Guy M. Bryan to Murrah, April 19, 1865

During the Civil War, the governors of the Confederate states west of the Mississippi -- Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana, plus Confederate-controlled areas of Missouri and Indian Territory (Oklahoma) -- held three conferences in Marshall, Texas, to address their common problems.

The first conference, in July 1862, was called by Governor Lubbock to deal with the problems caused by the imminent seizure of the Mississippi by the Union, which would isolate the western Confederacy. They asked President Jefferson Davis for a commanding general to have jurisdiction over the western states, for a branch of the treasury to be located west of the Mississippi, and for arms and ammunition.

By August of 1863, when the second conference was held, the Union had captured Vicksburg and controlled the entire Mississippi River. The conference was called by General Kirby Smith, military commander of the region. Both Governor Lubbock and Governor-elect Murrah attended for Texas. Murrah headed up a foreign-relations committee that endorsed seeking alliances with French and Mexican leaders.

General Smith called the third Marshall conference in May of 1865. By this time, General Lee had surrendered, and the Richmond government had fallen. All of the eastern Confederacy had surrendered on the terms given by General Ulysses S. Grant at Appommatox. Smith had refused to accept these terms for the western states.

In the telegram below, Guy M. Bryan, who was Murrah's representative at Smith's headquarters, notifies Murrah of the third conference. However, Murrah was gravely ill with tuberculosis and did not make the trip. Bryan stood in for him at the conference, which drafted an unrealistic surrender plan that was immediately rejected by the Union. With his army deserting in droves, General Smith finally surrendered on Grant's terms on June 2, 1865.

In the meantime, Murrah, in spite of his failing health, had joined other Confederate leaders in flight to Mexico. The trip was too much for him, and he died in Monterrey on August 4, 1865.

"War, Ruin, and Reconstruction"

Bryan telegram to Murrah

By Telegraph from Shreveport

Dated Apl 19 1865.

To Gov Murrah

Care Col Cone

It is of the greatest importance that

you meet the Governors and Gen'l

Smith at Marshall on the 10th

May I will write to you at Rusk

and Palestine

Guy M. Bryan

Cone -- Gen Magruder is telegraphed

by Gen Smith and will send carrier

send this by same -- GMB

"War, Ruin, and Reconstruction"

Guy M. Bryan to Murrah, April 19, 1865, Records of Pendleton Murrah, Texas Office of the Governor, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: March 30, 2011