the people of the Confederacy of the facts above recited; should ratify the convention so far as he has authority to act as commander-in-chief, and should execute the military provisions; should decalre his inability, with the means remaining at his disposal, to defend the Confederacy or maintain its independence, and should resign a trust which it is no longer possible to fulfill. He should further invite the several States to take into immediate consideration the terms of this convention, with a view to their adoption and execution, as being the best and most favorable that they could hope to obtain by a continuance of the struggle.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of State.
CHARLOTTE, N. C., April 22, 1865.
SIR: In obedience to your request for the opinions in writing of the members of the cabinet on the question, first, as to whether you should assent to the preliminary agreement of the 18th instant, between General Joseph E. Johnston, of the Confederate Army, and Major General W. T. Sherman, of the Army of the United Staes, for the suspension of hostilities and the adjustment of the difficulties between the two countires, and if so, second, the proper mode of exeucting this agreement on our part, I have to say that, painful as the necessity is, in view of the relative condition of the armies and resources of the belligerents, I must advise the acceptance of the terms of the agreement. General Lee, the general-in-chief of our armies, has been compelled of our capital, with the loss of a very large part of our ordnance, arms, munitions of war, and military stores of all kinds, with what remained of our naval establishment. The officers of the civil gevernment have been compelled to abandon the capital, carrying with them the archives, and thus to close, for the time being at least, the regular operations of its several departments, with no place now open to us at which we can re-establish and put these departments in operation with any prospect of permanency or security for the transaction of the public business and the carrying on of the Government. The army under the command of General Johnston has been reduced to fourteen or fifteen [thousand] infantry and artillery, and ---- cavalry, and this force is, from demoralization and despondency, melting away rapidly be the troops abandoning the army and returning to their homes singly and in numbers large and small; it being the opinion of Generals Johnston and Beauregard that, with the men and means at their comand, they can oppose no serious obstacle to the advance of General Sherman's army. General Johnston is of opinion that the enemy's forces now in the field exceed ours in number by probably ten to one. Our forces in the south, though still holding the firtfications at Mobile, have been unable to prevent the fall of Selma and Montgomery, in Alabama, and of Columbus and Macon, in Georgia, with their magazines, work-shops, and stores of suplies. The army west of the Mississippi is unavailable for the arrest of the victorious career of the enemy east of that river, and is inadequate for the defense of the country west of it. The country is worn down by a brilliant and heroic, but exhausting and bloody, struggle of four years. Our ports are closed so as to exclude the hope of procuring arms and supplies