War of the Rebellion: Serial 100 Page 0822 OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX.

Search Civil War Official Records

opinion, that the State of North Carolina will not consent to congtinue the struggle after our armies shall have withdrawn farther south, and this withdrawal is inevitable if hostilities are resumed. This action of North Carolina would render it impossible for virginia to mantain her position in the Confederay, even if her people were unanimous in their desire to continue the contest. In the more southern States we have no army except the forces now defending Mobile and the cavalry under General Forrest. The enemy are so far superior in numbers that they have occupied, within the last few weeks, Selma, Montgomery, Columbus, and Macon, and could continue their career of devastation through Georgia and Alabama without our being able to prevent it by any forces now at our disposal. It is believed that we could not at the prestn moment gather together an army of 30,000 ration of all our forces east of the Mississippi River. Our sea coast is in possession of the enemy, and we cannot obtain arms and munitions from abroad, e xcept in very small quantities, and by precarious and uncertain means of transportation. We have lost possession in Virginia and North Carolina of our chief resources for the supply of powder and lead.

We can obtain no aid from the Trans-Mississippi Department, from which we are cut off by the fleets of gun-boats that patrol the river. We have not a supply of arms sufficient for putting into the field even 10,000 additional men, if the men themselves were forthcoming. The Confederacy is, in a word, unable to cintinue the war by armies in the field, and the struggle car no longer be maintained in any other manner than by a guerrilla or partisan warfare. Such a warfare is not, in my opinion, desirable, nor odes it promise any useful result. It would entail far more suffering on our own people than it would cause damage to the enemy; and the people have been such heavy sufferers by the calamities of the war for the last four years that it is at least questionable whether they would be willing to engage in such a contest unless sforced to endure its horrors in preference to dishonor and degradation. The terms of the convention imply no dishonor, impose no degradation, exact only what the vitor always requires, the relinquishment by his foe of the object for which the struggle was commenced. Seeing no reasonable hope of our ability to conquier our independence, admitting the undenaible fact that we have been vanquished in the war, it is my opinion that these terms should be accepted, being as favorable as any that we, as the defeated belligerent, have reason to except or can hope to secure. It is further my opinion that the President owes it to the States and to the people to obtain for them, by a general pacification, rights and advnatages which they would, in all probability, be unable to secure by the separate action of the different States. It is natural that the enemy should be willing to accord more liberal conditions foir the purpose of closing the war at once than would be granted if each State should cotinue the contest till separate terms could be made for itself. The President is the chief political executive of the Confederacy as well as the commander-in-chief of its armies. In the former capacity he is powerless to act in making peace on any other basis than that of independence. In the latter capacity he can ratify the military convention under consideration, and execute its provisions relative to the disbandment of the army, and the distribution of the arms. He can end hostilities. The States alone can act in dissolving the Confederacy and returning to the Union according to the terems of the convention. I think that if this convention be retified by the United States, the President should, by proclamation, inform the States and