Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/269

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Efforts For Reconstruction.

prominence in the country did so. I had determined to do so for weeks before. I had advised others to do so. I had expressed my opinion fully and repeatedly to the Executive and to members of the Legislative government that the Confederate States could not carry on their war; that peace should be made, and that the fall of Richmond (which was inevitable) would terminate the war. A letter written by me to Gen. Breckinridge, then Secretary of War. and submitted to Mr. Davis, Gen. Lee. and read to a number of members of Congress, dated 6 March, 1865, is in existence to substantiate this assertion.

I remained in Richmond to submit to the authority of the U. S., upon a full conviction that the Confederate government could not sustain itself.

On the 4th April, I reported to Gen. Shepley, the Governor of Richmond, and told him that I came to submit, and he gave me a printed order from protection from arrest. In the course of this interview he spoke of arrangements for the government of Virginia. I told him that the war was virtually ended and that the question was, as to the pacification and settlement of the country. That the election of Governor and of a government for the State was a difficult and invidious task and I recommended him to call to the aid of the U. S., men of the character and class of Mr. Hunter, in consultation—moderate and influential men who were satisfied that submission was a duty and a necessity. He was impressed with the counsel and communicated in. a telegram to President Lincoln the recommendation. I have it thus that Mr. Lincoln was at City Point, and I said 1 should be glad to see him. The same p. m. (I think) Mr. Lincoln arrived in Richmond and Gen. Weitzel's staff officer came to my home and said Mr. L. was there and would see me.

Our interview was in presence of Gen'l Weitzel. I told Mr. Lincoln that I had no commission from the Confederate government; that it was known to Gen. Breckinridge that I should remain in Richmond, and that I should seek an interview with him,: that I had no permission to do so, nor was I prohibited. I told him that I regarded the war to be at an end, that the most influential of the public men of Virginia would aid in the settlement of peace and I urged him to convene them for the purpose. I stated to him that I had regarded the war as a sec-