Wednesday, January 1, 2014

December 30, 1863 (Tuesday): North Carolina Wavers

Governor Zebulon Vance

Raleigh, December 30, 1863.
His Excellency President DAVIS:
     MY DEAR SIR: After a careful consideration of all the sources of discontent in NOrth Carolina, I have concluded that it will be perhaps impossible to remove it except by making some efforts at negotiation with the enemy. The recent action of the Federal House of Representatives, though meaning very little, has greatly excited the public hope that the Northern mind is looking toward peace. I am promised by all men who advocate this course that if fair terms are rejected it will tend greatly to strengthen and intensify the war feeling and will rally all classes to a more cordial support of the Government; and although our position is well known as demanding only to be let alone, yet it seems to me that, for the sake of humanity, without having any weak or improper motives attributed to us, we might with propriety constantly tender negotiations. In doing so we would keep conspicuously before the world a disclaimer of our responsibility for the great slaughter of our race and convince the humblest of our citizens, who sometimes forget that actual situation, that the Government is tender of their lives and happiness and would not prolong their sufferings unneccessarily one moment. Though statesmen might regard this as uselless, the people will not, and I think our cause will be strengthened thereby. I have not suggested the method of these negotiations or their tems; the effort to obtain peace is the principal matter. Allow me to beg your earnest consideration of this suggestion.
     Very respectfully, yours,

     Z. B. VANCE.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 52, Part 1, Page 807.

Vance was in a precarious position.  The western part of his state was never fully committed to the Confederacy, the east was under invasion from Union forces, and there was dissatisfaction elsewhere.  Here he points out that although he does not believe the Union will offer favorable terms he must at least appear to be in a position to listen to placate those in his state who wanted the war to end quickly.  The loss of North Carolina would have isolated Virginia and hastened the end of the war.  It was yet another of a number of growing problems faced by Davis' administration. 

No comments:

Post a Comment