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Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston stood bareheaded at the February funeral of General Sherman in New York. A concerned bystander leaned forward. “General, please put on your hat; you might get sick.”. Reluctantly, Johnston replied, “If I were in his place, and he were standing here in mine, he would not put on his hat.” Ten days later, Joseph Eggleston Johnston joined his adversary and friend.

Joseph E. Johnson [i.e., Johnston] / engraved & published by William Sartain, 728 Sansom St., Philada. In an example of the civil relationships between former wartime opponents, Johnston died of a cold caught while attending the funeral of his opponent, Sherman. from the Library of Congress collection

When Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox it was a military surrender -i.e.; it involved only the disposition of troops. Johnston wanted “to arrange the terms of a permanent peace,” which would in his opinion include political as well as military terms. While Johnston recognized that continuing militarily was – in his considered judgement – impossible, he wanted political guarantees which would restore the rights and privileges of the people of the South. To achieve this he offered to surrender all Confederate troops in the field immediately.

Sherman was willing to compromise because he saw the real possibility that Johnston might fail to surrender if acceptable terms were not offered and while the Southern armies were in no condition to launch a major offensive he did not want them free to engage in  raiding and guerilla activities so he agreed to consider an armistice based on political as well as military conditions. After the surrender, Sherman issued ten days’ rations to the starving Confederate soldiers – more precisely he returned Southern food to Southern mouths – as well as horses and mules for them to “insure a crop.” He also ordered distribution of corn, meal, and flour to civilians throughout the South.

This was an act of generosity that Johnston would not forget and the idea that the people were to be restored to their political rights and franchises as well as their rights of person and property with a promise of general amnesty might have seen peace. In Washington Lincoln had been assassinated and under Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton cabinet rejected the terms  and orders issued to resume hostilities immediately.  Grant was dispatched to Raleigh to take charge and arrived on the 24th of April however instead of countermanding Sherman he only instructed him to negotiate  terms similar to those granted Lee at Appomattox. The final agreement was simply a military surrender with no civil guarantees. All acts of war were to cease. Arms were to be turned over to the union forces. Side arms, private horses, and baggage were to be retained by officers. All officers and men were required to promise individually in writing not to take up arms again.

The radical republicans had won the day and the second civil may date its start from the 26th of April 1865. There would be no real peace then – just a military occupation and colonization of the South – and although the military occupation has largely ended the colonization continues. Bradley has done a fine job of covering the events of April 1865 but we hope he gets to chronicle the ultimate triumph of state’s rights.


The military surrender of Genl. Joe Johnston near Greensboro N.C., 26th of April 1865, the peace imposed by Washington had been stripped of all terms relating to civilians and their rights, was no peace at all and helped set the stage for the next century and one half of a faltering truce.

This astounding close : the road to Bennett Place    Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c 2000 Mark L. Bradley North Carolina History Civil War, 1861-1865 Campaigns Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xix, 404 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [361]-388) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Even after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, the Civil War continued to be fought, and surrenders negotiated, on different fronts. The most notable of these occurred at Bennett Place, near Durham, North Carolina, when Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered the Army of Tennessee to Union General William T. Sherman. In this first full-length examination of the end of the war in North Carolina, Mark Bradley traces the campaign leading up to Bennett Place.

Alternating between Union and Confederate points of view and drawing on his readings of primary sources, including numerous eyewitness accounts and the final muster rolls of the Army of Tennessee, Bradley depicts the action as it was experienced by the troops and the civilians in their path. He offers new information about the morale of the Army of Tennessee during its final confrontation with Sherman’s much larger Union army. And he advances a fresh interpretation of Sherman’s and Johnston’s roles in the final negotiations for the surrender.

This photograph is of Sherman in Atlanta, September-November, 1864. After three and a half months of incessant maneuvering and much hard fighting, Sherman forced Hood to abandon the munitions center of the Confederacy. Sherman remained there, resting his war-worn men and looting supplies, for nearly two and a half months. During the occupation, George N. Barnard, official photographer of the Chief Engineer’s Office, made a record of the occupation; but much of what he photographed was destroyed in the fire that spread from the military facilities blown up at Sherman’s command on November 15 which destroyed most of Atlanta.


Johnston’s Farewell Order
General Order No. 22
April 1865

“Comrades: In terminating our official relations, I earnestly exhort you to observe faithfully the terms of pacification agreed upon and discharge the obligations of good and peaceful citizens, as well as you have performed the duties of thorough soldiers in the field. By such a course, you will best secure the comfort of your families and kindred and restore tranquility to our country. You will return to your homes with the admiration of our people, won by the courage and noble devotion you have displayed in this long war. I shall always remember with pride the loyal support and generous confidence you have given me. I now part with you with deep regret – and bid you farewell with feelings of cordial friendship and with earnest wishes that you may have hereafter all the prosperity and happiness to be found in the world.”


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