were present them. They are weary of the war and desire peace. If they could be rallied and brought to the field, a united and determined people might even yet achieve independence; but many circumstances admonish us that we cannot count upon their cordial and united action.
The vast army of deserters and absentees from our military service during the past twelve months, the unwillingness of the people to enter the armies, the impracticability of recruiting them, the present utter demoralization of our troops decrease by desertion of General Johnston's army, which, as it retreats south, if retrat it can, will retain in its ranks but few soldiers beyond the by-parths and cross-roads which lead to their homes, together with the recent successes of the enemy, the fall of Selma, Montgomery, Columbus, and macon, his forces in the field, and his vast resources, all dictate the admission I have made. I do not believe that by any possibility we could organize, arm, and equip, and bring into the field, this side of the Mississippi, 15,000 men within the next sixty days; and I am convinced that both General Beauregard and General Johnston are utterly hopeless of continuing the contest. A guerrilla warfare might be carried on in certain portions of our country for a time, perhaps for years; but while such a warfare would be more disastrous to our own people than it could possibly be to the enemy, it would exercise little or no influence upon his military operations or upon his hold upon the country. Conducted upon our own soil, our own people would chiefly feel its evils, and would afford it neither countenance nor support. Guerrilla warfare never has been, and never can be, carried on by and between peoples of a common origin, language, and institutions.
Our sea-board and our ports being in the enemy's hands, we cannot rely upon supplies of arms and other munitions of war from abroad, and our means of producing them at home, already limited, are dailuy decreasing. The loss of Selma and of Colubmus, where much valuable machinery for the construction of ordnance and ordnance stores was collected, must materially circumscribe our ability in this respect.
Our currency is nearly worthless, and will become utterly so with further military disasters, and there is no hope that we can improve it. The arms of the United States have rendered the great object of our struggle hopeless; have conquered a reconstruction of the Union; and it becomes your duty to secure to the people, as far as practicable, life, liberty, and property. The propositions signed by the opposing generals are more favorable to these great objects than could justly have been anticipated. Upon you, with a more thorough knowledge of the condition of our country, the character and sentiments of our people, and of our means and resources than is possessed by others, is devolved the responsibility of promptly accepting or of promptly rejecting them. I advise their acceptance, and that, having notified General Johnston of your having done so, you promptly issue, so soon as you shall learn the acceptance thereof by the authorities of the United States, a proclmation to the people of the Confederate States, setting forth clearly the condition of the country, your inability to resist the enemy's overwhelming numbers, or to protect the country from his devastating and desolating march; the propositions submitted to you, and the reasons which, in your judgment, render their acceptance by the States and the people wise and expedient. You cannot, under the Consitution, dissolve the Confederacy and remit the States composing it to the Government of the United States. But the Confederacy is conquered;
53 R R-VOL XLVII, PT III