operations; . . . the object being to permit the civil authorities to enter into the needful arrangements to terminate the existing war.
replied, on the 14th:
I am fully empowered to arrange with you any terms for the suspension of hostilities between the armies commanded by you and those commanded by myself, and will be willing to confer with you to that end. . . .1
In the same volume, at page 327, General Sherman
describes an interview with Lincoln
, held at City Point
on the 27th and 28th of March preceding, in which he says:
Mr. Lincoln distinctly authorized me to assure Governor Vance and the people of North Carolina that, as soon as the rebel armies laid down their arms, and resumed their civil pursuits, they would at once be guaranteed all their rights as citizens of a common country; and that, to avoid anarchy, the State governments then in existence, with their civil functionaries, would be recognized by him as the government de facto till Congress could provide others.
In a letter of D. D. Porter
, written in 1866, giving his recollections of that interview, in the same volume,2
is found the following paragraph:
The conversation between the President and General Sherman, about the terms of surrender to be allowed Joe Johnston, continued.
Sherman energetically insisted that he could command his own terms, and that Johnston would have to yield to his demands; but the President was very decided about the matter, and insisted that the surrender of Johnston's army must be obtained on any terms.
Hence it appears that Sherman
was authorized to say that he was fully empowered to arrange for the suspension of hostilities; moreover, that he was instructed by Lincoln
to give ‘any terms’ to obtain the surrender of Johnston
In regard to the memorandum or basis of agreement, Sherman
that, while in consultation with General Johnston
, a messenger brought him a parcel of papers from Reagan
, Postmaster General
; that Johnston
looked over them, and handed one of them to him, which he found inadmissible, and proceeds:
Then, recalling the conversation with Mr. Lincoln at City Point, I sat down at the table and wrote off the terms which I thought concisely expressed his views and wishes.
But while these matters were progressing, Lincoln
had been assassinated, and a vindictive policy had been substituted for his, which avowedly was to procure a speedy surrender of the army upon any terms.