Doc. 109. surrender of General Johnston.
Major-General Sherman's report.
headquarters military division of the Mississippi, In the Field, City Point, Virginia, May 9, 1865.General — My last official report brought the history of events, as connected with the armies in the field subject to my immediate command, down to the first of April, when the Army of the Ohio, Major-General J. M. Schofield commanding, lay at Goldsboroa, with detachments distributed so as to secure and cover our routes of communication and supply back to the sea at Wilmington and Morehead City; Major-General A. H. Terry, with the Tenth corps, being at Faison's depot; the Army of the Tennessee, Major-General O. O. Howard commanding, was encamped to the right and front of Goldsboroa, and the Army of Georgia, Major-General H. W. Slocum commanding, to its left and front; the cavalry, Brevet-Major-General J. Kilpatrick commanding, at Mount Olive. All were busy in repairing the wear and tear of our then recent and hard march from Savannah, or in replenishing clothing and stores necessary for a further progress. I had previously, by letter and in person, notified the Lieutenant-General commanding the armies of the United States that the tenth of April would be the earliest possible moment at which I could hope to have all things in readiness, and we were compelled to use our railroads to the very highest possible limit in order to fulfil that promise. Owing to a mistake in the railroad department in sending locomotives and cars of the five-foot gauge, we were limited to the use of the few locomotives and cars of the four-foot-eight-and-a-half-inch gauge already in North Carolina, with such of the old stock as was captured by Major-General Terry at Wilmington, and on his way up to Goldsboroa. Yet such judicious use was made of these, and such industry displayed in the railroad management by Generals Easton and Beckwith, and Colonel Wright and Mr. Van Dyne, that by the tenth of April our men were all reclad, the wagons reloaded, and a fair amount of forage accumulated ahead. In the meantime Major-General George Stoneman, in command of a division of cavalry operating from East Tennessee in connection with Major-General George H. Thomas, in pursuance of my orders of January twenty-one, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five, had reached the railroad about Greensboroa, North Carolina, and had made sad havoc with it, and had pushed along it to Salisbury, destroying en route bridges, culverts, depots, and all kinds of rebel supplies, and had extended the break in the railroad down to the Catawba bridge. This was fatal to the hostile armies of Lee and Johnston, who depended on that road for supplies and as their ultimate line of retreat. Major-General J. H. Wilson, also in command of the cavalry corps organized by himself under Special Field Orders No.--, of October twenty-four, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, at Gaylesville, Alabama, had started from the neighborhood of Decatur and Florence, Alabama, and moved straight into the heart of Alabama, on a route prescribed for General Thomas after he had defeated General Hood at Nashville Tennessee; but the roads being too heavy for infantry, General Thomas had devolved that duty on that most energetic young cavalry officer, General Wilson, who, imbued with the proper spirit, has struck one of the best blows of the war at the waning strength of the Confederacy. His route was one never before touched by our troops, and afforded him abundance of supplies as long as he was in motion, namely, by Tuscaloosa, Selma, Montgomery, Columbus and Macon. Though in communication with him, I have not been able to receive as yet his full and detailed reports, which will in due time be published and appreciated. Lieutenant-General Grant, also in immediate command of the armies about Richmond, had taken the initiative in that magnificent campaign which, in less than ten days, compelled the evacuation of Richmond, and resulted in the destruction and surrender of the entire rebel army of Virginia under command of General Lee. The news of the battles about Petersburg reached me at Goldsboroa on the sixth of April. Up to that time my purpose was to move rapidly northward, feigning on Raleigh and striking straight for Burksville, thereby interposing between Johnston and Lee. But the auspicious events in Virginia had changed the whole military problem, and in the expressive language of Lieutenant-General Grant, “the Confederate armies of Lee and Johnston” became the “strategic points.” General Grant was fully able to take care of the former, and my task was to capture or destroy the latter. Johnston at that time, April six, had his army well in hand about Smithfield, interposing between me and Raleigh. I estimated his infantry and artillery at thirty-five thousand, and his cavalry from six thousand to ten thousand. He was superior to me in cavalry, so that I held General Kilpatrick in reserve at Mount Olive, with orders to recruit his horses and be ready to make a sudden and rapid march on the tenth of April. At daybreak of the day appointed all the heads of columns were in motion straight against the enemy, Major-General H. W. Slocum taking the two direct roads for Smithfield; Major-General O. O. Howard making a circuit by the right and feigning up the Weldon road, to disconcert the enemy's cavalry; Generals Terry and Kilpatrick moving on the west side of the Neuse river, and aiming to reach the rear of the enemy between Smithfield and Raleigh. General Schofield followed General Slocum in support. All the columns met, within six miles of Goldsboroa, more or less cavalry, with the usual