previous next

[104] rigor of an autocrat, found himself powerless and deserted. From this day forth he was little better than a fugitive, for although his escort gave him and his wagon-train nominal company and protection till he had reached the village of Washington, just within the northeastern boundary of Georgia, they had long since learned the hopelessness of further resistance, and now began to despair even of successful flight.

In all this, as in what precedes it, there is scarcely an atom of truth. When Mr. Davis left Richmond he did not expect Lee to have to surrender. His preparations for defence at Danville would have been wholly inconsistent with such an expectation. Breckinridge was not “sent to confer with Johnston,” nor did he find him “only in time to assist in drawing up the terms of his celebrated capitulation to Sherman.” On the contrary, he arrived at Greensboroa on the 12th or 13th of May, in time to take part in a conference already in progress between President Davis and some of his Cabinet, Generals Johnston and Beauregard. Several days afterward he again met General Johnston, in response to a telegraphic request from the latter, in full time to take part in the negotiations with General Sherman, which resulted, on the 18th, not in the final “capitulation,” but in the armistice which the Government of the United States declined to ratify. General Breckinridge was not present and took no part in the celebrated capitulation. [See Johnson's Narrative, pages 396-407.]

There was no such change of “plan” , fatuous or not fatuous, as represented by General Wilson. No council of war was held at Abbeville. General Bragg was not at Abbeville. No cavalry commander was a member of “the last council of the Confederacy.” Mr. Davis had no wagon train. But it would be tedious and unprofitable to follow the misstatements of General Wilson and expose them in detail. They are too manifold even for enumeration. Enough bas been said to show how utterly unworthy of credit is his evidence in support of any statement whatever.

Admiral Semmes, in the letter above copied, has briefly noticed the falsity of the representation that President Davis had been preparing to leave the country, or had even entertained any thought of surrender. The removal of his family from Richmond was not in anticipation of such an event, but as an example to encourage what the government was recommending to the citizens

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 13th (1)
May 12th (1)
18th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: