Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Ulysses S. Grant [1]

Lieutenant General Grant March 3. 1865

The President directs me to say to you that he wishes you to have no conference with General Lee unless it be for the capitulation of Gen. Lee's army, or on some minor, and purely, military matter. He instructs me to say that you are not to decide, discuss, or confer upon any political question. Such questions the PresidentPage  331 holds in his own hands; and will submit them to no military conferences or conventions. Meantime you are to press to the utmost, your military advantages. EDWIN M STANTON

Secretary of War


[1]   AD-F, ISLA. The body of this telegram is in Lincoln's autograph, the date, salutation, and signature having been written by Stanton. On March 2, Grant had telegraphed Stanton:

``The following communication has just been received from Genl Lee

``Lt Gen U S Grant H'd Qrs C S Armies

``Comd'g US Armies Mch 2d 1865

`` `General: Lieut Genl Longstreet has informed me that in a recent conversation between himself and Maj Genl Ord as to the possibility of arriving at a satisfactory adjustment of the present unhappy difficulties, by means of a military convention. Genl Ord stated that if I desired to have an interview with you on the subject you would not decline, provided I had authority to act. Sincerely desiring to leave nothing untried which may put an end to the calamities of war, I propose to meet you at such convenient time and place as you may designate with the hope that upon an interchange of views it may be found practicable to submit the subjects of controversy between belligerents to a convention of the kind mentioned.

``In such event I am authorized to do whatever the result of the proposed interview may render necessary or advisable Should you accede to this proposition, I would suggest if agreeable to you, we meet at the place selected by Genls Ord and Longstreet for their interview at 11 A M on Monday next Very Respy Your Obdt Servt (signed) R E LEE'

``Genl Ord met Genl Longstreet a few days since at the request of the latter to arrange for the exchange of citizen prisoners. . . .

``He had my authority to do so and to arrange definitely for such as were confined in his Dept. arrangements for all others to be submitted for approval.

``A general conversation ensued on the subject of the war and it has induced the above letter. I have not returned any reply but promised to do so at noon tomorrow. I respectfully request instructions'' (DLC-RTL).