan notified me of the situation. I again
ordered Meade up with all dispatch, Sheridan having but the one
corps of infantry with a little cavalry confronting Lee's entire
army. Meade, always prompt in obeying orders, now pushed forward
with great energy, although he was himself sick and hardly able
to be out of bed. Humphreys moved at two, and Wright at three
o'clock in the morning, without rations, as I have said, the
wagons being far in the rear.

I stayed that night at Wilson's Station on the South Side
Railroad. On the morning of the 5th I sent word to Sheridan of
the progress Meade was making, and suggested that he might now
attack Lee. We had now no other objective than the Confederate
armies, and I was anxious to close the thing up at once.

On the 5th I marched again with Ord's command until within about
ten miles of Burkesville, where I stopped to let his army pass. I
then received from Sheridan the following dispatch:

"The whole of Lee's army is at or near Amelia Court House, and
on this side of it. General Davies, whom I sent out to
Painesville on their right flank, has just captured six pieces
of artillery and some wagons. We can capture the Army of
Northern Virginia if force enough can be thrown to this point,
and then advance upon it. My cavalry was at Burkesville
yesterday, and six miles beyond, on the Danville Road, last
night. General Lee is at Amelia Court House in person. They
are out of rations, or nearly so. They were advancing up the
railroad towards Burkesville yesterday, when we intercepted them
at this point."

It now became a life and death struggle with Lee to get south to
his provisions.

Sheridan, thinking the enemy might turn off immediately towards
Farmville, moved Davies's brigade of cavalry out to watch him.
Davies found the movement had already commenced. He attacked
and drove away their cavalry which was escorting wagons to the
west, capturing and burning 180 wagons. He also captured five
pieces of artillery. The Confederate infantry then moved
against him and probably would have handled him very roughly,
but Sheridan had sent two more brigades of cavalry to follow
Davies, and they came to his relief in time. A sharp engagement
took place between these three brigades of cavalry and the
enemy's infantry, but the latter was repulsed.

Meade himself reached Jetersville about two o'clock in the
afternoon, but in advance of all his troops. The head of
Humphreys's corps followed in about an hour afterwards. Sheridan
stationed the troops as they came up, at Meade's request, the
latter still being very sick. He extended two divisions of this
corps off to the west of the road to the left of Griffin's corps,
and one division to the right. The cavalry by this time had also
come up, and they were put still farther off to the left,
Sheridan feeling certain that there lay the route by which the
enemy intended to escape. He wanted to attack, feeling that if
time was given, the enemy would get away; but Meade prevented
this, preferring to wait till his troops were all up.

At this juncture Sheridan sent me a letter which had been handed
to him by a colored man, with a note from himself saying that he
wished I was there myself. The letter was dated Amelia Court
House, April 5th, and signed by Colonel Taylor. It was to his
mother, and showed the demoralization of the Confederate army.
Sheridan's note also gave me the information as here related of
the movements of that day. I received a second message from
Sheridan on the 5th, in which he urged more emphatically the
importance of my presence. This was brought to me by a scout in
gray uniform. It was written on tissue paper, and wrapped up in
tin-foil such as chewing tobacco is folded in. This was a
precaution taken so that if the scout should be captured he
could take this tin-foil out of his pocket and putting it into
his mouth, chew it. It would cause no surprise at all to see a
Confederate soldier chewing tobacco. It was nearly night when
this letter was received. I gave Ord directions to continue his
march to Burkesville and there intrench himself for the night,
and in the morning to move west to cut off all the roads between
there and Farmville.

I then started with a few of my staff and a very small escort of
cavalry, going directly through the woods, to join Meade's
army. The distance was about sixteen miles; but the night being
dark our progress was slow through the woods in the absence of
direct roads. However, we got to the outposts about ten o'clock
in the evening, and after some little parley convinced the
sentinels of our identity and were conducted in to where
Sheridan was bivouacked. We talked over the situation for some
little time, Sheridan explaining to me what he thought Lee was
trying to do, and that Meade's orders, if carried out, moving to
the right flank, would give him the coveted opportunity of
escaping us and putting us in rear of him.

We then together visited Meade, reaching his headquarters about
midnight. I explained to Meade that we did not want to follow
the enemy; we wanted to get ahead of him, and that his orders
would allow the enemy to escape, and besides that, I had no
doubt that Lee was moving right then. Meade changed his orders
at once. They were now given for an advance on Amelia Court
House, at an early hour in the morning, as the army then lay;
that is, the infantry being across the railroad, most of it to
the west of the road, with the cavalry swung out still farther
to the left.



The Appomattox, going westward, takes a long sweep to the
south-west from the neighborhood of the Richmond and Danville
Railroad bridge, and then trends north-westerly. Sailor's
Creek, an insignificant stream, running northward, empties into
the Appomattox between the High Bridge and Jetersville. Near
the High Bridge the stage road from Petersburg to Lynchburg
crosses the Appomattox River, also on a bridge. The railroad
runs on the north side of the river to Farmville, a few miles
west, and from there, recrossing, continues on the south side of
it. The roads coming up from the south-east to Farmville cross
the Appomattox River there on a bridge and run on the north
side, leaving the Lynchburg and Petersburg Railroad well to the

Lee, in pushing out from Amelia Court House, availed himself of
all the roads between the Danville Road and Appomattox River to
move upon, and never permitted the head of his columns to stop
because of any fighting that might be going on in his rear. In
this way he came very near succeeding in getting to his
provision trains and eluding us with at least part of his army.

As expected, Lee's troops had moved during the night before, and
our army in moving upon Amelia Court House soon encountered
them. There was a good deal of fighting before Sailor's Creek
was reached. Our cavalry charged in upon a body of theirs which
was escorting a wagon train in order to get it past our left. A
severe engagement ensued, in which we captured many prisoners,
and many men also were killed and wounded. There was as much
gallantry displayed by some of the Confederates in these little
engagements as was displayed at any time during the war,
notwithstanding the sad defeats of the past week.

The armies finally met on Sailor's Creek, when a heavy
engagement took place, in which infantry, artillery and cavalry
were all brought into action. Our men on the right, as they
were brought in against the enemy, came in on higher ground, and
upon his flank, giving us every advantage to be derived from the
lay of the country. Our firing was also very much more rapid,
because the enemy commenced his retreat westward and in firing
as he retreated had to turn around every time he fired. The
enemy's loss was very heavy, as well in killed and wounded as in
captures. Some six general officers fell into our hands in this
engagement, and seven thousand men were made prisoners. This
engagement was commenced in the middle of the afternoon of the
6th, and the retreat and pursuit were continued until nightfall,
when the armies bivouacked upon the ground where the night had
overtaken them.

When the move towards Amelia Court House had commenced that
morning, I ordered Wright's corps, which was on the extreme
right, to be moved to the left past the whole army, to take the
place of Griffin's, and ordered the latter at the same time to
move by and place itself on the right. The object of this
movement was to get the 6th corps, Wright's, next to the
cavalry, with which they had formerly served so harmoniously and
so efficiently in the valley of Virginia.

The 6th corps now remained with the cavalry and under Sheridan's
direct command until after the surrender.

Ord had been directed to take possession of all the roads
southward between Burkesville and the High Bridge. On the
morning of the 6th he sent Colonel Washburn with two infantry
regiments with instructions to destroy High Bridge and to return
rapidly to Burkesville Station; and he prepared himself to resist
the enemy there. Soon after Washburn had started Ord became a
little alarmed as to his safety and sent Colonel Read, of his
staff, with about eighty cavalrymen, to overtake him and bring
him back. Very shortly after this he heard that the head of
Lee's column had got up to the road between him and where
Washburn now was, and attempted to send reinforcements, but the
reinforcements could not get through. Read, however, had got
through ahead of the enemy. He rode on to Farmville and was on
his way back again when he found his return cut off, and
Washburn confronting apparently the advance of Lee's army. Read
drew his men up into line of battle, his force now consisting of
less than six hundred men, infantry and cavalry, and rode along
their front, making a speech to his men to inspire them with the
same enthusiasm that he himself felt. He then gave the order to
charge. This little band made several charges, of course
unsuccessful ones, but inflicted a loss upon the enemy more than
equal to their own entire number. Colonel Read fell mortally
wounded, and then Washburn; and at the close of the conflict
nearly every officer of the command and most of the rank and
file had been either killed or wounded. The remainder then
surrendered. The Confederates took this to be only the advance
of a larger column which had headed them off, and so stopped to
intrench; so that this gallant band of six hundred had checked
the progress of a strong detachment of the Confederate army.

This stoppage of Lee's column no doubt saved to us the trains
following. Lee himself pushed on and crossed the wagon road
bridge near the High Bridge, and attempted to destroy it. He
did set fire to it, but the flames had made but little headway
when Humphreys came up with his corps and drove away the
rear-guard which had been left to protect it while it was being
burned up. Humphreys forced his way across with some loss, and
followed Lee to the intersection of the road crossing at
Farmville with the one from Petersburg. Here Lee held a
position which was very strong, naturally, besides being
intrenched. Humphreys was alone, confronting him all through
the day, and in a very hazardous position. He put on a bold
face, however, and assaulted with some loss, but was not
assaulted in return.

Our cavalry had gone farther south by the way of Prince Edward's
Court House, along with the 5th corps (Griffin's), Ord falling in
between Griffin and the Appomattox. Crook's division of cavalry
and Wright's corps pushed on west of Farmville. When the
cavalry reached Farmville they found that some of the
Confederates were in ahead of them, and had already got their
trains of provisions back to that point; but our troops were in
time to prevent them from securing anything to eat, although
they succeeded in again running the trains off, so that we did
not get them for some time. These troops retreated to the north
side of the Appomattox to join Lee, and succeeded in destroying
the bridge after them. Considerable fighting ensued there
between Wright's corps and a portion of our cavalry and the
Confederates, but finally the cavalry forded the stream and
drove them away. Wright built a foot-bridge for his men to
march over on and then marched out to the junction of the roads
to relieve Humphreys, arriving there that night. I had stopped
the night before at Burkesville Junction. Our troops were then
pretty much all out of the place, but we had a field hospital
there, and Ord's command was extended from that point towards

Here I met Dr. Smith, a Virginian and an officer of the regular
army, who told me that in a conversation with General Ewell, one
of the prisoners and a relative of his, Ewell had said that when
we had got across the James River he knew their cause was lost,
and it was the duty of their authorities to make the best terms
they could while they still had a right to claim concessions.
The authorities thought differently, however. Now the cause was
lost and they had no right to claim anything. He said further,
that for every man that was killed after this in the war
somebody is responsible, and it would be but very little better
than murder. He was not sure that Lee would consent to
surrender his army without being able to consult with the
President, but he hoped he would.

I rode in to Farmville on the 7th, arriving there early in the
day. Sheridan and Ord were pushing through, away to the
south. Meade was back towards the High Bridge, and Humphreys
confronting Lee as before stated. After having gone into
bivouac at Prince Edward's Court House, Sheridan learned that
seven trains of provisions and forage were at Appomattox, and
determined to start at once and capture them; and a forced march
was necessary in order to get there before Lee's army could
secure them. He wrote me a note telling me this. This fact,
together with the incident related the night before by Dr.
Smith, gave me the idea of opening correspondence with General
Lee on the subject of the surrender of his army. I therefore
wrote to him on this day, as follows:

5 P.M., April 7, 1865.

Commanding C. S. A.

The result of the last week must convince you of the
hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of
Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is so, and
regard it as my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of
any further effusion of blood, by asking of you the surrender of
that portion of the Confederate States army known as the Army of
Northern Virginia.


Lee replied on the evening of the same day as follows:

April 7, 1865.

GENERAL: I have received your note of this day. Though not
entertaining the opinion you express on the hopelessness of
further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia,
I reciprocate your desire to avoid useless effusion of blood, and
therefore before considering your proposition, ask the terms you
will offer on condition of its surrender.

R. E. LEE,

Commanding Armies of the U. S.

This was not satisfactory, but I regarded it as deserving
another letter and wrote him as follows:

April 8, 1865.

Commanding C. S. A.

Your note of last evening in reply to mine of same date, asking
the condition on which I will accept the surrender of the Army
of Northern Virginia is just received. In reply I would say
that, peace being my great desire, there is but one condition I
would insist upon, namely: that the men and officers
surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up arms again
against the Government of the United States until properly
exchanged. I will meet you, or will designate officers to meet
any officers you may name for the same purpose, at any point
agreeable to you, for the purpose of arranging definitely the
terms upon which the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia
will be received.


Lee's army was rapidly crumbling. Many of his soldiers had
enlisted from that part of the State where they now were, and
were continually dropping out of the ranks and going to their
homes. I know that I occupied a hotel almost destitute of
furniture at Farmville, which had probably been used as a
Confederate hospital. The next morning when I came out I found
a Confederate colonel there, who reported to me and said that he
was the proprietor of that house, and that he was a colonel of a
regiment that had been raised in that neighborhood. He said
that when he came along past home, he found that he was the only
man of the regiment remaining with Lee's army, so he just dropped
out, and now wanted to surrender himself. I told him to stay
there and he would not be molested. That was one regiment which
had been eliminated from Lee's force by this crumbling process.

Although Sheridan had been marching all day, his troops moved
with alacrity and without any straggling. They began to see the
end of what they had been fighting four years for. Nothing
seemed to fatigue them. They were ready to move without rations
and travel without rest until the end. Straggling had entirely
ceased, and every man was now a rival for the front. The
infantry marched about as rapidly as the cavalry could.

Sheridan sent Custer with his division to move south of
Appomattox Station, which is about five miles south-west of the
Court House, to get west of the trains and destroy the roads to
the rear. They got there the night of the 8th, and succeeded
partially; but some of the train men had just discovered the
movement of our troops and succeeded in running off three of the
trains. The other four were held by Custer.

The head of Lee's column came marching up there on the morning
of the 9th, not dreaming, I suppose, that there were any Union
soldiers near. The Confederates were surprised to find our
cavalry had possession of the trains. However, they were
desperate and at once assaulted, hoping to recover them. In the
melee that ensued they succeeded in burning one of the trains,
but not in getting anything from it. Custer then ordered the
other trains run back on the road towards Farmville, and the
fight continued.

So far, only our cavalry and the advance of Lee's army were
engaged. Soon, however, Lee's men were brought up from the
rear, no doubt expecting they had nothing to meet but our
cavalry. But our infantry had pushed forward so rapidly that by
the time the enemy got up they found Griffin's corps and the Army
of the James confronting them. A sharp engagement ensued, but
Lee quickly set up a white flag.



On the 8th I had followed the Army of the Potomac in rear of
Lee. I was suffering very severely with a sick headache, and
stopped at a farmhouse on the road some distance in rear of the
main body of the army. I spent the night in bathing my feet in
hot water and mustard, and putting mustard plasters on my wrists
and the back part of my neck, hoping to be cured by morning.
During the night I received Lee's answer to my letter of the
8th, inviting an interview between the lines on the following
morning. (*43) But it was for a different purpose from that of
surrendering his army, and I answered him as follows:

April 9, 1865.

Commanding C. S. A.

Your note of yesterday is received. As I have no authority to
treat on the subject of peace, the meeting proposed for ten A.M.
to-day could lead to no good. I will state, however, General,
that I am equally anxious for peace with yourself, and the whole
North entertains the same feeling. The terms upon which peace
can be had are well understood. By the South laying down their
arms they will hasten that most desirable event, save thousands
of human lives and hundreds of millions of property not yet
destroyed. Sincerely hoping that all our difficulties may be
settled without the loss of another life, I subscribe myself,


I proceeded at an early hour in the morning, still suffering
with the headache, to get to the head of the column. I was not
more than two or three miles from Appomattox Court House at the
time, but to go direct I would have to pass through Lee's army,
or a portion of it. I had therefore to move south in order to
get upon a road coming up from another direction.

When the white flag was put out by Lee, as already described, I
was in this way moving towards Appomattox Court House, and
consequently could not be communicated with immediately, and be
informed of what Lee had done. Lee, therefore, sent a flag to
the rear to advise Meade and one to the front to Sheridan,
saying that he had sent a message to me for the purpose of
having a meeting to consult about the surrender of his army, and
asked for a suspension of hostilities until I could be
communicated with. As they had heard nothing of this until the
fighting had got to be severe and all going against Lee, both of
these commanders hesitated very considerably about suspending
hostilities at all. They were afraid it was not in good faith,
and we had the Army of Northern Virginia where it could not
escape except by some deception. They, however, finally
consented to a suspension of hostilities for two hours to give
an opportunity of communicating with me in that time, if
possible. It was found that, from the route I had taken, they
would probably not be able to communicate with me and get an
answer back within the time fixed unless the messenger should
pass through the rebel lines.

Lee, therefore, sent an escort with the officer bearing this
message through his lines to me.

April 9, 1865.

GENERAL: I received your note of this morning on the
picket-line whither I had come to meet you and ascertain
definitely what terms were embraced in your proposal of
yesterday with reference to the surrender of this army. I now
request an interview in accordance with the offer contained in
your letter of yesterday for that purpose.

R. E. LEE, General.

Commanding U. S. Armies.

When the officer reached me I was still suffering with the sick
headache, but the instant I saw the contents of the note I was
cured. I wrote the following note in reply and hastened on:

April 9, 1865.

Commanding C. S. Armies.

Your note of this date is but this moment (11.50 A.M.) received,
in consequence of my having passed from the Richmond and
Lynchburg road to the Farmville and Lynchburg road. I am at
this writing about four miles west of Walker's Church and will
push forward to the front for the purpose of meeting you. Notice
sent to me on this road where you wish the interview to take
place will meet me.


I was conducted at once to where Sheridan was located with his
troops drawn up in line of battle facing the Confederate army
near by. They were very much excited, and expressed their view
that this was all a ruse employed to enable the Confederates to
get away. They said they believed that Johnston was marching up
from North Carolina now, and Lee was moving to join him; and they
would whip the rebels where they now were in five minutes if I
would only let them go in. But I had no doubt about the good
faith of Lee, and pretty soon was conducted to where he was. I
found him at the house of a Mr. McLean, at Appomattox Court
House, with Colonel Marshall, one of his staff officers,
awaiting my arrival. The head of his column was occupying a
hill, on a portion of which was an apple orchard, beyond a
little valley which separated it from that on the crest of which
Sheridan's forces were drawn up in line of battle to the south.

Before stating what took place between General Lee and myself, I
will give all there is of the story of the famous apple tree.

Wars produce many stories of fiction, some of which are told
until they are believed to be true. The war of the rebellion
was no exception to this rule, and the story of the apple tree
is one of those fictions based on a slight foundation of fact.
As I have said, there was an apple orchard on the side of the
hill occupied by the Confederate forces. Running diagonally up
the hill was a wagon road, which, at one point, ran very near
one of the trees, so that the wheels of vehicles had, on that
side, cut off the roots of this tree, leaving a little
embankment. General Babcock, of my staff, reported to me that
when he first met General Lee he was sitting upon this
embankment with his feet in the road below and his back resting
against the tree. The story had no other foundation than
that. Like many other stories, it would be very good if it was
only true.

I had known General Lee in the old army, and had served with him
in the Mexican War; but did not suppose, owing to the difference
in our age and rank, that he would remember me, while I would
more naturally remember him distinctly, because he was the chief
of staff of General Scott in the Mexican War.

When I had left camp that morning I had not expected so soon the
result that was then taking place, and consequently was in rough
garb. I was without a sword, as I usually was when on horseback
on the field, and wore a soldier's blouse for a coat, with the
shoulder straps of my rank to indicate to the army who I was.
When I went into the house I found General Lee. We greeted each
other, and after shaking hands took our seats. I had my staff
with me, a good portion of whom were in the room during the
whole of the interview.

What General Lee's feelings were I do not know. As he was a man
of much dignity, with an impassible face, it was impossible to
say whether he felt inwardly glad that the end had finally come,
or felt sad over the result, and was too manly to show it.
Whatever his feelings, they were entirely concealed from my
observation; but my own feelings, which had been quite jubilant
on the receipt of his letter, were sad and depressed. I felt
like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who
had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a
cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for
which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the
least excuse. I do not question, however, the sincerity of the
great mass of those who were opposed to us.

General Lee was dressed in a full uniform which was entirely
new, and was wearing a sword of considerable value, very likely
the sword which had been presented by the State of Virginia; at
all events, it was an entirely different sword from the one that
would ordinarily be worn in the field. In my rough traveling
suit, the uniform of a private with the straps of a
lieutenant-general, I must have contrasted very strangely with a
man so handsomely dressed, six feet high and of faultless form.
But this was not a matter that I thought of until afterwards.

We soon fell into a conversation about old army times. He
remarked that he remembered me very well in the old army; and I
told him that as a matter of course I remembered him perfectly,
but from the difference in our rank and years (there being about
sixteen years' difference in our ages), I had thought it very
likely that I had not attracted his attention sufficiently to be
remembered by him after such a long interval. Our conversation
grew so pleasant that I almost forgot the object of our
meeting. After the conversation had run on in this style for
some time, General Lee called my attention to the object of our
meeting, and said that he had asked for this interview for the
purpose of getting from me the terms I proposed to give his
army. I said that I meant merely that his army should lay down
their arms, not to take them up again during the continuance of
the war unless duly and properly exchanged. He said that he had
so understood my letter.

Then we gradually fell off again into conversation about matters
foreign to the subject which had brought us together. This
continued for some little time, when General Lee again
interrupted the course of the conversation by suggesting that
the terms I proposed to give his army ought to be written out. I
called to General Parker, secretary on my staff, for writing
materials, and commenced writing out the following terms:


Ap 19th, 1865.

Comd'g C. S. A.

GEN: In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of
the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of
N. Va. on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers
and men to be made in duplicate. One copy to be given to an
officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such
officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give
their individual paroles not to take up arms against the
Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and
each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the
men of their commands. The arms, artillery and public property
to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officer
appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the
side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or
baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to
return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States
authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in
force where they may reside.

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


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