dispatches were received by the general-in-chief
on the night of April 21st.
He at once perceived that the terms were such as could not possibly be approved, and accordingly wrote the following note to the Secretary of War
: ‘I have received and just completed reading the dispatches brought by the special messenger from General Sherman
They are of such importance that I think immediate action should be taken on them, and that it should be done by the President
in council with the whole cabinet.
I would respectfully suggest whether the President
should not be notified, and all the cabinet, and the meeting take place to-night.’
The cabinet meeting was called before midnight. The President and his ministers were unanimous in condemning the propositions of Sherman
Indeed, their language was so vehement that, Grant
, while agreeing fully with them that the terms were inadmissible, yet felt it his duty to his friend and subordinate to defend him against the imputations that were freely made.
The President was especially indignant at Sherman
's course, and the sympathy with rebels which it was thought to betray; while Stanton
did not hesitate to call it treason.
at once declared that the services Sherman
had rendered the country during now four years entitled him to the most lenient judgment, and proved that, whatever might be thought of his opinions, his motives should be unquestioned.
Nevertheless, the general-in-chief
was instructed to give notice to Sherman
of the President
's disapproval of the memorandum, and to direct him to resume hostilities at the earliest possible moment.
The instructions of Lincoln
on the 3rd of