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[105] in general, that all should leave that city who conveniently could, on account of the increasing scarcity of supplies. It is reasonable to presume-and I speak only from presumption, not from any positive information — that the possibility of having to abandon the capital had been considered by the Confederate authorities for nearly three years previous, and that some degree of preparation for removal of the archives of the government in such case may have existed during all that period; but no expectation of the necessity for an early evacuation had been entertained until Gen. Lee's telegram of the 2d April was received. General Lee himself had expected to be able to hold his position at Petersburg at least “until the roads were hardened,” (to use his own expression,) and continued to entertain that hope until his attenuated lines were broken at Five Forks, on the 1st of April; nor did he anticipate, in leaving Petersburg, the series of disasters which compelled the surrender of his army, within a week afterward, under circumstances which made the surrender more illustrious than the conquest.

As to the charge that President Davis was preparing for “flight” from the country, there is not even the pretence of any evidence to support it. It is a mere calumny, without any basis of truth whatever. The only proposition of that sort of which we have any evidence, proceeded from a very different quarter — from the headquarters of the Federal army.. General Sherman, in his Memoirs (pages 351-52), says that, in a conference with his general officers, pending the negotiations for an armistice, they discussed the question whether, “if Johnston made a point of it,” he (Sherman) should assent to the “escape from the country” of the Confederate President and Cabinet; and that one of the council insisted that, if asked for, a vessel should be provided to take them to Nassau. He does not say whether he himself favored this proposition, or not; but General Johnston, in a note to his account of the negotiations, which Sherman pronounces “quite accurate and correct,” says “General Sherman did not desire the arrest of these gentlemen. He was too acute not to foresee the embarrassment their capture would cause; therefore, he wished them to escape.”

Comparing these statements with each other, and with impressions made upon others who were participants in the events of


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