its days are numbered; Virginia is lost to it, and North Carolina must soon follow; and State after State, under the hostile tread of the enemy, must re-enter the old Union. The occasion, the emergency, the dire necessities and misfortunes of the country, the vast interests at stake, were never contemplated by those who framed the Constitution. They are all outside of it; and in the dissolution of the Confederacy and the wreck of all their hopes the States and the people will turn to you, whose atecedents and whose present position and powers constitute you more than any other living man the guardian of their honor and their interests, and will except you not to stand upon constitutional limitations, but to assume and exercise all powers which to you may seem necessary and proper to shield them from useless war and to save from the wreck of the country all that may [be] practicable of honor, life, and property.
If time were allowed for the observance of constitutional forms I would advise the submission of these propositions to the exeuctives of the several States, to the end that, through the usual legislative and conventional action, the wills of the people of the States, respectively, might be known. But in the present condition of the country such delay as this course would involve would be the deathblow to all hopes founded upon them. The pacification of the country should be as speedy as practicable, to the end that the authorities of the States may enter upon the establishment and maintenance of law and order. Negotiations for this purpose can more appropriately follow upon the overwhelming disaster of General Lee than at a future time. The wreck of our hopes results immediately from it. I omit all reference to the details, which must be provided for by the contenidn parties to this agreement, for future consideration.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. R. MALLORY,
Secretary of War.
CHARLOTTE, N. C., April 24, 1865.
General J. E. JOHNSTON,
Greensborough, N. C.:
The Secretary of War has relieved to me the copy you handed to him of the basis of an agreement between yourself and General Sherman. Your action is approved. You will so inform General Sherman, and, if the like authority given by the Government of the United States to complete the arrangement, you will proceed on the basis adopted. Further instructions will be given as to the details of negotiation and the methods of executing the terms of agreement when notified by you of the readiness on the part of the general commanding U. S. forces to proceed with the arrangement.
GREENSBOROUGH, April 24, 1865.
Honorable JOHN C. BRECKINRDIGE,
Secretary of War:
I telegraphed you yesterday that General Sherman informs me that he expected his messenger to return from Washington to-day. Please answer.
J. E. JOHNSTON,