in his newspapers that if we would consent to the exchange of negroes, all difficulties might be removed. This is reported as an effort of his to get himself whitewashed by holding intercourse with gentlemen. If an exchange could be effected, I don't know but I might be induced to recognize Butler. But in the future every effort will be given, as far as possible, to effect the end. We want our soldiers in the field, and we want the sick and wounded to return home. It is not proper for me to speak of the number of men in the field, but this I will say, that two thirds of our men are absent, some sick, some wounded, but most of them absent without leave. The man who repents and goes back to his commander voluntarily, appeals strongly to executive clemency. But suppose he stays away until the war is over, and his comrades return home, and when every man's history will be told, where will he shield himself? It is upon these reflections that I rely to make them return to their duty, but after conferring with our Generals at headquarters, if there be any other remedy it shall be applied. I love my friends, and I forgive my enemies. I have been asked to send reinforcements from Virginia to Georgia. In Virginia the disparity in numbers is just as great as it is in Georgia. Then, I have been asked why the army sent to the Shenandoah Valley was not sent here? It was because an army of the enemy had penetrated that valley to the very gates of Lynchburg, and General Early was sent to drive them back. This he not only successfully did, but, crossing the Potomac, came well-nigh capturing Washington itself, and caused Grant to send two corps of his army to protect it. This the enemy denominated a raid. If so, Sherman's march into Georgia is a raid. What would prevent them now, if Early was withdrawn, from taking Lynchburg, and putting a complete cordon of men around Richmond? I counselled with the great and grave soldier, General Lee, upon all these points. My mind roamed over the whole field. With this we can succeed. If one half the men now absent without leave, will return to duty, we can defeat the enemy. With that hope I am going to the front. I may not realize this hope, but I know there are men there who have looked death in the face too often to despond now. Let no one despond. Let no one distrust; and remember that if justice is the beau ideal, hope is the reality.
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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