my proposition that the war must cease, if we are to go to work to try to make peace, and to the proposal for a military convention. I further claimed that we could not go into convention upon any more favorable basis than an earnest desire to arrange plans for peace that should be equally honorable to both parties. To this also I understood him to gibe his unqualified consent. He says that General Grant has the authority to meet you, if you have authority to appoint a military convention, and proposes that you should indicate your desire to meet General Grant, if you feel authorized to do so. As he made this proposition before mine, to the effect that General Grant should express his desire to meet you and as the interview between General ord and myself had been brought on at the request of General Ord, I did not feel that I could well do otherwise than promise to write to you of the disposition on their part to have the interview. If you think it worth your time to invite General Grant to an interview it might be upon some other as the ostensible grounds, and this matter might be brought up incidentally. I presume that General Grant's first proposition will be to go into convention upon the basis of reconstruction; but if I have not misunderstood General Ord's conversation, General Grant will agree to take the matter up without requiring any principle as a basis further than the general principle of desiring to make peace upon terms that are equally honorable to both sides. I would suggest that the interview take place on this side and the place of meeting between General Ord and myself, because there are several little points upon which you should be posted before the interview, and I do not see that I can well do this by writing. Besides, as "the ice has already been broken" on this side, your interview would be relieved in a measure of the great formality incident to such occasions. If it should be on this side I hope that you will give me two or three day's notice.
General Stevens is of the opinion that 1,000 negro laborers on this line during this month will so strengthen our position that we will be able to spare a division and I am satisfied we can do so if we can have the work proposed completed and can get the aid that General Ewell promises us.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS,
March 1, 1865.
General R. E. LEE,
GENERAL: I neglected to mention in my letter just finished that General Ord expressed some apprehension for General Grant lest there might be some misunderstanding in regard to the exchange of political prisoners. The terms were general for the exchange of this class of prisoners, but were not intended by him, he says, to include such as were under charges for capital offenses. General Grant desired that you should be advised of this construction of the terms.
I remain, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,