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[411] a special messenger from General Hampton brought me two dispatches from General Sherman. In one of them he informed me that the Government of the United States rejected the terms of peace agreed upon by us; and in the other he gave notice of the termination of the armistice in forty-eight hours from noon that day.

The substance of these dispatches was immediately communicated to the Administration by telegraph,1 instructions asked for, and the disbanding of the army suggested, to prevent further invasion and devastation of the country by the armies of the United States. The reply, dated eleven o'clock P. M., was received early in the morning of the 25th; it suggested that the infantry might be disbanded, with instructions to meet at some appointed place, and directed me to bring off the cavalry, and all other soldiers who could be mounted by taking serviceable beasts from the trains, and a few light field-pieces. I objected, immediately, that this order provided for the performance of but one of the three great duties then devolving upon us — that of securing the safety of the high civil officers of the Confederate Government; but neglected the other two--the safety of the people, and that of the army. I also advised the immediate flight of the high civil functionaries under proper escort.

The belief that impelled me to urge the civil authorities of the Confederacy to make peace, that it would be a great crime to prolong the war, prompted me to disobey these instructions — the last that I received from the Confederate

1 At six o'clock P. M.

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