THE PEACE MOVEMENT
CONGRESS WAS MOST ACTIVE IN FOREIGN POLICY IN REGARD TO THE opening of peace negotiations with the United States. The unofficial peace movement in the South was as old as the Confederacy. Portions of the Appalachian and the Trans-Mississippi regions had opposed secession, but were forced into the Confederacy as minority sections of seceding states. They remained passively Confederate during the first two years of the war but camouflaged their activities by resorting to secret societies. There were three well-developed peace organizations extending from Arkansas to Florida and many smaller local organizations. Some were formed for treasonable purposes and maintained close contact with the United States; others were organized to offer only constitutional opposition to the Confederacy and to induce it to open negotiations based on independence. The extremes grew farther apart as the war progressed, until the constitutional wing either withdrew or ceased to exist and the other became, from the government's point of view, wholly treasonable.
Peace talk occasionally arose even in official circles as early as 1861. Many believed that the North would recognize the independence of the Confederacy if it could avoid the stigma of opening negotiations. Some thought that First Bull Run afforded the South an opportunity to take the initiative without losing face, and a few congressmen discussed this possibility in private conversation. There was a rumor in Montgomery that President Davis himself sympathized with this view, though he firmly denied it.1
The first official peace proposals in Congress were made on September 16, 1862, when Foote of Tennessee and Hines Holt of Georgia suggested that commissioners be sent to Washington to seek a just and honorable peace. These resolutions were tabled