James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  had two interviews, one on the afternoon of March 27 and the other next day when they discussed the past operations, the harbinger of their success, and the approaching end of the war. Lincoln and Sherman did most of the talking while Grant listened and ruminated. According to Sherman’s recollection of the interviews the two generals were agreed in their opinion that one or the other of them “would have to fight one more bloody battle and that it would be the last.” Lincoln said more than once that enough of blood had been shed and asked “if another battle could not be avoided,” to which Sherman made answer that they “could not control that event”; it rested with Jefferson Davis and General Lee whether or not the two armies should meet again in a “desperate and bloody battle.” 1  10   In truth these masters of State and war—the three men to whom above all others we owe the successful termination of the conflict—could not without gladness review the military operations of the last year and look forward to the promise of the future; but they appreciated too well the magnitude of the business in hand to give way to undue elation. As in May, 1864, Grant was confronted by Lee and Sherman by Johnston; 2 but Grant had fought his way from the Rapidan to the James and the Appomattox, while Sherman, after a contested progress from Dalton to Atlanta, had made a holiday march to the sea followed by a march northward with the elements for his bitterest foes. He had achieved his purpose and was now at Goldsborough (N. C.) with 80,000 men preparing to advance against Johnston, who lay between him and Raleigh with an army of about 33,000. In other parts of the theatre of war, there were large and well-appointed Union forces bent on aggressive
Note 1. W. Sherman, II, 326; Horace Porter, Sept., 1897, 739. [back]
Note 2. Johnston had been placed in command by Lee. [back]