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Sherman’s Farewell to His Troops:
Copy for 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 20th Army Corps
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Captain and assistant adjutant Horace G.H. Tarr, of the 20th Regiment, Connecticut Infantry, was the final signer of this brigade-level copy of Sherman’s farewell message to his troops and orders for their triumphant march, the Grand Review, through Washington, D.C. Organized at New Haven September 8, 1862, the 20th Connecticut had been attached to the 20th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, since it was organized by Joseph Hooker in April 1864. Prior to that, the 20th Connecticut had been part of the 12th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac. Of the two units known as the 20th Army Corps., this was the second and far more successful unit, affectionately known as “Hooker’s Corps.” At the time of this order, Joseph A. Mower was the Corps commander, leading the unit in the famed Grand Review of the Armies in Washington, D.C. before disbanding in June 1865.

WILLIAM T. SHERMAN. Manuscript Document Signed, secretarially, Special Field Orders No. 76. Washington, D.C. May 30, 1865. 4p. Countersigned by Horace G. H. Tarr Captain and AAA General, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 20th Army Corps. (Hooker’s Corps) May 31, 1865.

Inventory #23912       Price: $8,500

Transcript 

                                                            Head Quarters Mil. Divn. of the Miss.

                                                            In the Field Washington D.C. May 30th 1865.

Special Field Orders

No. 76}

            The General Commanding announces to the Army of the Tennessee and Georgia that the time has come for us to part. Our work is done, and armed enemies, no longer defy us. Some of you will be retained in service till further Orders.

            And now that we are about to separate and mingle with the civil world, it becomes a pleasing duty to recall to mind the situation of national affairs, when but little more than a year ago, we were gathered about the towering cliffs of Lookout Mountain, and all the future was wrapped in doubt and uncertainty, three armies had come together from distant fields, with separate histories, yet bound by one common cause, the Union of our country and the perpetuation of the Government of our inheritance.

            There is no need to recall to your memories Tunnel Hill, with Rocky Face Mountain and Buzzard Roost Gap, with the ugly forts of Dalton behind. We were in earnest, and paused not for danger and difficulty, but dashed through Snake Creek Gap and fell on Ressaca [sic], then on to the Etawah, to Dallas, Kennesaw, and the heat of summer found us on the banks of the Chattahoochee, far from home, and dependent on a single road for supplies. Again we were not to be held back by any obstacle, and crossed over fought four hard battles for the possession of the Citadel of Atlanta. That was the crisis of our history. A doubt still clouded our future, but we solved the problem and destroyed Atlanta, struck boldly across the State of Georgia, severed all the main arteries of life to our enemies, and Christmas found us at Savannah. <2>

            Waiting there only long enough to fill our wagons, we again began a march, which for peril, labor, and results, will compare with any ever made by an organized army. The floods of the Savannah, the swamps of the Combahee, and Edisto, the high hills and rocks of the Santee, the flat quagmires of the Pedee and Cape Fear Rivers, were all passed in midwinter, with its floods and rains, in the face of an accumulating enemy, and after the battles of Averasboro and Bentonville, we once more came out of the Wilderness to meet our friends at Goldsboro.

            Even then we paused only long enough to get new clothing, to reload our wagons, and again pushed on to Raleigh and beyond, until we met our enemy Suing for peace, instead of War, and offering to submit to the injured laws of his and our country. As long as that enemy was defiant, no mountains, nor rivers, nor swamps, nor hunger, nor cold, had checked us, but when he who had fought us hard and persistently, offered submission, your General thought it wrong to pursue him farther, and negotiations followed, which resulted as you all know in his surrender. How far the operations of this army have contributed to the final overthrow of the Confederacy, and the peace which now draws o’er us, must be judged by others, not by us, but that you have done all that men could do has been admitted by those in authority, and we have a right to join in the universal joy that fills our land, because the War is over, and our Government stands vindicated before the World, by the joint action of the Volunteer Armies of the United States. To such as remain in the Military service, your General need only remind you that success in the past was due to hard work and discipline and that the same work and discipline are equally important in the future. To such as go home he would only say that our favored country is so grand, so extensive, so diversified, in climate, <3>

soil, and productions, that every man may find a home, and occupation, suited to his taste, and none should yield to the natural impatience sure to result from our past life of excitement and adventure. You will be invited to seek new adventure abroad, but do not yield to the temptation, for it will lead only to death and disappointment.

            Your General now bids you all farewell, with the full belief that as in War you have been good soldiers, so in peace, you will make good Citizens, and if, unfortunately, new War should arise in our country, “Sherman’s Army” will be the first to buckle on its old armour and come forth to defend maintain the Government of our inheritance and choice.

                        By Order of / Major Genl. W.T. Sherman

                                                (sgd) L.M. Dayton, AAG.

Head Quarters Army of Georgia/ May 30 1865/ Official (sgd) Robert P. Dechert AAAG

Head Quarters 20th A.C./Nr [near] Washington. May 30 1865/ Official / (sgd) H. W. Perkins AAG <4>

Head Quarters 3d Divn 20th A.C./ Ft Lincoln May 31st 1865 / Official (sgd) F.C. Crawford AAA Genl

Head Quarters 3d Brig. 3 Divn 20th A.C./ May 31st 1865

Official H.G.H  Tarr/ Capt and AAA Genl

[Docketed] Genl Shermans Farewell orders

Historic Background

Eight days after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Sherman met with Confederate general Joseph Johnston to negotiate the surrender of the rest of the Confederate forces.  Sherman offered lenient terms consistent with Lincoln’s desires. But widespread belief that Lincoln’s assassination was part of a grand Confederate plot changed everything. When President Johnson and Secretary of War Stanton learned that Sherman had negotiated generous terms with the South, they were outraged and promptly rejected the agreement.

Once again, Sherman was at the center of a firestorm.  The old charges of insanity were resurrected, to which were again added claims that he was a drunk, a traitor, and a rebel sympathizer. Sherman had no idea there was any problem until Ulysses S. Grant, ordered to North Carolina to take command of Sherman’s Army, arrived. An enraged Sherman lashed out at the government, the press, and the public who believed their lies. At the same time, Sherman’s army, which was to march in the Grand Review on May 23 – 24, began moving north. By the time they reached their camp just outside Washington in mid-May, Sherman was calling out his enemies and promising revenge.  “Let some one newspaper know,” Sherman told Grant’s adjutant, “that the Vandal Sherman is encamped near the Canal bridge… where his friends if any can find him. Though in disgrace he is untamed & unconquered.”   To his wife Ellen, he vowed he would never “be intimidated by the howlings of a set of sneaks… I will take a Regiment of my old Division and clear them out.”  His men responded with a hooliganism that had not been tolerated on the march north. Suddenly the nation’s capital found itself surrounded by an army famous for its destructive capability, getting a small taste of what it could do, as its commander threatened and challenged government and military officials.  His behavior seemed to confirm Stanton’s fears that Sherman was plotting a military coup.

Sherman’s relatives and friends, including Grant, made a concerted effort to calm him down.  Not until his troops marched in the Grand Review on May 24, and the mustering-out process began, did the tension finally dissipate.  Sherman’s revenge was simple but sweet: The tremendous cheers he and his soldiers received as they marched up Pennsylvania Avenue, and the satisfaction of refusing to shake Edwin Stanton’s hand on the reviewing stand.

William T. Sherman (1820-1891), a West Point graduate and Mexican War veteran, served as a corps commander under General Grant in successful campaigns down the Mississippi and in Tennessee. He then took command of the western armies when Grant was reassigned to the Virginia theatre. He was both recognized and criticized for his tactics of “scorched earth” and “total war,” evidenced by his capture of Atlanta and “March to the Sea” through Georgia. This was followed by a swift campaign north through the Carolinas to force the surrender of the last major Confederate army. Sherman served as Commanding General of the U.S. Army from 1869-1883, during a period of Westward expansion and Indian Wars.


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