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[189] State. All the soldiers desired to have the land on the expiration of enlistment. One regiment had in hand $50,000 for the purpose of buying five of the largest plantations on the Mississippi. It was at the time thought by many persons interested in the future of the freedmen that the abandoned and confiscable lands if used for them would afford a wholesome solution to the negro problem.

On December 21, 1864, when the Confederate commander, General Wm. J. Hardee, withdrew his troops from Savannah, Ga., and our forces thus finishing Sherman's march to the sea, in joyous triumph came into the city, I saw plainly enough that the white people were overwhelmed with a sense of their defeat and helplessness. But it was the precise opposite with the slave inhabitants. It was a day of manifest joy, for wasn't it a visible answer to their longcontinued and importunate prayers? It was a positive deliverance from bondage, the ushering in of the fruitage of brighter hopes. Certainly so it all appeared to these simple souls who met our columns of troops at every point in crowds, and with arms akimbo danced and sang their noisy welcome.

A few days after the triumphal entrance, Secretary of War Stanton came in person from Washington to convey his grateful acknowledgment to General Sherman and his army for their late achievements. While at Savannah he examined into the condition of the liberated negroes found in that city. He assembled twenty of those who were deemed their leaders. Among them were barbers, pilots, and sailors, some ministers, and others who had been overseers on cotton and rice plantations. Mr. Stanton and General Sherman gave them a hearing. It would have been

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