Sunday, December 29, 2013

Major General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, April 28, 1865

IN THE FIELD, RALEIGH, April 28, 1865.

The capitulation of Johnston's army at Greensboro completes my Campaign. I leave Schofield to do the work, and have ordered the 15th and 17th, 14th and 20th corps to march to Richmond. I will go to-night to Wilmington and Charleston and Savannah to make some orders and instructions, when I will go by sea to Richmond to meet my Army. Thence it will march to Alexandria (and Washington) where I will move my headquarters to, in anticipation of mustering out the Army. It may be that while the Army is on the march from Richmond to Alexandria I can run out to Lancaster to see you all. This will be about the 15th and 20th of May, and if I could take all the family to Alexandria to witness the final scenes attending Sherman's Army it would be a [prize] in the memory to our children that would somewhat compensate for the expense and loss of time. I may be a little ahead, but think that the present volunteer army must be mustered out and a new regular army made, and the quicker the better before new complications arise.

The mass of the people south will never trouble us again. They have suffered terrifically, and I now feel disposed to befriend them — of course not the leaders and lawyers, but the armies who have fought and manifested their sincerity though misled by risking their persons. But the rascals who by falsehood and misrepresentation kept up the war, they are infamous. It will be difficult for anyone to tread a straight path amid these new complications, but I will do my best.

I perceive the politicians are determined to drive the confederates into guerilla bands, a thing more to be feared than open organized war. They may fight it out. I won't. We could settle the war in three weeks by giving shape to the present disordered elements, but they may play out their game.

SOURCES: M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 349-50.  A full copy of this letter can be found in the William T Sherman Family papers (SHR), University of Notre Dame Archives (UNDA), Notre Dame, IN 46556, Folder CSHR 2/23 

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