War of the Rebellion: Serial 100 Page 0826 OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX.

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the debt of the Confederacy, and for its payment in common wiof the United States. We may ask this on the ground that we did not seek this war, but only sought peaceful separation to secure our people and States from the effects of unconstitutional encroachments by the other States, and because on the principles of equity, allowing that both parties had acted in good faith and gone to war on a misunderstanding which admitted of no other solution, and now agree to a reconciliation, and to a burial of the past, it would be unjust to compel our people to assist in the payment of the war debt of the United States, and for them to refuse to allow such of the revenues as we might contribute to be applied to the payment of our creditors. If it should be said that this is a liberality never extended by the conqueror to the conquered, the answer is, that if the object of the pacificatioin is to restore the Union in good faith and propserity and homogeneity, then it is of the first importance that the terms of reconciliation should be based on entire equity, and that no just ground of grief or complaint should be left to either party; and to both parties, looking not only to the present, but to the interest of future generations, the amount of money which would be involved, though large, would be as nothing when compared with a reconciliation entirely equitable, which should leave no sting to honor, and no sense of wrong to rankle in the memories of the people, and lay the foundation for new difficulties and for future wars. It is to this feature, it seems to me, the greatest attention should be given by both sides. It will b of the highest importance to all, for the present as well as for the future, that the frankness, sincerity, and justice of both parties shall be as conspicuous in the adjustment of past difficulties as their courage and endurance have been during the war, if we would make peace on a basis which would be satisfactory and might be rendered perpetual. In any event, provisions should be made which will authroize the Confederate authorities to property remaining on hand, and to apply the proceeds, as far as they will go, to the payment of our public liabilities, or for such other disposition as may be found advisable. But if the terms of this agreement should be rejected or so modified by the Government of the United States as to refuse a recognition of the right of local self-government, and our political rights and rights and rights of person and property, or as to refuse amnesty for past participation in this war, then it will be our duty to continue the struggle as best we can, however unequal it may be; as it would be better and more honorable to waste our lives and substance in such a contest than to yield both to the mercy of a remorseless conqueror.

I am, with great respect, Your Excellency's obedient servant,





Washington, D. C., May 30, 1865.

I hereby certify that the accompanying letter, marked "A," addressed to "The President," and signed John H. Reagan, Postmaster-General, was taken from the baggage of John H. Reagan on the morning of May 10, 1865, at Irwinsville, Irwin County, Ga., at which time and place he was captured by the forces under my command.


Lieutenant-Colonel Fourth Michigan Cavalry.