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[51]

A commander without an army.

While the disintegration of the army was going on General Kirby Smith was en route from Shreveport to Houston, a journey which occupied many days at that time. Upon his arrival he issued an address (May 30th) to the soldiers of Texas, from which the following extracts show the condition in which he found military affairs: ‘My purpose,’ he said, ‘was to concentrate the entire strength of the department, await negotiations, and, if possible, secure terms alike honorable to soldier and citizen. Failing in this, I intended to struggle to the last. I reached here to find the Texas troops disbanded and hastening to their homes. * * * Soldiers, I am left a commander without an army, a general without troops. You have made your choice. It was unwise and unpatriotic, but it is final. You have voluntarily destroyed your organization and thrown away all means of resistance.’

On June 2d General Smith visited the blockading fleet off Galveston and there ratified with the Federal admiral (Thatcher) the terms of the convention between Canby and Buckner agreed to on May 26th, and three days later Captain Sands landed and hoisted the United States flag over the custom house. Shortly afterwards Federal troops took possession of the place, and on the 19th the Federal general (Gordon Granger) assumed command of ‘the military district of Texas,’ under the new regime.

The dissolution of the Confederate military organization in Texas was followed by an universal feeling of the most intense anxiety and suspense, which increased each day. An outburst of wrath throughout the North against the fallen South had followed the assassination of Lincoln. Some of the leading newspapers accused the Confederate authorities with having been implicated in the plot. The inflamed state of the Northern mind rendered the preposterous accusation easy of belief, while the bitter feeling engendered by the war was intensified by the crime. Threats of the direst punishment, of wholesale prosecution for treason and confiscation of property filled the Northern papers. An influential New York journal, on April 25th, in an editorial, complacently disposed of the policy to be pursued towards the Southern people as follows: ‘It will, beyond all doubt, be the aim of President Johnson to break up and distribute the large lands and properties in the South. This object Mr. Johnson proposed to accomplish by a vigorous enforcement of the confiscation laws against the rebel land holders. * * * The division ’

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