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[400] the second civil officer of their Confederacy, accompanied by two other of their most prominent men, who had laid before Lincoln himself, and the Secretary of State, propositions for peace, but not for submission;1 and, as these had not been accepted, they now bethought themselves of another expedient. It was determined that Lee should approach Grant direct, and endeavor to effect an arrangement through military channels.

On the 2nd of March, therefore, Lee addressed the following letter to Grant: ‘Lieutenant-General Longstreet has informed me that, in a recent conversation between himself and Major-General Ord, as to the possibility of a satisfactory adjustment of the present unhappy difficulties by means of a military convention, General Ord stated that, if I desired to have an interview with you on the subject, you would not decline, providing I had authority to act. Sincerely desiring to leave nothing untried which may put an end to the calamities of war, I propose to meet you at such convenient time and place as you may designate, with the hope that, upon an interchange of views, it may be found practicable to submit the subjects of controversy between the belligerents to a convention of the kind mentioned. In such event ’

1 ‘What the insurgent party seemed chiefly to favor was a postponement of the question of separation upon which the war is waged, and a mutual direction of the efforts of the government, as well as those of the insurgents, to some extrinsic policy or scheme for a season, during which passions might be expected to subside, and all the armies be reduced, and trade and intercourse between the people of both sections be resumed. It was suggested by them that through such postponement we might now have made peace with some not very certain prospect of an ultimate satisfactory adjustment of the political relations between the government and the states, section, or people, now engaged in conflict with it.’—Hon. W. H. Seward, Secretary of State, to Hon. Charles Francis Adams, Minister to England.

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E. O. C. Ord (2)
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