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[633] Carolina troops had gone home without waiting for their papers, but that all of them would doubtless come into some one of the military posts, the commanders of which are authorized to grant them. About eight hundred (800) of the rebel cavalry had gone south, refusing to abide the terms of the surrender, and it was supposed they would make for Mexico. I would sincerely advise that they be encouraged to go and stay; they would be a nuisance to any civilized government, whether loose or in prison.

With the exception of some plundering on the part of Lee's and Johnston's disbanded men, all else in North Carolina was “quiet.” When to the number of men surrendered at Greensboroa are added those at Tallahassee, Augusta, and Macon, with the scattered squads who will come in at other military posts, I have no doubt fifty thousand (50,000) armed men will be disarmed and restored to civil pursuits by the capitulation made near Durham's station, North Carolina, on the twenty-sixth of April, and that, too, without the loss of a single life to us.

On the fifth of May I received and here subjoin a further despatch from General Schofield, which contains inquiries I have been unable to satisfy, similar to those made by nearly every officer in my command whose duty brings him in contact with citizens. I leave you to do what you think expedient to provide the military remedy.

[By telegraph ]

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 in the organ 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 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 that I shall have done. I shall be glad to hear from you freely when you have time to write.

I will send your message to Wilson at once.

I give this despatch entire, to demonstrate how intermingled have become civil matters with the military, and how almost impossible it has become for an officer in authority to act a purely military part.

There are no longer armed enemies in North Carolina, and a soldier can deal with no other sort. The marshals and sheriffs with their posses (of which the military may become a part), are the only proper officers to deal with civil criminals and marauders. But I will not be drawn out in a discussion of this subject, but instance the case to show how difficult is the task become to military officers, when men of the rank, education, experience, nerve, and good sense of General Schofield feel embarrassed by them.

General Schofield, at Raleigh, has a well-appointed and well-disciplined command, is in telegraph communication with the controlling parts of his department, and remote ones in the direction of Georgia, as well as with Washington, and has military possession of all strategic points.

In like manner General Gillmore is well situated in all respects except as to rapid communication with the seat of the general Government. I leave him also with every man he ever asked for, and in full and quiet. possession of every strategic point in his department; and General Wilson has in the very heart of Georgia the strongest, best-appointed, and best-equipped cavalry corps that ever fell under my command; and he has now, by my recent action, opened to him a source and route of supply by way of Savannah river that simplifies his military problem, so that I think I may with a clear conscience leave them and turn my attention once more to my special command, the army with which I have been associated through some of the most eventful scenes of this or any war.

I hope and believe none of these commanders will ever have reason to reproach me for any “orders” they may have received from me, and the President of the United States may be assured that all of them are in position, ready and willing to execute to the letter and in spirit any orders he may give. I shall henceforth cease to give them any orders at all, for the occasion that made them subordinate to me is past, and I shall confine my attention to the army composed of the Fifteenth and Seventeenth, the Fourteenth and Twentieth corps, unless the Commanding General of the armies of the United States orders otherwise.

At four P. M. of May 9 I reached Manchester, on the James river, opposite Richmond, and found that all the four corps had arrived from Raleigh, and were engaged in replenishing their wagons for the resumption of the march toward Alexandria,

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

W. T. Sherman, Major-General, Commanding. General John A. Rawlins, Chief of Staff, Washington, D. C.

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