surrender in such an event will not be the consequence of any defeat they have received at the hands of the enemy, but is simply, so far as we are concerned, yielding upon the best terms and with a preservation of our military honor to the logic of events. The cause for which we have struggled for four years was a just one at the beginning of the war, and it is as just now. The surrender of our two principal armies east of the Mississippi River will leave me but one course to pursue, viz, to negotiate with Federal commanders and secure such terms as will secure the military honors of all of us, best provide for the future protection of the private rights of my officers and men, and stop the further effusion of blood in what will then be a hopeless cause. By dodging and running from the enemy we might prolong the war in this department for ten days or two weeks, and at the expiration of that time be compelled to accept the consequences of an unconditional surrender, after the useless loss of perhaps many valuable lives, the destruction of stores, and the devastation of the country. If I see the slightest hope of withdrawing my army, or any considerable portion of it, at any coast, to some other field of operations, and then prolong the struggle with the shadow of a chance of final success, I will most certainly make the attempt. In the present condition of affairs such an attempt will not only be useless, but criminal on my part. General Hod, after fully ascertaining the real condition of affairs and the stage of watering the Mississippi River (that stream now averaging a width of thirty-five miles), agreed with me in the opinion that no considerable portion of my army could be crossed to the Trans-Mississippi Department; that individuals may occasionally succeed in crossing, but to cross an army or organized body of troops, even a company with its arms, is simply impossible. General hood, before leaving here, told me he agreed with me fully as to the proposed surrender alluded to, and would, upon reaching the trans-Mississippi, advise the commanders there to adopt the same course that I have marked out for myself.
To secure the proper observation of terms granted, it is the interest of every man in this army to faithfully perform his duties as a soldier, one of the most important of which is to guard religiously the public stores so that the same may be properly and honestly turned over to the U. S. authorities. Besides, this is a matter upon which is staked the military and individual honor of every officer and man among us. I wish you to say to the troops that I intend, in the event of having to surrender, they shall all have transportation and subsistence to their homes, free of cost; that they shall be subjected to no degradation or insult in going to their homes, and to no molestation after reaching there. To obtain the benefits of these terms they must remain at their post of duty until property relieved and paroled; their arms will be turned in the Confederate ordnance officers. Their paroles given to them by their own officers. There will be no formal surrender in presence of the enemy's forces. The only force of the enemy that will come amongst us will be the necessary guards for public properly. They will relieve the Confederate guards now guarding that property just as any ordinary guard is relieved. Say to the troops that in being transported to their homes no Federal guard will be put over them, and that their private rights and property, and their honor and feelings, as soldiers and men, will be as zealously protected by me as I would protect my own. Say to them that their fate will be mine. Say to them, also, to remember the duty they owe to our defenseless Southern women and children, whose homes and happiness will be ruined if the struggle, which in the supposed contingency will have