April 17, 1865: Proposed surrender terms

John H. Reagan

John Reagan, Postmaster-General of the Confederacy, proposes terms for Johnston’s surrender. I guess at this point it wasn’t easy finding major cabinet members.


APRIL 17, 1865.

As the avowed motive of the Government of the United States for the prosecution of the existing war with the Confederate States is to secure a reunion of all the States under one common government, and as wisdom and sound policy alike require that a common government should rest on the consent and be supported by the affections of all the people who compose it, now in order to ascertain whether it be practicable to put an end to the existing war and to the consequent destruction of life and property, having in view the correspondence and conversation which has recently taken place between Major General W. T. Sherman and myself, I propose the following points as a basis of pacification:

First. The disbanding of the military forces of the Confederacy; and,

Second. The recognition of the Constitution and authority of the Government of the United States on the following conditions:

Third. The preservation and continuance of the existing State governments.

Fourth. The preservation to the people of all the political rights and rights of person and property secured to them by the Constitution of the United States and of their several States.

Fifth. Freedom from future prosecution or penalties for their participation in the present war.

Sixth. Agreement to a general suspension of hostilities pending these negotiations.

General Johnston will see that the accompanying memorandum omits all reference to details and to the necessary action of the States and the preliminary reference of the proposition to General Grant for his consent to the suspension of hostilities, and to the Government of the United States for its action. He will also see that I hae modified the first article, according to his sugestion, by omitting the refernce to the consent of the President of the Confederate States and to his employing his good offices to secure the acquiescence of the several States to this scheme of adjustment and pacification. This may be done at a proper subsequent time.

JOHN H. REAGAN.

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