On May 5, I wrote to General Sherman:
When General Grant was here, as you doubtless recollect, he said the lines had been extended to embrace this and other States south.
The order, it seems, has been modified so as to include only Virginia and Tennessee.
I think it would be an act of wisdom to open this State to trade at once.
I hope the government will make known its policy as to organization of State governments without delay.
Affairs must necessarily be in a very unsettled state until that is done.
The people are now in a mood to accept almost anything which promises a definite settlement.
What is to be done with the freedmen is the question of all, and it is the all-important question.
It requires prompt and wise action to prevent the negro from becoming a huge elephant on our hands.
If I am to govern this State, it is important for me to know it at once.
If another is to be sent here, it cannot be done too soon, for he will probably undo the most of what I shall have done.
I shall be most glad to hear from you fully when you have time to write. . . .
Two days later I wrote to General Halleck
I have received your despatch concerning slavery, the treatment of freedmen, etc. I will send you my orders issued some days ago, which agree perfectly with your views on this subject.
I have not recognized in any way any of the civil officers of the State—not being willing to act in such matters in the absence of any indication of the policy of the government, and taking it for granted that instructions would be given soon.
In this connection, I desire to suggest that the sooner a military governor is appointed for this State, and steps taken to organize a civil government, the better.
The people are now in a mood to accept anything in reason, and to do what the government desires.
If I am, by virtue of my command, to perform the duties of military governor, I would like to know it.
If another is to be appointed, it ought to be done before I have been compelled to do something which he may think it necessary to undo.
I think it would be eminently wise to retain in office justices of the peace, sheriffs, and other inferior officers who may prove to be loyal and worthy; but this should be done by