Chapter 44: post-bellum Pendant.
- Old friends and their kindness -- General Grant -- his characteristic letter of introduction to President Johnson -- in business in New Orleans -- political unfriendliness -- cause of criticism of military career -- appointed surveyor of customs -- the old nurse.
Some weeks after the surrender the newspapers announced that I was to visit Washington City. My old company commander, Bradford R. Alden, who had resigned from the army some years before the war, came down from New York to meet me. Not finding me, he wrote to tell me of his trip, that he was anxious about me, lest I might be in need of assistance; that in that event I should draw on him for such amount of money as I wanted. When ready to return his favor he was not in the country, and it was only through a mutual friend, General Alvord, that his address in Europe was found and the amount returned. A more noble, lovable character never descended from the people of Plymouth Rock. About the 1st of November, 1865, business of personal nature called me to Washington. I stopped at the Metropolitan Hotel. Upon seeing the arrival in the morning papers, General W. A. Nichols, of the United States army, called and insisted that my visit should be with him and his family. The request was declined with the suggestion that the war-feeling was too warm for an officer of the army to entertain a prominent Confederate, but he insisted and urged that his good wife would not be satisfied unless the visit was made. So it was settled, and I became his guest. He was on duty at the time as assistant adjutant-general at the War Department. As I was stopping with an officer of the army, the usages of military  life required that I should call upon the commanding general. The next morning I walked with General Nichols to make an official call on General Grant. He recognized us as we entered his office, rose and walked to meet us. After the usual brief call, we rose to take leave, when he asked to have us call on his family during the evening. Most of those whom we met during the evening were old-time personal friends, especially the father-in-law, Mr. Dent. When leaving, after a pleasant evening, General Grant walked with us to the gate and asked if I cared to have my pardon. I pleaded not guilty of an offence that required pardon. He said that he meant amnesty,--that he wished to know if I cared to have it. I told him that I intended to live in the country, and would prefer to have the privileges of citizenship. He told me to call at his office at noon next day; that in the mean time he would see the Secretary of War and the President in regard to the matter. The next day he gave me a letter to the President, and said that he had seen him and thought the matter was arranged; that I should first see the Secretary of War, then the President. His strong and characteristic letter to the President was as follows:
Supported by this generous endorsement, I called on the Secretary of War, who referred me to the President. After a lengthy interview the President asked to have the matter put off until next day, when I should call at noon. The next day he was still unprepared to make decision, but, after a long, pleasant talk, he said,--
There are three persons of the South who can never receive amnesty: Mr. Davis, General Lee, and yourself. You have given the Union cause too much trouble.I replied, “You know, Mr. President, that those who are forgiven most love the most.” “Yes,” he said, “you have very high authority for that, but you can't have amnesty.” During a subsequent session of Congress, General Pope sent in a list of names from Georgia for whom he asked relief from their political disabilities. General Grant, after approving it, made request to one of his friends in Congress to have my name put on the list, and I was extended relief soon after it was given to General R. E. Lee. In January, 1866, I engaged in business in New Orleans  with the Owen brothers,--William, Miller, and Edward, old soldiers of the Washington Artillery,--as cotton factors, and speedily found fair prosperity. Before the year was out I was asked to take position in an insurance company, but declined, and repeated applications were refused under plea of limited business experience, but, under promise of ample and competent assistance, I accepted the place with a salary of five thousand dollars, and my affairs were more than prosperous until I was asked an opinion upon the political crisis of 1867. As the whole animus of the latter-day adverse criticisms upon, and uncritical assertions in regard to, the commander of the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia had its origin in this matter of politics, a brief review of the circumstances is in order. As will be readily recalled by my older readers (while for the younger it is a matter of history), President Johnson, after the war, adopted a reconstruction policy of his own, and some of the States were reorganized under it with Democratic governors and legislatures, and all would have followed. But Congress, being largely Republican, was not satisfied, and enacted that the States could not be accepted unless they provided in their new constitutions for negro suffrage. In case they would not, the State governments should be removed and the States placed in the hands of general officers of the army as military governors, who should see that the States were reorganized and restored to the Union under the laws. Under the severe ordeal one of the city papers of New Orleans called upon the generals of Confederate service to advise the people of the course that they should pursue,naming the officers. I thought it better policy to hold the States, as they were organized, under the President's policy, shape their constitutions as directed by Congress, and have the States not yet reorganized follow the same course. My letter upon the subject was as follows: 
I might have added that not less forceful than the grounds I gave were the obligations under which we were placed by the terms of our paroles,--“To respect the laws of Congress,” --but the letter was enough. The afternoon of the day upon which my letter was published the paper that had called for advice published a column of editorial calling me traitor! deserter of my friends! and accusing me of joining the enemy! but did not publish a line of the letter upon which it based the charges! Other papers of the Democracy took up the garbled representation of this journal and spread it broadcast, not even giving the letter upon which they based their evil attacks upon me. Up to that time the First Corps, in all of its parts, in all of its history, was above reproach. I was in successful business in New Orleans as cotton factor, with a salary from an insurance company of five thousand dollars per year. The day after the announcement old comrades passed me on the streets without speaking. Business began to grow dull. General Hood (the only one of my old comrades who occasionally visited me) thought that he could save the insurance business, and in a few weeks I found myself at leisure.  Two years after that period, on March 4, 1869, General Grant was inaugurated President of the United States, and in the bigness of his generous heart called me to Washington. Before I found opportunity to see him he sent my name to the Senate for confirmation as surveyor of customs at New Orleans. I was duly confirmed, and held the office until 1873, when I resigned. Since that time I have lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, and in Gainesville, Georgia, surrounded by a few of my old friends, and in occasional appreciative touch with others, South and North. Of all the people alive I still know and meet, probably no one carries me farther back in recollections of my long life than does my “old nurse.” Most of the family servants were discharged after the war at Macon, Mississippi, where some of them still reside, among them this old man, Daniel, who still claims the family name, but at times uses another. He calls promptly when I visit Macon and looks for “something to remember you by.” During my last visit he seemed more concerned for me than usual, and on one of his calls asked, “Marse Jim, do you belong to any church?” “Oh, yes,” I said, “I try to be a good Christian.” He laughed loud and long, and said,-- “ Something must have scared you mighty bad, to change you so from what you was when I had to care for you.” In a recent letter he sent a message to say that he is getting to be a little feeble. Blessings on his brave heart!