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[151] I know, too, that it was Mr. Davis' purpose to try to get to the west of the Mississippi before our troops were disbanded, and to get together as many as we could, he hoped sixty or eighty thousand, and place them where they and their horses could be subsisted on the beef and grass of Texas, and where they could not be flanked by railroads and navigable rivers, and there to try and hold out for better terms than unconditional surrender.

From all this it will be seen how absurdly untrue the statement of General Wilson is. The following passage is found in his paper: “When Davis and his companions left Richmond, in pursuance of this plan, they believed that Lee could avoid surrender only a short time longer. A few days thereafter the news of this expected calamity reached them, when they turned their faces again toward the south. Breckenridge, the Secretary of War, was sent to confer with Johnston, but found him only in time to assist in drawing up the terms of his celebrated capitulation to Sherman. The intelligence of this event caused the rebel chieftain to renew his flight, but while hurrying onward some fatuity induced him to change his plans, and to adopt the alternative of trying to push through to the southwest,” etc. I have answered so much of this as refers to the supposed plan of escape. The writer seems to have been in the same predicament as many others have been, who have sought to force or to make facts to suit fanciful theories. Mr. Davis and his Cabinet were not, when they left Richmond, laboring under the belief that General Lee could avoid surrendering only a short time. It was still hoped at that time that Generals Lee and Johnston might be able to unite their armies at some point between the armies of Generals Grant and Sherman, and turn upon and defeat one of them, and take their chances for defeating the other by fighting them in detail. If I knew then where the “Shenandoah” was, I have now forgotten, and I certainly never heard the subject mentioned of an intended or desired escape from the country by her.

I think I am entirely safe in saying that neither Mr. Davis nor any member of his Cabinet contemplated leaving the country when we left Richmond, but two of them afterward determined to do so. And I do not believe that Mr. Davis or any other member of his Cabinet afterward desired to leave the country. Mr. Trenholm, prostrated by a long and dangerous illness, resigned his position as Secretary of the Treasury while we were on our way south, and went to his home. Mr. Mallory, Secretary of the Navy, and Mr. Davis, Attorney General, went to their homes, and all of them remained there until put under arrest by the authority of the

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