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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/226

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218 Southern Historical Society Papers.

partner and afterwards aide-de-camp, who sent it to me to identify, which I readily did. Mangum afterwards placed it in the hands of General Marcus J. Wright, agent of the War Department, for col- lection of Confederate records, and it was this paper I was called upon to authenticate, the reason for which being that as it is a copy and not an original, some such official certification was desirable.


A short while before his death, on the fatal field of Franklin, Cle- burne had the gratification of knowing that a bill, embodying ex- actly his proposition, was advocated upon the floor of the Confede- rate Congress. This was subsequently passed and became a law, by executive approval.

It is scarcely a matter of speculation to tell what the result of this measure would have been, had it gone promptly into effect early in the spring of 1864. General Hood, whose opinion is entitled to weight, probably states it correctly in his book, Advance and Re- treat (page 296), when referring to Cleburne, says: " He was a man of equally quick perception and strong character, and was, especially in one respect, in advance of many of our people. He possessed the boldness and wisdom to earnestly advocate at an early period of the war the freedom of the negro and enrollment of the young and able-bodied men of that race. This stroke of policy and additional source of strength to our armies would, in my opinion, have given us our independence."


Former Assistant Adjutant-General Cleburne's Division, Hardee's Corps, Army of Tennessee.

THE PAPER IN QUESTION. Here is the document referred to:

To the Commanding General, the Corps, Division, Brigade,

and Regimental Commanders of the Army of Tennessee:

GENERAL, Moved by the exigency in which our country is now placed, we take the liberty of laying before you, unofficially, our views on the present state of affairs. The subject is so grave and our, views so new, we feel it a duty both to you and the cause that before going further we should submit them for your judgment, and receive your suggestions in regard to them. We, therefore, respect-