War of the Rebellion: Serial 103 Page 0367 WILSON'S RAID - ALABAMA AND GEORGIA.

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authority after full investigation of the case. I was permitted to send to General Sherman by telegraph a dispatch in the following terms:


Macon, Ga., April 20, 1865-9 p.m.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN:

(Through headquarters of General Beauregard, Greensborough, N. C.)

My advance received the surrender of this city this evening. General Cobb had previously sent me under a flag of truce a copy of a telegram from General Beauregard declaring the existence of an armistice between all the troops under your command and those under General Johnston. Without questioning the authenticity of this dispatch or its application to my command, I could not communicate orders to my advance in time to prevent the capture of the place. i shall therefore hold its garrison, including Major-Generals G. W. Smith and Cobb and Brigadier-General Mackall, prisoners of war. Please send me orders. I shall remain here a reasonable length of time to hear from you.

Fearing that it might be tampered with by the rebel telegraph operators, I had it put in cipher, in which shape I have reason to believe it reached its destination. The original was materially changed. I have seen in the newspapers what purported to be the reply of General Sherman, directing me to withdraw from the city and release my prisoners. No such dispatch ever reached me, and had it done so in the most unquestionable form I should have obeyed it with great reluctance, and not until I had received every possible assurance that the case had been fully understood. At 6 p.m. of the 21st I received the following dispatch from General Sherman, and through not in reply to mine, I regarded it as convincing proof that an armistice had actually been agreed upon:


Greensborough, N. C., April 21, 1865-2 p.m.

Major-General WILSON,

Commanding Cavalry, Army of the United States:

(Through Major-General Cobb.)

The following is a copy of a communication just received, which will be sent you to-day by an officer:


"Raleigh, April 20, 1865.

"Major-General WILSON,

"Commanding Cavalry, U. S. Army, in Georgia:

"General Joseph E. Johnston has agreed with me for a universal suspension of hostilities looking to a peace over the whole surface of our country. I feel assured that it will be made perfect in a few days. You will therefore desist from further acts of war and devastation until you hear that hostilities are resumed. For the convenience of supplying your command you may either contract for supplies down about Fort Valley or the old Chattahoochee Arsenal, or if you are south of West Point, Ga., in the neighborhood of Rome and Kingston, opening up communication and a route of supplies with Chattanooga and Cleveland. Report to me your position through General Johnston, as also round by sea. You may also advise General Canby of your position and the substance of this, which I have also sent round by sea.


"Major-General, Commanding."

Please communicate above to the Federal commander.


I therefore issued the necessary orders to carry it into effect, and determined to suspend operations till I received orders to renew them, or till circumstances apparent to me should seem to justify independent action. General Cobb gave me every assistance in his power in the collection of supplies for my command. He directed his quartermasters and commissaries throughout the State, especially in Southwester