rascals who would try to sow differences between us, whereas you and I now are in perfect understanding. I would rather have you in command than anybody else, for you are fair, honest, and have at heart the same purpose that should animate all. I should emphatically decline any commission calculated to bring us into rivalry, and I aks you to advise all your friends in Congress to this effect, especially Mr. Washburne. I doubt if men in Congress fully realize that you and I are honest in our professions of want of ambition. I know I feel none, and to-day will gladly surrender my position and influence to any other who is better able it wield the power. The flurry attending my recent success will soon blow over, and give place to new developments.
I inclose a letter of general instructions to General Thomas,* which I beg you to revise and indorse or modify.
I am, truly, yours,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Savannah, January 21, 1865.
Admiral D. D. PORTER,
DEAR ADMIRAL: I wrote you yesterday by Captain Ammen, and have this moment received a package, giving me very full reports from General Palmer of matters in North Carolina, which I am very glad to have received.
The weather has been villainous, and all the country is under water, and retards me much. It may be some days yet before I can cast off, as the roads are under water, and my men are not exactly amphibious yet, nor the mules either. I shall spare no efforts to be off, and the foul weather of January may be a guarantee for better in February and March. In the present attitude of things I would not deem it wise to push your gun-boats up to Wilmington, unless it could be done quick, for they will surely remove everything of value. You already have all that is of any value to you. As to the town, the land forces should watch it close, and slip in when it is discovered that I am approaching. I have been much embarrassed by the want of shoal-water craft, five or six feet draft, and would ask to borrow some of you, but suppose all of yours are deep-sea craft, but if you have any short and shallow boats to spare for a few days it would help me much, both in broad River and the Savannah. The deep boats get aground all the time, and the long ones cannot make the bends. You know, of course, that I am going to load up finally at Pocotaligo and Sister's Ferry, on the Savannah. I have turned over everything to General foster and General Grover, the latter commands the city and former the department, made to extend up the coast to the Chesapeake. It would be well if the Navy Department would unite yours and Dahlgren's jurisdiction, or shove the line of demarkation.
The admiral here is very kind, indeed, and does for me everything possible.
The best part of the taking of Fort fisher was the killing of Butler. He has no blood on his skirts, and, judging from the past, it will be long before his blood stains anything. His solicitude for the blood of
*See Vol. XLV, Part II, p. 621.