Abraham Lincoln, Volume II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume II.
a fitting object for insolence at this season of his fresh military triumphs, soon afterward showed his resentment; at the grand parade of his army, in Washington, he conspicuously declined, in the presence of the President and the notabilities of the land, to shake the hand which Secretary Stanton did not hesitate then and there to extend to him,—­for Stanton had that peculiar and unusual form of meanness which endeavors to force a civility after an insult.  But however General Sherman might feel about it, his capitulation had been revoked, and another conference became necessary between the two generals, which was followed a little later by still another between Generals Schofield and Johnston.  At these meetings the terms which had been established between Generals Grant and Lee were substantially repeated, and by this “military convention” the war came to a formal end on April 26, 1865.

By this course of events General Sherman was, of course, placed in a very uncomfortable position, and he defended himself by alleging that the terms which he had made were in accurate conformity with the opinions, wishes, and programme expressed by Mr. Lincoln on March 28.  He reiterates this assertion strongly and distinctly in his “Memoirs,” and quotes in emphatic corroboration Admiral Porter’s account of that interview.[62] The only other witness who could be heard on this point was General Grant; he never gave his recollection of the expressions of President Lincoln concerning the matters in dispute; but on April 21 he did write to General Sherman that, after having carefully read the terms accorded to Johnston he felt satisfied that they “could not possibly be approved."[63] He did not, however, say whether or not they seemed to him to contravene the policy of the President, as he had heard or understood that policy to be laid down in the famous interview.  In the obscurity which wraps this matter, individual opinions find ample room to wander; it is easy to believe that what General Sherman undertook to arrange was in reasonable accordance with the broad purposes of the President; but it certainly is not easy to believe that the President ever intended that so many, so momentous, and such complex affairs should be conclusively disposed of, with all the honorable sacredness attendant upon military capitulations, by a few hasty strokes of General Sherman’s pen.  The comprehensiveness of this brief and sudden document of surrender was appalling!  Mr. Lincoln had never before shown any inclination to depute to others so much of his own discretionary authority; his habit was quite the other way.

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Abraham Lincoln, Volume II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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