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[590] with instructions, as soon as it could be safely done, to transport it abroad and deliver it to the commercial house which had acted as the financial agent of the Confederate Government, and was reported to have incurred liabilities on its account.

Reagan overtook me in a few hours, but I saw no more of General Breckinridge, and learned subsequently that he was following our route with a view to overtaking me, when he heard of my capture and, turning to the east, reached the Florida coast unmolested. On the way he met J. Taylor Wood, and in an open boat they crossed the straits to the West Indies. No report reached me at that time, or until long afterward, in regard to the cavalry command left at the Savannah River; then it was to the effect that paroled men from Johnston's army brought news of its surrender, and that the condition of returning home and remaining unmolested embraced all the men of the department who would give their parole, and that this had exercised a great influence over the troops, inclining them to accept those terms. Had General Johnston obeyed the order sent to him from Charlotte, and moved on the route selected by himself, with all his cavalry, so much of the infantry as could be mounted, and the light artillery, he could not have been successfully pursued by General Sherman. His force, united to that I had assembled at Charlotte, would, it was believed, have been sufficient to vanquish any troops which the enemy had between us and the Mississippi River.

Had the cavalry with which I left Charlotte been associated with a force large enough to inspire hope for the future, instead of being discouraged by the surrender in their rear, it would probably have gone on and, when united with the forces of Maury, Forrest, and Taylor in Alabama and Mississippi, have constituted an army large enough to attract stragglers and revive the drooping spirits of the country. In the worst view of the case it should have been able to cross the trans-Mississippi Department, and there uniting with the armies of E. K. Smith and Magruder to form an army, which in the portion of that country abounding in supplies, and deficient in rivers and railroads, could have continued the war until our enemy, foiled in the purpose of subjugation, should, in accordance with his repeated declaration, have agreed, on the basis of a return to the Union, to acknowledge the constitutional rights of the states, and by a convention, or quasi-treaty, to guarantee security of person and property. To this hope I persistently clung, and, if our independence could not be achieved, so much, at least, I trusted might be gained.

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