in deep error. Stoneman was not at Salisbury then, but had gone back to Statesville. Davis was supposed to be between us, and therefore Stoneman was beyond him. By turning toward me he was approaching Davis, and had he joined me as ordered I would have had a mounted force, greatly needed for that and other purposes. But even now, I don't know that Mr. Stanton wants Davis caught, and as my official papers, deemed sacred, are hastily published to the world, it will be imprudent for me to state what has been done in that respect. As the editor of the Times has (it may be) logically and fairly drawn from this singular document the conclusion that I am insubordinate, I can only deny the intention. I have never in my life questioned or disobeyed an order, though many and many a time have I risked my life, my health, and reputation in obeying orders, or even hints, to execute plans and purposes not to my liking. It is not fair to withhold from me plans and policy, if any there be, and expect me to guess at them, for facts and events appear quite different from different stand-points. For four years I have been in camp dealing with soldiers, and I can assure you that the conclusion at which the cabinet arrived, with such singular unanimity, differs from mine. I conferred freely with the best officers in this army as to the points involved in this controversy, and strange to say they were singularly unanimous in the other conclusion, and they will learn with pain and amazement that I am deemed insubordinate and wanting in common sense; that I, who, in the complications of last year, worked day and night, summer, and winter, for the cause and the Administration, and who have brought an army of 70,000 men in magnificent condition across a country deemed impassable, and placed it just where it was wanted almost on the day appointed, have brought discredit on our Government. I do not wish to boast of this, but I do say that it entitled me to the courtesy of being consulted before publishing to the world a proposition rightfully submitted to higher authority for proper adjudication, and then accompanied by other statements which invited the press to be let loose upon me. It is true that non-combatants, men who sleep in comfort and security whilst we watch on the distant lines, are beter able to judge than we poor soldiers, who rarely see a news-paper, hardly can hear from our families, or stop long enough to get our pay. I envy not the task of reconstruction, and am delighted that the Secretary has relieved me of it. As you did not undertake to assume the management of the affairs of this army, I infer that on personal inspection your mind arrived at a different conclusion from that of the Secretary of War. I will therefore go on and execute your orders to their conclusion, and when done, will with intense satisfaction leave to the civil authorities the execution of the task of which they seem to me so jealous. But as an honest man and soldier, I invite them to follow my path, for they may see some things and hear some things that may disturb their philosophy.
With sincere respect,
W. T. SHERMAN,
P. S. -As Mr. Stanton's singular paper has been published I demand that this also be made public, though I am in no manner responsible to the press, but to the law and my proper superiors.
W. T. SHERMAN,