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This message, enigmatical enough for me, coming into my hands in the afternoon, at once received this answer:

Richmond, May 9, 1865, 3:15 P. M.
Lieutenant General U. S. Grant.
General: Your dispatch only just received. I will conform to it at once.

Respectfully, O. O. Howard, Major General.

The evening of May 10, 1865, found me in Washington. I went the next day to the Secretary's office in the War Department and reported to him as I had been instructed. This was not my first interview with Edwin M. Stanton. He had been at times very kind to me, and particularly friendly during his Savannah visit; he had there emphasized his commendations for the part I had borne in Sherman's operations. He now appeared hearty, in good humor, and glad to see me; but, after a few brief words of greeting, as was usual with him, went straight to the business in hand. We had hardly taken seats when he took from his desk and handed me a copy of the Freedmen's Bureau Act, and said substantially: “We have been delaying the execution of this law because it has been difficult to fix upon the commissioner. You notice that he can be detailed from the army. Mr. Lincoln before his death expressed a decided wish that you should have the office; but he was not willing to detail you till you could be spared from the army in the field. Now, as the war is ended, the way is clear. The place will be given you if you are willing to accept it.”

After a few more words of conversation, and understanding

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