XXXV. death of President Lincoln—Peace.—Johnston — Davis — Taylor — Kirby Smith.
- The President at City Point -- he enters Richmond -- letter to Weitzel -- recruiting stopped -- celebration at Fort Sumter -- the President assassinated by J. Wilkes Booth -- Gov. Seward murderously assaulted by Payne Powell -- accession of Andrew Johnson to the Presidency -- offers rewards for arrest of Jefferson Davis and others -- Stoneman's raid into North Carolina -- Sherman's arrangement with Jo. Johnston -- repudiated by the Government -- reasons therefor -- Johnston surrenders -- Dick Tayler ditto -- dissolution of the Confederacy -- flight and capture of Davis -- Kirby Smith's voice still for War -- Sheridan's expedition -- the Rebellion's final collapse -- career of the Shenandoah -- Grant's parting address to his soldiers -- dissolution of our armies.
President Lincoln had gone1 down to the front in anticipation of Grant's final movement against Lee's right south of Petersburg, and was thenceforward in constant communication with the Lieutenant-General commanding in the field, while Lee made his assault on our lines, Sheridan crossed the James, moving from our farthest right to our extreme left, and Grant impelled the advance of that left with such memorable results. He was mainly at City Point, receiving reports from Grant and telegraphing their substance to the War Department for dissemination over the country till the day after Richmond fell; when2 he accompanied Admiral Porter in a gunboat up to Rockett's, a mile below the city, and thence was rowed up to the wharf, and walked thence, attended by Admiral Porter and by a few sailors armed with carbines, to Gen. Weitzel's headquarters, in the house so recently and suddenly abandoned by Jefferson Davis. Recognized and stared at by all, his hearty greetings, aside from those of our soldiers, were all-but confined to the Blacks, who crowded in thousands to welcome and bless their emancipator; so that it became necessary to summon a military force to clear a way for him through the streets. After holding a hasty levee, the President took a rapid drive through the principal streets, and, at 6 1/2 P. M., left on his return to City Point; whence he repeated his visit to Richmond two days later — this time attended by Mrs. Lincoln, by Vice-President Johnson, several U. S. Senators, &c. He was now waited on by several leading Confederates, who, seeing that their cause was hopelessly lost, were naturally anxious to make the best terms possible; and to whom, in a spirit of kindness and magnanimity that had never been shaken, he lent a favorable ear. In deference to a suggestion by some of their number, he wrote the following:
The President returned, on the day of Lee's surrender, to Washington; whence he dispatched3 to Gen. Weitzel a recall of the permission above given — the object contemplated by it having been otherwise fully attained. He had, the day before, issued two Proclamations: one of them closing, till further orders, in accordance with law, certain ports in the Rebel States whereof the blockade had been raised by their capture respectively; the other, demanding  henceforth for our National vessels in foreign ports, on penalty of retaliation, those privileges and immunities which had hitherto been denied them on the plea of according equal belligerent rights to the Republic and its internal foes. He made, next evening,4 to a vast crowd assembled before the Executive Mansion expressly to hear it, an address on Reconstruction, whereof it is only pertinent here to say that — while carefully remitting to Congress all questions connected with the representation of the revolted States in either House, and avowing his desire that a qualified Right of Suffrage be accorded to the Blacks of those States--he evinced an utter absence of resentment or bitterness toward the late Rebels, and an anxious wish that the Confederate States should be restored to all the functions of self-government and equal power in the Union at the earliest day consistent with the National integrity, tranquillity, and safety. On the following day, an order issued from the War Department, previously approved by Gen. Grant, which appeared throughout the land in the journals of next morning,5 putting a stop to all drafting and recruiting for our armies, with the purchase of arms, munitions, provisions, &c.; and it was announced that the number of our general and staff officers would be reduced, and all military restrictions on trade and commerce removed forthwith. That day was the fourth anniversary of the surrender of Fort Sumter to the Rebels by Maj. Anderson; and a large number of loyal citizens, who rejoiced the more heartily in the downfall of the Rebellion because it involved the overthrow of Slavery, had gone down to Port Royal and Charleston to raise, with fitting observances, over the ruins of the historic fortress, the identical flag which had waved over it during its first bombardment, and which had been thoughtfully preserved for this purpose. The whole country was aglow with loyal rejoicings and congratulations; and the President, after attending a meeting of his Cabinet to receive a personal report from Gen. Grant, just arrived from Appomattox, listening to the story of Lee's surrender from his son, Capt. Robert Lincoln, who, being on Grant's staff, had been an eye-witness of the scene, and giving audience to several public men — among them John P. Hale, just appointed Minister to Madrid, and Speaker Colfax, who was taking leave for an overland journey to California and Oregon--concluded to seek relaxation from his many and weighty cares by spending the evening at Ford's Theater, where Gen. Grant and he had been publicly announced as probable visitors that night, while the former had been compelled by inexorable duties to disappoint the expectation thus excited. At 8 P. M., the President and his wife, with two others, rode to the theater, and were ushered into the private box previously secured by him; where, at 10 1/2 P. M., while all were intent on the play, an actor of Baltimore birth — John Wilkes Booth by name, son of the more eminent English-born tragedian, Junius Brutus Booth — availing himself of that freedom of the house usually accorded at theaters to actors, entered at the  front door, stood for a few moments, after presenting a card to the President's messenger, in the passage-way behind the dress-circle, surveying the spectacle before him; then entered the vestibule of the President's private box, shut the door behind him, fastened it from the inside by placing a short plank (previously provided) against it, with its foot against the opposite wall, and then, holding a pistol and a dagger in either hand, stepped through the inner door into the box just behind the President, who was leaning forward with his eyes fixed on the stage, and fired his pistol, while holding it close to the back of the President's head, piercing his skull behind the left ear, and lodging the ball, after traversing the brain, just behind the right eye. Mr. Lincoln's head fell slightly forward, his eyes closed, but he uttered no word or cry; and, though life was not extinct for nine hours thereafter, he gave, thenceforth to his death in a neigh-boring house, at 7:22 next morning, no sign of intelligence; and it is probable that he never on earth knew that he had been shot, or was conscious even of suffering, much less of malice and murder. Hating and wishing ill to none, he had never comprehended the hell of demoniac passion which seethed and surged around him, and which the utter collapse of the Rebellion had only intensified; hence, he had ever treated lightly the anonymous threats which men placed as he was receive as matters of course, and had disregarded all entreaties that he should take precautions against assassination. The report of Booth's pistol startled the house, but especially the President's companions in the box; of whom, Maj. H. R. Rathbone--the only man there beside the President — turning his eyes, saw, through the sulphurous smoke, a stranger standing behind him, whom he instantly clutched; but Booth, tearing away from his grasp, and dropping his pistol, made a pass at him with the dagger, inflicting a serious wound on his left arm. Rushing now to the front of the box, theatrically flourishing his weapon, and exclaiming “ Sic semper tyrannis!” Booth put his hand on the railing in front of the box, and leaped over, alighting on a corner of the stage; but, catching with one of his spurred heels in the American flag draped across the front of the box, he fell; spraining his ankle so as to cripple his flight and afford a clue to the detectives who were soon on his trail. Recovering immediately from his fall, he faced the audience, brandished his dagger, exclaimed “The South is avenged!” and ran across the stage to and out of the back door, which he shut, and, mounting his horse — which a half-witted, stage-struck youth was there holding for him — rode off and across the Anacosta bridge out of Washington; seeking refuge in the adjacent region of southern Maryland; whose Whites, being intensely pro-Slavery, were mainly Rebel sympathizers, and were therefore counted on to conceal him and aid his escape. That President Lincoln was the victim of a conspiracy of partisans of the Rebellion is established by undeniable proof; not so the charge that the chiefs and master-spirits of the Confederacy were implicated in the crime. Booth himself was, so far as has been shown, the projector and animating soul of the monstrous  plot; which at first contemplated primarily the capture and forcible abduction of the President — a scheme which of course involved a probability, but not a certainty, of felonious bloodshed. Booth was simply one of the many badly educated, loose-living young men infesting the purlieus of our great cities, who, regarding Slavery as the chief bulwark of their own claim to birthright in a superior caste, and the Federal Constitution as established expressly and mainly to sustain and buttress Slavery, could never comprehend that any political action adverse to whatever exactions and pretensions of the Slave Power could possibly be other than unjustly aggressive and treason able. Few of this class were radically Disunionists; they sympathized with the Rebellion, not because it aimed at a division of the Republic, but because it was impelled by devotion to Slavery; and was thus hallowed, in their view, as a laudable effort, however irregular, to achieve and firmly secure the chief end of both the Constitution and the Union. There is no particle of evidence that Booth, or any of his fellow conspirators, had been in any wise offended by, or that they cherished any feeling of aversion to, the President, save as the “head center” of resistance to the Slaveholders' Rebellion. Almost at the identical moment of Booth's entry into the theater, a stranger, afterward identified as' Lewis Payne Powell, son of a Florida clergyman, but generally known to his intimates as Payne, presented him-self at the door of Secretary Seward's house on President Square, where he claimed to be charged with an errand from his physician, Dr. Verdi, to the Secretary; then confined to his bed by very serious injuries received when recently thrown from his carriage — his horses having taken fright and run away. The colored porter declined to let him go unasked up to the Secretary's sick room; but the stranger rushed by him and up stairs to the third story: making his way readily to the door of the sufferer's chamber, where lie was confronted by Gov. S.'s son Frederick, who barred his way; when he drew and presented a pistol, which snapped; where-upon he struck Frederick twice over the head with it, fracturing his skull and felling him to the floor in utter insensibility. The noise of this encounter brought from the sick room Miss Fannie Seward, the Secretary's only daughter, by whom the villain instantly rushed, and, throwing him-self on the bed, inflicted, with a bowie-knife, three heavy stabs aimed at the throat of his intended victim; who, instinctively divining the assassin's purpose, had raised himself on his left elbow, and offered all the resistance compatible with his slender frame and crippled condition — he having had his right arm broken and his lower jaw fractured when thrown from his carriage. The wounds thus inflicted on his face and neck were terrible, but, because of his resistance, not fatal; and, before a fourth blow could take effect, the assassin was grasped by an invalid soldier named Robinson, who was in attendance as a nurse; whom he savagely assaulted and wounded with his bloody weapon, but did not succeed in mastering. Gov. Seward, meanwhile, exerting his remaining strength, succeeded in rolling off the farther side of the bed; while Miss  Seward shrieked “murder” from the window and the porter ran into the street crying for help. The assassin, aware that another moment's delay must seal his doom, now broke from the soldier's grasp, and rushed to escape; meeting at the head of the first flight of stairs Maj. Augustus Seward, another son of the Secretary, whom he struck with his dagger; being next confronted, just below, by Mr. Hansell, one of the Secretary's attendants, whom he stabbed in the back; thus clearing his way to the street, where he mounted a horse he had left there, and rode rapidly off unheeded. The quiet accession to the Presidency of Vice-President Johnson--the funeral honors to the good, beloved President, so suddenly snatched away at the moment when long years of trial and disaster had at length been crowned by a fullness of triumph and gladness rarely paralleled — the slow and long dubious recovery of the stricken Secretary and his self-devoted son — the flight, pursuit, and capture of Booth, so severely wounded by his captors that he died a few hours afterward — the arraignment, trial, and conviction before a military court of Payne and several of their fellow-conspirators or accomplices — may here be hurriedly passed over, as non-essential to this history. Not so the burst of unmeasured, indignant wrath, the passionate grief, the fierce cry for vengeance, which the crime of the assassins very generally incited. Mr. Lincoln was widely known as radically, immovably averse to aught that savored of severity in dealing with the defeated insurgents. No “railing accusations,” no incitements to severity or bitterness on the part of the loyal, had ever found utterance through his lips. Inflexibly resolved that the Rebellion should be put down, he was equally determined that its upholders, having submitted to the Nation's authority, should experience to the utmost the Nation's magnanimity. Such was the palpable drift of his speech, delivered two nights prior to his death, as of all his prior inculcations. And now, the butchery of this gentle, forbearing spirit, by the hand, hardly less blundering than bloody, of a pro-Rebel assassin, incited a fierce, agonized, frantic yell for retaliation, that, for the moment, could only be braved at the cost of great personal obloquy and sacrifice; and the appearance of an official proclamation,6 signed by the new President, and counter-signed by William Hunter, as acting Secretary of State, charging that the appalling crime of Booth and his associates had been
incited, concerted, and procured by and between Jefferson Davis, late of Richmond, Va., and Jacob Thompson, Clement C. Clay, Beverly Tucker, George N. Sanders, W. C. Cleary, and other Rebels and traitors against the Government of the United States, harbored in Canada,and offering a reward of $100,000 for the arrest of Davis, and of $25,000 to $10,000 each for the other persons thus denounced, was widely hailed as justifying the suspicions already current, and rendering the Confede-rates as a body morally guilty of the murder of Mr. Lincoln, and justly liable therefor to condign punishment. Gen. Lee had only assumed to surrender the army under his immediate command; though he manifestly realized that this capitulation was  conclusive, and showed it when he said, in parting, to his soldiers, “We have gone through the War together.” lie did not overrate its decisive importance. Before returning to Sherman — whom we left at Goldsboroa, facing Johnston, who was at Smithfield, north of him, covering Raleigh — we must glance at an effective blow dealt at the scanty resources remaining to the Confederacy by Thomas's cavalry, dispatched, under Stoneman, from East Tennessee. Gen. Stoneman, after his return to Knoxville from his successful Winter expedition into south-western Virginia, was directed7 to make a fresh advance with his cavalry, south-west-ward into South Carolina, in aid of Sherman's movement through that State. Before he had started, however, Sherman had made such progress as not to need his assistance; so Grant directed him to advance almost eastward, destroying the Virginia and Tennessee railroad, so nearly to Lynchburg as might be. Moving8 eastward to Boone, N. C., he there turned northward down the valley of New river to Wytheville, Va.; whence he swept down the railroad, disabling it almost to Lynchburg; then turning nearly south, and striking the North Carolina railroad between Danville and Greensboroa; destroying some depots of supplies, and taking 400 prisoners. Evading Greensboroa, he moved thence south-westward on Salisbury — a Rebel prison-camp — which was defended9 at Grant's creek, 10 miles out, by 3,000 Rebels under Gen. W. M. Gardiner, with 14 guns directed by Col. (formerly Lt.-General) Pemberton. This force was charged by our cavalry, and instantly routed: all its guns being taken, with 1,364 prisoners. The remainder were chased several miles until utterly dispersed. Vast magazines of ammunition and depots of provisions, clothing, medicines, &c., were found in Salisbury and destroyed, with 10,000 small arms, 4 cotton factories, 7,000 bales of cotton, the railroads, &c., &c. After spending two days in this work, Stoneman returned thence by Slatersville, N. C., to Jonesboroa,10 East Tennessee; in defiance of Sherman's urgent orders to remain in North Carolina, and afford him that aid which his weakness in cavalry required. Sherman remained quiescent at Goldsboroa, reclothing and refitting his army, until electrified11 by the news of Grant's successes at Five Forks, with the resulting captures of Petersburg and Richmond. He now impelled a determined advance12 against Johnston, who, with 40,000 men, still lay at Smithfield; which was entered, at 10 A. M. next day, by our 14th corps, supported by the 20th: Johnston, burning the bridge over the Neuse, retreating on Raleigh without a struggle; and, having the use of the railroad, which he destroyed behind him, was thus able to keep out of the way. But the news of Lee's surrender, here received, caused Sherman to drop his trains, and push on through Raleigh13 in a heavy rain; his right wing following Johnston's line of retreat by Hillsboroa toward Greensboroa, while his left took a more southerly route by Pittsboroa and Ashboroa, in anticipation of Johnston's following the railroad  south-westward from Greensborough to Salisbury; and all were pressing keenly forward, intent on a battle or a capitulation by the enemy, when he received from his outposts the following overture:
The prompt response was as follows:
Our forces were now halted; but no response from Johnston was received next day; though Maj. McCoy, of Sherman's staff, remained with Kilpatrick in the advance to receive one. Gen. Sherman had already written to the War Department, on the receipt of Johnston's overture:
I send copies of a correspondence begun with Gen. Johnston, which I think will be followed by terms of capitulation. I will accept the same terms as Gen. Grant gave Gen. Lee, and be careful not to complicate any points of civil policy.Late on the 16th, Gen. Sherman received, through Kilpatrick, a message from Wade Hampton, stating that Johnston desired a meeting at 10 A. M. next day at Durham's station; which was promptly accorded; Sherman only changing the time to 12 M. The meeting took place accordingly; and was adjourned over to next day — Johnston requiring and urging conditions of general pacification which Sherman felt that he had no power to guarantee. Finally, however, at the second meeting, his scruples were overcome; and lie was persuaded to sign the following
Gen. Sherman had already received14 with horror the tidings of President Lincoln's assassination; but he had not adequately realized the effect of that atrocious deed on the temper and spirit of the loyal millions and their rulers. This statement is made in explanation simply. He had seen Gen. Weitzel's permission to the Rebel Legislature of Virginia to reassemble at Richmond; he was not aware that President Lincoln's authorization of it had been recalled and the permission annulled. And he — neither cherishing nor affecting decided anti-Slavery convictions — unquestionably believed and felt that his arrangement with Johnston was one that ought to be, and probably would be, accepted at Washington; whither he immediately dispatched it by Maj. Hitchcock, of his staff. He had very gravely miscalculated. There were many in the North who had deemed Grant quite too generous in fixing the terms of Lee's capitulation; but their hesitating utterances had been drowned in the general burst of gladness and thanks-giving over the virtual collapse of the Rebellion. That other Rebel chiefs — now that their ablest commander and most formidable army had surrendered — should exact and secure better terms than were accorded to Lee, was not imagined, even prior to Lincoln's assassination: after that hideous crime, the bare suggestion of such concession seemed intolerable. Hence, when his agreement reached15 Washington, it was — in strict accordance with the views and feelings of the great body of those who had heartily sustained the Government through the War — rejected by the new President and his Cabinet, with the hearty concurrence of Gen. Grant, for reasons unofficially, but by authority, set forth as follows:
1st. It was an exercise of authority not vested in Gen. Sherman, and, on its face, shows that both he and Johnston knew that Gen. Sherman had no authority to enter into any such arrangements. 2d. It was a practical acknowledgment of the Rebel Government.  3d. It undertook to reestablish Rebel State governments that had been over-thrown at the sacrifice of many thousand loyal lives and immense treasure, and placed arms and munitions of war in the hands of Rebels at their respective capitals, which might be used, so soon as the armies of the United States were disbanded, and used to conquer and subdue loyal States. 4th. By the restoration of Rebel authority in their respective States, they would be enabled to reestablish Slavery. 5th. It might furnish a ground of responsibility on the part of the Federal Government to pay the Rebel debt, and certainly subjects loyal citizens of Rebel States to debts contracted by Rebels in the name of the State. 6th. It puts in dispute the existence of loyal State governments, and the new State of West Virginia, which had been recognized by every department of the United States Government. 7th. It practically abolished confiscation laws, and relieved Rebels of every degree, who had slaughtered our people, from all pains and penalties for their crimes. 8th. It gave terms that had been deliberately, repeatedly, and solemnly, rejected by President Lincoln, and better terms than the Rebels had ever asked in their most prosperous condition. 9th. It formed no basis of true and lasting peace, but relieved Rebels from the presence of our victorious armies, and left them in a condition to renew their efforts to over-throw the United States Government and subdue the loyal States whenever their strength was recruited and any opportunity should offer.Gen. Grant was sent post-haste to Raleigh to announce the rejection of the Sherman-Johnston programme, and to direct an immediate and general resumption of hostilities. On reaching Morehead City,16 he dispatched the decision of the Government to Sherman at Raleigh, who instantly transmitted its purport to Johnston, adding a notification that the truce would close 48 hours after the receipt hereof at the Rebel lines, with a demand that Johnston's army be forthwith surrendered on the identical terms accorded by Grant to Lee. He at once directed his subordinate commanders to be ready to resume the offensive at noon on the 26th. Grant reached Raleigh on the 25th; when another invitation to a conference was received from Johnston by Sherman, who referred it to his superior. Grant declined to relieve Sherman from command, as he was authorized to do; and urged him to meet Johnston as requested; so the 26th was appointed for their third and final interview; at which Johnston's army was surrendered on the terms already accorded to Lee's. The agreement was signed by Sherman and Johnston, but indorsed,
Approved: U. S. Grant, Lieut.-General :and thus passed out of existence the second army of the Confederacy. The surrender to Gen. Canby of Gen. Taylor's Rebel forces in Alabama was effected at Citronelle, May 4, as the result of negotiations commenced April 19. More words were used; but the terms were essentially the same as had been accorded to Lee and Johnston, with this addition:
Transportation and subsistence to be furnished at public cost for the officers and men, after surrender, to the nearest practicable point to their homes.Com. Farrand, at the same time and on the same terms, surrendered to Rear-Admiral Thatcher the twelve Rebel gunboats blockaded in the Tombigbee river, with 20 officers and 110 others. Mr. Jefferson Davis, with his staff and civilian associates, having journeyed by rail from Richmond to Danville,17 he there halted, and set up his Government; issuing18 thence a stirring proclamation, designed to inspirit  the Confederates to a determined prosecution of the contest; saying:
He waited there several days, in anxious expectation of the approach of Lee, or at least of tidings that he was still confronting and baffling the Union forces; until astounded19 by advices of his surrender at Appomattox. The Confederacy thereupon took to wheels again — there being no acceptable alternative — and retreated by rail to Greensboroa, N. C., where another considerable halt was made — the days and nights spent mainly in the cars by President, Cabinet, and followers; since very few of the citizens saw fit to throw open their houses — when the imminence of Johnston's surrender compelled another flitting20 this time in wagons and on horseback: the railroad having been disabled by Stoneman — via Salisbury to Charlotte, N. C., where its foundering ark again rested for a few days; and where, unlike their fare at Greensboroa, the falling President and his Cabinet were received with consideration and hospitality-until, alarmed by the reported approach of Stoneman's cavalry, it resumed its flittings southward, via Yorkville and Abbeville, S. C.; being now compelled to take entirely to horse, and escorted by 2,000 cavalry, who, as well as the Presidential cortege, gradually dwindled by the way: thus reaching21 Washington, Ga., where the rapidly dissolving view of a Government was dispensed with-most of the Cabinet itself having by this time abandoned the sinking craft, leaving Davis attended by Reagan (late Postmaster-General, now acting Secretary of the Treasury) and his military staff; and the remaining fugitives, with a small but select escort of mounted men, took their way southward: perhaps intent on joining Dick Taylor or Kirby Smith, should either or both be still belligerent, or, at the worst, hoping to make their way to some petty port on the coast, and thence out of the country. Mr. Davis had even separated, for greater safety, from his family; but, on an alarm of peril to which they were said to be exposed from a conspiracy to rob them of the gold they were supposed to be carrying off, had rejoined them over night; when his sylvan encampment near Irwinsville,  Ga., was struck 22 by Lt.-Col. Pritchard, 4th Michigan cavalry, who, upon advices that what remained of the Rebellion was making its way furtively southward through Georgia, had been dispatched23 by Gen. Wilson from Macon in quest of him; as had also the 1st Wisconsin cavalry, Lt.-Col. Harden. These two commands, moving by different roads down the Ocmulgee, Pritchard at length struck the trail he was seeking, and followed it to the encampment aforesaid; which he surprised at early dawn; easily taking captive24 Mr. Davis, his wife, her sister, and his children; but being, directly there-after, involved in a fight with the 1st Wisconsin, which was closing in on the quarry from another quarter, and — each taking the other for enemies — the two commands opened a reciprocal fire, whereby two men were killed and several wounded before the mutual mistake was discovered. The dead were borne sadly to Abbeville, and there buried; the wounded, with the prisoners, were conveyed to Macon,25 whence Davis was taken, via Savannah and the ocean, to Fortress Monroe; where he was long closely and rigorously imprisoned, while his family were returned by water to Savannah and there set at liberty. Secretary Reagan--the only person of consequence captured with Davis — was taken to Boston, and confined, with Vice-President Stephens (captured about this time also in Georgia), in Fort Warren; but each was liberated on parole a few months thereafter. The following general order seemed for a time to menace a protracted, though not doubtful, struggle in Texas:
At a public meeting held at Shreveport on the receipt of news of President Lincoln's assassination, there were military men found base or mad enough to exult over that atrocity. Their countrymen of all parties will gladly forget their names. The last actual collision26 of forces in our struggle occurred27 on the Rio Grande. Col. Barrett had set forth28 from Brazos Santiago to surprise a Rebel camp at Palmetto Ranche, some 15 miles above, and had succeeded in taking and burning the camp; but, lingering to secure horses, he was overtaken on his return by Gen. J. E. Slaughter, with 3 guns and a considerable force, and hunted back to Brazos with a loss of 80, mainly captured. Slaughter's loss was trifling. Gen. Sheridan had been sent to New Orleans, and was there fitting out a formidable expedition for the recovery  of Texas, when the good sense of the Rebel rank and file in that State saved her from a hopeless and damaging experience of the horrors of war. While the chiefs were still making preparations for a desperate resistance, their hitherto submissive followers bluntly refused to be thus foolishly sacrificed, and, dissolving their organizations, they helped themselves to whatever they could seize of the effects of the death-stricken Confederacy, and dispersed to their several homes; leaving their officers no choice but to make the best attainable terms. Before Sheridan had started, therefore, certain of Smith's staff officers, headed by Lt.-Gen. S. B. Buckner, made their way down to Baton Rouge, and there concluded29 with Gen. Osterhaus, acting for Gen. Canby, a capitulation substantially identical with that accorded by Canby to Dick Taylor; the stipulation for “transportation and subsistence” inclusive. This requirement involved the Government in very moderate expense. The great body of the “soldiers of the trans-Mississippi Army” had already appropriated all the “subsistence and transportation” they could lay their hands on, and gone their several ways — profoundly convinced that rebellion, with overt war against the authority and integrity of the Union, was not a paying business, and determined to devote their time and talents henceforth to something more profitable. Ere this surrender, the removal30 by Presidential proclamation of restrictions on commercial intercourse with the revolted States, the release31 on parole of all prisoners of war below the rank of Colonel who would take the oath of allegiance, and the mustering for review at Washington32 of the two main armies of the Republic, gave earnest of the virtual termination of hostilities; which was soon afterward formally announced in the following General Order:
The wholesale discharge of Rebel prisoners of war — to whom was accorded transportation to their respective homes — was directed by an order from the Adjutant-General's office, dated May 6th. The number actually  ally released; after the close of hostilities, was 63,442; while the number surrendered and paroled in the several Rebel armies was 174,223. Among these were many regiments mustering from 11 up to 65 men; 10 regiments consolidated that mustered but 238; 8 regiments of Texans reduced from 10,000 to 456 in all; one regiment having 40 left, out of its original 1,200. It is doubtful that all the effective Rebels in arms on the morning of Lee's surrender were equal to 100 full veteran regiments of 1,000 men each ; while the Union muster-rolls had shown, on the 1st of March, an aggregate force of 965,591 men; whereof 602,593 were “present for duty,” beside 132,538 “on detached service” --that fatal subtraction from the efficiency of armies. Of tile residue, no less than 179,047 were either in hospitals or absent on sick leave; 31,695 were either on furlough or prisoners of war, and 19,683 absent “without leave.” By August 7, no less than 640,806 had been mustered out of service: and this aggregate was increased by Oct. 15 to 785,205. Thus rapidly, as well as peacefully and joyously, were the mightiest hosts ever called to the field by a republic restored to the tranquil paths of industry and thrift, melting back by regiments into quiet citizenship, with nothing to distinguish them from others but the proud consciousness of having served and saved their country.