Tide Turns Case 4
Fall of Richmond
The Peace Commission

As the Civil War entered its final year—and Abraham Lincoln about to begin a second presidential term—there were calls for peace negotiations with the Confederacy. He reluctantly went along with these efforts, while simultaneously working to push the 13th Amendment through Congress and ensure the nation that emerged from the war was one without slavery. The friction between those goals ultimately doomed the negotiations.

This letter comes from the early stage of that process. Longtime political ally Francis P. Blair had just met with Jefferson Davis’s administration in Richmond and is asking Lincoln to attend a peace conference with Confederate commissioners. Lincoln did not accept because the Confederates still indicated peace was only possible through recognition of Southern independence. Ultimately, Lincoln would attend a peace meeting on February 3—insisting on full and unconditional surrender and the permanent destruction of slavery—but it produced no agreement.

Label Audio

SC130 – Blair to Lincoln Jan 12, 1865

Francis P. Blair Sr. to Abraham Lincoln, 12 January 1865

Washington, Jany. 12, 1865

The Hon. Pres. Lincoln,


I have been authorized to present to you a letter of appointment seeking an informal conference between yourself, President of the United States, and Messrs Stephens, Hunter & Campbell, appointed by Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy.

Awaiting a favorably reply; I beg to remain,

Your obt Svt.

F.P. Blair

Pres. A. Lincoln

Letter Audio

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