Today in History:

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

Page 36 OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX.

occupy temporarily the U. S. Arsenal at Augusta, and to open up communication with General Wilson at Macon in the event that General McCook's division of cavalry was not already there. The Amazon followed next day, and General Gillmore had made the necessary orders for a brigade of infantry, to be commanded by General Molineux, to follow by a land march to Augusta as its permanent garrison. Another brigade of infantry was ordered to occupy Orangeburg, S. C., the point farthest in the interior that can at present be reached by rail from the sea-coast (Charleston).

On the 1st of May I went on to Savannah, where General Gillmore also joined me, and the arrangements ordered for the occupation of Augusta were consummated.

At Savannah I found the city in the most admirable police, under direction of Brevet Major-General Grover, and the citizens manifested the most unqualified joy to hear that, so far as they were concerned, the war was over. All classes, Union men as well as former rebels, did not conceal, however, the apprehensions naturally arising from a total ignorance of the political conditions to be attacked to their future state. Anything at all would be preferable to this dread uncertainty.

On the evening of the 2nd of May I returned to Hilton Head, and there, for the first time, received the New York papers of April 28, containing Secretary Stanton's dispatch of 9 a.m. of the 27th of April to General Dix, including General Halleck's, from Richmond, of 9 p.m. of the night before, which seems to have been rushed with extreme haste before an excited public, namely, morning of the 28th. You will observe from the dates that these dispatches were running back and forth from Richmond and Washington to New York, and there published, while General Grant and I were together in Raleigh, N. C., adjusting, to the best of our ability, the terms of surrender of the only remaining formidable rebel army in existence at the time east of the Mississippi River. Not one word of intimation had been sent to me of the displeasure of the Government with my official conduct, but only the naked disapproval of a skeleton memorandum sent properly for the action of the President of the United States.

The most objectionable features of my memorandum had already (April 24) been published to the world in violation of official usage, and the contents of my accompanying letters to General Halleck, General Grant, and Mr. Stanton, of even date, though at hand, were suppressed.

In all these letters I had stated clearly and distinctly that Johnston's army would not fight, but, if pushed, would "disband" and "scatter" into small and dangerous guerrilla parties as injurious to the interests of the United States as to the rebels themselves; that all parties admitted that the rebel cause of the South was abandoned; that the negr that the temper of all was most favorable to a lasting peace. I say all these opinions of mine were withheld from the public with a seeming purpose; and I do contend that my official experience and former services, as well as my past life and familiarity with the people and geography of the South, entitled my opinions to at least a decent respect.

Although this dispatch (Mr. Stanton's of April 27) was printed "official," it had come to me only in the questionable newspaper paragraph, headed "Sherman's truce disregarded. "

I had already done what General Wilson wanted me to do, namely, had sent him supplies of clothing and food, with clear and distinct orders and instructions how to carry out in Western Georgia the terms

Page 36 OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX.