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[179] was adopted, and all the Virginia representatives, fifteen in number, by the invitation of the President, met him, his cabinet, and General Lee, in the afternoon of the same day, at 4 o'clock. At this meeting there was a full and free interchange of opinion, and all the representatives concurred in saying that in their opinion the people of Virginia would be found ready and willing to meet any demand that might be made upon them, in the same spirit of loyalty and devotion that had characterized them since the commencement of the struggle. During the interview General Lee explained the situation fully from a military standpoint. He referred to the length of the line he was obliged to defend, to the number of effective men, and the great scarcity of food for his soldiers and forage for his animals; but he did not say nor did he intimate in any manner whatever, that in his opinion the cause was lost, and that the time for surrender had come.

It will be remembered that two or three weeks after the interview above referred to, he said in a note to General Grant, that the time for the surrender of his army had not arrived. He was a soldier, and doubtless felt that it was not his province to volunteer advice to the political department of the government, but to make the best fight he could with the means the government was able to place at his disposal.

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