HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE JAMES,
Richmond, Va., June 7, 1865.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have just received the Army and Navy Gazette of May 30, containing an official publication of Major-General Sherman's letters of May 9 and 26, with other papers on the same subject, parts of which had been previously published in the newspapers. In these letters my offical conduct which are incoreect and entirely unjustified by the facts of the case.
First. He charges that I encroached upon his military command by directing a portion of my troops to march upon Greensborough in North Carolina. By direction of the President, I was on the 19th of April last assigned to the "command of the Military Division of the James, which included such parts of North Carolina as was not occupied by the command of Major-General Sherman. " At the time my troops were ordered to Greensborough General Sherman's troops did not occupy that part of North Carolina. It was occupied by the enemy, and consequently within my command, as defined by General Orders, Numbers 71, of the War Department. But whether or not Greensborough, or any part of North Carolina, was in my command, General Sherman's remarks are equally without justification. On the 22nd of April Lieutenant-General Grant notified me that Sherman's arrangements had been disapproved and orders given to resume hostilities and directed me to move my troops on Danville and Greensborough, precisely as I did move them, there to await his further orders. My instuctions to Generals Meade, Sheridan, and Wright were just such instructions as General Grant had directed me to give. The offense, or whatever he may please to call it, if any there was, of marching my troops within territory claimed by General Sherman, was not mine, but General Grant's, and all the which he has directed upon me for that act must fall upon the general-in-chief.
Second. General Sherman charges that by marching my troops into North Carolina I violated his truce, which he was bound to enforce even at the cost of many lives by a collision of our respective armies. General Sherman had never sent me his truce. I had never seen it and did not know its terms or conditions. I only knew that his truce or "arrangement", whatever it was, had been dispproved and set aside by the Presidnet, and General Grant, in ordering the movememt of my troops, simply norified me of this fact and of the renewal of hostilities. Even if Sherman's truce had been binding on me, which if was not, I had no knowledge of the clause relating to forty-eight hours' notice. It is strange that he should seek to bind me by conditions of the existence of which I was igonorant, and* he head taken no measures to inform me. But even had I know them I could not have acted otherwise than I did. I simply carried out the orders of my suprior officer, who had seen the truce and knew its terms. If General Sherman was, under the circumstances, justified in stopping the movements of my troops, even by destrovying the commands of General Sheridan and General Wright, the responsibility of this sacrifice of human life must have rested either upon General Sherman or upon General Grant, for I simply obeyed the orders of the latter in regard to these movements.
*In another copy the words "of which" occur here.