Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/67
Resources of the Confederacy in February,1865.
charge, and these important and confidential papers General Breckinridge requested me to keep in my personal custody. At the evacuation of Richmond, on the 2d April, 1865, I placed this bundle in a particular position in one of the cases in which I packed all the papers of the War Office, so that I could easily place my hand upon them. On the 26th April, 1865, General Johnston having surrendered, and being about to return to Virginia again, at General Breckinridge's instance, I took the bundle of reports, above mentioned, out of the case in which I had carried it from Richmond to Charlotte, and (leaving all the other books and papers of the War Office stored in a warehouse in Charlotte, where they were found by the Federals and transferred to the "Bureau of Rebel Archives" in Washington), brought it on my person back to Virginia.
In May or June, 1865, not long after I reached Albemarle county, Virginia, an order was published by, I think, General Halleck, requiring all Confederate documents to be turned in, on pain of being severely dealt with. Before complying with this order (which I greatly regret now that I complied with at all), I copied with the assistance of some friends each report. I personally compared every one, whether transcribed by my own hand or that of another, in order to be able to attest the accuracy of the copy. Having completed the copies, I delivered the originals in person to the colonel commanding at Charlottesville, to be forwarded to headquarters at Richmond. I never knew whether this was done or not, but from the interesting character especially of the letters of Generals Lee and Johnston, I expected to see some mention of them, which I have never seen. The copies I retained. In October, 1865, having occasion to visit Lexington, Virginia, and having heard that General Lee was engaged in preparing a Memoir of the Army of Northern Virginia, and supposing that the copies I had of his own and General Johnston's reply to the letter of the Secretary would be useful to him in that work, I took them with me to Lexington, and gave them to him.
The Reports of the Heads of Bureaus, viz: The Quartermaster-General, Commissary-General, Chief of Engineers, Chief of Ordnance, Surgeon-General, and Bureau of Foreign Supplies, I hand you with this letter. The foregoing account is given that the accuracy of the copies and the authenticity of the reports may be avouched, which I do explicitly.
- Respectfully, your friend and servant, R. G. H. KEAN.
WAR OFFICE, February 7, 1865.