Page images

lished in his newspapers that if we would consent to the exchange of negroes, all difficulties might be removed. This is reported as an effort of his to get himself whitewashed by holding intercourse with gentlemen. If an exchange could be effected, I don't know but I might be induced to recognize Butler. But in the future every effort will be given, as far as possible, to effect the end. We want our soldiers in the field, and we want the sick and wounded to return home. It is not proper for me to speak of the number of men in the field, but this I will say, that two thirds of our men are absent, some sick, some wounded, but most of them absent without leave. The man who repents and goes back to his commander voluntarily, appeals strongly to executive clemency. But suppose he stays away until the war is over, and his comrades return home, and when every man's history will be told, where will he shield himself? It is upon these reflections that I rely to make them return to their duty, but after conferring with our Generals at headquarters, if there be any other remedy it shall be applied. I love my friends, and I forgive my enemies. I have been asked to send reinforcements from Virginia to Georgia. In Virginia the disparity in numbers is just as great as it is in Georgia. Then, I have been asked why the army sent to the Shenandoah Valley was not sent here? It was because an army of the enemy had penetrated that valley to the very gates of Lynchburg, and General Early was sent to drive them back. This he not only successfully did, but, crossing the Potomac, came well-nigh capturing Washington itself, and caused Grant to send two corps of his army to protect it. This the enemy denominated a raid. If so, Sherman's march into Georgia is a raid. What would prevent them now, if Early was withdrawn, from taking Lynchburg, and putting a complete cordon of men around Richmond? I counselled with the great and grave soldier, General Lee, upon all these points. My mind

roamed over the whole field. With this we can succeed. If one half the men now absent without leave, will return to duty, we can defeat the enemy. With that hope I am going to the front. I may not realize this hope, but I know there are men there who have looked death in the face too often to despond now. Let no one despond. Let no one distrust; and remember that if justice is the beau ideal, hope is the reality.

Doc. 25.


NEW MADRID, Mo., August 7.

To Brigadier-General Ewing:

Have been out seventeen days with a battalion of the Second Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, under Lieutenant-Colonel Heller, detachments of the Second and Third, under Major

Wilson, and of the First and Sixth Missouri Cavalry Volunteers, under Captain Prewitt.

I had skirmishes with guerillas and bushwhackers, in Mississippi, Stoddard, New Madrid, Pemiscot and Duncan counties, Arkansas, killing considerable numbers of them.

We had quite a brisk running fight at Osceola, Arkansas, on the second instant, with Bowen's and McVaigh's companies, of Shelby's command. We captured their camp, killing seven, and took twenty-five prisoners, including Captain Bowen, their commander.

On the fourth, at Elksehula, we fought the Second Missouri rebel cavalry, and Conyer's Guthrie's and Darnell's bands of guerrillas, all under the command of Colonel Cowan. We routed them completely, killed and mortally wounded about thirty, and slightly wounded (those who escaped in the swamps, as I am informed by prisoners subsequently captured), between thirty and forty, and took twenty-eight prisoners.

We lost Captain Francis, Third cavalry, Missouri State Militia, mortally wounded, and two others slightly wounded. We have killed in all full fifty rebel soldiers and bushwhackers, including one Captain and three Lieutenants, wounded between thirty and forty we know of, and took fifty-seven prisoners, including two Captains.

We also captured full two hundred stand of arms, and over two hundred horses and mules. JOHN L. BURRUS,

Colonel commanding the Expedition.

[blocks in formation]

1. The attention of commanding officers of departments, districts, military posts, and detachments, is called to the following paragraph in the Proclamation of the President, dated the twentysixth of March, 1864, defining the cases in which insurgent enemies are entitled to the benefits of the Amnesty Proclamation of the eighth of December, 1863:

"It (the amnesty) does apply only to those persons who, being yet at large and free from any arrest, confinement or duress, shall voluntarily come forward and take the said oath, with the purpose of restoring peace and establishing the national authority."

From various departments and districts information has been received by this department that insurgent enemies in the States of Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri, have endeavored, fraudulently and treacherously, to obtain the benefits of the President's amnesty by taking the prescribed oath, without any purpose of restoring peace and establishing the national authority, but for the purpose of preserving their property from the penalty of their crimes, or of screening themselves from punishment for the commission

of arson, robbery, treason and murder. All commanders of departments, districts, posts and detachments, and all officers in the military service, are directed to use the utmost diligence in detecting and bringing to punishment all insurgent enemies who have been or may be guilty of fraudulently and treacherously taking the oath prescribed by the President's Proclamation for any other purpose than that of "restoring peace and establishing the national authority," and they will treat such oath, when fraudulently and treacherously taken, as not entitling the guilty parties to any clemency, but as being in itself a substantive offence against the Government, and as affording no protection to the individuals by whom it has been or may be taken, either in their persons or property, and as depriving them of all claim to immunity, protection or clemency. 2. Commanders of departments and districts are also authorized to prescribe such rules and regulations in respect to the administration of said oath in future, as may be needed to prevent the improper administration of said oath to persons taking it for any other than the "purpose of restoring peace and establishing the national authority." To all persons who have or shall voluntarily come forward and take the oath, "with the purpose of restoring peace and establishing the national authority," full protection, and all the benefits of the Amnesty Proclamation will be extended.

3. Commanders and all military officers will exercise strict vigilance within their respective commands, in order to detect and bring to punishment any officer, civil, military or naval, who knowingly and wilfully has administered or shall administer the said oath to any person or persons, except the insurgent enemies, who are, by the proclamation of the twenty-sixth of March, entitled to the benefits of said amnesty proclamation, by reason of their taking the oath for the purpose of restoring peace and establishing the national authority."


By order of the Secretary of War.

E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Doc. 27.



SIR: Numerous publications which have recently appeared in the journals of the United States on the subject of informal overtures for peace between two Federations of States now at war on this Continent render it desirable that you should be fully advised of the views and policy of this Government on a matter of such paramount importance. It is likewise proper that you should be accurately informed of what has occurred on the several occasions mentioned in the published statements.*

See page 79 Ante.

You have heretofore been furnished with copies of the manifesto issued by the Congress of the Confederate States, with the approval of the President, on the fourteenth of June last, and have, doubtless, acted in conformity with the resolution which requested that copies of this manifesto should be laid before foreign Governments. "The principles, sentiments, and purposes, by which these States have been, and are still actuated," are set forth in that paper with all the authority due to the solemn declaration of the legislative and executive departments of this Government, and with a clearness which leaves no room for comment or explanation. In a few sentences it is pointed out that all we ask is non-interference with our internal peace and prosperity," and to be left in the undisturbed enjoyment of those inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which our common ancestors declared to be the equal heritage of all parties to the social compact. Let them forbear aggressions upon us, and the war is at an end. If there be questions which require adjustment by negotiation, we have ever been willing, and are still willing, to enter into communication with our adversaries in a spirit of peace, of equality, and manly frankness."

The manifesto closed with the declaration that "we commit our cause to the enlightened judgment of the world, to the sober reflections of our adversaries themselves, and to the solemn and righteous arbitrament of Heaven."

Within a few weeks after the publication of this manifesto, it seemed to have met with a response from President Lincoln. In the early part of last month, a letter was received by General Lee from Lieutenant-General Grant, in the following words:

CITY POINT, VA., Aug. 8, 1864.

General R. E. Lee, commanding Confederate
Forces, near Petersburg, Va.:

GENERAL: I would request that Colonel Jaques, Seventy-third Illinois volunteer infantry, and J. R. Gilmore, Esq., be allowed to meet Colonel Robert Ould, Commissioner for the exchange of prisoners, at such place between the lines of the two armies as you may designate. The object of the meeting is legitimate with the duties of Colonel Ould as Commissioner.

If not consistent for you to grant the request here asked, I would beg that this be referred to President Davis for his action.

Requesting as early an answer to this communication as you may find it convenient to make, I subscribe myself,

Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Lieutenant-General U. S. A,

On the reference of this letter to the President, he authorized Colonel Ould to meet the persons named in General Grant's letter; and

Colonel Ould, after seeing them, returned to Richmond and reported to the President, in the presence of the Secretary of War and myself, that Messrs. Jaques and Gilmore had not said anything to him about his duties as commissioner for exchange of prisoners, but that they asked permission to come to Richmond for the purpose of seeing the President; that they came with the knowledge and approval of President Lincoln, and under his pass; that they were informal messengers, sent with a view of paving the way for a meeting of formal commissioners authorized to negotiate for peace, and desired to communicate to President Davis the views of Mr. Lincoln, and to obtain the President's views in return, so as to arrange for a meeting of commissioners. Colonel Ould stated that he had told them repeatedly that it was useless to come to Richmond to talk of peace on any other terms than the recognized independence of the Confederacy, to which they said that they were aware of that, and that they were, nevertheless, confident that their interview would result in peace. The President, on this report of Colonel Ould, determined to permit them to come to Richmond under his charge.

On the evening of the sixteenth of July, Colonel Ould conducted these gentlemen to a hotel in Richmond, where a room was provided for them, in which they were to remain under surveillance during their stay here, and the next morning I received the following letter:

SPOTTSWOOD HOUSE, RICHMOND, VA., July 17, 1864. Hon. J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of State of Confederate States of America:

DEAR SIR: The undersigned, James F. Jaques of Illinois, and James R. Gilmore, of Massachusetts, most respectfully solicit an interview with President Davis. They visit Richmond as private citizens, and have no official character or authority; but they are fully possessed of the views of the United States Government relative to an adjustment of the differences now existing between the North and the South, and have little doubt that a free interchange of views between President Davis and themselves would open the way to such official negotiations as would ultimate in restoring PEACE to the two sections of our distracted country.

They therefore ask an interview with the President, and, awaiting your reply, are, Most truly and respectfully, Your obedient servants, JAMES F. JAQUES,


The word "official" is underscored, and the word "peace" doubly underscored, in the original.

After perusing the letter, I invited Colonel Ould to conduct the writers to my office; and on their arrival stated to them that they must be conscious they could not be admitted to an in

terview with the President without informing me more fully of the object of their mission, and satisfying me that they came by request of Mr. Lincoln.

Mr. Gilmore replied that they came unofficially, but with the knowledge, and at the desire, of Mr. Lincoln; that they thought the war had gone far enough; that it could never end except by some sort of agreement; that the agreement might as well be made now as after further bloodshed; that they knew by the recent address of the Confederate Congress that we were willing to make peace; that they admitted that proposals ought to come from the North, and that they were prepared to make these proposals by Mr. Lincoln's authority; that it was necessary to have a sort of informal understanding in advance of regular negotiations, for if commissioners were appointed without some such understanding, they would meet, quarrel, and separate, leaving the parties more bitter against each other than before; that they knew Mr. Lincoln's views, and would state them if pressed by the President to do so, and desired to learn his in return.

I again insisted on some evidence that they came from Mr. Lincoln; and in order to satisfy me, Mr. Gilmore referred to the fact that permission for their coming through our lines had been asked officially by General Grant in a letter to General Lee, and that General Grant in that letter had asked that this request should be preferred to President Davis. Mr. Gilmore then showed me a card, written and signed by Mr. Lincoln, requesting General Grant to aid Mr. Gilmore and friend in passing through his lines into the Confederacy. Colonel Jaques then said that his name was not put on the card for the reason that it was earnestly desired that their visit should be kept secret; that he had come into the Confederacy a year ago, and had visited Petersburg on a similar errand; and that it was feared if his name should become known, that some of those who had formerly met him in Petersburg would conjecture the purpose for which he now came. He said that the terms of peace which they would offer to the President would be honorable to the Confederacy; that they did not desire that the Confederacy should accept any other terms, but would be glad to have my promise, as they gave theirs, that their visit should be kept a profound secret if it fail to result in peace; that it would not be just that either party should seek any advantage by divulging the fact of their overture for peace, if unsuccessful. I assented to this request, and then rising, said: "Do I understand you to state distinctly that you come as messengers from Mr. Lincoln for the purpose of agreeing with the President as to the proper mode of inaugurating a formal negotiation for peace, charged by Mr. Lincoln with authority for stating his own views and receiving those of President Davis?" Both answered in the affirmative, and I then said that the President would see them at my office the same evening, at nine P. M.; that, at least,

I presumed he would; but if he objected, after hearing my report, they should be informed. They were then recommitted to the charge of Colonel Ould, with the understanding that they were to be reconducted to my office at the appointed hour, unless otherwise directed.

views, that it was out of the power of the Confederate Government to act on the subject of the domestic institutions of the several States, each State having exclusive jurisdiction on that point; still less to commit the decision of such a question to the vote of a foreign people; that the separation of the States was an accomplished fact; that he had no authority to receive proposals for negotiation, except by virtue of his office as President of an independent Confederacy; and on this basis alone must proposals be made to him.

The interview, connected with the report previously made by Colonel Ould, left on my mind the decided impression that Mr. Lincoln was averse to sending formal commissioners to open negotiations, lest he might thereby be deemed to have recognized the independence of the Confederacy, and that he was anxious to At one period of the conversation, Mr. Gilmore learn whether the conditions on which alone he made use of some language referring to these would be willing to take such a step would be States as "rebels," while rendering an account yielded by the Confederacy; that with this view of Mr. Lincoln's views, and apologized for the he had placed his messengers in a condition to word. The President desired him to proceed, satisfy us that they really came from him, with- that no offence was taken, and that he wished out committing himself to anything in the event Mr. Lincoln's language to be repeated to him as of a disagreement as to such conditions as he exactly as possible. Some further conversation considered to be indispensable. On informing took place substantially to the same effect as the the President, therefore, of my conclusions, he foregoing, when the President rose, to indicate determined that no question of form or etiquette that the interview was at an end. The two genshould be an obstacle to his receiving any over-tlemen were then recommitted to the charge of tures that promised, however remotely, to result in putting an end to the carnage which marked the continuance of hostilities.

The President came to my office at nine o'clock in the evening, and Colonel Ould came a few moments later, with Messrs Jaques and Gilmore. The President said to them that he had heard from me that they came as messengers of peace from Mr. Lincoln; that as such they were welcome; that the Confederacy had never concealed its desire for peace; and that he was ready to hear whatever they had to offer on that subject.

Colonel Ould, and left Richmond the next day.

This account of the visit of Messrs. Gilmore and Jaques to Richmond, has been rendered necessary by publications made by one or both of them since their return to the United States, notwithstanding the agreement that their visit was to be kept secret. They have, perhaps, concluded that, as the promise of secrecy was made at their request, it was permissible to disregard it. We had no reason for desiring to conceal what occurred, and have, therefore, no complaint to make of the publicity given to the fact of the visit. The extreme inaccuracy of Mr. Gilmore's narrative will be apparent to you from the foregoing statement.

Mr. Gilmore then addressed the President, and in a few minutes had conveyed the information that these two gentlemen had come to You have no doubt seen in the Northern Richmond impressed with the idea that this papers an account of another conference on the Government would accept a peace on a basis of subject of peace, which took place in Canada, at a reconstruction of the Union, the abolition of about the same date, between Messrs. C. C. Clay slavery, and the grant of an amnesty to the peo- and J. P. Holcombe, Confederate citizens of the ple of the States as repentant criminals. In order highest character and position, and Mr. Horace to accomplish the abolition of slavery, it was Greeley, of New York, acting with authority of proposed that there should be a general vote of President Lincoln. It is deemed not improper all the people of both federations in mass, and to inform you that Messrs. Clay and Holcombe, the majority of the vote thus taken was to de- although enjoying in an eminent degree the contermine that as well as all other disputed ques-fidence and esteem of the President, were tions. These were stated to be Mr. Lincoln's views. The President answered that as these proposals had been prefaced by the remark that the people of the North were a majority, and that a majority ought to govern, the offer was, in effect, a proposal that the Confederate States should surrender at discretion, admit that they had been wrong from the beginning of the contest, submit to the mercy of their enemies, and avow themselves to be in need of pardon for their crimes; that extermination was preferable to dishonor.

strictly accurate in their statement that they were without any authority from this Government to treat with that of the United States on any subject whatever.

We had no knowledge of their conference with Mr. Greeley, nor of their proposed visit to Washington, till we saw the newspaper publications. A significant confirmation of the truth of the statement of Messrs. Gilmore and Jaques, that they came as messengers from Mr. Lincoln, is to be found in the fact that the views of Mr. Lincoln, as stated by them to the President, are in exact He stated that if they were themselves so conformity with the offensive paper addressed unacquainted with the form of their own Gov-to" Whom it may concern," which was sent by ernment as to make such propositions, Mr. Lin- Mr. Lincoln to Messrs. Clay and Holcombe by coln ought to have known, when giving them his the hands of his private secretary, Mr. Hay, and

[blocks in formation]

July 9.-Clear. To town; stacked arms and levied black mail to the tune of $60,000. We expect to fight at or near Frederick this morning; but little secesh proclivities-people all scared, doors all closed, and no talk for you at all; girls very different from ours-don't like them, though they may improve on acquaint

New Market, Va., Saturday, July 1, 1864.—ance. Made Frederick City; Yanks fell back Daylight, start through Edinburg; rest about one hour; took bath at High Bridge; through Woodstock, encamped; made 21 miles; hot, tired, and heartily sick of infantry; start at daylight.

July 2.-Through Strasburg, straggled and got a good dinner; encamped near Middletown. July 3.-Daylight start, through New Town, Kern's Town, Mill Town, and Winchester; encamped near Darkeville.

July 4-Start to Martinburg; Yanks had left in a hurry; lots of plunder; rested, and then on to Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; tore it up considerable; dreadful tired, all but worn out; still hot and dusty.

July 5.-Clear. Into line and marched against the enemy; countermarched, as they had fallen back; drew coffee, lager beer, candy, &c. 10 A. M., took road and marched to Potomac River, near Sheppardstown; waded it, and encamped at Sharpsburg. Onions, &c.; many excesses; troops charged a place where there was liquor; lots of 'em got drunk, necessitating heavy guard duty and stringent orders.

July 6.-Clear-still no rain; rest; T. Stuart makes raise from Ld.; we are now on the field of Antietam; ration of whisky issued, being the second I have known in over three years' service; drew one month's pay (the officers only) for November, '63, yesterday; no use to us here, "Confed. won't go;" good living; coffee, ham, whisky and wine in infinitesimally small doses. 5 P. M., marched; made foot of Maryland Heights about 11 P. M.

July 7-Cannonading all night; daylight start; we are now in position as reserve; sharp fighting going on immediately in front; shells coming unpleasantly near every once in awhile; passed over a man's foot on our road, just now taken off by a cannon ball; suppose we are about one mile from their works; Harper's Ferry; dark; moved out, over mountain, to Rollersville, by 2 A. M.; rain; rough, and very dark; Captain Singleton left behind.

July 8-Clear. Captain got in, narrowly escaping capture. Three men marched around town carrying rails and placards on their backs, marked "Thief," for pilfering. 7 A. M., marched to a shade then to town; had passed through

as we advanced, and gave us battle on Monocacy River; we, the reserve, were not engaged, but lay close up until they retreated, when we soon put in pursuit. Counter-marched back through Frederick (a handsome, clean, and I should think, wealthy place; so old Jubal thought, for he made them shell out $250,000), and on to battle-field; saw plenty of dead and wounded Yanks lying about. Our loss must have been considerable from the number of ambulances with wounded and wagons with the dead which we met on their way to Frederick. Took up 12

P. M.

July 10-Daylight start; our battalion as advanced guard; found a Colt's army repeater, No. 47,868, under a dead horse; marched beyond encampment—had to come back-making our march about twenty-six miles. The inhabitants are badly scared; our cavalry are driving all before them, and we have to make forced marches to keep within supporting distance. We now know that Washington is our destination, and we are only twenty miles from it. Saw Generals Early, Breckinridge, Elzey, Echols, and Vaughan to-day.

July 11.—Into line at 4 A. M., and now lying here; expect to get to Georgetown to-day. The band is now enlivening us; we have just had a hasty, but good breakfast of coffee, sugar, butter, and bread; started about 11 A. M.; we, as rear, are making slow speed through Rockville; cannonading all day. Our forces have driven the enemy into their works, and given them seven hours in which to surrender. We are about five miles from the Capital; our cavalry is in Georgetown, and Early's corps have been hammering away at the White House for some hours, and still we hold Richmond." It is reported that Abraham has fled from the wrath to come, but whither no man knoweth, that is, the Confederate army. Hottest day we have experienced.

July 12.-Clear; all quiet; occasionally the report of cannon breaks the monotony; my dirk-knife and tobacco disappear; washed my shirt, slips, and socks, mended my wardrobe generally, making suitable preparations for my entrée into the capital; drew for shoes; will either have to take Washington to-night or get

« PreviousContinue »