better keep the roads (of which I am told there are several) most to the left, but don't cross the Manassas Railroad, for in that case you would run into General Slocum's columns. The distance to Alexandria by your road from Richmond is 125 miles. Take ten full days and lay by one or two days to breathe and clean up. In any event don't rush your men, but let them arrive at Alexandria fresh and compact. I believe you will be more at ease on the road than lying idle in camps about Alexandria. There is no reason or necessity for haste. I suppose you will have sent one corps by Mechanicsville, and will bring the other by this road, which seems to be considered the main Fredericksburg and Alexandria road. I wanted to see you before starting, after sending Howard's orders, but had no chance, as I had appointed to ride at the head of the whole army, and I did want to leave Richmond to my rear.
The manner of your welcome was a part of a grand game to insult us--us who had marched 1,000 miles through a hostile country in mid-winter to help them. We did help them, and what has been our reward? Your men were denied admission to the city, when Halleck had invited all citizens (rebels, of course) to come and go without passes. If the American people sanction this kind of courtesy to old and tried troops, where is the honor, satisfaction, and glory of serving them in constancy and faith? If such be the welcome the East gives to the West, we can but let them make war and fight it out themselves. I know where is a land and people that will not treat us thus--the West, the Valley of the Mississippi, the heart and soul and future strength of America, and I for one will go there. I am not much of a talker, but if ever my tongue is loosed and free I think I can and will say some things that will make an impression resembling a bombshell of the largest pattern. Chew the cud of "bitter fancy" as you ride along, and when events draw to a conclusion we can step in the ring. Men who are now fierce and who would have the Army of the Potomac violate my truce and attack our enemy, discomfited, disheartened, and surrounded, will sooner or later find foes, face to face, of different metal. Though my voice is still peace, I am not for such a peace as makes me subject to insult by former friends, now perfidious enemies.
With respect, your friend,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HDQRS. FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Numbers 119.
Manchester, Va., May 12, 1865.
I. The movement north from Richmond will commence to-morrow morning (the 13th instant). Brevet Major-General Corse, commanding Fourth Division, will break camp at 6 a. m., cross the pontoon over the James, pass through Richmond and as far in the direction of Hanover Court-House as advisable without tiring the troops. The Second Division will follow the Fourth Division. The First Division will follow the Second Division with a strong regiment as rear guard for the corps. The troops will be moved without wagons and with but one ambulance to a regiment behind each brigade. Each division will have its advance and rear guard. The troops will not be permitted to leave the column, and the divisions must be closed up. The drum corps of each regiment massed at the head of brigade. The trains of the corps will break park at an early hour to-morrow morning and proceed