Today in History:

34 Series I Volume XLVII-I Serial 98 - Columbia Part I

Page 34 OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX.

war and difficulty or realizing the money necessary for the daily wants of the Government, impressed me most forcibly with the necessity of bringing the war to a close as soon as possible for financial reasons.

On the evening of April 23 Major Hitchcock reported his return to Morehead City with dispatches, of which fact General Johnston, at Hillsborough, was notified, so as to be ready in the morning for an answer. At 6 a.m. on the 24th Major Hitchcock arrived, accompanied by General Grant and members of his staff, who had not telegraphed the fact of his coming over our exposed road for prudential reasons.

I soon learned that the memorandum was disapproved, without reasons assigned, and I was ordered to give the forty-eight hours' notice, and resume hostilities at the close of that time, governing myself by the substance of a dispatch, then inclosed, dated March 3, 12 noon,* at Washington, D. C., from Secretary Stanton to General Grant, at City Point, but not accompanied by any part of the voluminous matter so liberally lavished on the public in the New York journals of the 24th of April. That was the first and only time I ever saw that telegram, or had one word of instruction on the important matter involved in it; and it does seem strange to me that every bar-room loafer in New York can read in the morning journals "official" matter that is withheld from a general whose command extends from Kentucky to North Carolina.

Within an hour a courier was riding from Durham Station toward Hillsborough with notice to General Johnston of the suspension of the truce and renewing my demand for the surrender of the armies under his immediate command (see two letters, April 24, 6 a.m.),+ and at 12 noon I had the receipt of his picket officer.

I therefore published my Orders, Numbers 62, to the troops, terminating the truce at 12 m. on the 26th, and ordered all to be in readiness to march at that hour on the routes prescribed in Special Field Orders, Numbers 55, April 14, from the positions held April 18. ++

General Grant had orders from the President, through the Secretary of War, to direct military movements, and I explained to him the exact position of the troops, and he approved of it most emphatically; but he did not relieve me or express a wish to assume command. All things were in readiness, when, on the evening of the 25th, I received another letter from General Johnston asking another interview to renew negotiations.

General Grant not only approved, but urged me to accept, and I appointed a meeting at our former place at noon of the 26th, the very hour fixed for the renewal of hostilities. General Johnston was delayed by an accident to his train, but at 2 p.m. arrived. We then consulted, concluded, and signed the final terms of capitulation. These were taken by me back to Raleigh, submitted to General Grant, and met his immediate approval and signature. General Johnston was not even aware of the presence of General Grant in Raleigh at the time.

Thus was surrendered to us the second great army of the so-called Confederacy, and though undue importance has been given to the so-called negotiations which preceded it, and a rebuke and public disfavor cast on me wholly unwarranted by the facts, I rejoice in saying it was accomplished without further ruin and devastation to the country, without the loss of a single life to those gallant men who had followed


*See Vol. XLVI, Part II, p. 802.

+See Part III.

++For these orders, see Part III.


Page 34 OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX.