Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/261

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T lie Confederate Army. 255

The great disparity between the forces of Grant and Lee in 1865 is exhibited in the following reminiscence of Hon. Thomas S. Bo- cock, who died August 5, 1891, near Appomattox Courthouse, Vir- ginia. It is a report in the Dispatch of August 15, 1891, of an in- terview with Dr. J. D. Pendleton, clerk of the Senate of Virginia :

Some time during the earlier part of 1865 General John C. Breckinridge, then Secretary of War of the Confederate States, in- vited the Virginia delegation in the House of Representatives to meet him at the War Department for the purpose of holding a con- ference with them on a matter of grave importance, in which they were vitally interested. Mr. Bocock was then Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Confederate Congress and accompanied the delegation.


Shortly afterwards Mr. Bocock and some friends were invited to a supper at the Exchange Hotel to be given by the sheriff of one of the upper counties, but the sheriff who had been fighting " the tiger," had lost his thous?nds of " Confederate shucks," and failed to put in an appearance. Mr. Bocock and Dr. Pendleton were present, how- ever, and a few other invited guests. Mr. Bocock was a fine talker, and while the evening waned entertained the gentlemen with an ac- count of the visit of the Virginia delegation in Congress to Secretary- of-War Breckinridge in his office at the War Department. General Breckinridge said that General Robert E. Lee had written to Presi- dent Davis stating that he only had on his rolls about forty-six thousand men fit for duty; that General Grant's forces were of such superiority in numbers that he could make a united attack along his (Lee's) entire line from Richmond to his right flank in Dinwid- die county and yet have a sufficient force to turn his flank and at- tack his rear. These considerations made one of two things im- perative either to have reinforcements or retire with his army from the State of Virginia and surrender the Confederate capital.


As to reinforcements the Secretary explained that the trans- Mis- sissippi troops refused to leave their State. Louisiana was in pos- session of the enemy and no aid could be expected from that quar- ter, and Governor Brown, of Georgia, was raising trouble about