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1 Mr. Reagan asserts, in an article recently published, that he does not believe “that any such a 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.” Traversing this statement, and the one that “the government at Richmond had no expectation of Lee's disaster, and was thus painfully hurried in its evacuation of its capital,” Mr. Pollard says, in the work from which I am quoting: “The statement is untrue, and the excuse is unavailing. The writer well knows, what has not heretofore been imparted to public curiosity, that Jefferson Davis had, many weeks before Lee's catastrophe, made the most careful and exacting preparations for his escape. The matter had been fully consulted with his Cabinet, in profound secrecy; and it had been agreed that, to secure the escape of the President and his principal officers, the Shenandoah should be ordered to cruise off the coast of Florida, to take the distinguished fugitives on board, who had selected the coast for their exit from the Confederacy, and their extrication from its falling fortunes. These orders had been sent to the Confederate cruiser many days before Lee's lines were broken. It was calculated that in the last resource of the surrender of Lee's army, and of the neutralization of other organized forces of the Confederacy, the President's party might make an easy and deliberate escape in the way agreed upon, as the communications with the Florida coast were then scarcely doubtful, and once on the Shenandoah, a fast sailer, the most valuable remnant of the Confederate navy, they might soon obtain an asylum on a foreign shore. Other preparations were made for the flight; all the papers of the government were revised and marked for destruction, abandonment or preservation, according to their contents; and even Mr. Davis' private baggage was put in order for transportation. Of course, the public knew nothing of these preparations, and it did not even suspect them.” (Pages 504, 505, 506, and 507.) I do not undertake to decide as to whether Mr. Pollard or Mr. Reagan is more worthy of belief. My aim is merely to give the authority upon which I make the statements in this narrative. The declarations of Mr. Pollard are sufficiently explicit to.justify me in their quotation.
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