Letter to John Forsyth from Jefferson Davis


In this letter, Davis is acknowledging the need to utilize all men, regardless of color, in the Confederacy forces and entreating Forsyth to use his newspaper to help the Confederate cause.


Richmond Va. Feb 21. 1865 [1] 

My Dear Sir: [2] 

You will readily understand why, during the Session of Congress, any private correspondence should be in arrears- I have now, though it may seem late, to thank you for your letter of 31st Dec

The article enclosed from the Register and Advertiser is a substantial expression of my own views on the subject of employing for the defence of our Country all the able-bodied men we have without distinction of color – It is now becoming daily more evident to all reflecting persons that we are reduced to choosing whether the negroes shall fight for or against us, and that all arguments as to the positive advantages or disadvantages of employing them are beside the question, which is simply one of relative advantage between having their fighting element in our ranks or in those of our enemy.

On the other topic suggested by you, of making use of this subject as an aid to foreign negotiations, you will appreciate the obligation of reticence imposed on me in these matters; and I can only say that I perceive no discordance in the views you express from what wise policy would dictate – So far, therefore, from obstructing any effort that the government may be or may have making in the hope of securing our independence, the influence of your Journal in the line which you propose to take would be of valuable assistance –

With many thanks for your offer of cordial support in my labors for the success of our common cause, I am, Very truly and respy Yours

                                                                                                               (Signed)  Jeffn,, Davis




The Papers of Jefferson Davis


[1] The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 11, pp. 412-13.  Rice University. Transcribed from a letter book copy at Tulane University. 

[2] John Forsyth, owner of the Mobile Advertiser and Register (later named Mobile Register) and then-Chief of Staff in the Confederate Army of Tennessee. 

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