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April 14, 1865 ... Good Friday, April 14, 1865, ... Shortly after 10:00 P.M., in the presidential box at Ford's Theater, President Abraham Lincoln was shot by actor John Wilkes Booth. ... General Grant had turned down an invitation to attend, pleading he had to visit his children. It was known there was "chilliness" between Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Grant. At the theater ... a pistol shot was heard ... A bullet had gone through the back of the head and lodged near the right eye.... Sec. of War Stanton took charge of the pursuit of Booth and his accomplices as the telegraph wires hummed the awesome news to the nation. General Grant was at Baltimore when informed of the tragedy and he immediately returned to Washington. ...
April 15, 1865 ... At 7:22 A.M., President Abraham Lincoln died. ... The Cabinet, except for the injured Seward, formally requested Vice-President Andrew Johnson to assume the office of President. At 11:00 A.M. at the Kirkwood Hotel, Chief Justice, Salmon Chase administered the oath in the presence of the Cabinet and congressman.
April 17, 1865 Generals William T. Sherman and Joseph E. Johnston met at the Bennett House near Durham N.C. A short time before, Sherman had received news of the assassination of the President. Johnston told Sherman it was a great calamity to the South. In their talks the two generals went further than just surrendering Johnstons army. They discussed the terms of an armistice for all the remaining Confederate armies. Sherman later disclaimed going beyond negotiations over Johnston's army but admitted: "it did seem to me that there was presented a chance for peace that might deem valuable to the Government of the United States and was at least worth the few days that would be consumed in reference." They agreed to meet the next day.
April 18, 1865 After more talk at Durham N.C., Sherman and Johnston signed "Memorandum or basis of agreement." The highly controversial document call for an armistice by all armies in the field. Confederate forces were to be disbanded and to deposit their arms in the state arsenals. Each man was to agree to cease from war and agree by state and federal authority. The President of the United States was to recognize the existing state governments when their officials took oaths to the United States. Reestablishment of Federal courts would take place. People were to be guaranteed rights of person and property. The United states would not disturb the people of the South as long as they lived in peace. And general amnesty for Confederates.
The generals recognized that they were not fully empowered to carry out such far-reaching measures and that the necessary authority must be obtained. It was clear Sherman went far beyond Grant at Appomattox. He was actually entering into reconstruction policy. He sent the terms to Grant and Halleck, asking approval by the President. Sherman also offered to take charge of carrying out these terms. Later he was to deny any ursupation of power on his part and to claim the agreement was according to Mr. Lincoln's wishes as Sherman knew them.
President Davis [of the Confederacy] and his disconsolate party slowly moved southward to Concord N.C. ...
April 24, 1865 General Grant reached Sherman's headquarters in Raleigh and brought with him the news that President Johnson had disapproved Shermans agreement with Johnston. Sherman was ordered to give forty--eight hours notice and then resume hostilities if there was no surrender. Sherman was incensed both by the disapproval and the large amount of material on the subject in the New York papers including the dispatch of March 3, 1865 from Lincoln to Grant stating the generals should accept nothing but surrender and should not negotiate peace. Sherman said he never received the message. The fiery general soon raged against Stanton and Halleck, claiming he had not gone beyond Lincoln's wishes. While historians differ, it does seem that Sherman had gone beyond military obligations, and that he did try to make a peace agreement.
Grant was now under orders to direct military movements and left Sherman to carry them out. General Johnston was ordered to suspend the truce at once. President Davis approved Johnston's agreement with Sherman, not knowing it had been rejected by the Union. ...
April 26, 1865 ... At the Bennett House near Durham, General William T Sherman met again with General Joseph E Johnston in midafternoon. Final terms of capitulation for troops of Johnston's command were signed following the formula set by Grant at Appomattox. The same day the terms were approved by Grant.
All arms and public property were to be deposited by Confederates at Greensborough. Troops were to give their parole and pledge not to take up arms until released from this obligation. Side arms of officers and their private horses and baggage could be retained. All officers and men were permitted to return to their homes. Field transportation was to be loaned to the troops for getting home and later use. A small quantity of arms would be retained and then deposited in state capitals. Horses and other private property were to be retained. troops from Te[x]as and Arkansas were to be furnished water transportation. Surrender of naval forces with the limits of Johnston command.
Thus the second major army of the Confederate States of of America totaling in all about thirty thousand men surrendered. The Confederate Cabinet met with President Davis at Charlotte and agreed to leave that day with the aim of getting west of the Mississippi. ...".
According to a North Carolina Division of Archives and History web page: "... In April 1865, two battle-weary adversaries, Joseph E. Johnston and William T. Sherman, met under a flag of truce to discuss a peaceful solution to a tragic Civil War. The generals and their escorts met midway between their lines on the Hillsborough Road, seven miles from Durham Station. Needing a place for a conference, Johnston suggested a simple farmhouse a short distance away. On three separate occasions the Union and Confederate generals struggled to achieve equitable terms for surrender at the home of James and Nancy Bennitt (research indicates that Bennitt is the correct spelling of the family name). On April 26, the Bennitt dwelling became the site of the largest troop surrender of the Civil War. ...".
According to a State Library of North Carolina web page: "... Jefferson Davis ... ordered Johnston to disband the infantry and make a getaway with the mounted troops as quickly as possible. But Johnston, understanding the futility of the situation and the resulting tragedy of a prolonged war,
[Such an army of small independent units with no conventional line of defense was used successfully by Mustafa Kemal of Turkey at the end of World War I to defeat Greek invaders and preserve the present country of Turkey.]
disobeyed orders and met Sherman again at the Bennett House on April 26. ... The surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston's Confederate Army to General William T. Sherman at the Bennett Place, April 26, 1865, was the second and last major stage in the peace making process which ended the Civil War. General Lee's surrender at Appomattox 17 days earlier was the first. The capitulation of General Richard A. Taylor's small force in Alabama a week later and of Kirby Smith's Trans-Mississippi Army at New Orleans exactly a month later concluded the process. Johnston surrendered by far the largest share of the Confederate troops still in the field at war's end, more than Lee and the others combined. He surrendered all Confederate forces in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida and took those States out of the war. ...".
According to a University of Georgia web page: "... In 1874, the Georgia General Assembly approved legislation adding as a new public holiday "The 26th day of April in each year--commonly known as Memorial Day." April 26 marks the anniversary of the end of the Civil War for Georgia, for it was on this day in 1865 that Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston's surrender to General William Sherman in North Carolina became official. Johnston had been in charge of Georgia's defense, so this day marked the end of the war for Georgia. ... While Florida would later join Georgia in marking April 26 as Confederate Memorial Day, other states celebrated different dates. By 1916, ten southern states marked June 3--Jefferson Davis's birthday--as Confederate Memorial Day. Alabama and Mississippi celebrate the fourth Monday in April, while North and South Carolina celebrate May 10--the anniversary of Jefferson Davis's capture by Union troops--as Memorial Day. ... The 1984 General Assembly changed state law with respect to public and legal holidays observed in Georgia. ... The result of the 1984 legislation was to drop the names of all official state holidays from the Georgia Code. In one sense, this eliminated any state holiday known as Confederate Memorial Day, Robert E. Lee's Birthday, or Jefferson Davis's Birthday--or Thanksgiving or Christmas. ...".
According to www.civilwarhome.com: "... Joseph Eggleston Johnston (1807-1891) ... had been one of the most effective Confederate commanders when he was not hampered by directives from the [Confederate] president. Following the war he sat in Congress and was a federal railroad commissioner. Engaged in much debate over the causes of the Confederate defeat, he wrote his Narrative of Military Operations which was highly critical of Davis and many of his fellow generals. In an example of the civil relationships between former wartime opponents, Johnston died of a cold caught while attending the funeral of his arch-opponent, Sherman. ...".
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