HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Knoxville, East Tenn., January 26, 1864.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose copies of correspondence between General Longstreet and myself upon the subject of the amnesty proclamation.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. FOSTER,
(Copies to Major-General Grant same date.)
[Inclosure No. 1.] HDQRS. CONFEDERATE FORCES EAST TENNESSEE, January 3, 1864.
COMMANDING GENERAL U. S. FORCES EAST TENNESSEE:
SIR: I find the proclamation of President Lincoln of the 8th of December last in circulation in handbills amongst our soldiers.* The immediate object of this circulation appears to be induce our soldiers to quit our ranks and take the oath of allegiance to the United States Government. I presume, however, that the great object and end in view is to hasten the day of peace.
I respectfully suggest for your consideration the property of communicating any views that your Government may have upon this subject through me, rather than by handbills circulated amongst our soldiers.
The few men who may desert under the promise held out in the proclamation cannot be men of character or standing. If they desert their cause, they disgrace themselves in the eyes of God and of men. They can do your cause no good nor can they injure ours. As a great Nation you can accept none but an Honorable peace; as a noble people you could have us accept nothing less.
I submit, therefore, whether the mode that I suggest would not be more likely to lead to an Honorable end than such a circulation of a partial promise of pardon.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
[Inclosure No. 2.] HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, Knoxville, East Tenn., January 7, 1864.
Lieutenant General J. LONGSTREET,
Commanding Confederate Forces in East Tennessee:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated January 3, 1864.
You are correct in the supposition that the great object in view in the circulation of the President's proclamation is to induce those now in rebellion against the Government to lay aside their arms and return to their allegiance as citizens of the United States, thus securing the reunion of States now arrayed in hostility against one another and restoration of peace.
*See Series II, Vol. VI, p.680.