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President Davis in his book says, ‘The Chief of Ordnance was General J. Gorgas, a man remarkable for his scientific attainments, for the highest administrative capacity and moral purity, all crowned by zeal and fidelity to his trusts in which he achieved results greatly disproportioned to the means at his command.’

When the first telegrams were received from General Lee, indicating that he must retire from Richmond, General Gorgas, with that desire which he had always manifested to prevent the useless destruction of property, called upon General Gilmer, the Chief of the Engineer Department, and induced him to join him in recommending the Secretary of War to issue orders to prevent the destruction of tobacco and other property. The recommendation was made and adopted, but by some inadvertence in the transmitting or delivery of these orders some of the tobacco warehouses were burned, and from them the fire spread over the city and subjected it to a fearful conflagration. General Gorgas withdrew from Richmond with other officers and was already at work at Danville to retrieve losses, when news came of General Lee's surrender. He then moved southward, and at Charlotte, North Carolina, joined the President and other officers of the Confederate Government, and there, after General Johnston's surrender, the Confederate Government was practically dissolved.

General Breckenridge, the Secretary of War, formally summoned the Chiefs of the several Bureaus of the War Department and announced to them that he did not require them to move with him any further. In a short and touching speech he recommended them to return to their several homes, stating that each individual must be governed by his own views of what was proper under the circumstances.

He recounted what had transpired at the interviews between Generals Johnston and Sherman, how he had been informally invited to be present as an officer, rather than as a part of the civil administration of the Confederate Government—that General Sherman desired his presence in order that the whole war should be closed and that although General Johnston had only a certain territorial command, the influence of his surrender might embrace the whole land-how he had conferred with President Davis, who recommended him to attend and assist in the protection of the army and of the citizens, utterly regardless of him—how General Sherman had suggested in his terms of surrender a general amnesty, thus extending and enlarging the terms made by General Grant with General Lee.

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William T. Sherman (3)
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