Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/272

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
Southern Historical Society Papers.

Mr. Lincoln asked him particularly as to the state of the Legislature, whether it could he called together without difficulty, whether it had been dissolved, adjourned, or had taken a recess, &c., &c.

My suggestion to Mr. Lincoln had not extended to the call of any legal or political body. I say to you the first suggestion came from him and in the manner I state.

Mr. Myers is in Richmond and his testimony on this subject can be had. The following day (6th April) Gen. Weitzel sent for me to read a letter from Mr, Lincoln. This letter has been published. I understood that letter to authorize a call for the Virginia Legislature to come to Richmond to vote upon the restoration of Virginia to the Union and to perform any other legal acts in harmony with the policy of peace and union.

Gen. Lee was still in army and the war was still going on.

I asked Gen. W. if others than the members of the legislature would be allowed to come to Richmond. He answered yes and he would afford transportation and facilities to them. I called the members of the legislature of Virginia who were then in Richmond together, and told them of what had occurred and advised them to take the measures required, and left this whole matter in their hands. I told them I was not a Virginian, did not desire to engross any of the care and responsibility of the movement and declined to be on the committee to manage the matter. I wrote a letter to Gen. J. R. Anderson, explaining what I had done, read it to Gen. Shepley in presence of Mr. Dana, Assistant Sec'y of War, and left this original to be copied in that office.

No objection was made to this letter. The letter convening the legislature was examined by Gen. Shepley and corrected by him. His corrections were assented to and the letter went forth in the form he agreed to.

After Gen. Weitzel had showed to me the letter of Mr. Lincoln, we had some conversation, in the course of which he said, "That he now understood what I meant, by saying that the suspension of hostilities for a few days would lead to peace. We have captured Gen. Lee's letter." The letter referred to, I learned, was a letter of Gen. Lee, dated 8th March, '65, and related to the military situation at the date and presented a