1865 June 17: Sherman’s Farewell Order, and New York Society Honors Him
The following comes from the June 17, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal. First up is General William T. Sherman’s farewell to his troops in the armies of Georgia and Tennessee, in which he reviews their shared history. It is followed by a report on a reception held for Sherman in New York City.
Gen. Sherman’s Farewell Order.
SPECIAL FIELD ORDER—NO. 76. }
HEADQ’RS, MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISS., }
IN THE FIELD. }
WASHINGTON, May 30, 1865. }
The General Commanding announces to the Armies of the Tennessee and Georgia that the time has come for us to part. Our work is done and armed enemies no longer defy us. Some of you will be retained in service until further orders. And now we are about to separate and mingle with the civil world, it becomes a pleasing duty to recall to mind the situation of national affairs when, but little more than a year ago, we were gathered about the twining cliffs of lookout Mountain, and all the future was wrapped in doubt and uncertainty. Three armies had come together from distant fields with separate histories, bound by one cause—the union of our country and the perpetuation of the government of our institutions.—There is no need to recall to your memories, Tunnell Hill, with Rocky Face Mountain, and Buzzard Roost Gap, with the ugly forts of Dalton behind. We were in earnest, and paused not for danger but dashed through Snake Creek Gap and fell on Resaca ; then to the Etowah to Dallas and Kennesaw ; and the heat of summer found us on the banks of the Chattahoochee, far from home and dependent on a single road for supplies. Again we were not to be held back by any obstacle, and crossed over and fought four heavy battles for the possession of the citadel of Atlanta. That was the crisis of our history. A doubt still clouded our future ; but we solved the problem, and destroyed Atlanta, struck boldly across the State of Georgia, secured all the main arteries of life to our enemy, and Christmas found us at Savannah. Waiting there only long enough to fill our wagons, we began a march, which, for peril, labor and results, will compare with any ever made by an organized army. The floods of the Savannah, the swamps of the Combabee and Edisto, the high hills and rocks of the Santee, the flat quagmires of the Peedee and Cape Fear rivers, were all passed in midwinter, with its floods and rains, in the face of an accumulating enemy ; and after the battles of Averysboro and Bentonville, we once more came out of the wilderness to meet our friends at Goldsboro. Even then, we paused only long enough to get new clothing, to reload our wagons, and again pushed on to Raleigh, and beyond, until we met our enemy, suing for peace instead of war, and offering to submit to the injured laws of his and our country.
As long as that enemy was defiant, nor mountains, nor rivers, nor swamps, nor hunger, nor cold had checked us ; but when he who had fought us hard and persistently, offered submission, your general thought it wrong to pursue him further, and negotiations followed which resulted, as you all know, in his surrender. How far the operations of the army have contributed to the overthrow of the confederacy, and to the peace, which now dawns on us, must be judged by others, not by us. But that you have done all that men could do has been admitted by those in authority, and we have a right to join in the universal joy that fills our land because the war is over, and our government stands vindicated before the world by the joint action of the volunteer armies of the United States.
To such as remain in the military service, your General need only remind you that successes in the past are due to hard work and discipline, and that the same work and discipline are equally important in the future. To such as go home, he would only say, that our favored country is so grand, so extensive, so diversified in climate, soil and productions, that every man can surely find a home and occupation suited to his tastes ; and none should yield to the natural impotence sure to result from our past life of excitement and adventure. You will be invited to seek new adventure abroad, but do not yield to the temptation, for it will lead only to death and disappointment.
Your General now bids you all farewell, with the full belief that as in war you have been good soldiers, so in peace you will make good citizens and if, unfortunately, new war should arise in our country, Sherman’s army will be the first to buckle on the old armor, and come forth to defend and maintain the government of our inheritance and choice.
By order of . .W. T. SHERMAN.
. .Major General.
L. M. DAYTON, Ass’t Adjt. Gen.
On the morning of June 3d, the salons of Mr. Scott’s mansion in Twenty-third st. were again thrown open in honor of his distinguished guest, Gen. Sherman, for the purpose of a ladies’ reception. From 10 1/2 o’clock until 12, a continuous stream of the most lovely and distinguished of our countrywomen poured into Mr. Scott’s residence.¹
Last night the parlors were crowded with some of the most distinguished in our city and country. Men who have won an almost “eternity of fame,” and marked their names in letters of light upon the page of American history, were there assembled. Men distinguished in Church and State, in the forum and in the field, wide apart as the poles in nearly all else except admiration for our unsceptered hero, met to pay their tribute to one of our most gallant leaders throughout the fearful ordeal of the past four years.
This morning the ladies of New York, ever actuated by the most patriotic impulses, ever appreciative of noble deeds and chivalric bearings, also paid their devoirs² to the hero of unnumbered battles, in all and each a conqueror. The scene was splendid. It seemed as if
“Everything young, everything fair,
From East and West was blushing there.”
Poets have sung in witching strains of visions of unearthly beauty ; have dreamed in flowing numbers of the Ideal and the Beautiful, but we doubt if even in their highest imaginings, they conjured up anything superior to the loveliness of our fair countrywomen, a beauty which has now become a household word the world over. All this was to be witnessed this morning in the vicinity of Twenty-third St.,
At half past ten there was
“Driving in hot hast,”
and if not the “lamps” at least the brilliant sunshine of this lovely morn streamed down
“Upon the women and brave men.”
Gen. Sherman, Notwithstanding the fatigues incident to last night, appeared in excellent health and spirits, and chatted gaily with his fair visitors, and appeared delighted with the compliments and bright glances showered upon him. He bears all his honors with a modesty which in addition to other qualities, has become one of his chief, and most impressive characteristics.
There is an absence of all affections and an easy grace and suavity of manner, which insensibly wins the heart, and after a few moment’s conversation, makes one feel as if he had known this truly great man for a lifetime. He appears weary and exhausted, and we have no doubt would wish to be simply “let alone.”
A large crowd of respectable and orderly people gathered around the house, anxious to obtain a glimpse of the hero of the Carolinas.
Among the distinguished visitors who called this morning was the following : Madame Bigelow, wife of the Minister to Paris,³ descendant of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Mrs. Judge Ruggles4 and the Misses Ruggles, the Hon. Mrs. Strong and Misses Strong, Mrs. Doremus5 and family ; Dr. and Mrs. Fiske of Northampton ; Mrs. Smith, wife of Prof. Charles D. Smith, and family ; Mrs. Wm. M. Evarts6 and family ; Mrs. Withering and the Misses Witherings ; Mr. C. M. Dash ; Mrs. Downing, sister of Bishop Coxe ; Capt. Mayne of the Royal Navy (British) ; Gen. Lewis C. Hunt,7 commanding troops in the fortifications of New York ; Capt. Fiske, Adjt. General, Capt. McAllister, Chief Ordinance officer of New York ; Major General Anderson and family [Robert Anderson] ; Mrs. Livingston and Mrs. Gantley ; Mrs. Dorman of California ; the Rev. Dr. Spring and family ; Mrs. Judge White and Miss White, &c.
1. While in New York City, General Sherman stayed at the house of James Scott, Esq., located at 64 East Twenty-Third Street.
2. Formally pay one’s respects to someone.
3. Jane Tunis Poultney Bigelow, married to John Bigelow (1817-1911), who was an American lawyer and statesman. He married Jane Tunis Poultney in 1850. President Abraham Lincoln appointed Bigelow American Consul in Paris in 1861, and he progressed to Chargé d’Affaires and Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Napoleon III. In this capacity, working together with Charles Francis Adams, the American Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Bigelow helped to block the attempts to have France and the United Kingdom intervene in the Civil War in favor of the Confederacy, and thereby played a material role in the Union victory. In 1865, he was appointed American Ambassador to France.
4. Mary C. Ruggles, married to Charles Herman Ruggles (1789-June 16, 1865), a U.S. Representative from New York (1821-23) and Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals (1847-55).
5. Sarah Platt Doremus (1802-1877) was married to Thomas C. Doremus, a wealthy merchant. She was noted for her philanthropy, and freely expended in her husband’s wealth in her benevolent enterprises.
6. Helen Minerva Bingham Wardner Evarts (1820-1903) married William Maxwell Evarts (1818-1901) in 1843 and they had twelve children. Mr. Evarts was the 29th U.S. Attorney General (1868-69), 27th U.S. Secretary of State (1877-81), and a U.S. senator from New York (1885-91). He was chief counsel for President Andrew Johnson during the impeachment trial. In 1872 he was counsel for the United States before the tribunal of arbitration on the Alabama claims at Geneva, Switzerland. He led the American fund-raising effort for the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, and spoke at the unveiling.
7. Lewis Cass Hunt (1824-1886) graduated from West Point (1847) and served in the Mexican War. In the Civil War he was a captain in the 4th U.S. Infantry and served in the Peninsula Campaign. He was promoted to colonel of the 92nd New York Infantry and fought at the battles of Seven Pines, Kinston, and Goldsboro. He was brevetted a brigadier general in March 1865.