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[566] of the Military Division of the Mississippi, and not having been transferred, it still formed a legitimate part of his command, wherever he might be. It will be remembered that General Sherman, with the main body of his army, was at that time in North Carolina, moving northward. Before leaving North Alabama, he had instructed me to report, with my entire corps, except Kilpatrick's Division, to Major General George H. Thomas, to assist in the operations against Hood. It was the intention of General Sherman, however, as developed in frequent conversations with me while lying at Gaylesville, Alabama, in October, 1864, that as soon as Hood could be disposed of, and the cavalry could be reorganized and remounted, I should gather together every man and horse that could be made fit for service, and march through the richer parts of Alabama and Georgia, for the purpose of destroying the railroad communications and supplies of the rebels, and bringing my force into the theatre of operations, toward which all of our great armies were then moving. In the campaign terminating at Macon, I had actually started under the direct instructions of General Thomas, but with the “amplest latitude of an independent commander,” transmitted through him from General Grant, the commander-in-chief. I found myself cut off from all communication with these generals, but liable to receive orders from either or all of them, and from the Secretary of War in addition. My paramount duty was clearly to take care of the public interests first, and to reconcile orders afterward, should they come in conflicting terms from different directions.

In anticipation of a final break up of the rebel forces, we had already determined to keep a sharp look out for Davis and the leading authorities. As soon as I became satisfied, by information received by telegraph, in a short time, from General Sherman, that he had actually concluded an armistice, and intended it to apply to my command, I felt bound to observe it, but only upon condition that the rebels should also comply with its provisions in equal good faith, or that I should not be ordered by higher authority to disregard it. One of its provisions was that neither party should make any change in the station of troops during the continuance of the armistice. My command, therefore, remained in camp, but was kept on the alert, ready to move in any direction. Having heard from citizens, however, that Davis, instead of observing the armistice, was making his way toward the South with an escort, I took possession of the railroads, and sent scouts in all directions, in order that I might receive timely notice of his movements. The armistice was declared null and void by the Secretary of War; but, at least one

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