Our One Common Country: Abraham Lincoln and the Hampton Roads Peace Conference of 1865
James B. Conroy
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[Read by Malcolm Hillgartner]
Our One Common Country explores the most critical meeting of the Civil War. Given short shrift or overlooked by many historians, the Hampton Roads Conference of 1865 was a crucial turning point in the War between the States. In this well written and highly documented book, James B. Conroy describes in fascinating detail what happened when leaders from both sides came together to try to end the hostilities. The meeting was meant to end the fighting on peaceful terms. It failed, however, and the war dragged on for two more bloody, destructive months.
Through meticulous research of both primary and secondary sources, Conroy tells the story of the doomed peace negotiations through the characters who lived it. With a fresh and immediate perspective, Our One Common Country offers a thrilling and eye-opening look into the inability of our nation's leaders to find a peaceful solution. The failure of the Hampton Roads Conference shaped the course of American history and the future of America's wars to come.
Stanton’s was adopted. As Judge Campbell would later say, the defeated states were converted into military departments, “designated by Arabic numerals. Under such rule the most dishonest, despicable, and debased governments were established that ever existed on this continent.” Due in large part to defiant Southern racism, all but one of the seceded states (President Johnson’s Tennessee was readmitted in 1866) were excluded from the Union for three to five years. A century of bitterness followed.
Civil War (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1885) (“Porter, Incidents”), p. 15; Crook, William H., Margarita Spalding Gerry, ed. Through Five Administrations: Reminiscences of Colonel William H. Crook (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1910) (“Crook, Five Administrations”) p. 29; Brooks, Lincoln Observed, p. 48. 18. “fortune-tellers are his delight”: Welles Diary, vol. 2, p. 126. 18. “a certain mysterious knowledge”: Welles, Lincoln and Seward, pp. 49–50. 18. “hypocrite”; “sneak”: Van
“Lincoln As I Knew Him,” pp. 113–14. 167. with the specific exception of Charlie: Brooks, Lincoln Observed, p. 49. 167. Chaplain Neill’s encounter with Forbes: Edward D. Neill, in Glimpses of the Nation’s Struggle (St. Paul: St. Paul Book and Stationery Company, 1888) (“Neill”), p. 331; Sandburg, vol. 6, pp. 37–38. 168. Mr. Blair will hereafter know: Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress. 168. making up his entourage: New York Herald, February 3, 1865; New York Daily Tribune,
the judge’s lovely daughter, whom a smitten young officer had admired at a recent wedding as “the striking girl in pink.” But her father was in no dancing mood. The hapless commissary general had confessed that day that he could no longer feed the army. It was plain to Judge Campbell that the adjutant and the inspector general were incompetent too, though everyone, in fairness, had been dealt a barren hand. Campbell shared his dismay with General Gorgas as the young people flirted and danced.
gentlemen,” the general said, by which he clearly meant the commissioners. Grant would take no more liberties with his orders. “We’ve had a great deal of trouble already.” He turned to Colonel Hatch with the ease of a brother soldier. “We’ll send these gentlemen down to Fortress Monroe to make peace while you and I go up to Varina to see about the exchange of prisoners.” Varina, Mrs. Davis’s coincidental namesake, was the place south of Richmond where prisoners were often traded. As Assistant