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 There was still another cause for the sudden and complete disbanding of the Confederate forces. As is well known, the best blood of the South was in the ranks, and a large proportion of the private soldiers were of high intelligence and education. Such men knew the utter futility of further opposing the overwhelming forces of the United States, after the great armies of the Confederacy had succumbed, its capital abandoned and destroyed, and its President a prisoner. They fully realized when the news of these accumulated disasters was received that further resistance was useless, and many acted upon the determination to spill no more blood in a hopeless cause. Some of the general officers foresaw the result months before it was believed possible by the soldiery. General Taylor in his work, ‘Destruction and Reconstruction,’ (page 197,) says: ‘Upon what foundation the civil authorities of the Confederacy rested their hopes of success after the campaign of 1864 fully opened I am unable to say; but their commanders in the field, whose rank and position enabled them to estimate the situation, fought simply to afford statesmanship an opportunity to mitigate the sorrows of inevitable defeat.’ Again, in recounting an interview with President Davis in September, 1864, he says (page 206): ‘I did not disguise my conviction that the best we could hope for was to protract the struggle until spring.’ President Davis not only disagreed with this, but believed the continuance of hostilities feasible up to the moment of his capture. He says in his work (page 696): ‘If, as now seemed probable, (after the fall of Richmond,) there should be no prospect of successful defence, I intended then to cross the Mississippi river, where I believed Generals E. K. Smith and Magruder would continue to uphold our cause.’ Taylor, then a lieutenant-general, surrendered at Meridian, Miss., to General E. S. R. Canby on May 8th, and it may not be inappropriate to quote the words of the Confederate commander in Order No. 54 respecting the distinguished Federal officer. He said: ‘The intelligent, comprehensive and candid bearing pending negotiations of Major-General Canby, U. S. A., to whom I have surrendered, entitle him to our highest respect and confidence. His liberality and fairness make it the duty of each and all to faithfully execute our part of the contract.’
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