agreements they made and the resolutions they adopted were without practical effect.
There were meetings of the high military officers who ought to have understood the situation—which was fight or surrender—and they were more undecided and divided in opinion than those of the civil officers
Shelby at last left his division at Marshall
and went to Shreveport
There he got a meeting of the military men —Churchill, Hawthorn
and others—at which it was agreed and counselled that the army should be concentrated on the Brazos
and should fight step by step to the Rio Grande
, thereby giving the States east of the Mississippi
opportunity to act, and if the worse came to the worst the army could make terms with one government or the other in Mexico
This was Shelby
But before this time General Smith
had been engaged in a correspondence with Gen. John Pope
of the Federal
army on the subject of a surrender.
wrote from St. Louis
on the 19th of April to General Smith
, informing him of the surrender of General Lee
and the probable surrender of General Johnston
, and offering him the same terms that had been granted General Lee
if he and his army chose to lay down their arms.
This summons he sent through his chief-of-staff, Col. John J. Sprague
. General Smith
replied, May 9th, declining to surrender, and stating that he had 50,000 effective soldiers under his command.
Ten days later he informed Colonel Sprague
that his army had disbanded itself.
‘From one extremity of the department to the other,’ he said, ‘the troops, except Shelby
's heroic division of Missouri
cavalry, have dissolved all military organization and returned to their homes.’
And in a postscript he said, referring to the infantry: ‘Since writing the above I have information that the Missouri
and a portion of the Arkansas
troops still retain their organization.’