New York Herald, 4/9/1865, p. 5, c. 1
President Lincoln Again at Work on the Peace Question.
He Holds a Consultation with Ex-Peace Commissioner Campbell, and Mr. Myres, Ex-Rebel Congressman.
Discovery of a Highly Important Letter from the Rebel General Lee.
He Thinks the Rebel Cause Surrounded by Peril and Difficulties.
Supplies the Chief Want of His Armies.
General Shepley's Order Announcing the Government of Richmond.
Our Naval Forces Clearing the James River.
Additional Particulars of the Evacuation and Conflagration of Richmond, &c., &c., &c.
Mr. William H. Merriam's Despatch.
RICHMOND, Va., April 5 – Evening.
THE PRESIDENT AND PEACE.
I am enabled without detriment to the public interests to lay before your readers some of the more impressive incidents that have marked the entry of the President of the Unites States into the ancient, aristocratic but now collapsed capital of the confederacy, and which have a most important public and political bearing.
On yesterday, shortly after the arrival of the President at the late executive residence of Jefferson Davis, now the headquarters of Major General Weitzel, he was observed to be in close consultation with General George H. Shepley, the Military Governor of Richmond. In this conversation General Shepley was detailing to the President the substance of an interview between Major General Weitzel, General Shepley and several prominent secessionists, whose names will hereinafter transpire. The President listened patiently, and indicated his sense of the magnitude of the propositions submitted for his consideration by great nervousness of manner, running his hands frequently through his hair and moving to and fro in the official chair of the late Jefferson Davis, in which he sat. The result of this interview may be summed up in the accompanying remark of Mr. Lincoln: "Well, say to them that I will entertain their propositions, with the condition that I shall have one friend, with the same liberty to them." This closed the matter until after the President's reception of the officers of the army and navy, who had called to pay their respects to the Chief Magistrate. After this State ceremonial, it was announced to the President that Judge Campbell, late a member of the Supreme Court of the United States, and more recently assistant rebel Secretary of War, and Hon. Mr. Myres, member of the late rebel House of Representatives – I think from the Richmond district – were waiting an audience with the President of the Unites States in the room adjoining the reception room of the mansion. The President at once retired to the apartment, summoning Major General Weitzel to be present with him at the interview. The conference lasted but a short time, and resulted in an arrangement for a second conference this morning on board the flagship Malvern, lying off Rockets.
CONSULTATION ON THE FLAGSHIP MALVERN.
This took place this forenoon, and the high parties conferred for a considerable period of time. The result of this last interview, as regards details, cannot now be made known; but it is entirely proper to add that auspicious results are known to be about to accrue from this most important conference at this exciting era in our national affairs.
The President left the city this afternoon for City Point, where he will await the approaching arrival of Mrs. Lincoln, from Washington, and Mrs. Major General Godfrey Weitzel, from Fortress Monroe, on which event the President will escort them to Richmond.
A MILITARY ORDER FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF RICHMOND.
General Shepley, Military Governor of Richmond, has just issued an important order in regulation of the government of the late rebel capital. The order is but another ???? of the practical and effective manner in which General Shepley proposes to govern Richmond. His vast experience in this relation in New Orleans, and as commander of the District of Eastern Virginia, with headquarters at Norfolk, has been of the rarest and most useful character, and General Weitzel's selection of Gen. Shepley for this post is an evidence of his ability to commend with acceptance.
The following is a copy of the order: -
HEADQUARTERS, UNITED STATES FORCES,
RICHMOND, Va., April 5, 1865.
By command of Major General Godfrey Weitzel, the following rules, regulations and orders are established for the government of the city of Richmond, and the preservation of public peace and order: -
I. Lieutenant Colonel John Coughlin, Tenth regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, Provost Marshal General of the Department of Virginia, headquarters at the Custom House building, will issue orders in relation to the general and special duties of the provost marshals within the department.
He will have the entire supervision of all permits and licenses for trade, and for admission into Richmond of the supplies for the army and destitute families.
II. Loyal persons, until further orders, will be allowed to bring to Richmond, under such regulations as he may establish, provisions of all kinds necessary for the above uses.
III. Lieutenant Colonel Frederick L. Manning, One hundred and forty-eighth Regiment New York Volunteers, Provost Marshal General Army of the James, headquarters in the Capitol building, will have general charge of all provost duty pertaining to the armies in and about Richmond.
IV. Brevet Brigadier General Edward H. Ripley, New York Volunteers, is hereby placed in command of all the troops doing provost or guard duty in the city of Richmond. All details of provost and other guards and orderlies will be made by him. District Provost Marshals hereinafter designated will report to him.
For the First District, Lieutenant Colonel Norman Smith, commanding Thirteenth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers.
For the Second District, Lieutenant Colonel W. Kreutzer, commanding Ninety-eighth New York Volunteers.
For the Third District, Major Theodore Miller, commanding One Hundred and Thirty-ninth New York Volunteers.
For the Fourth District, Major Charles Warren, commanding Eleventh regiment Connecticut Volunteers.
Each provost marshal of a district will be held accountable for the preservation of the public peace and of good order in his district.
They will open books of registry in their respective districts, in which each white male inhabitant will register his name, age, residence, and occupation. They will also administer the oath of allegiance to all persons desiring to take it in their districts and keep a registry of the same.
The Provost Marshal General of the department will issue such orders as are necessary to carry out the details of the above order.
V. Arrangements have been made to secure a continuous supply of water and gas as soon as the public works can be repaired and put in operation.
Captain H. B. Blood, Chief Quartermaster Twenty-fifth Army corps, will furnish the labor and material necessary for the purpose.
VI. All officers of the fire department will report immediately to Brevet Brigadier General Ripley, who will give the necessary orders to perfect the organization and render it efficient.
VII. A commission is being constituted for the relief of destitute families in the city of Richmond. This commission will fully investigate the wants of those applying for aid and decide upon the legitimacy of the claims in each case.
Lieutenant Colonel Dexter E. Clapp, Thirty-eighth Regiment United States colored troops, with two prominent citizens of Richmond to be hereafter designated by the commanding general, will constitute this commission.
Lieutenant Colonel Clapp will report to the military governor for instructions.
VIII. All loyal persons may keep open public hotels and restaurants, under licenses granted and restrictions imposed by the provost-marshal-general of the department.
All barrooms and all places of any description whatever for the sale of intoxicating drinks will be closed, and any person who shall sell or give away any intoxicating liquor to any enlisted man of the armies of the United States will be summarily punished by fine and imprisonment and confiscation of his property.
IX. A military commission has been established, of which Colonel Wooster, Twenty-ninth Connecticut Volunteers, is President, for the trial of aggravated offenses.
Suitable tribunals for the prompt punishment of minor offenses against the public peace will be constituted and announced in future orders.
X. The progress of the conflagration, which before the advent of the Federal troops threatened and was intended to involve the whole city in destruction, having been arrested and the restoration of peace and good order having succeeded the reign of anarchy which then prevailed, the efforts of all well-disposed citizens of Richmond are respectfully invoked in aid of the exertions of the military authorities to restore as far as possible to the city of Richmond its peace and prosperity.
G. F. SHEPLEY, Brigadier General
United States Vols., Military Governor of Richmond.
AN IMPORTANT LETTER FROM GENERAL R. E. LEE TO THE REBEL SENATE.
I have been favored with the points, though possibly not the language, from explicitly official sources, of a letter submitted by Jefferson Davis, upon demand of the rebel Senate, who desired to be made acquainted with his views of the military situation, early in March last. The letter bears date the 8th of March, and is marked confidential. It betrays in the most marked manner the want of confidence of the great rebel leader and chieftain in the cause to which he has devoted the rare energies of a life, which, until its dedication to treason and its maintenance before the world for the past few years, was most truly an honored one. The publication of these points, which may be implicitly relied upon as authentic, will do much to reassure the public heart of the loyal North, so often bowed down with grief during this protracted struggle as the fortunes of war were various, as to the speedy result of the war for the Union army.
SYLLABUS OF GENERAL LEE'S LETTER.
Robert E. Lee was called upon by the rebel Senate, through the Secretary of War, to present his opinion on the military situation of the confederacy. He says in general terms at the outset that their military situation is full of peril and difficulty. That the great difficulty was the question of supplies, and that this difficulty could only be met by a great and extraordinary patriotic sacrifice on the part of the people and the representatives of the people then in Richmond could judge better than he could whether the people were prepared to make such sacrifices; that without this question being thus met it was impossible for him or anybody else to keep his army together, no man could offer a successful resistance. The military situation was no worse than would naturally result from disproportion in numbers and resources. Lee expresses himself as being surprised at their having staved off this critical period so long. There was imminent danger of his being compelled to leave this (Richmond) position, and there is no other which he can occupy which will improve the matter. The abandonment of this position (Richmond) need not necessarily preclude success if he could keep his army together. He affirmed that a temporary success would give him ordnance stores, but not supplies.
CLEARING THE JAMES RIVER.
The removal of the torpedoes of the enemy from the James river by the navy of the United States goes bravely on, and to all practical intents and purposes this splendid watercourse is open to the city of Richmond, and in a few days we may expect to have communication direct with Fort Monroe by way of the river. The lowing up of the rebel rams was so accomplished as to obstruct the channel, particularly at Trent Reach. These destructions will have to be blown out. The work is under the supervision of Captain Foster, of the Commodore Perry under Captain Blake, of the single turreted Monitor Onondaga. The river is being dragged by men in small boats and tugs. Light draught vessels can readily ascend the James, and such ships as the Commodore Perry, Chippewa, Kansas, single turreted Monitor Sangamon and Monadnock, can probably reach here to-morrow.
THE REBEL MONITOR TEXAS.
The rebels, previous to evacuating Richmond, sank their new single turreted monitor Texas across the channel of the river. The Texas had only been launched a little upwards of a month. She was destroyed one week ago to-day.
GENERAL WEITZEL IN TEMPORARY COMMAND OF THE DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA.
Major General Weitzel has been assigned to duty as Commander of the Department of Virginia temporarily, until Major-General E. O. C. Ord, now operating with General Grant, shall return.
Vice Admiral Farragut has been on a visit to General Weitzel, by whom the old veteran of the sea was most cordially received and entertained. The Vice Admiral, who was in the jolliest of spirits, was accompanied by General George H. Gordon, Colonel John Coughlin, Provost Marshal General of the Department of Virginia; Major Stackpole, Judge Advocate General of the Department; Major Binney, Paymaster United States army; Captain A. P. Blunt, Chief Quartermaster at Norfolk, and Lieutenant Brown, of the musters.
The distinguished party proceeded down the James in the United States steamer City of Hudson, from Varina Landing.
THE FIRST UNION LADIES IN RICHMOND.
The first Union ladies in Richmond were Mrs. General George H. Gordon, Miss Curtis, of Boston, and Miss Buttrick, of Cambridge, Mass.
SERENADE TO GENERAL WEITZEL.
The commanding general was serenaded this evening by a Richmond band. During the serenade Captain Richard Renshaw, of the navy, was a guest of Colonel Ed. W. Smith, assistant adjutant general, as was also General Weitzel.
MAJOR STEVENS' JAIL DELIVERY.
Major A. H. Stevens, Provost Marshal of the Twenty-fifth corps, has relieved the Richmond jail of all its prisoners. He passed the female prisoners all in review, then the men and boys; first of all summoning the old deputy jail keeper, and learned from him the nature of the various were found to be almost starved, and when released cheered Major Stevens most heartily.
ARRIVAL OF ASSISTANT SECRETARY DANA.
Hon. C. A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, arrived here to-day, and has been closely closeted with General Weitzel and General Shepley.
Paymaster Samuel T. Browne, of the United States Navy, was the first officer of the navy in Richmond.