Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/582

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

mitted to have a representation in their Congress was one on which he could promise nothing, but which would be decided by their Congress after our submission had been accepted.

It has not, however, been hitherto stated to you that in the course of the conference at Fortress Monroe a suggestion was made by one of our Commissioners that the objection entertained by Mr. Lincoln to treating with the Government of the Confederacy, or with any separate State, might be avoided by substituting for the usual mode of negotiating through commissioners or other diplomatic agents the method sometimes employed of a military convention to be entered into by the commanding generals of the armies of the two belligerents. This he admitted was a power possessed by him, though it was not thought commensurate with all the questions involved. As he did not accept the suggestions when made, he was afterwards requested to reconsider his conclusion upon the subject of a suspension of hostilities, which he agreed to do, but said that he had maturely considered the plan and had determined that it could not be done. Subsequently, however, an interview with General Longstreet was asked for by General Ord, commanding the enemy's Army of the James, during which General Longstreet was informed by him that there was a possibility of arriving at a satisfactory adjustment of the present unhappy difficulties by means of a military convention, and that if General Lee desired an interview on the subject it would not be declined, provided General Lee had authority to act. This communication was supposed to be the consequence of the suggestion above referred to, and General Lee, according to instructions, wrote to General Grant on the 2d of this month proposing to meet him for conference on the subject, and stating that he was vested with the requisite authority. General Grant's reply stated that he had no authority to accede to the proposed conference; that his power extended only to making a convention on subjects purely of a military character, and that General Ord could only have meant that an interview would not be refused on any subject on which he (General Grant) had the right to act. It thus appears that neither with the Confederate authorities nor the authorities of any State, nor through the commanding generals, will the Government of the United States treat or make any terms or agreement whatever for the cessation of hostilities. There remains, then, for us