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[353] commanders to make ‘memoranda’ and ‘military conventions’ at ‘Bennett's House.’ But Sherman and Johnston were writing their own defense, and it was natural that they should omit matter not pertaining thereto. Besides, I was General Sherman's subordinate, and owed him all the help I could give in every way. He may have regarded my services, and perhaps justly, as little more than clerical, after it was all over, even if he thought of the matter at all.1

The Confederate troops were promptly furnished with all needed supplies of food and transportation and sent in comfort to their homes, freed from the necessity of taxing the slender resources of the impoverished people on their routes. The surplus animals and wagons remaining with the army were given to the people of North Carolina in large numbers, and they were encouraged at once to resume their industrial pursuits. In the meantime, all who were in want were furnished with food.

It may not be possible to judge how wise or unwise Sherman's first ‘memorandum’ might have proved if it had been ratified. It is always difficult to tell how things that have not been tried would have worked if they had been. We now know only this much—that the imagination of man could hardly picture worse results than those wrought out by the plan that was finally adopted—namely, to destroy everything that existed in the way of government, and then build from the bottom on the foundation of ignorance and rascality.

The de facto State governments existing at the time of the surrender would have been of infinite service in restoring order and material prosperity, if they had been recognized by the military authority of the United States

1 For the military convention of April 26, 1865, signed by Sherman and Johnston, and the supplemental terms, signed by Johnston and Schofield, see War Records, Vol. XLVII, part III, pp. 313, 482.

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