The Hampton Roads Conference: The Southern View
By Lochlainn Seabrook - 294 pages - Illustrated
The most famous and important meeting of the War for the Constitution (the American “Civil War”) took place in Virginia aboard the U.S. steamer River Queen on February 3, 1865. And yet it receives barely a mention in our mainstream history books, except to say that “it was a futile effort that achieved nothing.”Known as the Hampton Roads Conference (named after its location at the famous ship anchorage in southeastern Virginia), in attendance on one side of the table were Confederate States Vice President Alexander H. Stephens, Confederate Assistant Secretary of War John A. Campbell, and Confederate Senator Robert M. T. Hunter; and on the other side, United States President Abraham Lincoln and United States Secretary of State William H. Seward.According to conventional history, the meeting opened with a “frank, honest, and kind-hearted Lincoln” offering generous promises to the “erring South,” including $400,000,000 in compensation for her slaves upon emancipation - if only the seceded states would return to the Union, to “our one common country.”The Confederate commissioners, however, viewed the meeting as a negotiation between “our two countries,” demanding that the North recognize the constitutionally established independence of the Southern states. Lincoln refused to budge, in return demanding the C.S.A.’s complete surrender to the “national authority” of the U.S.A.Four hours later the meeting adjourned with both parties at a stalemate.Conventional sources tell us that Lincoln had bent over backwards to accommodate the South, and that the conference only failed due to the intractable and defiant stubbornness of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who placed political theory (regarding secession) above the lives of C.S. and U.S. soldiers. Is any of this true? Absolutely not, and the author proves it. Packed with 32 essays, articles, and commentaries written by both Victorian men and women, Southerners and Northerners, this illustrated, information-dense compendium of facts and figures destroys the many mainstream myths surrounding the conference, demonstrating once and for all the vital importance of this, the sixth and final meeting in which the two opposing sides would meet face-to-face.Seabrook includes a descriptive introduction, complete source notes, a detailed index, a comprehensive bibliography, and helpful appendices.
"The Hampton Roads Conference"
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