There is a cool wind blowing this morning and I feel that I have taken a pretty bad cold by getting wet yesterday. I heard yesterday that James N. Moore was in this army and I wrote him a letter this morning requesting him to come and see me, I have cleaned up my gun this AM. I wrote a letter to Nelson Kennedy. The report came in the paper this morning that our forces were repulsed at Wilmington S.C. We drew one days rations of soft Bread today, and I traided my loaf of Hartack. Read 6 Chapt. in Testament today. We received orders this evening to be ready for fatigue duty tomorrow morning at 6 Oclock. Our Regt. drew clothing this evening. I drew 1 pr. socks and 1 Shirt.
Secretary of War Edwin Stanton paid Gen. Sherman a visit in Savannah. Reports of abuse of freed black slaves, in particular the tragedy on Ebenezer Creek, had made their ways back to Washington, D.C. After grilling Union Gen. J.C. Davis, Stanton asked Sherman to set up a meeting with black ministers to discuss the overall situation. Twenty black men met the Federal officers on the evening of the 12th, choosing Rev. Garrison Frazier, 67, as their spokesman. They discussed the war and the Emancipation Proclamation, and how the Federal government might best help the freedmen make their own way in the future. Then Stanton asked Sherman to leave the room. As Robert L. O’Connell relates in his book, Fierce Patriot:
When [Stanton] asked the black leaders what they thought of the general and his commitment to their cause, they called Sherman “a friend and gentleman” and told Stanton they “could not be in better hands.”… In the eyes of these men, Sherman had treated black people kindly and delivered a multitude of their brothers and sisters to freedom.
Whether Stanton bought Sherman’s sainthood or not, it was enough for the day. The two, however, were not going to be friends.