AS THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR OF 1861-1865 ground on into 1864 there was continuing pressure within both the North and the South to negotiate some kind of peace settlement. There were factions within both governments that were adamant that peace negotiations should be pursued at any cost.
There were such peace overtures early in the conflict, but the “Peace Commission” of 1861 obviously failed. Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens mentioned in his post-war account that there was a proposed peace conference in 1863, which did not materialize. Critics on both sides maintained that the enemy did not want peace. This was obviously not true. But, on the Confederate side, the majority of representatives in the House and Senate maintained that they were fighting for their independence and that independence would not be compromised. Nevertheless, the peace resolutions made public by the Confederate House of Representatives show that the Confederacy did desire peace.
Assembled here are documents from two sources: one is the set of six peace resolutions printed by the Confederate House of Representatives that are part of the Confederate imprints in the Rosanna Blake Collection at Marshall University (Parrish & Willingham numbers: 745, 746, 747, 750, 788 and 817). The other consists of excerpts from the Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865, published by the U.S. Government Printing Office in 1905, giving a chronology of events in the Confederate Congress.
EVENTS IN THE CONFEDERATE CONGRESS ABOUT THE HAMPTON ROADS PEACE CONFERENCE
December 16, 1864
Mr. Josiah Turner’s resolution tendering peace
|December 16, 1864||Mr. Ethelbert Barksdale’s amendment to Turner's resolution|
|December 17, 1864||The House considers Turner's resolution|
|December 19, 1864||Mr. LaFayette McMullin’s amendment to Barksdale amendment|
|January 10, 1865||(Secret) Mr. John Adams Gilmer’s joint resolution|
|January 11, 1865||Mr. William P. Miles’ resolution|
|January 12, 1865||(Secret) Resolutions from the Committee on Foreign Affairs|
|January 19, 1865||Joint Resolutions from Texas Legislature|
|January 23, 1865||Mr. James T. Leach’s resolutions|
|January 30, 1865||Joint Resolution “Constituting basis for negotiations for peace”|
|February 3, 1865||The Hampton Roads Conference took place on this date|
|February 6, 1865||Letter from President Jefferson Davis|
|February 20, 1865||Mr. John Perkins, Jr. presents resolution from the Committee on Foreign Affairs|
|February 24, 1865||House considers joint resolution “Expressing the sense of Congress”|
|ACKNOWLEDGMENTS —— INTRODUCTION and SOURCES —— RETURN|
Created by Jack Dickinson and designed by Lisle Brown, Curator Special Collections
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