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[584] therefore, with the concurrence of my constitutional advisers, addressed General Johnston as follows:

The Secretary of War has delivered to me the copy you handed to him of the basis of an agreement between yourself and General Sherman. Your action is approved. You will so inform General Sherman; and, if the like authority be given by the Government of the United States to complete the arrangement, you will proceed on the basis adopted.

Further instructions will be given after the details of the negotiation and the methods of executing the terms of agreement when notified by you of the readiness on the part of the General commanding United States forces to proceed with the arrangement.


From the terms of this letter it will be seen that I doubted whether the agreement would be ratified by the United States government. The opinion I entertained in regard to President Johnson and his venomous Secretary of War, Stanton, did not permit me to expect that they would be less vindictive after a surrender of our army had been proposed than when it was regarded as a formidable body defiantly holding its position in the field. Whatever hope others entertained that the existing war was about to be peacefully terminated, was soon dispelled by the rejection of the basis of agreement on the part of the government of the United States, and a notice from General Sherman of termination of the armistice in forty-eight hours after noon of April 24, 1865.

General Johnston communicated to me the substance of the above information received by him from General Sherman, and asked for instructions. I have neither his telegram nor my reply, but can give it substantially from memory. It was that he should retire with his cavalry, and as many infantry as could be mounted upon draught-horses, and some light artillery, the rest of the infantry to be disbanded, and a place of rendezvous appointed. It was unnecessary to say anything of the route, as that had been previously agreed on, and supplies placed on it for his retreating army. This order was disobeyed, and he sought another interview with Sherman, to renew his attempt to reach an agreement for a termination of hostilities. Meantime General Hampton, commanding the cavalry of Johnston's army, came to me at Charlotte, told me that he feared the army was to be surrendered, and wished permission to withdraw his part of it and report to me. I gave the permission, extending it to all the cavalry, which was in accordance with the instructions I had sent to General Johnston. He returned immediately, but I have since

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