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But Sherman's 6 extreme caution” had been thrown off with the removal of Johnston; and he now resolved on turning his face to the seaboard. What inducements he offered to secure the reënlistment of his men, may be inferred from the license which they indulged in the long marches of the months that followed. Hood had re-created Sherman's army by exposing the private wealth of three States, as the tempting booty for reenlistment. Then came the voe victis; for it had been made a matter of contract.
By the middle of the succeeding February, Mr. Seddon had left the War Department at Richmond ; Gen. Breckinridge had taken his place; Gen. Lee had been made General-in-chief of all the Confederate forces; Sherman had subdued Georgia and South Carolina, and sacked and burned Columbia; Gen. Beauregard, commanding in those States, had failed, from inadequacy of troops, to check the formidable invasion ; Gen. Bragg, falling into hopeless unpopularity at Richmond, had been assigned to the Department of North Carolina, and had been in charge at Wilmington when that city fell under the operations of Commodore Porter and Gen. Terry, successfully directed against Fort Fisher.
. And now, yielding to the boldly-pronounced wishes of Congress, and the universal demands of the people, no less than to the dictates of his own spontaneous judgment, Gen. Lee called Gen. Johnston forth from retirement, and placed him in command of all the troops that could be collected from the two Carolinas to the Mississippi. Gen. Johnston immediately took measures for concentrating the detached forces which had been at Charleston under Hardee, in the vicinity of Charlotte with Beauregard, in Wilmington under Bragg, and in other quarters under whatever commanders; and moving them in the direction of Fayetteville, North Carolina. On the other hand, the enemy were endeavouring to concentrate in the same quarter, by the union of Sherman from Columbia, Terry from Wilmington, and Schofield, who was approaching from Newbern, through Goldsboro. By the 18th March, Johnston had so far succeeded as to get together a body of fourteen thousand troops, at Bentonville, North Carolina, and to plant himself in the path of Sherman, who was marching from Fayetteville north-eastward towards
Goldsboro. Here he was attacked by two corps of the advanc: ing army, 40,000 strong. Hoping only to cripple the assailing column, he fought from three o'clock in the afternoon until dark, and drew off in the night, after burying his dead, carrying away his own wounded, and some of the enemy's. Two days afterwards, the converging columns of the Federal army had combined, and assumed a vigorous offensive against Johnston. There was severe fighting until the 22d, Johnston withdrawing all the while slowly towards Smithfield, in the direction of Raleigh and Hillsboro. Sherman then left his point and concentrated his army, nearly 100,000 strong, near Goldsboro. There he left it to pay a brief visit to Gen. Grant at City Point. Gen. Johnston addressed himself to the task of recruiting and organizing his army, which, when near Raleigh, on the 1st April, numbered 18,578 in the total present for duty, of which 14,179 were effective. Many were without arms.
By the 13th April Sherman, having returned from City Point, approached within fourteen miles of Raleigh with his army. On the next day he occupied that city, Johnston retiring towards Hillsboro. Having received news of Gen. Lee's surrender at Appomattox, which had occurred six days before, Gen. Johnston addressed a communication to Gen. Sherman on the 15th April, asking for a conference looking to a cessation of hostilities. On the 18th, the two Generals met at a farmhouse near Chapel Hill University, and agreed upon a convention. The object avowed by Johnston was, “ to spare the blood of his gallant little army, to prevent further suffering of the people by the devastation and ruin inevitable from the marches of invading armies, and to avoid the crime of waging a hopeless war.”
The stipulations which he secured were in the highest degree favourable to his army and country; so favourable that they were promptly rejected by the Washington Government when the terms were made known to it by Gen. Sherman. The two armies were to remain in statu quo until notice of forty-eight hours should be given by either General to the other. This state of things to remain while the following proceedings should be had, if not objected to by either of their governments :
1. The Confederate armies to be disbanded, each officer and man engaging to abide the action of their State governments and
the Federal Government; their arms and munitions to be left at the State capitals, and reported to Washington. 2. The existing State governments to be recognized, upon their officers taking the oath of fidelity to the United States. 3. The Federal courts to be reëstablished in the South, with all their original powers. 4. The people of the States to be guarantied their political rights and franchises, with rights of person and property. 5. The Federal Government not to disturb the people of the States for past acts of war, so long as they should remain in peace and quiet, and obey existing laws. 6. The war, in general, to cease; a general amnesty to be proclaimed by the Federal executive, on condition of a disbandment and deposit of arms by the Confederate troops, and their return to peaceful pursuits.
These terms were rejected at Washington, and Gen. Grant was sent to North Carolina, where the same terms were proffered to Gen. Johnston that had been accorded to Gen. Lee; and these he of course accepted. Here ceased the public life of this veteran soldier and master of war. We have so far let his acts portray his character, and have indulged in very few and brief commentaries upon them.
It has been well said that the great captain is the man who thoroughly understands his position, and the temper and character of his own troops; who clearly perceives the qualities of the enemy, and capacity of the commander opposed to him; who knows how to husband his own resources, and to destroy those of his enemy; who accurately judges when to fight and when to retreat; who is capable of discriminating between what is essential to insure eventual success, and what is of only factitious importance; and who has the moral courage to forego a temporary blow, bringing only an evanescent advantage, for an uitimate, substantial, and permanent success.
In this sense, Gen. Johnston was a great commander. He cared nothing for positions whenever they had lost their value as places of safety and security for armies. When they became dangerous depositories of troops he could no longer tolerate the idea of holding them. When urged to hold Harper's Ferry rather than excite popular clamour by choosing a better position, he braved the outcry, to place his army on vantage-ground. He withdrew from Yorktown, much to the chagrin of the populace, but far more to the regret and disappointment of Gen. McClellan. When the question arose between saving the position at Vicksburg and hazarding its great garrison, he ordered that the army should be saved. During the campaign before Atlanta, there was a popular desire, and an official clamour, for an advance; but the question again occurring between throwing away his army, and yielding a district of country, he again made the preservation of the former his cardinal thought. He has been accused of obstinacy; but this is a virtue of priceless value, when it sets out in the way of what is wise and right; it becomes a shocking fault and crime when it takes the direction of mistake and folly. It was characteristic of Johnston clearly to perceive what was proper to be done, and he did not know how to play courtier either to people or President. Against popular clamour, against executive favour, against all the considerations which ordinarily swerve men into concessions of principle to the ends of policy, he persistently, obstinately, nay, often indignantly, stood to his own just, wise, sterling, deep-rooted convictions. It is difficult to determine whether he possessed more of the qualities of Fabius, Marlborough, Washington, or Greene.
A recent popular writer has pointed out a strong military likeness between Joseph E. Johnston and George Washington. Each was remarkable, in the conduct of war, for the little value attached to military positions in comparison with the forces that defended them, and in this respect each showed the appreciation of a great commander. Each regarded masses and general results rather than isolated bodies and mere temporary effects, and in this breadth of view achieved the greatest success of their arms. For the great General sees but little advantage in picking off detached forces of the enemy, or in precipitating small bodies of men against each other, but rather seeks to husband his forces until the auspicious moment of attack arrives. When that moment did arrive Johnston had a supreme activity. He was a more vigorous fighter than Washington. Having attained certain positions, and accomplished certain results, he pressed forward against the vital point with a vigour and resolution that carried everything before them; and when his blood was up, he fought with matchless rapidity, and struck right and left with the blows of a giant.
There is a yet more 'remarkable parallel between Johnston and Washington in the perfect and sublime silence of each under the misrepresentations of the populace and the intrigues of partisans. It fell to the lot of each of these patriots to be misunderstood and accused in their times; to be most unjustly criticised, when explanations might have readily relieved them, but such explanations involved injurious disclosures to the enemy, and were inconsistent with the good of the public service. Silence in such circumstances is the most difficult and highest magnanimity. In 1776, when the public was violently misjudging Gen. Washington, and friends appeared to be falling from his side, Governor Livingston, of New Jersey, wrote to the noble and distressed commander: “I can easily form some idea of the difficulties under which you labour, particularly of one for which the public can make no allowance, because your prudence and fidelity to the cause will not suffer you to reveal it to the public-an instance of magnanimity superiour, perhaps, to any that can be shown in battle.” So Gen. Johnston endured in silence misrepresentation and calumny that a few words spoken for self might have dispersed. He practised throughout the war a supreme reticence for the public good. When he was almost cruelly removed at Atlanta, after a campaign that the afterthought of his countrymen now pronounces the most successful of his military life, he uttered not a word of public complaint. He made no unmanly appeals for sympathy to the soldiers who idolized him, nor to the friends who reposed the most implicit confidence in him. Thinking not of self, but of the salvation of his country, he called for his successor, who had been his own subordinate, explained fully to him the condition of things, the relative positions of the two armies, their strength, etc., and then unfolded to him what had been his own plans and intentions. Every effort was made to enable his successor to win those laurels which had been denied to him.
Not a few military critics have considered Johnston superiour to Leė in the highest qualities of generalship; and perhaps the best judgment of the enemy has designated his as the master military mind of the Confederacy.* He may have lacked Lee's
* A Northern historiographer of the war-Shanks-more candid than his class,