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[342]

The Republican papers now urge Lincoln to employ all of his navy, if necessary, to seal up the port of Wilmington, which they say will cut us off from all foreign supplies and soon exhaust our means for earring on the war.

You may look with confidence to an attack on Fort Fisher ere long. I have been frequently asked by men of Southern birth, residing in the North, whose desire for our independence I do not doubt, whether we could suppot an army for six months after the port of Wilmington was sealed.

Upon the whole, I am confirmed in the opinion I entertained and often expressed before coming here — that the peace feeling of the North fluctuates with the vicissitudes of the war, increasing with their reverses and diminishing with ours. They will not consent to peace without reunion while they believe they can subjugate us. As to revolution in the Northwest, or anywhere in the United States, I am growing skeptical. The men who gave us strongest assurances of the purpose of the “sons of liberty” to rush to arms if any other illegal arrest was made, or any other abuse of private rights committed, are now in prison or fugitives in Canada. Their houses have been broken open, their arms and private papers seized, and other wrongs done them, without exciting anything more than a feeble protest from their friends. The people who would resist such outrages need a leader, and I fear they will not find one. Many of them would join our army if they could get to it; but they may be forced into that of our enemy. They would resist the draft if they were not deterred by the large police force that is sent to enforce it.

I am assured by those who have been on the Ohio river and the roads leading across it, that recruits for the army of Sherman are being sent forward daily. Lincoln will exert his utmost power to sustain Sherman and Grant in the present positions, in order to insure his re-election. He knows that a great disaster to either of them would defeat him.

Mr. Thompson will, I presume, explain how the plans for the release of the prisoners failed. He took that matter under his peculiar and almost exclusive control, and I knew scarcely anything of it until everything was determined save the time of execution.

Mr. Holcombe will, probably, carry this communication to you and can explain more fully than I can do on paper our operations here. He has remained here at the instance and request of Mr. Thompson and myself, to await the result of the enterprise alluded to above.


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