Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/262

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256 Southern Historical Society Papers.

having Georgia troops leave the State while it was invaded by the enemy, to say nothing of the desertions from General Joe John- ston's army while retreating before Sherman's victorious march to the sea.

"When General Johnston was told this by me," said Dr. Pendle- ton, who was in the city several days last week, " he declared that the statement of his men deserting was without foundation of fact."

General Breckinridge then asked the delegation what advice they had to offer.


Mr. Bocock, who acted as spokesman, asked General Breckin- ridge what proportion of the Army of Northern Virginia .did the Virginia troops constitute ?

To this General Breckinridge replied that the greater portion of General Lee's army were Virginians.

Mr. Bocock then asked to what point did the Confederate Gov- ernment propose to remove and make a stand, and General Breckin- ridge replied : " To some point in Northern Georgia," as this seemed to be the most eligible rallying ground.

Speaker Bocock then proceeded to give his reasons in opposition to the proposed evacuation of Virginia, and, among other facts, cited the statement of the Secretary concerning the action of the trans- Mississippi troops and the desertion of the Georgians as the Confed- erate army fell back in their State, and left their homes in the hands of the enemy. He claimed that the same reasons would obtain among the Virginia troops, and that it would be impolitic to sur- render the State to the Federal troops without another struggle.


The next day Senators R. M. T. Hunter and Allen T, Caperton met General Breckenridge, and he laid the same condition of affairs before them. Whatever advice they may have given in those dark days of the Confederacy is not stated, but it is certain that the strug- gle, forlorn as it was, was continued, and that the knowledge of its utter hopelessness was well known to General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Government in the early part of 1865, several months before the decisive day of Appomattox.