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[207]

The President directs me to say to you that he wishes you to have no conference with General Lee unless it be for the capitulation of Lee's army, or on solely minor or purely military matters. He instructs me to say to you that you are not to decide, discuss, or confer on any political question; such questions the President holds in his own hands, and will submit them to no: military conferences or conventions. Meantime you are to press to the utmost your military advantages.

Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War.

You will say that General Sherman had not seen this order of Mr. Lincoln's when he made his arrangement with Johnston, but it is none the less absolute proof that he (Mr. Lincoln) would have disapproved the arrangement. The General needed no such admonition to teach him that discussion of public policies in a military convention was an invasion of the civil authority and wholly outside the powers and duties of a military commander. He frankly admitted this, and in a letter to Secretary Stanton, dated April 25, the day after receiving the government's disapproval of his terms, he said: ‘I admit my folly in embracing in a military convention any civic matters.’

If you will refer to his ‘Memoirs,’ page 349, you will see that in his interview with General Johnston he asked him if he could control other armies than his own. Johnston replied that he could not do this, but indicated ‘that he could procure authority from Davis.’ On the following page, he says: ‘General Johnston, saying that he thought during the night he could procure authority to act in the name of all the Confederate armies in existence, we agreed to meet on the next day at noon.’ The two Generals met again accordingly, and Johnston then assured Sherman that ‘he had authority for all the Confederate armies, so that they would obey his order to surrender.’

The Confederate Secretary of War, John C. Breckinridge, was then brought in, and participated in arranging the terms. These terms comprehended an armistice, to continue until forty-eight hours after notice of either side for its termination. The Confederate armies were to disband, their arms and munitions of war to be turned over to the several States of the Confederacy, the governments of which were to be recognized by the President, and the inhabitants of the South were to be guaranteed all their rights of property (including

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