many weeks before Lee
's catastrophe, made the careful and exacting preparations for his escape, discussing the matter fully with his Cabinet in profound secrecy, and deciding that, in order to secure the escape of himself and his principal officers, the ‘Shenandoah
’ should be ordered to cruise off the coast of Florida
to take the fugitives aboard.
These orders were sent to the rebel cruiser many days before Lee
's lines were broken,” etc. If the writer believed he had respectable authority for so important a statement, why did he not advise his readers what his authority was?
No such question, nor any other question as to the means of escape, or as to instructions to the “Shenandoah
” to facilitate such an escape, was ever considered by the Cabinet
; nor, so far as I know or believe, was any such question considered or discussed with any member of the Cabinet
I do not believe that any such subject was considered or discussed by Mr. Davis
or any member of his Cabinet at any time, before or after the surrender of General Lee
Nor do I believe that any man who regards his reputation for truth will allow himself to be given as authority for this statement.
In confirmation of this view, I may state that when Mr. Davis
was informed that General Sherman
would allow him to leave the United States
on a United States
vessel, with whoever or whatever he pleased to take with him, his reply was that he would do no act which would place him under obligations to the Federal Government
, and that he would not leave Confederate soil while there was a Confederate regiment on it. I referred to this afterward in conversation with Mr. Davis
, and he told me I would remember that he was one of the Senators
who refused to vote the honors of the United States Senate to General Kossuth
, and that his reason was that Kossuth
, and left an army behind him. I may also mention that after this General Breckenridge
and myself proposed that we should take what troops we had with us and go westward, crossing the Chattahoochie
, and get as many of them across the Mississippi
as we could, and in the meantime keep up the impression that Mr. Davis
was with us, and for him to go to the coast of Florida
and cross to Cuba
, and charter a vessel under the English
flag and go to Brownsville, Texas
, and thence return and meet us to the west of the Mississippi
He refused to assent to this plan, on the ground that he would not abandon Confederate soil.
I ought to add that we were influenced to make this suggestion, because we thought him so exhausted and enfeebled that we did not think he could make the trip by land to where it was hoped to embody the troops west of the Mississippi