Gen. Sherman had already received1 with horror the tidings of President Lincoln's assassination; but he had not adequately realized the effect of that atrocious deed on the temper and spirit of the loyal millions and their rulers. This statement is made in explanation simply. He had seen Gen. Weitzel's permission to the Rebel Legislature of Virginia to reassemble at Richmond; he was not aware that President Lincoln's authorization of it had been recalled and the permission annulled. And he — neither cherishing nor affecting decided anti-Slavery convictions — unquestionably believed and felt that his arrangement with Johnston was one that ought to be, and probably would be, accepted at Washington; whither he immediately dispatched it by Maj. Hitchcock, of his staff. He had very gravely miscalculated. There were many in the North who had deemed Grant quite too generous in fixing the terms of Lee's capitulation; but their hesitating utterances had been drowned in the general burst of gladness and thanks-giving over the virtual collapse of the Rebellion. That other Rebel chiefs — now that their ablest commander and most formidable army had surrendered — should exact and secure better terms than were accorded to Lee, was not imagined, even prior to Lincoln's assassination: after that hideous crime, the bare suggestion of such concession seemed intolerable. Hence, when his agreement reached2 Washington, it was — in strict accordance with the views and feelings of the great body of those who had heartily sustained the Government through the War — rejected by the new President and his Cabinet, with the hearty concurrence of Gen. Grant, for reasons unofficially, but by authority, set forth as follows:
1st. It was an exercise of authority not vested in Gen. Sherman, and, on its face, shows that both he and Johnston knew that Gen. Sherman had no authority to enter into any such arrangements. 2d. It was a practical acknowledgment of the Rebel Government.