The Day of the Confederacy - A Chronicle of the Embattled South, Volume 30 In The - Chronicles Of America Series
by Nathaniel W. Stephenson
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The Richmond Government was unable to detach any considerable force from the northern front. Its contribution to the forces in Georgia was accomplished by such pathetic means as a general order calling to the colors all soldiers furloughed or in hospital, "except those unable to travel"; by revoking all exemptions to farmers, planters, and mechanics, except munitions workers; and by placing one-fifth of the ordnance and mining bureau in the battle service.

All the world knows how futile were these endeavors to stop the whirlwind of desolation that was Sherman's march. He spent his Christmas Day in Savannah. Then the center of gravity shifted from Georgia to South Carolina. Throughout the two desperate months that closed 1864 the authorities of South Carolina had vainly sought for help from Richmond. Twice the Governor made official request for the return to South Carolina of some of her own troops who were at the front in Virginia. Davis first evaded and then refused the request. Lee had informed him that if the forces on the northern front were reduced, the evacuation of Richmond would become inevitable.

The South Carolina Government, in December, 1864, seems to have concluded that the State must save itself. A State Conscription Act was passed placing all white males between the ages of sixteen and sixty at the disposal of the state authorities for emergency duty. An Exemption Act set forth a long list of persons who should not be liable to conscription by the Confederate Government. Still a third act regulated the impressment of slaves for work on fortifications so as to enable the state authorities to hold a check upon the Confederate authorities. The significance of the three statutes was interpreted by a South Carolina soldier, General John S. Preston, in a letter to the Secretary of War that was a wail of despair. "This legislation is an explicit declaration that this State does not intend to contribute another soldier or slave to the public defense, except on such terms its may be dictated by her authorities. The example will speedily be followed by North Carolina and Georgia, the Executives of those States having already assumed the position."

The division between the two parties in South Carolina had now become bitter. To Preston the men behind the State Exemption Act appeared as "designing knaves." The Mercury, on the other hand, was never more relentless toward Davis than in the winter of 1864-1865. However, none or almost none of the anti-Davis men in South Carolina made the least suggestion of giving up the struggle. To fight to the end but also to act as a check upon the central Government—as the new Governor, Andrew G. Magrath, said in his inaugural address in December, 1864,—was the aim of the dominant party in South Carolina. How far the State Government and the Confederate Government had drifted apart is shown by two comments which were made in January, 1865. Lee complained that the South Carolina regiments, "much reduced by hard service," were not being recruited up to their proper strength because of the measures adopted in the southeastern States to retain conscripts at home. About the same date the Mercury arraigned Davis for leaving South Carolina defenseless in the face of Sherman's coming offensive, and asked whether Davis intended to surrender the Confederacy.

And in the midst of this critical period, the labor problem pushed to the fore again. The revocation of industrial details, necessary as it was, had put almost the whole male population—in theory, at least—in the general Confederate army. How far-reaching was the effect of this order may be judged from the experience of the Columbia and Augusta Railroad Company. This road was building through the interior of the State a new line which was rendered imperatively necessary by Sherman's seizure of the lines terminating at Savannah. The effect of the revocation order on the work in progress was described by the president of the road in a letter to the Secretary of War:

"In July and August I made a fair beginning and by October we had about 600 hands. General Order No. 77 took off many of our contractors and hands. We still had increased the number of hands to about 400 when Sherman started from Atlanta. The military authorities of Augusta took about 300 of them to fortify that city. These contractors being from Georgia returned with their slaves to their homes after being discharged at Augusta. We still have between 500 and 600 hands at work and are adding to the force every week.

"The great difficulty has been in getting contractors exempt or definitely detailed since Order No. 77. I have not exceeded eight or nine contractors now detailed. The rest are exempt from other causes or over age."

It was against such a background of economic confusion that Magrath wrote to the Governor of North Carolina making a revolutionary proposal. Virtually admitting that the Confederacy had been shattered, and knowing the disposition of those in authority to see only the military aspects of any given situation, he prophesied two things: that the generals would soon attempt to withdraw Lee's army south of Virginia, and that the Virginia troops in that army would refuse to go. "It is natural under the circumstances," said he, "that they would not." He would prepare for this emergency by an agreement among the Southeastern and Gulf States to act together irrespective of Richmond, and would thus weld the military power of these States into "a compact and organized mass."

Governor Vance, with unconscious subtlety, etched a portrait of his own mind when he replied that the crisis demanded "particularly the skill of the politician perhaps more than that of the great general." He adroitly evaded saying what he really thought of the situation but he made two explicit counter-proposals. He suggested that a demand should be made for the restoration of General Johnston and for the appointment of General Lee to "full and absolute command of all the forces of the Confederacy." On the day on which Vance wrote to Magrath, the Mercury lifted up its voice and cried out for a Lee to take charge of the Government and save the Confederacy. About the same time Cobb wrote to Davis in the most friendly way, warning him that he had scarcely a supporter left in Georgia, and that, in view of the great popular reaction in favor of Johnston, concessions to the opposition were an imperative necessity. "By accident," said he, "I have become possessed of the facts in connection with the proposed action of the Governors of certain States." He disavowed any sympathy with the movement but warned Davis that it was a serious menace.

Two other intrigues added to the general political confusion. One of these, the "Peace Movement," will be considered in the next chapter. The other was closely connected with the alleged conspiracy to depose Davis and set up Lee as dictator. If the traditional story, accepted by able historians, may be believed, William C. Rives, of the Confederate Congress, carried in January, 1865, to Lee from a congressional cabal an invitation to accept the role of Cromwell. The greatest difficulty in the way of accepting the tradition is the extreme improbability that any one who knew anything of Lee would have been so foolish as to make such a proposal. Needless to add, the tradition includes Lee's refusal to overturn the Government. There can be no doubt, however, that all the enemies of Davis in Congress and out of it, in the opening months of 1865, made a determined series of attacks upon his Administration. Nor can there be any doubt that the popular faith in Lee was used as their trump card. To that end, a bill was introduced to create the office of commanding general of the Confederate armies. The bill was generally applauded, and every one assumed that the new office was to be given to Lee. On the day after the bill had passed the Senate the Virginia Legislature resolved that the appointment of General Lee to supreme command would "reanimate the spirit of the armies as well as the people of the several States and... inspire increased confidence in the final success of the cause." When the bill was sent to the President, it was accompanied by a resolution asking him to restore Johnston. While Davis was considering this bill, the Virginia delegation in the House, headed by the Speaker, Thomas S. Bocock, waited upon the President, informed him what was really wanted was a change of Cabinet, and told him that three-fourths of the House would support a resolution of want of confidence in the Cabinet. The next day Bocock repeated the demand in a note which Davis described as a "warning if not a threat."

The situation of both President and country was now desperate. The program with which the Government had entered so hopefully upon this fated year had broken down at almost every point. In addition to the military and administrative disasters, the financial and economic situation was as bad as possible. So complete was the financial breakdown that Secretary Memminger, utterly disheartened, had resigned his office, and the Treasury was now administered by a Charleston merchant, George A. Trenholm. But the financial chaos was wholly beyond his control. The government notes reckoned in gold were worth about three cents on the dollar. The Government itself avoided accepting them. It even bought up United States currency and used it in transacting the business of the army. The extent of the financial collapse was to be measured by such incidents as the following which is recounted in a report that had passed under Davis's eye only a few weeks before the "threat" of Bocock was uttered: "Those holding the four per cent certificates complain that the Government as far as possible discredits them. Fractions of hundreds cannot be paid with them. I saw a widow lady, a few days since, offer to pay her taxes of $1,271.31 with a certificate of $1,300. The tax-gatherer refused to give her the change of $28.69. She then offered the whole certificate for the taxes. This was refused. This apparent injustice touched her far more than the amount of the taxes."

A letter addressed to the President from Griffin, Georgia, contained this dreary picture:

"Unless something is done and that speedily, there will be thousands of the best citizens of the State and heretofore as loyal as any in the Confederacy, that will not care one cent which army is victorious in Georgia.... Since August last there have been thousands of cavalry and wagon trains feeding upon our cornfields and for which our quartermasters and officers in command of trains, regiments, battalions, companies, and squads, have been giving the farmers receipts, and we were all told these receipts would pay our government taxes and tithing; and yet not one of them will be taken by our collector.... And yet we are threatened with having our lands sold for taxes. Our scrip for corn used by our generals will not be taken.... How is it that we have certified claims upon our Government, past due ten months, and when we enter the quartermaster's office we see placed up conspicuously in large letters "no funds." Some of these said quartermasters [who] four years ago were not worth the clothes upon their backs, are now large dealers in lands, negroes, and real estate."

There was almost universal complaint that government contractors were speculating in supplies and that the Impressment Law was used by officials to cover their robbery of both the Government and the people. Allowing for all the panic of the moment, one is forced to conclude that the smoke is too dense not to cover a good deal of fire. In a word, at the very time when local patriotism everywhere was drifting into opposition to the general military command and when Congress was reflecting this widespread loss of confidence, the Government was loudly charged with inability to restrain graft. In all these accusations there was much injustice. Conditions that the Government was powerless to control were cruelly exaggerated, and the motives of the Government were falsified. For all this exaggeration and falsification the press was largely to blame. Moreover, the press, at least in dangerously large proportion, was schooling the people to hold Davis personally responsible for all their suffering. General Bragg was informed in a letter from a correspondent in Mobile that "men have been taught to look upon the President as an inexorably self-willed man who will see the country to the devil before giving up an opinion or a purpose." This deliberate fostering of an anti-Davis spirit might seem less malicious if the fact were not known that many editors detested Davis because of his desire to abolish the exemption of editors from conscription. Their ignoble course brings to mind one of the few sarcasms recorded of Lee—the remark that the great mistake of the South was in making all its best military geniuses editors of newspapers. But it must be added in all fairness that the great opposition journals, such as the Mercury, took up this new issue with the President because they professed to see in his attitude toward the press a determination to suppress freedom of speech, so obsessed was the opposition with the idea that Davis was a monster! Whatever explanations may be offered for the prevalence of graft, the impotence of the Government at Richmond contributed to the general demoralization. In regions like Georgia and Alabama, the Confederacy was now powerless to control its agents. Furthermore, in every effort to assume adequate control of the food situation the Government met the continuous opposition of two groups of opponents—the unscrupulous parasites and the bigots of economic and constitutional theory. Of the activities of the first group, one incident is sufficient to tell the whole story. At Richmond, in the autumn of 1864, the grocers were selling rice at two dollars and a half a pound. It happened that the Governor of Virginia was William Smith, one of the strong men of the Confederacy who has not had his due from the historians. He saw that even under the intolerable conditions of the moment this price was shockingly exorbitant. To remedy matters, the Governor took the State of Virginia into business, bought rice where it was grown, imported it, and sold it in Richmond at fifty cents a pound, with sufficient profit to cover all costs of handling.

Nevertheless, when Smith urged the Virginia Legislature to assume control of business as a temporary measure, he was at once assailed by the second group—those martinets of constitutionalism who would not give up their cherished Anglo-Saxon tradition of complete individualism in government. The Administration lost some of its staunchest supporters the moment its later organ, the Sentinel, began advocating the general regulation of prices. With ruin staring them in the face, these devotees of tradition could only reiterate their ancient formulas, nail their colors to the mast, end go down, satisfied that, if they failed with these principles, they would have failed still more terribly without them. Confronting the practical question how to prevent speculators from charging 400 per cent profit, these men turned grim but did not abandon their theory. In the latter part of 1864 they aligned themselves with the opposition when the government commissioners of impressment fixed an official schedule that boldly and ruthlessly cut under market prices. The attitude of many such people was expressed by the Montgomery Mail when it said:

"The tendency of the age, the march of the American people, is toward monarchy, and unless the tide is stopped we shall reach something worse than monarchy.

"Every step we have taken during the past four years has been in the direction of military despotism.

"Half our laws are unconstitutional."

Another danger of the hour was the melting away of the Confederate army under the very eyes of its commanders. The records showed that there were 100,000 absentees. And though the wrathful officials of the Bureau of Conscription labeled them all "deserters," the term covered great numbers who had gone home to share the sufferings of their families.

Such in brief was the fateful background of the congressional attack upon the Administration in January, 1865. Secretary Seddon, himself a Virginian, believing that he was the main target of the hostility of the Virginia delegation, insisted upon resigning. Davis met this determination with firmness, not to say infatuation, and in spite of the congressional crisis, exhausted every argument to persuade Seddon to remain in office. He denied the right of Congress to control his Cabinet, but he was finally constrained to allow Seddon to retire. The bitterness inspired by these attempts to coerce the President may be gauged by a remark attributed to Mrs. Davis. Speaking of the action of Congress in forcing upon him the new plan for a single commanding general of all the armies, she is said to have exclaimed, "I think I am the proper person to advise Mr. Davis and if I were he, I would die or be hung before I would submit to the humiliation."

Nevertheless the President surrendered to Congress. On January 26, 1865, he signed the bill creating the office of commanding general and at once bestowed the office upon Lee. It must not be supposed, however, that Lee himself had the slightest sympathy with the congressional cabal which had forced upon the President this reorganization of the army. In accepting his new position he pointedly ignored Congress by remarking, "I am indebted alone to the kindness of His Excellency, the President, for my nomination to this high and arduous office."

The popular clamor for the restoration of Johnston had still to be appeased. Disliking Johnston and knowing that the opposition was using a popular general as a club with which to beat himself, Davis hesitated long but in the end yielded to the inevitable. To make the reappointment himself, however, was too humiliating. He left it to the new commander-in-chief, who speedily restored Johnston to command.

Chapter X. Disintegration

While these factions, despite their disagreements, were making valiant efforts to carry on the war, other factions were stealthily cutting the ground from under them. There were two groups of men ripe for disaffection—original Unionists unreconciled to the Confederacy and indifferentists conscripted against their will.

History has been unduly silent about these disaffected men. At the time so real was the belief in state rights that contemporaries were reluctant to admit that any Southerner, once his State had seceded, could fail to be loyal to its commands. Nevertheless in considerable areas—such, for example, as East Tennessee—the majority remained to the end openly for the Union, and there were large regions in the South to which until quite recently the eye of the student had not been turned. They were like deep shadows under mighty trees on the face of a brilliant landscape. When the peasant Unionist who had been forced into the army deserted, however, he found in these shadows a nucleus of desperate men ready to combine with him in opposition to the local authorities.

Thus were formed local bands of free companions who pillaged the civilian population. The desperadoes whom the deserters joined have been described by Professor Dodd as the "neglected byproducts" of the old regime. They were broken white men, or the children of such, of the sort that under other circumstances have congregated in the slums of great cities. Though the South lacked great cities, nevertheless it had its slum—a widespread slum, scattered among its swamps and forests. In these fastnesses were the lowest of the poor whites, in whom hatred of the dominant whites and vengeful malice against the negro burned like slow fires. When almost everywhere the countryside was stripped of its fighting men, these wretches emerged from their swamps and forests, like the Paris rabble emerging from its dens at the opening of the Revolution. But unlike the Frenchmen, they were too sodden to be capable of ideas. Like predatory wild beasts they revenged themselves upon the society that had cast them off, and with utter heartlessness they smote the now defenseless negro. In the old days, with the country well policed, the slaves had been protected against their fury, but war now changed all. The negro villages—or "streets," as the term was—were without arms and without white police within call. They were ravaged by these marauders night after night, and negroes were not the only victims, for in remote districts even murder of the whites became a familiar horror.

The antiwar factions were not necessarily, however, users of violence. There were some men who cherished a dream which they labeled "reconstruction"; and there were certain others who believed in separate state action, still clinging to the illusion that any State had it in its power to escape from war by concluding a separate peace with the United States.

Yet neither of these illusions made much headway in the States that had borne the strain of intellectual leadership. Virginia and South Carolina, though seldom seeing things eye to eye and finally drifting in opposite directions, put but little faith in either "reconstruction" or separate peace. Their leaders had learned the truth about men and nations; they knew that life is a grim business; they knew that war had unloosed passions that had to spend themselves and that could not be talked away.

But there was scattered over the Confederacy a population which lacked experience of the world and which included in the main those small farmers and semi-peasants who under the old regime were released from the burden of taxation and at the same time excluded from the benefits of education. Among these people the illusions of the higher classes were reflected without the ballast of mentality. Ready to fight on any provocation, yet circumscribed by their own natures, not understanding life, unable to picture to themselves different types and conditions, these people were as prone as children to confuse the world of their own desire with the world of fact. When hardship came, when taxation fell upon them with a great blow, when the war took a turn that necessitated imagination for its understanding and faith for its pursuit, these people with childlike simplicity immediately became panic-stricken. Like the similar class in the North, they had measureless faith in talk. Hence for them, as for Horace Greeley and many another, sprang up the notion that if only all their sort could be brought together for talk and talk and yet more talk, the Union could be "reconstructed" just as it used to be, and the cruel war would end. Before their eyes, as before Greeley in 1864, danced the fata morgana of a convention of all the States, talking, talking, talking.

The peace illusion centered in North Carolina, where the people were as enthusiastic for state sovereignty as were any Southerners. They had seceded mainly because they felt that this principle had been attacked. Having themselves little if any intention to promote slavery, they nevertheless were prompt to resent interference with the system or with any other Southern institution. Jonathan Worth said that they looked on both abolition and secession as children of the devil, and he put the responsibility for the secession of his State wholly upon Lincoln and his attempt to coerce the lower South. This attitude was probably characteristic of all classes in North Carolina. There also an unusually large percentage of men lacked education and knowledge of the world. We have seen how the first experience with taxation produced instant and violent reaction. The peasant farmers of the western counties and the general mass of the people began to distrust the planter class. They began asking if their allies, the other States, were controlled by that same class which seemed to be crushing them by the exaction of tithes. And then the popular cry was raised: Was there after all anything in the war for the masses in North Carolina? Had they left the frying-pan for the fire? Could they better things by withdrawing from association with their present allies and going back alone into the Union? The delusion that they could do so whenever they pleased and on the old footing seems to have been widespread. One of their catch phrases was "the Constitution as it is and the Union as it was." Throughout 1863, when the agitation against tithes was growing every day, the "conservatives" of North Carolina, as their leaders named them, were drawing together in a definite movement for peace. This project came to a head during the next year in those grim days when Sherman was before Atlanta. Holden, that champion of the opposition to tithes, became a candidate for Governor against Vance, who was standing for reelection. Holden stated his platform in the organ of his party "If the people of North Carolina are for perpetual conscriptions, impressments and seizures to keep up a perpetual, devastating and exhausting war, let them vote for Governor Vance, for he is for'fighting it out now; but if they believe, from the bitter experience of the last three years, that the sword can never end it, and are in favor of steps being taken by the State to urge negotiations by the general government for an honorable and speedy peace, they must vote for Mr. Holden."

As Holden, however, was beaten by a vote that stood about three to one, Governor Vance continued in power, but just what he stood for and just what his supporters understood to be his policy would be hard to say. A year earlier he was for attempting to negotiate peace, but though professing to have come over to the war party he was never a cordial supporter of the Confederacy. In a hundred ways he played upon the strong local distrust of Richmond, and upon the feeling that North Carolina was being exploited in the interests of the remainder of the South. To cripple the efficiency of Confederate conscription was one of his constant aims. Whatever his views of the struggle in which he was engaged, they did not include either an appreciation of Southern nationalism or the strategist's conception of war. Granted that the other States were merely his allies, Vance pursued a course that might justly have aroused their suspicion, for so far as he was able he devoted the resources of the State wholly to the use of its own citizens. The food and the manufactures of North Carolina were to be used solely by its own troops, not by troops of the Confederacy raised in other States. And yet, subsequent to his reelection, he was not a figure in the movement to negotiate peace.

Meanwhile in Georgia, where secession had met with powerful opposition, the policies of the Government had produced discontent not only with the management of the war but with the war itself. And now Alexander H. Stephens becomes, for a season, very nearly the central figure of Confederate history. Early in 1864 the new act suspending the writ of habeas corpus had aroused the wrath of Georgia, and Stephens had become the mouthpiece of the opposition. In an address to the Legislature, he condemned in most exaggerated language not only the Habeas Corpus Act but also the new Conscription Act. Soon afterward he wrote a long letter to Herschel V. Johnson, who, like himself, had been an enemy of secession in 1861. He said that if Johnson doubted that the Habeas Corpus Act was a blow struck at the very "vitals of liberty," then he "would not believe though one were to rise from the dead." In this extraordinary letter Stephens went on "most confidentially" to state his attitude toward Davis thus "While I do not and never have regarded him as a great man or statesman on a large scale, or a man of any marked genius, yet I have regarded him as a man of good intentions, weak and vacillating, timid, petulant, peevish, obstinate, but not firm. Am now beginning to doubt his good intentions.... His whole policy on the organization and discipline of the army is perfectly consistent with the hypothesis that he is aiming at absolute power."

That a man of Stephens's ability should have dealt in fustian like this in the most dreadful moment of Confederate history is a psychological problem that is not easily solved. To be sure, Stephens was an extreme instance of the martinet of constitutionalism. He reminds us of those old-fashioned generals of whom Macaulay said that they preferred to lose a battle according to rule than win it by an exception. Such men find it easy to transform into a bugaboo any one who appears to them to be acting irregularly. Stephens in his own mind had so transformed the President. The enormous difficulties and the wholly abnormal circumstances which surrounded Davis counted with Stephens for nothing at all, and he reasoned about the Administration as if it were operating in a vacuum. Having come to this extraordinary position, Stephens passed easily into a role that verged upon treason. *

* There can be no question that Stephens never did anything which in his own mind was in the least disloyal. And yet it was Stephens who, in the autumn of 1864, was singled out by artful men as a possible figurehead in the conduct of a separate peace negotiation with Sherman. A critic very hostile to Stephens and his faction might here raise the question as to what was at bottom the motive of Governor Brown, in the autumn of 1864, in withdrawing the Georgia militia from Hood's command. Was there something afoot that has never quite revealed itself on the broad pages of history? As ordinarily told, the story is simply that certain desperate Georgians asked Stephens to be their ambassador to Sherman to discuss terms; that Sherman had given them encouragement; but that Stephens avoided the trap, and so nothing came of it. The recently published correspondence of Toombs, Stephens, and Cobb, however, contains one passage that has rather a startling sound. Brown, writing to Stephens regarding his letter refusing to meet Sherman, says, "It keeps the door open and I think this is wise." At the same time he made a public statement that "Georgia has power to act independently but her faith is pledged by implication to her Southern sisters... will triumph with her Southern sisters or sink with them in common ruin." It is still to be discovered what "door" Stephens was supposed to have kept open. Peace talk was now in the air, and especially was there chatter about reconstruction. The illusionists seemed unable to perceive that the reelection of Lincoln had robbed them of their last card. These dreamers did not even pause to wonder why after the terrible successes of the Federal army in Georgia, Lincoln should be expected to reverse his policy and restore the Union with the Southern States on the old footing. The peace mania also invaded South Carolina and was espoused by one of its Congressmen, Mr. Boyce, but he made few converts among his own people. The Mercury scouted the idea; clear- sighted and disillusioned, it saw the only alternatives to be victory or subjugation. Boyce's argument was that the South had already succumbed to military despotism and would have to endure it forever unless it accepted the terms of the invaders. News of Boyce's attitude called forth vigorous protest from the army before Petersburg, and even went so far afield as New York, where it was discussed in the columns of the Herald.

In the midst of the Northern elections, when Davis was hoping great things from the anti-Lincoln men, Stephens had said in print that he believed Davis really wished the Northern peace party defeated, whereupon Davis had written to him demanding reasons for this astounding charge. To the letter, which had missed Stephens at his home and had followed him late in the year to Richmond, Stephens wrote in the middle of December a long reply which is one of the most curious documents in American history. He justified himself upon two grounds. One was a statement which Davis had made in a speech at Columbia, in October, indicating that he was averse to the scheme of certain Northern peace men for a convention of all the States. Stephens insisted that such a convention would have ended the war and secured the independence of the South. Davis cleared himself on this charge by saying that the speech at Columbia "was delivered after the publication of McClellan's letter avowing his purpose to force reunion by war if we declined reconstruction when offered, and therefore warned the people against delusive hopes of peace from any other influence than that to be exerted by the manifestation of an unconquerable spirit."

As Stephens professed to have independence and not reconstruction for his aim, he had missed his mark with this first shot. He fared still worse with the second. During the previous spring a Northern soldier captured in the southeast had appealed for parole on the ground that he was a secret emissary to the President from the peace men of the North. Davis, who did not take him seriously, gave orders to have the case investigated, but Stephens, whose mentality in this period is so curiously overcast, swallowed the prisoner's story without hesitation. He and Davis had a considerable amount of correspondence on the subject. In the fierce tension of the summer of 1864 the War Department went so far as to have the man's character investigated, but the report was unsatisfactory. He was not paroled and died in prison. This episode Stephens now brought forward as evidence that Davis had frustrated an attempt of the Northern peace party to negotiate. Davis contented himself with replying, "I make no comment on this."

The next step in the peace intrigue took place at the opening of the next year, 1865. Stephens attempted to address the Senate on his favorite topic, the wickedness of the suspension of habeas corpus; was halted by a point of parliamentary law; and when the Senate sustained an appeal from his decision, left the chamber in a pique. Hunter, now a Senator, became an envoy to placate him and succeeded in bringing him back. Thereupon Stephens poured out his soul in a furious attack upon the Administration. He ended by submitting resolutions which were just what he might have submitted four years earlier before a gun had been fired, so entirely had his mind crystallized in the stress of war! These resolutions, besides reasserting the full state rights theory, assumed the readiness of the North to make peace and called for a general convention of all the States to draw up some new arrangement on a confessed state rights basis. More than a month before, Lincoln had been reelected on an unequivocal nationalistic platform. And yet Stephens continued to believe that the Northerners did not mean what they said and that in congregated talking lay the magic which would change the world of fact into the world of his own desire.

At this point in the peace intrigue the ambiguous figure of Napoleon the Little reappears, though only to pass ghostlike across the back of the stage. The determination of Northern leaders to oppose Napoleon had suggested to shrewd politicians a possible change of front. That singular member of the Confederate Congress, Henry S. Foote, thought he saw in the Mexican imbroglio means to bring Lincoln to terms. In November he had introduced into the House resolutions which intimated that "it might become the true policy of... the Confederate States to consent to the yielding of the great principle embodied in the Monroe Doctrine." The House referred his resolutions to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and there they slumbered until January.

Meanwhile a Northern politician brought on the specter of Napoleon for a different purpose. Early in January, 1865, Francis P. Blair made a journey to Richmond and proposed to Davis a plan of reconciliation involving the complete abandonment of slavery, the reunion of all the States, and an expedition against Mexico in which Davis was to play the leading role. Davis cautiously refrained from committing himself, though he gave Blair a letter in which he expressed his willingness to enter into negotiations for peace between "the two countries." The visit of Blair gave new impetus to the peace intrigue. The Confederate House Committee on Foreign Affairs reported resolutions favoring an attempt to negotiate with the United States so as to "bring into view" the possibility of cooperation between the United States and the Confederacy to maintain the Monroe Doctrine. The same day saw another singular incident. For some reason that has never been divulged Foote determined to counterbalance Blair's visit to Richmond by a visit of his own to Washington. In attempting to pass through the Confederate lines he was arrested by the military authorities. With this fiasco Foote passes from the stage of history.

The doings of Blair, however, continued to be a topic of general interest throughout January. The military intrigue was now simmering down through the creation of the office of commanding general. The attempt of the congressional opposition to drive the whole Cabinet from office reached a compromise in the single retirement of the Secretary of War. Before the end of the month the peace question was the paramount one before Congress and the country. Newspapers discussed the movements of Blair, apparently with little knowledge, and some of the papers asserted hopefully that peace was within reach. Cooler heads, such as the majority of the Virginia Legislature, rejected this idea as baseless. The Mercury called the peace party the worst enemy of the South. Lee was reported by the Richmond correspondent of the Mercury as not caring a fig for the peace project. Nevertheless the rumor persisted that Blair had offered peace on terms that the Confederacy could accept. Late in the month, Davis appointed Stephens, Hunter, and John A. Campbell commissioners to confer with the Northern authorities with regard to peace.

There followed the famous conference of February 3, 1865, in the cabin of a steamer at Hampton Roads, with Seward and Lincoln. The Confederate commissioners represented two points of view: that of the Administration, unwilling to make peace without independence; and that of the infatuated Stephens who clung to the idea that Lincoln did not mean what he said, and who now urged "an armistice allowing the States to adjust themselves as suited their interests. If it would be to their interests to reunite, they would do so." The refusal of Lincoln to consider either of these points of view—the refusal so clearly foreseen by Davis—put an end to the career of Stephens. He was "hoist with his own petard."

The news of the failure of the conference was variously received. The Mercury rejoiced because there was now no doubt how things stood. Stephens, unwilling to cooperate with the Administration, left the capital and went home to Georgia. At Richmond, though the snow lay thick on the ground, a great public meeting was held on the 6th of February in the precincts of the African Church. Here Davis made an address which has been called his greatest and which produced a profound impression. A wave of enthusiasm swept over Richmond, and for a moment the President appeared once more to be master of the situation. His immense audacity carried the people with him when, after showing what might be done by more drastic enforcement of the conscription laws, he concluded: "Let us then unite our hands and our hearts, lock our shields together, and we may well believe that before another summer solstice falls upon us, it will be the enemy that will be asking us for conferences and occasions in which to make known our demands."

Chapter XI. An Attempted Revolution

Almost from the moment when the South had declared its independence voices had been raised in favor of arming the negroes. The rejection of a plan to accomplish this was one of the incidents of Benjamin's tenure of the portfolio of the War Department; but it was not until the early days of 1864, when the forces of Johnston lay encamped at Dalton, Georgia, that the arming of the slaves was seriously discussed by a council of officers. Even then the proposal had its determined champions, though there were others among Johnston's officers who regarded it as "contrary to all true principles of chivalric warfare," and their votes prevailed in the council by a large majority.

From that time forward the question of arming the slaves hung like a heavy cloud over all Confederate thought of the war. It was discussed in the army and at home around troubled firesides. Letters written from the trenches at Petersburg show that it was debated by the soldiers, and the intense repugnance which the idea inspired in some minds was shown by threats to leave the ranks if the slaves were given arms.

Amid the pressing, obvious issues of 1864, this project hardly appears upon the face of the record until it was alluded to in Davis's message to Congress in November, 1864, and in the annual report of the Secretary of War. The President did not as yet ask for slave soldiers. He did, however, ask for the privilege of buying slaves for government use—not merely hiring them from their owners as had hitherto been done—and for permission, if the Government so desired, to emancipate them at the end of their service. The Secretary of War went farther, however, and advocated negro soldiers, and he too suggested their emancipation at the end of service.

This feeling of the temper of the country, so to speak, produced an immediate response. It drew Rhett from his retirement and inspired a letter in which he took the Government severely to task for designing to remove from state control this matter of fundamental importance. Coinciding with the cry for more troops with which to confront Sherman, the topic of negro soldiers became at once one of the questions of the hour. It helped to focus that violent anti-Davis movement which is the conspicuous event of December, 1864, and January, 1865. Those who believed the President unscrupulous trembled at the thought of putting into his hands a great army of hardy barbarians trained to absolute obedience. The prospect of such a weapon held in one firm hand at Richmond seemed to those opponents of the President a greater menace to their liberties than even the armies of the invaders. It is quite likely that distrust of Davis and dread of the use he might make of such a weapon was increased by a letter from Benjamin to Frederick A. Porcher of Charleston, a supporter of the Government, who had made rash suggestions as to the extra-constitutional power that the Administration might be justified by circumstances in assuming. Benjamin deprecated such suggestions but concluded with the unfortunate remark: "If the Constitution is not to be our guide I would prefer to see it suppressed by a revolution which should declare a dictatorship during the war, after the manner of ancient Rome, leaving to the future the care of reestablishing firm and regular government." In the State of Virginia, indeed, the revolutionary suggestions of the President's message and the Secretary's report were promptly taken up and made the basis of a political program, which Governor Smith embodied in his message to the Legislature—a document that will eventually take its place among the most interesting state papers of the Confederacy. It should be noted that the suggestions thrown out in this way by the Administration to test public feeling involved three distinct questions: Should the slaves be given arms? Should they, if employed as soldiers, be given their freedom? Should this revolutionary scheme, if accepted at all, be handled by the general Government or left to the several States? On the last of the three questions the Governor of Virginia was silent; by implication he treated the matter as a concern of the States. Upon the first and second questions, however, he was explicit and advised arming the slaves. He then added:

"Even if the result were to emancipate our slaves, there is not a man who would not cheerfully put the negro into the Army rather than become a slave himself to our hated and vindictive foe. It is, then, simply a question of time. Has the time arrived when this issue is fairly before us?... For my part standing before God and my country, I do not hesitate to say that I would arm such portion of our able-bodied slave population as may be necessary, and put them in the field, so as to have them ready for the spring campaign, even if it resulted in the freedom of those thus organized. Will I not employ them to fight the negro force of the enemy? Aye, the Yankees themselves, who already boast that they have 200,000 of our slaves in arms against us. Can we hesitate, can we doubt, when the question is, whether the enemy shall use our slaves against us or we use them against him; when the question may be between liberty and independence on the one hand, or our subjugation and utter ruin on the other?"

With their Governor as leader for the Administration, the Virginians found this issue the absorbing topic of the hour. And now the great figure of Lee takes its rightful place at the very center of Confederate history, not only military but civil, for to Lee the Virginia politicians turned for advice. * In a letter to a State Senator of Virginia who had asked for a public expression of Lee's views because "a mountain of prejudices, growing out of our ancient modes of regarding the institution of Southern slavery will have to be met and overcome" in order to Attain unanimity, Lee discussed both the institution of slavery and the situation of the moment. He plainly intimated that slavery should be placed under state control; and, assuming such control, be considered "the relation of master and slave... the best that can exist between the black and white races while intermingled as at present in this country." He went on to show, however, that military necessity now compelled a revolution in sentiment on this subject, and he came at last to this momentous conclusion:

* Lee now revealed himself in his previously overlooked capacity of statesman. Whether his abilities in this respect equaled his abilities as a soldier need not here be considered; it is said that he himself had no high opinion of them. However, in the advice which he gave at this final moment of crisis, he expressed a definite conception of the articulation of civil forces in such a system as that of the Confederacy. He held that all initiative upon basal matters should remain with the separate States, that the function of the general Government was to administer, not to create conditions, and that the proper power to constrain the State Legislatures was the flexible, extra-legal power of public opinion.

"Should the war continue under existing circumstances, the enemy may in course of time penetrate our country and get access to a large part of our negro population. It is his avowed policy to convert the able-bodied men among them into soldiers, and to emancipate all.... His progress will thus add to his numbers, and at the same time destroy slavery in a manner most pernicious to the welfare of our people. Their negroes will be used to hold them in subjection, leaving the remaining force of the enemy free to extend his conquest. Whatever may be the effect of our employing negro troops, it cannot be as mischievous as this. If it end in subverting slavery it will be accomplished by ourselves, and we can devise the means of alleviating the evil consequences to both races. I think, therefore, we must decide whether slavery shall be extinguished by our enemies and the slaves be used against us, or use them ourselves at the risk of the effects which may be produced upon our social institutions..."

"The reasons that induce me to recommend the employment of negro troops at all render the effect of the measures... upon slavery immaterial, and in my opinion the best means of securing the efficiency and fidelity of this auxiliary force would be to accompany the measure with a well-digested plan of gradual and general emancipation. As that will be the result of the continuance of the war, and will certainly occur if the enemy succeed, it seems to me most advisable to adopt it at once, and thereby obtain all the benefits that will accrue to our cause..."

"I can only say in conclusion, that whatever measures are to be adopted should be adopted at once. Every day's delay increases the difficulty. Much time will be required to organize and discipline the men, and action may be deferred until it is too late."

Lee wrote these words on January 11, 1865. At that time a fresh wave of despondency had gone over the South because of Hood's rout at Nashville; Congress was debating intermittently the possible arming of the slaves; and the newspapers were prophesying that the Administration would presently force the issue. It is to be observed that Lee did not advise Virginia to wait for Confederate action. He advocated emancipation by the State. After all, to both Lee and Smith, Virginia was their "country."

During the next sixty days Lee rejected two great opportunities—or, if you will, put aside two great temptations. If tradition is to be trusted, it was during January that Lee refused to play the role of Cromwell by declining to intervene directly in general Confederate politics. But there remained open the possibility of his intervention in Virginia politics, and the local crisis was in its own way as momentous as the general crisis. What if Virginia had accepted the views of Lee and insisted upon the immediate arming of the slaves? Virginia, however, did not do so; and Lee, having made public his position, refrained from further participation. Politically speaking, he maintained a splendid isolation at the head of the armies.

Through January and February the Virginia crisis continued undetermined. In this period of fateful hesitation, the "mountains of prejudice" proved too great to be undermined even by the influence of Lee. When at last Virginia enacted a law permitting the arming of her slaves, no provision was made for their manumission.

Long before the passage of this act in Virginia, Congress had become the center of the controversy. Davis had come to the point where no tradition however cherished would stand, in his mind, against the needs of the moment. To reinforce the army in great strength was now his supreme concern, and he saw but one way to do it. As a last resort he was prepared to embrace the bold plan which so many people still regarded with horror and which as late as the previous November he himself had opposed. He would arm the slaves. On February 10, 1865, bills providing for the arming of the slaves were introduced both in the House and in the Senate.

On this issue all the forces both of the Government and the opposition fought their concluding duel in which were involved all the other basal issues that had distracted the country since 1862. Naturally there was a bewildering criss-cross of political motives. There were men who, like Smith and Lee, would go along with the Government on emancipation, provided it was to be carried out by the free will of the States. There were others who preferred subjugation to the arming of the slaves; and among these there were clashings of motive. Then, too, there were those who were willing to arm the slaves but were resolved not to give them their freedom.

The debate brings to the front of the political stage the figure of R. M. T. Hunter. Hitherto his part has not been conspicuous either as Secretary of State or as Senator from Virginia. He now becomes, in the words of Davis, "a chief obstacle" to the passage of the Senate bill which would have authorized a levy of negro troops and provided for their manumission by the War Department with the consent of the State in which they should be at the time of the proposed manumission. After long discussion, this bill was indefinitely postponed. Meanwhile a very different bill had dragged through the House. While it was under debate, another appeal was made to Lee. Barksdale, who came as near as any one to being the leader of the Administration, sought Lee's aid. Again the General urged the enrollment of negro soldiers and their eventual manumission, but added this immensely significant proviso:

"I have no doubt that if Congress would authorize their [the negroes'] reception into service, and empower the President to call upon individuals or States for such as they are willing to contribute, with the condition of emancipation to all enrolled, a sufficient number would be forthcoming to enable us to try the experiment [of determining whether the slaves would make good soldiers]. If it proved successful, most of the objections to the measure would disappear, and if individuals still remained unwilling to send their negroes to the army, the force of public opinion in the States would soon bring about such legislation as would remove all obstacles. I think the matter should be left, as far as possible, to the people and to the States, which alone can legislate as the necessities of this particular service may require."

The fact that Congress had before it this advice from Lee explains why all factions accepted a compromise bill, passed on the 9th of March, approved by the President on the 13th of March, and issued to the country in a general order on the 23d of March. It empowered the President to "ask for and accept from the owners of slaves" the service of such number of negroes as he saw fit, and if sufficient number were not offered to "call on each State... for her quota of 300,000 troops... to be raised from such classes of the population, irrespective of color, in each State as the proper authorities thereof may determine." However, "nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize a change in the relation which the said slaves shall bear toward their owners, except by consent of the owners and of the States in which they may reside and in pursuance of the laws thereof."

The results of this act were negligible. Its failure to offer the slave-soldier his freedom was at once seized upon by critics as evidence of the futility of the course of the Administration. The sneer went round that the negro was to be made to fight for his own captivity. Pollard—whose words, however, must be taken with a grain of salt—has left this account of recruiting under the new act: "Two companies of blacks, organized from some negro vagabonds in Richmond, were allowed to give balls at the Libby Prison and were exhibited in fine fresh uniforms on Capitol Square as decoys to obtain recruits. But the mass of their colored brethren looked on the parade with unenvious eyes, and little boys exhibited the early prejudices of race by pelting the fine uniforms with mud."

Nevertheless both Davis and Lee busied themselves in the endeavor to raise black troops. Governor Smith cooperated with them. And in the mind of the President there was no abandonment of the program of emancipation, which was now his cardinal policy. Soon after the passage of the act, he wrote to Smith: "I am happy to receive your assurance of success [in raising black troops], as well as your promise to seek legislation to secure unmistakable freedom to the slave who shall enter the Army, with a right to return to his old home, when he shall have been honorably discharged from military service."

While this final controversy was being fought out in Congress, the enthusiasm for the Administration had again ebbed. Its recovery of prestige had run a brief course and was gone, and now in the midst of the discussion over the negro soldiers' bills, the opposition once more attacked the Cabinet, with its old enemy, Benjamin, as the target. Resolutions were introduced into the Senate declaring that "the retirement of the Honorable Judah P. Benjamin from the State Department will be subservient of the public interests"; in the House resolutions were offered describing his public utterances as "derogatory to his position as a high public functionary of the Confederate Government, a reflection on the motives of Congress as a deliberative body, and an insult to public opinion."

So Congress wrangled and delayed while the wave of fire that was Sherman's advance moved northward through the Carolinas. Columbia had gone up in smoke while the Senate debated day after day—fifteen in all—what to do with the compromise bill sent up to it from the House. It was during this period that a new complication appears to have been added to a situation which was already so hopelessly entangled, for this was the time when Governor Magrath made a proposal to Governor Vance for a league within the Confederacy, giving as his chief reason that Virginia's interests were parting company with those of the lower South. The same doubt of the upper South appears at various times in the Mercury. And through all the tactics of the opposition runs the constant effort to discredit Davis. The Mercury scoffed at the agitation for negro soldiers as a mad attempt on the part of the Administration to remedy its "myriad previous blunders."

In these terrible days, the mind of Davis hardened. He became possessed by a lofty and intolerant confidence, an absolute conviction that, in spite of all appearances, he was on the threshold of success. We may safely ascribe to him in these days that illusory state of mind which has characterized some of the greatest of men in their over-strained, concluding periods. His extraordinary promises in his later messages, a series of vain prophecies beginning with his speech at the African Church, remind one of Napoleon after Leipzig refusing the Rhine as a boundary. His nerves, too, were all but at the breaking point. He sent the Senate a scolding message because of its delay in passing the Negro Soldiers' Bill. The Senate answered in a report that was sharply critical of his own course. Shortly afterward Congress adjourned refusing his request for another suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

Davis had hinted at important matters he hoped soon to be able to submit to Congress. What he had in mind was the last, the boldest, stroke of this period of desperation. The policy of emancipation he and Benjamin had accepted without reserve. They had at last perceived, too late, the power of the anti-slavery movement in Europe. Though they had already failed to coerce England through cotton and had been played with and abandoned by Napoleon, they persisted in thinking that there was still a chance for a third chapter in their foreign affairs.

The agitation to arm the slaves, with the promise of freedom, had another motive besides the reinforcement of Lee's army: it was intended to serve as a basis for negotiations with England and France. To that end D. J. Kenner was dispatched to Europe early in 1865. Passing through New York in disguise, he carried word of this revolutionary program to the Confederate commissioners abroad. A conference at Paris was held by Kenner, Mason, and Slidell. Mason, who had gone over to England to sound Palmerston with regard to this last Confederate hope, was received on the 14th of March. On the previous day, Davis had accepted temporary defeat, by signing the compromise bill which omitted emancipation. But as there was no cable operating at the time, Mason was not aware of this rebuff. In his own words, he "urged upon Lord P. that if the President was right in his impression that there was some latent, undisclosed obstacle on the part of Great Britain to recognition, it should be frankly stated, and we might, if in our power to do so, consent to remove it." Palmerston, though his manner was "conciliatory and kind," insisted that there was nothing "underlying" his previous statements, and that he could not, in view of the facts then existing, regard the Confederacy in the light of an independent power. Mason parted from him convinced that "the most ample concessions on our part in the matter referred to would have produced no change in the course determined on by the British Government with regard to recognition." In a subsequent interview with Lord Donoughmore, he was frankly told that the offer of emancipation had come too late.

The dispatch in which Mason reported the attitude of the British Government never reached the Confederate authorities. It was dated the 31st of March. Two days later Richmond was evacuated by the Confederate Government.

Chapter XII. The Last Word

The evacuation of Richmond broke the back of the Confederate defense. Congress had adjourned. The legislative history of the Confederacy was at an end. The executive history still had a few days to run. After destroying great quantities of records, the government officials had packed the remainder on a long train that conveyed the President and what was left of the civil service to Danville. During a few days, Danville was the Confederate capital. There, Davis, still unable to conceive defeat, issued his pathetic last Address to the People of the Confederate States. His mind was crystallized. He was no longer capable of judging facts. In as confident tones as ever he promised his people that they should yet prevail; he assured Virginians that even if the Confederate army should withdraw further south the withdrawal would be but temporary, and that "again and again will we return until the baffled and exhausted enemy shall abandon in despair his endless and impossible task of making slaves of a people resolved to be free."

The surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, compelled another migration of the dwindling executive company. General Johnston had not yet surrendered. A conference which he had with the President and the Cabinet at Greensboro ended in giving him permission to negotiate with Sherman. Even then Davis was still bent on keeping up the fight; yet, though he believed that Sherman would reject Johnston's overtures, he was overtaken at Charlotte on his way South by the crushing news of Johnston's surrender. There the executive history of the Confederacy came to an end in a final Cabinet meeting. Davis, still blindly resolute to continue the struggle, was deeply distressed by the determination of his advisers to abandon it. In imminent danger of capture, the President's party made its way to Abbeville, where it broke up, and each member sought safety as best he could. Davis with a few faithful men rode to Irwinsville, Georgia, where, in the early morning of the 10th of May, he was surprised and captured. But the history of the Confederacy was not quite at an end. The last gunshots were still to be fired far away in Texas on the 13th of May. The surrender of the forces of the Trans-Mississippi on May 26, 1865, brought the war to a definite conclusion.

There remains one incident of these closing days, the significance of which was not perceived until long afterward, when it immediately took its rightful place among the determining events of American history. The unconquerable spirit of the Army of Northern Virginia found its last expression in a proposal which was made to Lee by his officers. If he would give the word, they would make the war a duel to the death; it should drag out in relentless guerrilla struggles; and there should be no pacification of the South until the fighting classes had been exterminated. Considering what those classes were, considering the qualities that could be handed on to their posterity, one realizes that this suicide of a whole people, of a noble fighting people, would have maimed incalculably the America of the future. But though the heroism of this proposal of his men to die on their shields had its stern charm for so brave a man as Lee, he refused to consider it. He would not admit that he and his people had a right thus to extinguish their power to help mold the future, no matter whether it be the future they desired or not. The result of battle must be accepted. The Southern spirit must not perish, luxuriating blindly in despair, but must find a new form of expression, must become part of the new world that was to be, must look to a new birth under new conditions. In this spirit he issued to his army his last address:

"After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources. I need not tell the survivors of so many hard-fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to the result from no distrust of them; but feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuation of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.... I bid you an affectionate farewell."

How inevitably one calls to mind, in view of the indomitable valor of Lee's final decision, those great lines from Tennyson:

"Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho' We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will."


There is no adequate history of the Confederacy. It is rumored that a distinguished scholar has a great work approaching completion. It is also rumored that another scholar, well equipped to do so, will soon bring out a monumental life of Davis. But the fact remains that as yet we lack a comprehensive review of the Confederate episode set in proper perspective. Standard works such as the "History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850", by J. F. Rhodes (7 vols., 1893-1908), even when otherwise as near a classic as is the work of Mr. Rhodes, treat the Confederacy so externally as to have in this respect little value. The one searching study of the subject, "The Confederate States of America," by J. C. Schwab (1901), though admirable in its way, is wholly overshadowed by the point of view of the economist. The same is to be said of the article by Professor Schwab in the 11th edition of "The Encyclopaedia Britannica."

Two famous discussions of the episode by participants are: "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government," by the President of the Confederacy (2 vols., 1881), and "A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States," by Alexander H. Stephens (2 vols., 1870). Both works, though invaluable to the student, are tinged with controversy, each of the eminent authors aiming to refute the arguments of political antagonists.

The military history of the time has so overshadowed the civil, in the minds of most students, that we are still sadly in need of careful, disinterested studies of the great figures of Confederate civil affairs. "Jefferson Davis," by William E. Dodd ("American Crisis Biographies," 1907), is the standard life of the President, superseding older ones. Not so satisfactory in the same series is "Judah P. Benjamin," by Pierce Butler (1907), and "Alexander H. Stephens," by Louis Pendleton (1907). Older works which are valuable for the material they contain are: "Memoir of Jefferson Davis," by his Wife (1890); "The Life and Times of Alexander H. Stephens," by R. M. Johnston and W. M. Browne (1878); "The Life and Times of William Lowndes Yancey," by J. W. Du Bose (1891); "The Life, Times, and Speeches of Joseph E. Brown," by Herbert Fielder (1883); "Public Life and Diplomatic Correspondence of James M. Mason," by his Daughter (1903); "The Life and Time of C. G. Memminger," by H. D. Capers (1893). The writings of E. A. Pollard cannot be disregarded, but must be taken as the violent expression of an extreme partisan. They include a "Life of Jefferson Davis" (1869) and "The Lost Cause" (1867). A charming series of essays is "Confederate Portraits," by Gamaliel Bradford (1914). Among books on special topics that are to be recommended are: "The Diplomatic History of the Southern Confederacy" by J. M. Callahan (1901); "France and the Confederate Navy," by John Bigelow (1888); and "The Secret Service of the Confederate States in Europe," by J. D. Bulloch (2 vols., 1884). There is a large number of contemporary accounts of life in the Confederacy. Historians have generally given excessive attention to "A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital," by J. B. Jones (2 vols., 1866) which has really neither more nor less value than a Richmond newspaper. Conspicuous among writings of this type is the delightful "Diary from Dixie," by Mrs. Mary B. Chestnut (1905) and "My Diary, North and South," by W. H. Russell (1861).

The documents of the civil history, so far as they are accessible to the general reader, are to be found in the three volumes forming the fourth series of the "Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies" (128 vols., 1880-1901); the "Journals of the Congress of the Confederate States" (8 vols., 1904) and "Messages and Papers of the Confederacy," edited by J. D. Richardson (2 vols., 1905). Four newspapers are of first importance: the famous opposition organs, the Richmond Examiner and the Charleston Mercury, which should be offset by the two leading organs of the Government, the Courier of Charleston and the Enquirer of Richmond. The Statutes of the Confederacy have been collected and published; most of them are also to be found in the fourth series of the Official Records.

Additional bibliographical references will be found appended to the articles on the "Confederate States of America," "Secession," and "Jefferson Davis," in "The Encyclopaedia Britannica," 11th edition.


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