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In Their Own Words

February 25, 1865

Appeal to End Civil War

From Macon, J.T. Smith wrote Georgia governor Joseph E. Brown appealing for him to help get Georgia out of the Civil War:

“… I have never been a politician. You do not know me. I have been introduced to you and we have conversed together as Baptists. I live in the country, and I think I know the minds of the country people better than you do yourself. Many of your friends who live in cities and towns and have daily intercourse with military officers still retain a considerable war spirit, but that spirit is out in the county! I live in a district where there are now about sixty voters. There were than number present at our election lasts month for justices, and there were only four war men in the crowd, all the balance were Union men, ready and anxious to throw down arms on any terms that reconstruction could be obtained. One of the justice[s] elected said that if the country people would all turn out, they could go and drive every government officer and newspaper editor out of Macon, and he pledged himself to raise 300 men in twenty-four hours for that purpose if required. I have suffered more from the war than many others. All of my property has been destroyed. I have had one son killed, and one maimed for life in battle, and I have three more sons now in the Confederate service, and never one of them away from their post without liberty. Yet all of them and myself think if we as a state would throw down our arms now, we would make a far better arrangement with the old government than if we try to hold out longer. ‘Leave the sinking ship!’ The statement of the President’s hirelings, writing for the papers, all state falsehoods when they say that the armies are anxious still to fight. It is not true. The offices with high [station] and easy situations make these opinions and get up meetings and pass resolutions to that effect, without the knowledge and consent of nine-tenth[s] of the privates in the army. And it is not the feeling of the people generally through the country. You cannot get the people to fight any more. They are going home as fast as they can get there. The country is full of deserters and almost every man in the community will feed them and keep them from being arrested. Stop it, my friend, stop it. All the enlightened world is against us, and God himself is against us!”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 181.