have recently taken Selma, Montgomery, Columbus, Macon, and other important towns, depriving us of large depots of supplies and of munitions of war. Of the small force still at command many are unarmed, and the ordnance department cannot furnish 5,000 stand of small-arms. I do not think it would be possible to assemble, equip, and maintain an army of 30,000 men at any point east of the Mississippi River. The contest, if continued after this paper is rejected, will be likely to lose entirely the dignity of regular warfare. Many of the States will make such terms as they may, in others separate and ineffective hostilities may be prosecuted, while the war, wherever waged, will probably degenerate into that irregular and secondary stage, out of which greater evils will flow to the South than to the enemy.
For these and for other reasons, which need not now be stated, I think we can no longer contend with a reasonable hope of success. It seems to me that the time has arrived when, in a large and clear view of the situation, prompt steps should be taken to put an end to the war.
It may be said that the agreement of the 18th instant contians certain stipulations which you cannot perform. This is true, and it was well understood by General Sherman that only a part could be executed by the Confederate authorities. In any view of the case grave responsibilities must be met and assumed. In any view of the case grave responsibilities must be met and assumed. If the necessity for peace be conceded, corresponding action must be taken. The modes of negotiation, which we deem regular and would prefer, are impracticable. The situation is anomalous and cannot be solved upon the principles of theoretical exactitude. In my opinion you are only person who can meet the present necessities. I respectfully advise: First, that you execute, so far as you can, the second article in the agreement of the 18th instnat; second, that you recommend to the several States the acceptance of those parts of the agreement upon which they alone can act; third, having maintained with faithful and intrepid purpose the cause of the Confederate States, while the means of organized resitance remained, that you return to the States and the people the trust which you are no longer able ever course you pursue opinions will be divided. Permit me to give mine. Should these or similar views accord with yours own, I think the better judgment will be that you can have no higher title to the gratitude of your countrymen and the respect of mankind than will spring from the wisdom to see the path of duty at this time, and the courage to follow it regardless alike of praise or blame.
Respectfully and truly, your friend,
JOHN C. BRECKINRDIGE,
Secretary of War.
CHARLOTTE, N. C., April 23, 1865.
Governor Z. B. VANCE,
Greensborough, N. C.:
I will await your arrival here.
GREENSBOROUGH, N. C., April 23, 1865.
General JOHN C. BRECKINRDIGE:
General Sherman writes that he expects the return of his officer from Washington to-morrow.
J. E. JOHNSTON,