After the failed meeting with Governor Johnson in Benicia, General Sherman found himself in the uncomfortable position of serving a governor under the influence of men who favored confrontation with the Committee of Vigilance while under orders to quell the strife in San Francisco where the majority of the people were against him and after General Wool, the only authority able to supply him arms and ammunition, refused to do so. Though he truly felt that he would have been able to bring the vigilantes to a stand still, or that he might have placed the vigilantes in the wrong so that the citizens would turn against them by swaying those influential businessmen who had been rebuffed by the governor in Benicia. But with Governor Johnson counseling with men of the most violent of prejudices, Sherman thought it best to resign his commission with the militia and he did so. The governor promptly accepted and appointed Volney E. Howard, closely associated with those who favored violence, as Major General in Sherman’s place.
The following Monday Sherman published a document in all San Francisco papers intended to either justify his previous actions or to make peace with the populace. In fact, Sherman’s address was weak and there seems to have been no necessity for such a statement. It proved nothing except that the General considered himself more important in the whole affair than he really was. He claimed to not be a proponent of the vigilantes but would have contributed to the ouster of the rowdies, ballot box stuffers and shoulder strikers had it been done by legal means. When ordered by Governor Johnson to organize the militia he had done his best but after General Wool refused the needed arms he still continued to counsel moderation and forbearance, but since his views did not coincide with the Governor he had stepped aside to allow Johnson to appoint another more in agreement with him. Sherman concluded by urging the vigilantes to disband, submit to the law and make such concessions as the Governor demanded so as to restore peace and relieve all minds of the fears that now existed.