Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 32.djvu/379

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

Polignac's Mission. 367

Kirby Smith to allow my chief-of-staff, Major T. C. Moncure, to accompany me; and Governor Allen said he would avail himself of this opportunity to write a letter to the Emperor of France, of which his aide-de-camp, Colonel Ernest Miltenberger, should be the bearer. It lay within the sphere of authority of General Kirby Smith to grant Major Moncure and myself a leave of absence of six months. Neither the chief of the War Department nor Presi- dent Davis had to be consulted in the matter, and in point of fact they were not.

I did not read the letter which Governor Allen wrote, and, there- fore, cannot speak de visu of its contents, but in a letter addressed to the editor of the Washington Post, bearing- date Washington, March i6th, and published in that paper under the heading, " Lost Chapter in History," I note the passage:

"A paper was prepared, which I read, to be presented to Napo- leon III, quoting the third article of the treaty of Paris, ceding Lou- isiana to the United States," etc., etc.

There was no other paper prepared than Governor Allen's letter, and since the correspondent of the Washington Post has read it, he knows as well as I do that it contained no such bargain as that sug- gested by the Washington Post viz., the retrocession of Louisiana to France in return for armed intervention, nor does he assert it verbatim.

I have said that I enjoyed Governor Allen's confidence. This is not a mere commonplace sentence. In fact, before our departure, Governor Allen imparted to me a scheme of his of a somewhat sur- prising nature, and which, at the time, might well have borne the stamp, "Confidential." I shall disclose it further on, and it will serve to dispose of some other assertions of a speculative character which have appeared in the Washington Post. Meanwhile, I go on with my narrative.

Having no memorandum notes at my disposal at the time I write, I cannot give precise dates, but I believe it was in March, 1865, that Colonel E. Miltenberger, Major Moncure, and myself left Shreveport on what may have appeared a special mission of some kind. Of us three, Colonel E. Miltenberger alone was invested with an official character, confined, however, to the State of Lou- isiana, not emanating from the Confederacy as an aggregate of States.

Our path lay through the breadth of Texas, and the news of my