power should be exercised without more delay.
I also expressed my readiness to suggest to the President
the absolute necessity of such action, should an opportunity to do so be given me. General Breckenridge
promised to make me this opportunity.
came to converse with me on the subject, and showed great anxiety that negotiations to end the war should be commenced, and urged that I was the person who should suggest the measure to the President
I, on the contrary, thought that such a suggestion would come more properly from one of his “constitutional advisers,” but told Mr. Mallory
of my conversation with General Breckenridge
That gentleman fulfilled his engagement promptly; and General Beauregard
and myself were summoned to the President
's office an hour or two after the meeting of his cabinet there, next morning.
Being desired by the President
to do it, we compared the military forces of the two parties to the war: ours, an army of about twenty thousand infantry and artillery, and five thousand mounted troops; those of the United States
, three armies that could be combined against ours, which was insignificant compared with either-Grant's, of a hundred and eighty thousand men; Sherman
's, of a hundred and ten thousand, at least, and Canby
's of sixty thousand-odds of seventeen or eighteen to one, which in a few weeks could be more than doubled.
I represented that under such circumstances it would be the greatest of human crimes for us to attempt to continue the war; for, having neither money nor credit, nor arms but those in the hands of our soldiers, nor ammunition but that in their cartridge-boxes,