CITY POINT, February 7, 1865.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
The Richmond Dispatch to-day says:
We have no official intelligence of importance from South Carolina. The reports of the flanking of our forces at Branchville, and the capture of that place by Sherman, are contradicted by official advices.
The following documents were laid before Congress this forenoon:
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the Confederate States of America:
Having received written notification which satisfied me that the President of the United States was disposed to confer informally with unofficial agents that might be sent by me with a view to the restoration of peace, I requested the Honorable Alex. H. Stephens, the Honorable R. M. T. Hunter, and the Honorable John A. Campbell to proceed throgh our lines and to hold conference with Mr. Lincoln, or such persons as he might depute to represent him. I herewith submit for the information of Congress the report of the eminent citizens above named, showing that the enemy refused to enter into negotiations with the Confederate States, or any one of them separately, or to give to our people any other terms or guarantee than those which the conqueror may grant, or to permit us to have peace on any other basis than our unconditional submission to their rule, coupled with he acceptance of their recent legislation, including an amendment to the Constitution of the emancipation of all the negro slaves, and with the right on the part of the Federal Congress to legislate on the subject of the relations between the white and black population of each State. Such is, as I understand, the effect of the amendment to the Constitution which has been adopted by the Congress of the United States.
Richmond, February 6, 1865.
RICHMOND, VA., February 5, 1865
To the President of the Confederate States:
SIR: Under your letter of appointment of the 28th ultimo, we proceeded to seek an informal interview with Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, upon the subject mentioned in the letter. The conference was granted, and took place on the 30th [3rd] instant, on board of a steamer anchored in Hampton Roads, where we met President Lincoln and the Honorable Mr. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States. It continued for several hours, and was both full and explicit. We learned from them that the message of President Lincoln to the Congress of the United States in December last explains clearly and distinctly his sentiments as to the terms, conditions, and method of proceeding by which peace can be secured to the people, and we were not informed that they would be modified or altered to obtain that end. We understood from him that no terms or propositions of any treaty or agreement looking to an ultimate settlement would be entertained or made by him with the authorities of the Confederate States, because that would be a recognition of theirs existence as a separate power, which under no circumstances would be done, and for like reasons that no such terms would be entertained by him from the States separately; that no extended truce or armistice, as at present advised, would be granted or allowed, without a satisfactory assurance in advance of a complete restoration of the authority of the Constitution and laws of the United States over all places within the States of the Confederacy; that whatever consequence may follow from the re-establishment of that authority must be accepted, but that individual subject to pains and penalties under the laws of the United States might rely upon a very liberal use of the power confided to him to remit these pains and penalties if peace be restored.
During the conference the proposed amendments to the Constitution of the United States adopted by Congress on the 31st ultimo were brought to our notice. These amendments provide that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except for crime, should exist within the United States, or any place within their jurisdiction, and that Congress should have power to enforce this amendment by appropriate legislation.
Of all the correspondence that preceded the conference herein mentioned, and leading to the same, you have heretofore been informed.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ALEX. H. STEPHENS.
R. M. T. HUNTER.
J. A. CAMPBELL.
U. S. GRANT,