Catalogue


Our one common country : Abraham Lincoln and the Hampton Roads peace conference of 1865 /
James B. Conroy.
imprint
Guilford, Conn. : Lyons Press, An imprint of Globe Pequot Press, [2014], c2014
description
xxiv, 390 p.
ISBN
0762778075 (hardback), 9780762778072 (hardback)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Guilford, Conn. : Lyons Press, An imprint of Globe Pequot Press, [2014], c2014
isbn
0762778075 (hardback)
9780762778072 (hardback)
abstract
"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 Hamptons Roads Conference shaped the course of American history and the future of America's wars to come"--
catalogue key
9170963
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 368-379) and index.
A Look Inside
First Chapter

Shortly after breakfast on a springlike day in the winter of 1865, Abraham Lincoln slipped out of the White House unnoticed with an Irish valet and a carpetbag and into a waiting carriage.  A locomotive hitched to a railway car had been summoned to take him to Annapolis, where the fastest steamboat on Chesapeake Bay was ready to run him south.  In a moment unique in history, the Commander in Chief had agreed to sit down and reason with the enemy in the midst of a shooting war.

            Having gone on ahead of him to Fort Monroe, the massive Union stronghold at Hampton Roads, Virginia, his Secretary of State, William Seward, a keen politician and a world-class charmer, was preparing to receive him and his guests on the paddle-wheeler River Queen, the Air Force One of its day.  Their old friend Alec Stephens, the eccentric Vice President of the Confederate States of America, was on his way to meet them with two other Rebel peace envoys in Ulysses S. Grant’s dispatch boat.  On the edge of his authority, Grant had passed them through his siege line to the cheers of the combatants on both sides, wined and dined them at his headquarters with Julia Dent Grant, evaded Lincoln’s orders to turn them away unheard, and convinced the embattled President to give peace a chance.    

With much of the South in Northern hands, its crippled armies cornered, and the means to resist nearly gone, the Rebellion was all but broken.  The issue was how it would end.  Over 600,000 young Americans were dead.  A Federal push to victory would cost thousands of more lives, humiliate the South, and complicate the healing of a reconstructed Union.  Reasonable men on both sides were coming to Hampton Roads in search of a way out. 

            On the other side of Grant’s siege line, Robert E. Lee was praying for their success and Jefferson Davis was plotting their failure.  Under pressure from his left to accept Lincoln’s invitation to send “any agent” to negotiate a reunion of “our one common country,” the defiant Confederate President had chosen as his spokesmen three leaders of Richmond’s growing antiwar movement and given them a mandate to bring peace to “two countries.”  Expecting them to fail, he was poised to proclaim their rejection as a Yankee insult, discredit his internal political opposition, and incite the Southern people to a war of desperation in a single stroke.  To avert a pointless death struggle, the President of the United States and the men in Grant’s dispatch boat would have to square that circle.

Summaries
Main Description
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 Hamptons Roads Conference shaped the course of American history and the future of America's wars to come.

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