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Welcome! 

THIS MONTH IN CIVIL WAR HISTORY
February 1865

Hampton Roads Peace Conference

 

War-weariness has reached epic proportions in both North and South in the early period of 1865.  The Confederacy had suffered enormous set-backs on many fronts, but Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia remains in place protecting Petersburg and Richmond.  In the Confederate capital, President Jefferson Davis continues to personify defiance.  Few dare to predict when or how the conflict that had raged so long will end, but some individuals on both sides hope that people of good will can find a path by which peace might be obtained.  In January, 1865, Francis P. Blair, Sr., had traveled twice to Richmond to offer his good offices.  Now, in February, after working through a maze of communications, three Confederate commissioners, Vice President Alexander H. Stephens (right), Senator Robert M.T. Hunter, and Assistant Secretary of War and former United States Supreme Court Justice Joseph Campbell pass through City Point, Virginia, to confer with U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward.  Encouraged by a message from Ulysses Grant, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (left) decides to travel from Washington City for the discussions that are to take place aboard the steamer River Queen.  The former U.S. Congressional colleagues, Stephens and Lincoln, revisit former days before settling into the discussion at hand: the possibility for peace.  Prone to be legalistic and often delving deeply into history for precedents to affirm his positon, Stephens finds himself countered by Lincoln’s determination that only an end to the resistance to Federal authority will be acceptable.  The conference ends without tangible results that are satisfactory to both parties and the struggle continues for the combatants.


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