James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
rains had destroyed a part of the Richmond and Danville railroad, which was the main source of supply for his army, so that food could not be transported over it for a number of days. On a suggestion from the War Department, Lee made a personal appeal to the farmers, millers and other citizens to give him food, and although it was probable that nothing could have been impressed in that section, these men willingly brought in supplies sufficient to tide the army over its difficulty.
Far below Lee in the public estimation came Jefferson Davis, yet next to Lee he was the strongest individual influence in this time of distress. The power which he exercised by virtue of his office, together with the fact that his opponents lacked a leader, make it difficult to discern what was public opinion. All yearned for peace and everybody would have been willing to give the North liberal conditions if she would grant independence to the Confederacy. This view was shared by Davis who, however, did not fully comprehend the widespread demoralization of the South.1 His hopefulness gave him strength to rise above illness and a constant debility. He was inflexible and lacked tact in a eminent degree. Criticism was rife and various plans were proposed but, with rare exceptions, men failed to grasp the actual situation: that by superior resources and more efficient management the North had beaten the South. But it is impossible to tell how many saw the inevitable, that there could be no peace except by reunion and the abolition of slavery, and were willing to submit to these conditions. Thus matters were allowed to drift. The only feasible plan from a military point of view was to confer freedom on all slaves who would take up arms for the Confederacy.