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1865 May 20: Confederate President Jefferson Davis Captured!

May 20, 2015

The following comes from The Prescott Journal of May 20, 1865.

 T H E   E N D !

JEFF. DAVIS CAPTURED !

.
HE PUTS ON A PETTICOAT & RUNS !

The end is reached.  The armies of the confederacy are dispersed–its chief is a captive in our hands. The invincible President Jefferson Davis, who a few weeks ago, declared his determination to carry on the war for twenty years in Virginia, has been captured in a Georgia Swamp.  He has found the “last ditch.”  He entrenched himself in his wife’s clothes, brandished a bowie knife, and caved.  The following telegram give the most essential particulars of his capture :

MACON, May 13–9 AM.

To Hon. E. M. Stanton [Edwin M. Stanton], Secretary of War :

Lieut. Col. Harden,¹ of the 1st Wisconsin, has just returned form Irwinville.  He struck the train of Davis at Dublin, Lawrence county, on the even of the 7th, and followed him closely night and day, through the wilderness of Alligator Creek and Green Swamp via Cumberland to Irwinville.

At Cumberlandville, Col. Harden met Col. Pritchard² with 150 picked men and horses of the 4th Michigan cavalry.—Harden followed the train directly South while Pritchard having fresh horses, pushed down the Ocmulgee [River] toward Hopswell, and thence by House Creek to Irwinville, arriving there at midnight on the 9th ;  Davis had not arrived.  From citizens, Pritchard learned that his party were encamped two miles out of the town.  He made a disposition of his men, and surrounded the camp before day.  Harden had camped at 9 P. M., within two miles, as he afterwards learned from Davis, the trail being to indistinct to follow.  He pushed on at three A. M., and and [sic] gone but little more than one mile when his advance was fired up on by men of the 4th Michigan.  A fight ensued, both parties exhibiting the greatest determination: fifteen minutes elapsed before the mistake was discovered.

The firing in this skirmish was the first warning Davis had.  The captors report that he hastily put on one of his wife’s dresses and started for the woods, closely followed by out men.  They at first thought him a woman, but seeing boots while he was running, they suspected his sex, at once.  The race was a short one.  The rebel President was soon brought to bay.

He brandished a bowie knife and showed signs of battle, but yielded promptly to the persuasions of Colt’s revolvers without compelling the men to fire.

He expressed great indignation at the energy with which he was ___, saying that he has believed our government too magnanimous to hunt down women and children

Mrs. Davis remarked to Col. Harden, after the excitement was over, that the men had better not provoke the President, as he might hurt some of them—“Regan” behaves himself with dignity and resignation.  The party evidently were making for the coast.

. . .J. H. WILSON [James H. Wilson],
Brevet Major General.

Capture of Jeff. Davis.

Whatever dignity may have been attached to Mr. JEFFERSON DAVIS as the recognized head of the Southern rebellion, is thoroughly dissipated.  His ignoble flight from Richmond, his alleged complicity with the atrocious crime of assassination, the price set upon his head and, to crown all, the ridiculous plight in which he was found by his captors, reduces his reputation to that of an ordinary felon.—St. Paul Pioneer.

1.  Henry Harden, lieutenant colonel of the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry.
2.  Benjamin Dudley Pritchard (1835-1907).

1865 May 6: The End Approaches—An Editorial

May 13, 2015

The following editorial on the end of the Civil War comes from the May 6, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press.  We continue with a few more articles from May 6 because we do not have issues of the Press for May 13, only from The Prescott Journal.

The End Approaches.

The end of treason draws near.  After four years of carnage, the fire created by “firing the Southern heart” has burnt itself to a bed of cold ashes, strewn over the broad field of battle, extending from the “Potomac to the Rio Grande.”  The armies of the Union remain masters of the situation.  They have marched against the ranks of treason in every Southern State.  They have bearded the lion in his den, and with victorious banners now occupy the entire strong ___ [fold in the newspaper obscures this word].

Where is the proud “Southern Confederacy” now ?  Its Capital is peopled by Uncle Sam’s children, and the bayonet of the loyal soldier—though a negro—shines brightly in the sun, as he marches proudly over the sacred soil of Virginia’s metropolis, enforcing law and order ;  its Cabinet officers are scattered to the four winds of Heaven ;  its armies are conquered, beaten and disbanded ;  its resources are wasted ;  its debt is unpaid ;  its leading men sent head-long into poverty, and its President, the vilest wretch of all the traitor crew, is a fugitive from justice—an outlaw, seeking with the craftiness of a thief to steal out of the land he has so long dishonored with his contaminating presence.

The vile wretch.  We fear after all that the gallows will get cheated of its due.

And where, O where ! is Toombs [Robert A. Toombs], and Cobb [Howell Cobb], and the other fellows who “fired the Southern heart ;” and that bloated pimp, Wigfall [Louis T. Wigfall], of Texas—the fire-eater and whiskey soaker ?  They too are running—evidently forgetting to hide in that “last ditch.”

And thus the boasted “Southern Confederacy,” whose corner stone was the poor despised negro’s back, has fallen to pieces, and Sambo is master now ;  for with the blue coat, and bright musket, he stands sentinel over the trator’s [sic] cities, and the traitor citizens are made to respect him as a loyal man.  In the language of a popular song,

“The whip am lost and the hand-cuff broken
And the master’s got his pay,
He’s old enough, big ’nough, and oughter knowed better,
Than to went and run’d away.¹

When we look over the events of the past four years, we can but wonder at the mighty results which have transpired.  From a peaceable and commercial people, we have been changed to a nation of warriors.—Great battles have been fought and won ;  cities have been destroyed, and the whole land deluged in blood.  The manicles [sic] of the slave have been stricken from his limbs, and he has gained his liberty forever more.  In the “mudsils” and “greasy mechanics” of the North have been found the elements of victory, and by their strong arms and stout hearts they have taught the rotten epithet flinging aristocracy of the South, that they are the true noblemen of the soil.  In the hearts of the loyal people the deep seated principle of universal Liberty has remained steadfast to the glorious end.  By the firmness and power of the Administration the Union has been preserved, the Constitution protected and upheld, and the Laws vindicated and enforced.

And now at the end of these four years of war and civil commotion, the curtain rises upon the last act—the fearful tragedy is ended in the assassination of ABRAHAM LINCOLN, the nation’s second Washington.

And the end approaches.  Peace, though laggard, will soon shine serenely over all, and “in the future as in the past” the country will remain one and indivisible.  God be praised.

1.  The last lines of a song entitled “Kingdom Coming.” The Library of Congress has two published versions of the song. The words are slightly different than the ones used here.

De whip am lost, hand-cuff broken;
….But old massa will hab his pay—
He’s old enough and big enough, and ought to known better,
….Than to went and run away.

De whip is lost, de han’-cuff broken,
….but de massa’ll hab his pay;
He’s ole enough, big enough, ought to known better,
….dan to went, an’ run away.

From the Library of Congress, American Memory

From the Library of Congress, American Memory

1865 May 6: Results of the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, Lincoln’s Funeral Train in Philadelphia, Washburn Outlaws Rebels in Tennessee, Jeff Davis Still a Fugitive

May 12, 2015

Following are the smaller items from both of our newspapers of May 6, 1865.

From The Polk County Press:

— Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] has returned to Washington with the fresh laurels won in the field where Sherman [William T. Sherman] had failed, and is taking measures to send 400,000 of our war scarred veterans to their homes, leaving, perhaps, 100,000 for garrison duty in the South, and to put down guerrillas

— Henry Heyneman who, at the commencement of the rebellion, made a vow that when our armies captured Richmond he would walk the whole distance from Boston to Washington, and carry an American flag, will start on his lengthy pedestrian tour on Monday next, at 8 o’clock.  A beautiful silk flag has been presented to him by Mayor Lincoln, in behalf of the city.

— About the most impertinent bit gossip that has lately crept into some of the journals alleged that the assassin Booth [John Wilkes Booth] was engaged to a daughter of the Hon. John P. Hale.  The National Republican says: “There is not slightest truth in the statement.  Booth attempted to force his attentions upon Miss Hale, but she always manifested decided aversion to the handsome villain.

— By the terms of the surrender of Lee [Robert E. Lee] and Johnston [Joseph E. Johnston], all the rebel troods [sic] in Virginis North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, have laid down their arms.  The guerrilla bands under Mosby in Virginia and Morgan’s freebooters in Tennessee and Kentucky have followed the example.  Dick Taylor [Richard Taylor], whose command appears to embrace all the country between the Chattahoochie [sic] and Mississippi, is already treating for surrender on the same terms.

— A proposition has been started that Ford’s Theater in Washington, the scene of the assassination of President Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln], should be purchased, the building removed, and a monument erected on the spot to tell to future generations that there felt the first martyr of the American Republic to the cause of universal freedom.  The project is well received and heartily commended by the press and people.  An amount sufficient to purchase the spot and erect the monument would, without doubt, be readily subscribed by the people, if the measure should be placed in the hands of respocible [sic] parties.

BOOTH’S BODY.—Very great curiosity prevails as to the disposition to be made of the remains of Booth, but it seems that the authorities are not inclined to give the wrenched carcass the honor of meeting public gaze, and it will probably be deposited in whatever place promises the most utter obscurity.  A photographic view of the body was taken before it was removed from the monitor.  It was placed in an ordinary grey army blanket, in which it was sewed up.  A plain box, measuring six feet by two, had been previously made in a joiner’s shop for the remains, but it was not used.

— The rebel ram Columbia, which was found hard and fast aground, up a creek at Charleston, is described by the naval officers as a well-equipped and superior vessel, which will be worth half a million of dollars, if she can be got off.  Three other ironclads, the Palmetto State, Chicora and Charleston, lying in the stream, were blown up before the evacuation.

— “THE BLACK REPUBLICAN” is the significant title of a newspaper established in New Orleans by colored men.  It is edited, the type set, and the editions worked off by men who probably were slaves a year or two ago.

— The end of the war many be dated from Johnston’s surrender.  There will be yet some confusion, some fighting with detached bands of guerrillas and robbers, but scarcely enough to make a sensation paragraph in a newspaper.

— The Herald’s Washington special says Gen. Grant, immediately on his return to Washington, starts upon making arrangements for the contemplated decrease for the armies.— It is thought the army will soon be reduced 400,000 men.

— Two women on the train from Skowhegan, Me., a day or two since, expressed themselves in an offensive manner, exulting over the murder of the President.  On their arrival in Augusta, they were quietly delivered over to Col. Littler, at the request of the conductor, and lodged in jail.

— Testimony from various sources is printed to show that President Johnson [Andrew Johnson] has never been a drinking man, and that he was overcome on inauguration day by a small glass of brandy, taken by the advice of a friend, to give him strength for the duties of the day, he having been sick in bed for a day or two previous.

— The “Times’ ” Washington special says in the further progress of the p[r]eliminary examination to the assassin conspiracy arrests are constantly being made, and thus far the whole number taken into custody will reach nearly 35.  The trial of these conspirators will be commenced, however, before a military commission.  If upon this hearing the same facts are brought out that have been disclosed in the preliminary examination the magnitude of the plot will astonish the whole country.

— The term granted Johnshn [sic: Johnston] embrace in the surrender four armies of the military district of the west, but excluding the fifth, that of Dick Taylor’s, lying west of the Chattahoogchie [sic] river.  Among the Generals surrendered is Beauregard [P.G.T. Beauregard].  The principle among the Lieut. Generals is Hardee [William J. Hardee].  Bragg [Braxton Bragg], lately relieved of command was not surrendered.—Wade Hampton refused to be surrendered and is reported to have been shot by Johnson in an altercation,¹ but a more trustworthy report is that he fled in company with Davis [Jefferson Davis].—The number actually surrendered is 27,400 although more names are given.  All the militia from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and the Gulf States are included.

— The Herald’s Mobile correspondent says our forses [sic] captured there 215 heavy guns, 10,000 stand of arms, and 30,000 bales of cotton, besides immense quantities of corn and other grains, and it is estimated that 100,000 bales of cotton and 75,000 bbls. of rosin are hidden in the swomps [sic] along the Alabama River most of which is within reach of our forces.  Over 10,000 stragglers from the rebel army have given themselves up, and guerila [sic] bands infest the neighborhood of our lines, and a party of them went to the battle house on the night of the 14th, intending to assassinate Gen. Granger [Gordon Granger], who fortunately was not there.

— The Lincoln Monument Association has been officially organized for donations to be made during the second week in May.  Every loyal man, woman and child will contribute toward this sacred fund.

From The Prescott Journal:

The News.

The News of the week is important and cheering.  J. Wilkes Booth, the assassin of the President, has been caught and killed.  He was taken about sixty miles from Washington, together with an accomplice.  In a barn.  He refused to surrender, and was shot.  He lived about two hours after he was shot, and died amid terrible suffering cursing his country.  He thus met a fitting fate was hunted down and killed like a dog, and buried in an unknown grave.  Several others implicated in the conspiracy have been arrested, and it is probable that the whole plot will be brought to light and all concerned in it punished.

— Johnston has surrendered his entire army to Sherman on the same terms on which Lee [Robert E. Lee] surrendered to Grant.  Johnston’s command embraced all the rebel troops in North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.  There is no rebel army now in existence expect the one under Gen. Kirby Smith, in Texas, and this will doubtless now surrender.

THE WAR IS ENDED !  Peace has not been formally declared, but it nevertheless actually exists.  We shall soon see our victorious armies disbanded and at home, and the Second American Revolution will pass into history.  Of course, there will be many important and complicated questions growing out of the settlement of the war, but these will be referred to the arbitration of statesmanship, and amicably adjusted.  “Hail Columbia !  happy land !”

— Orders have been issued by the War Department to all proper officers to proceed with the necessary arrangements at once for the mustering out and paying of all soldiers not in the regular army.

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OUTLAWING REBELS.—Gen. C. C. WASHBURN, commanding the district of Memphis, has issued an order reciting that further fighting on the part of confederate soldiers within his district can only be from a spirit of malice or robbery, and without hope of good to the Confederate States ;  that a few such bands are yet in Tennessee, keeping the citizens in a state of alarm, and, when captured, claim to be confederate soldiers.  He notifies such that, if captured within his district after the 25th inst., they will not be treated as prisoners of war, but held for trial as felons.  The order is not intended to discourage any from laying down their arms and taking the amnesty oath, but declares that those in west Tennessee who continue in open hostility shall not be exchanged or allowed to take the amnesty oath when captured.

THE FUGITIVE JEFF. DAVIS.—It is stated on the authority of rebel officers, that the news of Lee’s surrender reached Jeff. Davis at Danville three days after his proclamation, and Jeff. left at daylight next morning for Greensboro.  Jeff. stated that, if hard pushed, he should go to Texas, where he was sure he could rally an army around him and make another stand, and that he should never leave the limits of the Confederacy.  The New Orleans Delta reports that “Davis, accompanied by a body guard of Texas cavalry, crossed the Mississippi at Laney Bend on Sunday, the 16th, and moved rapidly toward the Atchafalya river.  He escaped entirely the observation of our naval forces.”  If these accounts are reliable it seems pretty certain that the traitor has escaped the hands of justice.

Engine of Lincoln's funeral train

Engine of Lincoln’s funeral train²

HONORS TO THE DEAD PRESIDENT IN PENNSYLVANIA.—At Harrisburg crowds of people thronged to see all that was mortal of President LINCOLN, and all along the route the passage of the train was watched by eager crowds, who stood with uncovered heads as the funeral cortege passed by, flags at half mast, and emblems of mourning, being everywhere displayed, and all places where the train stopped, the people seeking to get at least a glimpse of the casket containing the

Lincoln's funeral car

Lincoln’s funeral car³

precious remains.  The body lay in state in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, all day Sunday, the 23d, to which it was escorted by an immense procession seven miles long and from four to twelve persons deep.  Thousands upon thousands thronged to see once more “the form they loved so well.”

AN INFECTED DISTRICT IN MARYLAND.—A dispatch from Secretary STANTON says, “the counties of Prince George’s, Charles, and St. Mary’s have, during the whole war, been noted for hostility to the government and protection to the rebel blockade-runners, rebel spies, and every species of public enemy.  The murderers of the President harbored there before the murder, and Booth fled in that direction.  If he escapes, it will be owing to rebel accomplices in that region.  The military commander of the district will surely take measures to bring these rebel sympathizers and accomplices in the murder to a sense of their criminal conduct.”

TIME TO STOP.—The rush upon President JOHNSON by all manner of men and women to see him, make speeches at him, and extort speeches in return, finally became unendurable, and with the reception of a delegation of sufferers and refugees from the border States on Monday, the gates were peremptorily shut on that sort of thing.  It was time to stop.  If the process had been continued, the President would soon have had time for nothing else.  He will have to take care now that he do [sic] not have the life worried out of him, by personal boring of office seekers.

THE TABLES TURNED.—Major DICK TURNER,4 the rebel commandant of Libby Prison, who perpetrated so many cruelties on the Union soldiers confined there, was captured the other day and brought into Richmond.  He was dressed as a private, but was recognized and would have been shot by an officer who had been one of his victims, but he begged so humbly that his life was spared.  He has been committed to the Libby, to be fed on bread and water.

THE CHICAGO CONSPIRACY.—The trial of the conspirators engaged in attempting to release the rebel prisoners at Camp Douglas, and fire the city, was concluded some days since.  Gen. HOOKER [Joseph Hooker] has issued an order promulgating the findings of the military commission.  Judge MORRIS and MARMADUKE are acquitted ;  WALSH is sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, and SEMMES to three years’.  GRENFEL’S [sic] sentence is not announced, but it is said to be death.5

MOBILE.—In  dispatch dated Mobile 5 P. M., April 14th, Gen. CANBY [Edward Canby] reports :  “We found in Mobile and its defences on the west side of the bay over 150 guns, a very large amount of ammunition and supplies of all kinds, and about 1,000 prisoners.  The quantity of cotton will probably reach 30,000 bales, with a large amount of provisions and forage.”  No cotton was burned.  The mayor formally surrendered the city about three o’clock on the 12th, tendering the services of pilots to bring our fleet safely to the city.—Gen. Granger met with the most enthusiastic reception on entering the city, from the people, glad to be delivered from rebel oppression.  A new paper has been started called the News.  Rebel deserters are arriving in large numbers, the most liberal treatment being promised.  There is a great rush by the people to take the oath.  All citizens are required to report forthwith to the provost marshal and deliver up all arms.

TESTIMONIAL.—New York dispatches say, “a plan is on foot to erect a monument to the memory of Abraham Lincoln ;  the expense to be defrayed by dollar subscriptions.  Over 5,000 names are already appended to the list.  It is proposed to erect the monument in this city.  Several ladies propose starting a subscription for the ladies of America to present Mrs. Lincoln with a comfortable home.

IMPORTANT DECISION BY ATTORNEY GENERAL SPEED.—The Attorney General of the United States [James Speed] has decided that, under the terms of capitulation, LEE’S officers have no right to come to loyal States ;  that former residents of Washington, who have been in the civil service of the rebellion ;  and that rebel officers have no right to wear their uniforms in loyal States.

Mr. LINCOLN’S REMAINS.—A Washington letter speaking of the remains of the late President says :  “Death has fastened into his frozen face all the character and idiosyncracy [sic] of life.  He has not changed in one line of his grave countenance.  The mouth is shut like that of one who had put his foot down firmly ;  and so are the eyes, which look as calm as if in slumber.”

THEIR BEST FRIEND.—The National Intelligencer says, “A member of the Cabinet remarked, on the day after the murder of Mr. Lincoln, that the rebels had lost their best friend—that Mr. Lincoln warmly at every Cabinet meeting, counseled forbearance, kindness and mercy toward these misguided men.”

Finger002  Nearly all the Union prisoners in rebel hands have now been exchanged, but we still have between 60,000 and 70,000 rebel prisoners in our hands, to be exchanged, and in addition to these, the paroled men of Lee’s army stand to our credit on the exchange account.

Finger002  The leading rebels in Toronto, Canada, with a Southern Clergyman at their head had a carnival in honor of Mr. LINCOLN’S assassination.  So says the Globe.

Finger002  What is known as the Mather place at Springfield [Ill.], with adjoining lots, has been purchased for the burial grounds of Mr. LINCOLN.  The price paid was $53,000.

Finger002  The great clock that stands on the walk in front of the Fifth Avenue House, New York, and which had not stopped since the building was erected, is now motionless, and the hands indicate 22 minutes past 7—the point of time when Mr. LINCOLN breathed his last.

1.  Hampton surrendered along with General Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Bennett Place in Durham, North Carolina. Hampton was reluctant to surrender, and nearly got into a personal fight with Union Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick (often called “Kill-Cavalry”) at the Bennett Farm.
2.  “[Engine ‘Nashville’ of the Lincoln funeral train],” taken in 1865, printed later. A digital copy is available from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. LC-DIG-ppmsca-23855 (digital file from original) LC-USZ62-11964 (b&w film copy neg.).
3.  “[President Abraham Lincoln’s railroad funeral car],” Samuel M. Fassett, photographer, Chicago, 1865. A digital copy is available from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. LC-DIG-ppmsca-19404 (digital file from original print) LC-USZC4-1832 (color film copy transparency) LC-USZ62-14841 (b&w film copy neg.).
4.  Libby Prison’s commandant was Major Thomas Pratt Turner, often confused with another Libby official, Richard R. “Dick” Turner (no relation), who was universally despised by the prisoners and was investigated for the criminal treatment of prisoners by U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton
5.  Conspirators:

  • Buckner Stith Morris (1800-1879), a former mayor of Chicago (1838-9), former judge, and frequent speaker at local Democratic club meetings. Although he had met Lincoln in his circuit-riding days, Morris was always critical of Lincoln’s administration.
  • Vincent Marmaduke (1831-1904), younger brother of Confederate General John S. Marmaduke.
  • Charles Walsh.
  • Richard T. Semmes, a fledgling lawyer whose older brother belonged to Judge Morris’ law firm.
  • George St. Leger Grenfell (1808-1868?) was a British soldier of fortune who, after immigrating the the U.S., fought for the Confederacy. He resigned from the Confederate Army in 1864 to join a plot to take over the governments of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois and establish a Northwestern Confederacy. When the plan to take over Chicago was discovered, Grenfell and some 150 others were arrested. In what became known as the “Chicago Conspiracy,” Grenfell was tried, convicted, and sentenced to hang, although his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment due to the efforts of the British Minister to the United States. In 1868, Colonel Grenfell and three others escaped in a small boat from the prison at Fort Jefferson and Grenfell was never heard from again.

1865 May 6: The 11th Wisconsin at the Battle of Fort Blakely

May 11, 2015

From the May 6, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.  The Battle of Fort Blakely took place from April 2-9, 1865, in Alabama, as part of the Mobile Campaign.

THE STORMING OF BLAKELEY.

THE 11th WISCONSIN FIRST ON THE RAMPARTS.

The Cincinnati Gazette has a finely written account of the operations before Mobile, and the final occupation of that city.  One of the strongest defences of the city was Blakeley, in the storming of which the 11th Wisconsin, under command of Maj. MILLER,¹ won great distinction.  Col. HARRIS,² of the 11th, commanded a brigade.  We extract the account of the storming of Blakeley :

WHAT OUR MEN MUST SURMOUNT.

As I looked through the embrasures constructed for Capt. Rice’s guns, and saw the nature and extent of the ground over which our soldiers must pass in order to reach the enemy, I felt my heart almost sink within me.  It would be impossible for them to move in line.  Each man must climb and clamber for himself, and that over a distance of nearly seven hundred yards, through masses of matted timber, which really seemed insurmountable.  There could be none of the moral power and courage which moving in line of battle gives.  The strength of each stout soul must alone sustain its owner as he made the fearful journey.  There could be none of the enthusiasm and excitement produced by gallant officers careering around on spirited chargers.  From the Major General down to the private soldier, each must scramble along on foot—each one must pick and push his way through the tangled mass of timber at the same time that he breasted the fir from the works.

THE ATTACK.

Our advance skirmishers began to feel their way, and the rebels immediately opened their artillery.  Now it so happened that the point where Gens. Garrard³ and McArthur [John McArthur] were stationed, (a little to the left of the 17th Ohio battery,) although the best for observation, was probably the most exposed of any along the whole line ;  for it was just at the mouth of a ravine which the enemy had all along taken special pains to sweep with his cannon.  A storm of shot and shell tore through the air immediately around us, and shivered to atoms some pine trees in our rear.  I stooped into the trench, and saw lying there the fragments of a shell which had burst almost at the feet of Major Sample.  The brave General McArthur stood cool and collected upou [sic] the works, glass in hand, to watch the advance of the skirmishers, as did also Colonel Harris, who was here near the center of his brigade.  It seemed impossible that they should escape, and General Gerrard warned both to descend for a moment into the ditch.  The next instant a huge shell darted like lightning within a couple of feet of them, and with a stunning shock exploded into fragments just beyond.  Both then betook themselves for a few minutes to such poor shelter as the trench afforded.

CHARGE BY GARRARD’S FIRST LINE.

At six o’clock the advance of our skirmish lines had fairly begun ;  and the regiments I have named as constituting what may be called the first line of Gen. Garrard’s division, were moving with loud shouts towards the rebel works.  Then all sense of danger from shells or bullets was forgotten by those who remained behind, and hundreds who had hitherto lain closely in the trenches, jumped up and cheered on their comrades.

I looked with the rest and the scene was indeed a strange one.  Wreaths of thin, blue smoke were curling around the rebel ramparts, lit up continually by spurts and flashes of vindictive fire.  A rolling sound, like the call to battle, beaten upon a thousand drums, pulsated through the air.  Never for a moment did the fire slacken—not for an instant was there an intermission in the sound.  Secure behind their works, the rebel foe poured a continuous stream of bullets in the faces of the advancing soldiers.

And these were moving on, not in line of battle or in mass, nor yet in confusion or pell mell.  Each man had his own obstacle to encounter, while all glanced from time to time at the flags of their respective regiments, ready to form in serried phalanx the in[_]ant the nature of the ground would admit.  At one point they could be seen leaping successively over the huge trunk of a fallen tree ;  at another, they pushed and crept through a wilderness of tangled branches.  Here they disappeared for a moment in the depths of a ravine ;  there they leaped a line of obstacles at a bound.  But whether climbing, leaping or creeping, they still held their faces steadily toward the enemy ;  still looked steadily in the face of that line of angry fire ;  and scarcely deigning to discharge a musket in return, except at the rebel skirmishers who fled wildly before them, seeking the shelter of their works, they still advanced.  Now they have reached the abattis, and are pushing the sharpened branches aside with their bayonets.

OUR FLAG UPON THE RAMPARTS.

A ringing cheer sounded along our lines.—A short, sharp struggle takes place at the foot of the rebel rampart.  Our men have flung themselves across the ditch, and are clambering up the outer slope of the works.  Another moment, and something flashes like a meteor through the smoke and fire.  Thank God, it is the sacred banner of the stars !  It floats as ever mid the storm of battle, the emblem of liberty and light ;  and in an instant long lines of blue-coated soldiers are ranged upon either side of it, standing proudly erect upon the crest of the hostile works !

It was the flag of the 11th Wisconsin, whose appearance there, betokening victory, sent a thrill through all hearts, and made each man who looked upon it, as it fluttered over the rebel breastworks, envy the heroes who had placed it there.  O, the ecstasy of that moment to the patriot soul, when the banner which symbolizes to him all the dearest objects of his enthusiasm, his reverence and his love—that flag whose every fold is bright with the light of freedom, amid whose brilliant stripes cluster sweet thoughts of country and of home ;  and whose every star speaks of the strength and glory of the Republic—how grand the moment when, after being borne by gallant hands amid the storm of battle, it is seen to flash at last upon the defenses of the foe, revealing the fact of victory !

The last rays of the setting sun struggling through the branches of the trees that fringed the river, fell on that waving flag ;  and I could almost fancy that the ray of light was the glance of a blessed angel, who, looking upon our banner through a curtain of clouds, had sailed in joy to see it once more triumphant, and had illumed it with the smile.

Scarce had the loud shout which greeted the appearance of the flag of the 11th Wisconsin broken forth, when my attention was directed a little further towards our left, and I saw the flag of the 119th Illinois also fluttering over the works.  Those of other regiments in the advance line were soon placed there also by the stout hands which bore them and the stern bayonets that guarded them.

1.  Jesse Stoddard Miller (1838-1923), from Richland Center, first joined Company K of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry (3 months). After mustering out, he re-enlisted as captain of the Richland County Plowboys, which became Company D of the 11th Wisconsin Infantry. In August 1863, he was promoted to major and commanded the regiment until June 16, 1865, when he mustered out. After the Civil War, Miller study law and was admitted to the bar; then manufactured sash, door, and blinds; was appointed foreman of the State Prison at Waupan; moved to Chicago (1872) where he was a contractor and builder; and finally moved to Nebraska where he practiced law and and served as the county attorney of Boone County and as assistant city attorney and city prosecutor of Omaha.
2.  Charles L. Harris (1834-1910) graduated from West Point but chose to study law instead of joining the military. When the Civil War broke out, he joined the 1st Wisconsin Infantry and shortly after became colonel of the 11th Wisconsin. He was wounded at the Battle of Cotton Plant (July 7, 1862) and later was given command of brigade operations at St. Louis. In 1863, the 11th Wisconsin was attached to the XIX Corps and they participated in the Battle of Port Gibson and the Red River Campaign. In 1864, they were assigned to the XVI Corps. Harris mustered out September 4, 1865. After the War, he moved to Nebraska where he where he worked as a lawyer and merchant, and became a Nebraska State Senator. Interestingly, Jesse Miller, followed him to Nebraska.
3.  Kenner Garrard (1827-1879) was member of a prominent Ohio military family—two brothers and a cousin were also Civil War generals—and his grandfather was the second governor of Kentucky. He graduated from West Point in 1851. He participated in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. Garrard led a cavalry division during the Atlanta Campaign. He developed a reputation for personal bravery and was cited for gallantry at the Battle of Nashville as an infantry division commander. He ended the war in Alabama and was instrumental in the capture of Montgomery.

1865 May 6: Biographical Sketch of Mr. Lincoln

May 10, 2015

The following sketch of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln comes from the May 6, 1865, issue of The Polk County Press.

M I S C E L L E A N E O U S.

Biographical Sketch of Mr. Lincoln.

The following condensed sketch of the life of Abraham Lincoln, previously to his assumption of the presidency, which is compiled from the American Cyclopedia, will be read interest :

Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin county, Kentucky, on the 12th of February, 1800, and was, therefore, a little over fifty-six years old when he died.  His ancestors, who were Quakers of an humble class, went from Barks county, Va. and from there his grandfather, Abraham, removed with his family to Kentucky, about 1784.  Thomas Lincoln the father of Abraham, was born in Virginia, and in 1806 married Nancy Hanks, also of Virginia, both belonging to the class of “poor whites.”  In 1816 he removed with his family to Spencer county, Indiana, when Abraham being large for his age, was put to work with an axe to clear away the forest, and for the next ten years was mostly occupied in hard labor on his father’s farm.  He went to school at intervals, amounting in the aggregate to about a year, which was all the school education he ever received.  At the age of nineteen, he made a trip to New Orleans as a hired hand upon a flat-boat.  In March 1830, he removed with his father, from Indiana and settled in Macon county, Illinois, where he helped to build a log cabin for the family home, and to make enough rails to fence a ten acre lot.

In the following year he hired himself at twelve dollars a month, to assist in building a flat-boat, and afterward in taking the boat to New Orleans.  On his return from the voyage his employer put him in charge as clerk of a store and mill at New Salem, then in Sangamon, now Menard county, Illinois.  On the breaking out of the Black Hawk war in 1832, he joined a volunteer company, and to his surprise, was elected captain of it, a promotion which he was wont to say gave him more pleasure than any subsequent success of his life.  He served for three months in the campaign, and on his return was in the same year nominated a Whig candidate for the Legislature ;  but the county being democratic, he was beated [bested?] ;  though his own election election [sic] precinct gave him 277 votes and only seven against him.  He next opened a country store, which was not prosperous, was appointed Postmaster of New Salem and now began to study law by borrowing from a neighboring lawyer books, which he took home in the evening and returned in the morning.  The surveyor of Sangamon county, offered to depute to him that portion of his work which was in his part of the county.  Mr. Lincoln procured a compass and chain and treaties on surveying and did the work.  In 1834 he was elected to the Legislature by a larger vote than was cast for any candidate, and was re-elected in 1836, 1838 and 1840.  In 1836, he removed to Springfield, and began to study law.  He rose rapidly to distinction in his profession, and was especially eminent as advocate in jury trial.  He did not, however, withdraw from politics, but continued for many years a prominent leader of the Whig party of Illinois.  He was several times a candidate for Presidential elector, and as such, in 1844, he canvassed the entire State, together with part of Indiana, in behalf of Henry Clay, making almost daily speeches to large audiences.  In 1846 he was elected a Pepresentative [sic] in Congress from the Central District of Illinois.  In Congress he voted 42 times for the Wilmot Proviso.¹  In 1849 he offered to the house a scheme for abolishing Slavery in the District of Columbia, by compensating the slaveholders from the Territory of the United States, providing a majority of the citizens of the District should ratify the proposition.  He opposed the annexation of Texas, but voted to defray the expenses of the Mexican war.  He voted also in favor of river and harbor improvements, in favor of a protective tariff and for selling the public lands at the lowest cash price.

He was a member of the Whig National Convention of 1843, and advocated the nomination of Gen. Taylor.  In 1849 he was a candidate for the United States Senate, against Gen. Shields, who was elected.  Alter the expiration of his Congressional term, Mr. Lincoln applied himself to his profession till the repeal of the Missouri Compromise called him again into the political arena.  It was mainly due to his exertions that the Republicans triumphed, and that Judge Trumbull was elected U. S. Senator in place of Gen. Shields.

At the Republican National Convention in 1856, the Illinois delegation ineffectually urged Mr. Lincoln’s nomination for Vice President.

On June 2d, 1858, Mr. Lincoln received the unanimous nomination of the Republican State Convention at Springfield as U. S. Senator in opposition to Mr. Douglas [Stephen A. Douglas].  The two candidates canvassed the State together, speaking on the same day at the same place.  The debate was conducted with eminent ability on both sides, and excited unusual interest.  The result of the election was a Republican majority of 4,000 on the popular vote—but the latter was elected Senator by the Legislature, in which his party had a majority of eight votes.

The national reputation won by Mr. Lincoln in his triumphant tilt with the Democratic champion secured him the nomination for the Presidency by the Republican National Convention, which assembled at Chicago on May 16, 1860.

In consequence of the disruption of the Democratic party, the Southern wing of which nominated John C. Breckinridge, and the Northern Stephen A. Douglas as his competitors, he was duly elected President of the United States—and this event, which was contemplated and contrived by the Southern Democratic leaders as a pretext for secession, was at once hailed as a signal for consummating the great conspiracy of Disunion, which had been on foot for many years.  And when, four months afterward, Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated—a new and vast organized power disputed his constitutional authority to execute the laws of the United States over nearly one half of the national domain.

How this plain and simple man met this prodigious peril to the life of the Republic, how he foiled this mighty public enemy, step by step, and how he finally put it under his feet—these constitute the history of his eventful administration, a brief notice of which we intended to make here, but which, as we approach it, unfolds in so many grand and impressive aspects, as to compel us to postbone [sic] a review of it to an occasion when when [sic] we have more space and time.  Into these last four years of his life are crowded centuries of history.  What has been accomplished, how wisely and how well the mighty work entrusted to Mr. Lincoln has been done, no one needs a verbal reminder.

1.  The Wilmot Proviso, would have banned slavery in any territory to be acquired from Mexico in the Mexican War. It was one of the events—like the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act—that led to the Civil War.

1865 May 6: Further Details of Sherman’s Great Blunder

May 9, 2015

The article in yesterday’s post was followed by this one in the May 6, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.

The Conference between Sherman and Johnston.

Further Details of the Great Blunder.

RALEIGH, N. C., April 20, }
via Washington, April 24. }

“Peace from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, and I hope soon to lead you to your homes,” were the cheering words in which General Sherman [William T. Sherman] announced to his proud army the result of his two days’ conference with General Johnston [Joseph E. Johnston].  The terms as they were understood in the army—unconditional submission to the laws as they will be interpreted by the civil courts of the Federal Government—were read with perfect satisfaction.

Strange as it may seem, the actual terms, as they are this morning published by authority from the War Department, were not known, even to those very high in authority, at the time your correspondent left that army.  The terms, as understood, were believed to be of Gen. Sherman’s own choosing, and declared by him to a conquered army, and their acceptance by the Government was not a question.  So firm was the belief that absolute peace would be proclaimed from Washington, that Gen. Sherman’s announcement that he hoped soon to march his army homeward was accepted as a certainty, and preparations accordingly made.—The real conditions upon which the surrender was made, when known, will probably be as promptly rejected by the army as they have been by President Johnson [Andrew Johnson], his cabinet and Gen. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant].

At the first meeting, at which General Johnston only was present, no terms were finally agreed upon.  At the second meeting, however, at which Breckinridge [John C. Brechinridge] officiated, conditions were accepted and papers signed.  Johnston, on the first day, probably learned what Gen. Sherman’s terms were., and after full consultation with Jeff. Davis [Jefferson Davis], who was at Hillsboro, concluded to accept them, taking  Breckinridge with him, however, to draw up the papers.  This important conference was held at the solicitation of the rebel General, who, on the 4th inst., sent by flag of truce a request for a cessation of hostilities, till Grant could be sent for.  Sherman answered immediately by saying that if the surrender of his (Johnston’s) army was the object of such a truce, he was competent to attend to such a want ;  but if anything else was desired, he wished to know it, when he would decide whether or not it would be necessary to send for the Lieutenant General.—Johnston was further informed that he (General Sherman) was ready to meet him at any time, to confer on the subject of his wants.  This offer was promptly accepted, and the point of meeting was agreed upon at Mr. James Bennett’s, a little hut on the left of the Chapel Hill road, five miles from Dunham’s [sic: Durham’s] Station, and thirty from Raleigh.

The memorable meeting took place.   Gen. Sherman, accompanied by his right-hand man, his able Chief Engineer, Colonel O. M. Poe,¹ and General Barry, with others of his staff, met General Johnston, with Major Johnston and Captain Crampton, of his staff.  Both generals were accompanied by their cavalry Generals, Kilpatrick [Judson Kilpatrick] and Wade Hampton.

After the more important questions had been settled, Generals Sherman and Johnston conversed freely and frankly.  General Johnston fairly admitted, that the grand Army of the Mississippi was the best army ever marched.  “Why,” said Johnston, “my engineers, my officers and the people of South Carolina all insisted upon it, that no army could ever penetrate Salkahatchie swamps, and you not only marched your army through them, but corduroyed and bridged them for miles, and then drew after you your immense supply trains.  The like could not have been done by any other army.”

Gen. Wade Hampton’s action and conduct, in the light of such a manly and candid admission, are doubly disgusting.  He denied that the South was conquered or even worsted, and fully announced the theory that one Southern man could whip three Northern men.  We believe four years of war have at least reduced the odds, even in his opinion, from five to three.

In speaking of the armies in the Southwest, Sherman inquired where Gen. Wilson, with his cavalry was.  “He is at Columbia, Ga.,” replied Johnston, “and I wish for God’s sake, that you would stop him, for he is raiding all through that country, tearing everything to the devil.”

Gen. Sherman then showed Johnston a dispatch he had just received from Gilmore [sic: Quincy A. Gillmore], saying that Potter,¹ with a force of infantry and cavalry, was finishing the work of devastation in South Carolina.  Sherman forestalled Johnston’s request to have that stopped, by saying that he thought it would not hurt that people to bear a still heavier burden.  “Let Potter burn a little longer,” said he.

General Breckinridge was morose and reticent.  He showed plainly how deep was his humiliation.  He conversed, however, with those who addressed him, and to General Sherman, in a discussion as to the slavery question, made this remarkable confession :  “The discussion of the slavery question is at an end.  The amendment to the Constitution, forever forbidding slavery, is perfectly fair, and will be accepted in that spirit by the people of the South.”

The news of the assassination of Mr. Lincoln was received by Gen. Sherman while at Kilpatrick’s headquarters, on the way to his first day’s meeting.  We have it from Gen. Sherman himself, that Johnston was shocked, and manifested as much feeling and concern as an intimate friend would have done ;  and well he might, for the exasperated soldiery of the Union army would have desolated the land from the right to the left.  The rebel chieftain, expressing himself deeply pained at the unfortunate event, was told that it would be politic in him to publish a disclaimer of any connection or knowledge of the deed, or the conduct of our army could not be answered for.

Johnston has been notified, ere this, that the terms of surrender agreed upon cannot be accepted, and that the truce, at the expiration of the forty-eight hours, must end ;  but we predict that there will be no fighting.

Johnston’s army is about Chapel Hill, twenty-five miles from Raleigh, with his left wing on the Haw river.  His retreat has been cut off by Stoneman [George Stoneman], who is thought to be now on his flank, and has so destroyed the road that it cannot be repaired.  Sheridan is near at hand, and, with Kilpatrick and Stoneman, can alone handle Johnston’s army, which does not now number over 30,000 men, demoralized and already beaten.  Johnston can do nothing, then, but surrender unconditionally.  We think General Sherman has lost nothing by his truce.

The militia having been detained, I give a summary of the news from Raleigh.  It was occupied by Kilpatrick on the 13th, the city having been surrendered by ex-Governor Bragg and the Mayor of the city.  The city was at once thoroughly guarded, and not a house was disturbed.  It is now heavily guarded by troops from Major General Conte’s corps, lest the exasperated soldiery should seek their vengeance for the President’s assassination upon the city.  The citizens held a very large meeting, expressing sympathy with the north and the army in their midst, and denouncing the act.

Lee’s officers and men have, many of them, come into our lines at Raleigh.  Major General Grimes² and General Cox³ among the former.  The men go to their homes.  They are tired of the war.  The officers, however, are haughty, and claim that, though they are beaten, they are not conquered.

The negro troops, under General Terry [Alfred Terry], were to-day reviewed by Generals Sherman and Schofield.  It was a novel sight for the people of Raleigh.  The troops are grouped in camps about the city, wholly with a view to comfort and good police.

1.  Orlando Metcalfe Poe (1832-1895) graduated from West Point in 1856 and served as assistant topographical engineer on the survey of the northern Great Lakes. When the Civil War started he assisted in organizing volunteers from Ohio. He then became a member of General George B. McClellan’s staff and took part in the Rich Mountain campaign and organizing the defense of Washington, D.C. He was promoted to colonel of the 2nd Michigan Infantry and fought with them in the Peninsula Campaign from Yorktown through the Battle of Seven Pines. He participated in the Second Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Chantilly, and in reserve at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Next Poe transferred to the Western Theater, where, as chief engineer of the XXIII Corps, he was a instrumental in the defense of Knoxville, Tennessee. Due to Poe’s contributions, General William T. Sherman selected Poe as his chief engineer in 1864. Poe oversaw the burning of Atlanta, and supervised the dismantling of all buildings and structures in Atlanta with any military value, and he continued as chief engineer during Sherman’s March to the Sea.  Sherman promoted him after the fall of Savannah, he continued in the same capacity through the Carolinas Campaign. After the War, he oversaw the construction of lighthouses on the upper Great Lakes, and then served as engineering aide-de-camp on Sherman’s staff. Many consider his crowning achievement to be the design and implementation of the first Poe Lock in the at Sault Ste. Marie, which made the Great Lakes shipping industry possible.
2.  Bryan Grimes (1828-1880) was a plantation owner—with 100 slaves—in North Carolina before the Civil War. He was elected as a delegate to North Carolina’s secession convention. After the Ordinance of Secession passed, he joined the Confederate Army as major of the 4th North Carolina Infantry. He participated in the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861; was promoted to lieutenant colonel on May 1, 1862; fought at the Battle of Seven Pines, during which he was wounded when his injured horse fell on top of him; was promoted to colonel of the 4th N.C. Infantry in June 1862. Grimes led the regiment during the Peninsula Campaign, but missed the Maryland Campaign and the Battle of Antietam due to a severe leg injury. Grimes went on to fight at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, where he was wounded again, and Gettysburg.  During the Overland Campaign, Grimes was promoted to the rank of brigadier general (May 19, 1864) and given permanent command of his brigade of North Carolinians. He fought in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign and when Maj. Gen. Stephen D. Ramseur was killed at Cedar Creek, Grimes assumed command of his division and led it for the rest of the war. He was wounded again at Cedar Creek. Grimes was the last man in the Army of Northern Virginia to be appointed as a major general (February 15, 1865). He served in the trenches surrounding Petersburg and led the final attack of the Army of Northern Virginia shortly before its surrender at Appomattox Court House. After the War, Grimes returned to North Carolina and farming. In 1880, he was ambushed and killed by a hired assassin, presumably to prevent him from testifying at a criminal trial.
3.  William Ruffin Cox (1832-1919) was a brigadier general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, a three-term member of the United States House of Representatives from 1881 to 1887, and Secretary of the United States Senate from 1893 to 1900. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Cox raised and outfitted the “Ellis Artillery Company.” Next he raised an infantry company and was appointed major of the 2nd North Carolina Infantry. He fought in the Battle of Antietam, and was given a promotion to lieutenant colonel, and then colonel (formally commissioned in March 1863). In May of that year, Cox was wounded three times at the Battle of Chancellorsville. He missed the Gettysburg Campaign due to his injuries and did not return to the field until the Fall of 1863.  Cox fought with distinction at the battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. He was then assigned command of a brigade of North Carolina infantry, and participated in the Battle of Cold Harbor, Early’s campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, the Battle of Monocacy (playing a prominent role), and the trench defenses during the Siege of Petersburg, including the counterattack Fort Stedman. He was promoted to brigadier general and led a division, including the Appomattox Campaign. He surrendered at Appomattox Court House in April 1865 and returned home. After the War, Cox he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, but lost the party nomination for re-election in 1886. In 1893 he was appointed Secretary of the U.S. Senate. At the time of his death in 1919, he was one of the last surviving generals of the Confederate army.

1865 May 6: Government Disapproves Sherman’s Agreement with Johnston—Point-by-Point Rebuttal

May 8, 2015

This article on the “blunder” by Union General William T. Sherman in negotiating with Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston for his surrender, come from The Prescott Journal of May 6, 1865.

Negotiations in North Carolina.

Agreement between Sherman & Johnston.

A Strange Basis of Peace.

Gov’t Disapproves Sherman’s Action.

The following documents contain what has been made public as to negotiations which recently took place between Gen. Sherman and Gen. Johnston in North Carolina, at which a basis of peace was agreed on which, however, was emphatically disapproved by the government.

The following despatch from Secretary Stanton [Edwin M. Stanton] announces the action of the government in the premises :

WAR DEPARTMENT, }
WASHINGTON, April 22. }

Yesterday evening a bearer of dispatches arrived from Gen. Sherman.  An agreement for a suspension of hostilities, and a memorandum of what is called a basis for peace, had been entered into on the 18th inst., by Gen. Sherman with the rebel Gen. Johnston.  The rebel Gen. Breckinridge [John C. Breckinridge] was present at the conference.

A Cabinet meeting was held at 8 o’clock in the evening, at which the action of Gen. Sherman was disapproved by the President, by the Secretary of War, by Gen. Grant, and by every member of the Cabinet.

Gen. Sherman was ordered to resume hostilities immediately, and was directed that the instructions given by the late President in the following telegram, which was penned by Mr. Lincoln himself, at the Capitol, on the night of the 3d of March, were approved by President Andrew Johnson, and were reiterated to govern the action of military commanders.  On the night of the 3d of March, while President Lincoln and his cabinet were at the Capitol, a telegram from Gen. Grant was brought to the Secretary of War, informing him that Gen. Lee [Robert E. Lee] had requested an interview or conference to make an arrangement for terms of peace.  The letter of Gen. Lee was published in a letter of Davis’ [Jefferson Davis] to the rebel Congress.  Gen. Grant’s telegram was submitted to Mr. Lincoln, who, after pondering a few minutes, took up his pen and wrote with his own hand the following reply, which he submitted to the Secretary of State and Secretary of War.  It was then dated, addressed and signed by the Secretary of War, and telegraphed to Gen. Grant.

WASHINGTON, March 3, 1865—12 P. M.

“Lieut Gen. Grant:

“The President directs me to say to you that he wishes you to have no conference with Gen. Lee unless it be for the capitulation of Gen. Lee’s army or on some minor and purely military matter.  He instructs me to say that you are not to decide, discuss or confer upon any political question.  Such questions the President holds in his own hands, and will submit them to no military conferences or conventions.  Meantime you are to press to the utmost your military advantages.

(Signed)          “EDWIN M. STANTON,
.                       .“Secretary of War.”

The orders of Gen. Sherman to Gen. Stoneman [George Stoneman] to withdraw from Salisbury and join him will probably open the way for Davis to escape to Mexico or Europe with his plunder, which is reported to be very large, including not only the plunder of the Richmond banks but previous accumulations.  A dispatch received by this Department from Richmond, says:

“It is stated here by respectable parties that the amount of specie taken South by Jefferson Davis and his partisans is very large, including not only the plunder of the Richmond banks but previous accumulations.  They hope, it is said, to make terms with Gen. Sherman or some other Southern commander, by which they will be permitted, with their effects, including this gold plunder, to go to Mexico or Europe.

Johnston’s negotiations look to this end.

After the Cabinet meeting last night, Gen. Grant started for North Carolina to direct operations against Johnston’s army.

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

A Washington dispatch gives the following as the memorandum or basis of what was agreed upon between the two Generals, and the reasons why their action was disapproved by the United States Government :

Memorandum or basis of agreement, made this 18th day of April, 1865, near Durham’s Station, and in the State of North Carolina, by and between Gen. J. E. Johnston, commanding the Confederate Army, and Maj. Gen. Wm. T. Sherman, commanding the Army of the United States in North Carolina, both present.

First — The contending armies now in the field to maintain their statu quo,¹ until notice is given by the commanding General of either one to its opponent, and reasonable time, say forty-eight hours, allowed.

Second.  The Confederate armies now in existence to be disbanded and conducted to their several State capitals, there to deposit their arms and public property in the State arsenals, and each officer and man to execute and file an agreement to cease from acts of war, and abide action of both State and Federal authority. The number of arms and munitions of war to be reported to the Chief of Ordnance at Washington city, subject to future action of the Congress of the United States, in the meantime to be used solely to maintain peace and order within the borders of the States respectively.

Third.  The recognition by the Executive of the United States of several State Governments, in their officers and Legislatures, taking oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States, and where conflicting State Governments have resulted from the war, the legitimacy of all shall be submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Fourth.—The re-establishment of all Federal courts in the several States, with powers as defined by the Constitution and laws of Congress.

Fifth — The people and inhabitants of all States to be guaranteed, so far as the Executive can their political rights and franchise, as well as their rights of person and property, as defined by the Constitution of the United States and of States respectively.

Sixth — The Executive authority of the United States not to disturb any of the people by reason of the late war, so long as they live in peace and quiet, and abstain from acts of armed hostility, and obey laws in existence at any place of their residence.

Seventh.—In general terms war to cease, a general amnesty, so far as the Executive of the United States can command one, on condition of disbandment of the Confederate armies, the distribution of arms and the resumption of peaceful pursuits by the officers and men hitherto comprising said armies.

Not being fully empowered by our respective principals to fulfill these terms, we individually and officially pledge ourselves to promptly obtain the necessary authority to carry out the above programme.

.                                  .W. T. SHERMAN,
Maj. Gen. Comd’g U. S. Army in North Carolina.

.                                  .J. E. JOHNSTON,
Gen. Comd’g Confederate Army in North Carolina.

This proceeding of Gen. Sherman was unapproved for the following among other reasons :

First.—It was an exercise of authority not vested in Gen. Sherman, and on its face shows that both he and JOHNSTON knew that he, Gen. Sherman, had no authority to enter into any such arrangement.

Second.—It was a practical acknowledgement of the rebel government.

Third.—It undertook to re-establish the rebel state Governments that had been overthrown at the sacrifice of many thousand loyal lives and an immense treasure and placed arms and munitions of war in the hands of the rebels at their respective capitals, which might be used as soon as the armies of the United States were disbanded, and used to conquer and subdue the loyal States.

Fourth — By the restoration of the rebel authority in their respective States, they would be enabled to re establish slavery.

Fifth.—It might furnish a ground of responsibility by the Federal Government to pay the rebel debt, and certainly subjects loyal citizens of the rebel States the to the debt consummated by the rebels in the name of the State.

Sixth — It puts in dispute the existence of loyal State governments, and the State of West Virginia, which had been recognized by every department of the United States Government.

Seventh — It practically abolishes the confiscation laws, and relieves rebels of every degree who had slaughtered our people, from all pains and penalties for their crimes.

Eighth.—It gives terms that had been deliberately, repeatedly, and solemnly rejected by President Lincoln, and better terms than the rebels had ever asked in their most prosperous times.

Ninth —It formed no basis of true and lasting peace, but relieved rebels from the pressure of our victories, and left them in condition to renew their effort to overthrow the United States Government, and subdue the loyal States, whenever their strength was recruited, and an opportunity should offer.

After agreeing on these terms with JOHNSTON Gen. SHERMAN declared an armistice, the announcement of which, it is said, was received very coldly by the troops, and issued the following order :

HEAD’QRS, MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISS., }
IN THE FIELD, RALEIGH, N. C., April 19, 1865. }

Special Field Order No. 58.

The General commanding announces to the army a suspension of hostilities and an agreement with Gen. Johnston and high officials, which when formally ratified, will make peace from the Potomac to the Rio Grande.  Until the absolute peace is arranged, a line passing through Tyrel’s Mount, Chapel Hill, University, Durham’s Station and West Point, on the Neuse river will separate the two armies.  Each army commander will group his camp entirely with a view to comfort, health and good police.  All the details of military discipline must still be maintained.  The General hopes and believes that in a very few days it will be his good fortune to conduct you all to your homes.

The fame of this army for courage, industry, and discipline is admitted all over the world.  Then let each officer and man see that it is not stained by any act of vulgarity, rowdyism, and petty crime.

Cavalry will patrol the front of the line.  Gen. Howard [O. O. Howard] will take charge of the district from Raleigh, up to the cavalry, Gen. Slocum [Henry W. Slocum] to the left of Raleigh, and Gen. Schofield [John M. Schofield] in Raleigh, its right and rear.  The quartermasters and commissaries will keep their supplies up to a light load for the wagons, and the railroad superintendent will arrange a depot for the Convenience of each separate army.

.                                    .Maj. Gen. W. T. SHERMAN.
L. M. DAYTON, A. A. G.

1.  “Status quo” is a Latin phrase meaning the existing state of affairs ; “in statu quo” means in the state in which, or in the former state.

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