Reprinted in War Department, et al., The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. ; Series 1 - Volume XLVII , Part 3 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1896), 245.
John Osborne, Dickinson College
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
Hdqrs. Military Division of the Mississippi,
In the Field, Raleigh, N. C, April 18, 1865.
General H. W. Halleck,
Chief of Staff, Washington, D. C. :
General: I received your dispatch describing the man Clark detailed to assassinate me. He had better be in a hurry or he will be too late. The news of Mr. Lincoln's death produced a most intense effect on our troops. At first I feared it would lead to excesses, but now it has softened down and can easily be guided. None evinced more feeling than General Johnston, who admitted that the act was calculated to stain his cause with a dark hue, and he contended that the loss was most serious to the people of the South, who had begun to realize that Mr. Lincoln was the best friend the South had. I cannot believe that even Mr. Davis was privy to the diabolical plot, but think it the emanation of a set of young men of the South who are very devils. I want to throw upon the South the care of this class of men, who will soon be as obnoxious to their industrial classes as to us. Had I pushed Johnston's army to an extremity these would have dispersed and would have done infinite mischief. Johnston informed me that Stoneman had been at Salisbury and was now about Statesville. I have sent him orders to come to me. General Johnston also informed me that Wilson was at Columbus, Ga., and he wanted me to arrest his progress. 1 leave that to you. Indeed, if the President sanctions my agreement with Johnston, our interest is to cease all destruction. Please give all orders necessary according to the views the Executive may take, and influence him, if possible, not to vary the terms at all, for I have considered everything and believe that the Confederate armies once dispersed we can adjust all else fairly and well.
I am, yours, &c,
W. T. SHERMAN,
Major- General, Commanding.