Palmer moved with his corps directly upon Dalton
(Feb. 22), where Johnston was encamped. The confederates were
constantly pushed back and there was almost continual heavy skirmishing.
In the center of Rocky Face Valley, on a rocky eminence, the
Confederates made a stand, but were soon driven from the crest by
General Turchin, after a severe struggle. The Confederates rallied, and,
returning with an overwhelming force, retook the hill. Palmer, finding
in force larger than his own, and learning that the object of his
expedition had been accomplished, in the calling hack of
Hardee by Johnston, fell back and took post (March 10) at Ringgold. In this short campaign the Nationals lost 350 killed and wounded; the Confederates about 200. With the surrender of
Robert E. Lee, the Civil War was virtually ended. Although he was general-in-chief, his capitulation included only the Army of Northern Virginia. That of Johnston, in North Carolina, and smaller bodies, were yet in the field. When Sherman, who confronted Johnston, heard of the victory at
Five Forks and the evacuation of
Richmond, he moved on Johnston ( April 10, 1865) , with his whole army. The latter was at Smithfield, on the Neuse River, with fully 39,000 men,
Jefferson Davis and the
Confederate cabinet were then at Danville, on the southern border of Virginia, and had just proposed to Johnston a plan whereby they might secure their own personal safety and the treasures they had brought with them from Richmond. It was to disperse his army, excepting two or three batteries of artillery, the cavalry, and as many infantry as he could mount. with which he should form a guard for the "government." and strike for the Mississippi and beyond. with Mexico as their final objective. Johnston spurned the proposition, and deprecating the example of
Lee in continuing what he knew to be a hopeless war, had the moral courage to do his duty according to the dictates of his conscience and his nice sense of honor. He refused to fight any more, or to basely desert his army far away from their home, as the "government" proposed, and stated frankly to the people of North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, included within his military department, that "war could not be longer continued by them, except as robbers," and that he should take measures to stop it and save the army and people from further evil, and " avoid the crime of waging a hopeless war." Sherman was pushing Johnston with great vigor, when the former received a note from the latter (April 14, 1865), asking if a temporary suspension of active hostilities might he arranged to allow the "civil authorities to enter into the needful arrangements to terminate the existing war." Sherman promptly replied that he would do so, and was willing to hold a conference. He said that, as a basis of action, he would undertake to abide by the terms made by
Lee at Appomattox Court-house. Sherman and Johnston met at Durham's Station, half-way between Raleigh and Hillsboro, at ten o'clock. April 17. Johnston said he regarded the Confederate cause as lost, and admitted that Grant's terms were magnanimous; but he insisted upon conditions involving political guarantees, which Sherman had no authority to grant. At a second conference the next day, Sherman consented to a memorandum of agreement as a basis for the consideration of the government, which, if carried out, mould have instantly restored to all persons engaged in the rebellion every right and privilege, social and political, to which they had enjoyed before the war, without any liability of punishment. It was adroitly drawn up by Breckinridge, and was signed by the respective commanding generals. The national government instantly rejected it. and
General Grant was sent to Raleigh to declare that rejection, which he did April 24, and proclaimed that the truce would end in forty-eight hours. This notification was accompanied by a demand for the
surrender of Johnston's army, on the terms granted to
Lee. The capitulation was agreed upon at the
house of James Bennett, near Durham's Station, April 26. About 25,000 troops were surrendered.
The capitulation included all the troops in Johnston's military department. General Taylor surrendered at Citronelle, Ala., to
General Canby, on the same terms, and the Confederate navy on the Tombigbee River was surrendered by Commander Farrand to Rear -Admiral Thatcher. After the war he engaged in the fire insurance business; was a Democratic member of Congress in 1876–78; and United States commissioner of rail-roads in 1885–89. He died in
Washington, D. C., March 21, 1891.
PLACE OF JOHNSTON'S SURRENDER TO SHERMAN.