having taken a part in it, or expressed their views upon the points at issue between them, but for having, ‘about four months afterwards,’ prepared a ‘paper’ wherein was made ‘a record of their conversation; a fact,’ says Mr. Davis
, ‘which was concealed from me, whereas, both for accuracy and frankness, it should have been submitted to me, even if there had been nothing due to our official relations.
Twenty years after the event I learned of this secret report, by one party, without notice having been given to the other, of a conversation said to have lasted two hours.’1
And Mr. Davis
continues as follows: ‘I have noticed the improbabilities and inconsistencies of the paper, and without remarks I submit to honorable men the concealment from me in which it was prepared,’ etc.2
This language is all the more unwarrantable, because Mr. Davis
fails to show—though he asserts it—that any effort at concealment was ever made by those whom he accuses of it. Knowing the importance of this conference, and desirous of having a true and correct account of it, one that could not be effaced or altered by the lapse of time, the three generals wrote out, while it was still fresh in their memory, all that had passed between them and the President
As nothing was added and nothing suppressed in the memorandum thus made, what obligation was there on their part to submit it to Mr. Davis
He knew, as well as they did, what had transpired, and had nothing further to learn about it. He also—in all propriety—could have committed the conversation to writing, had it so pleased his fancy; and, provided it was done correctly, no account whatever of his action in the matter was due to the three generals or any one of them.
What Mr. Davis
says, to-day, of that conference, shows how wise and how far-seeing were Generals Johnston
, and Smith
, in preparing the paper alluded to, which has aroused to such an extent the ire of the ex-President
. General Beauregard
, for one, had already had occasion to learn what light work could be made with a plan of operations verbally submitted to the Commander-in-Chief
of our armies.
We refer to the plan proposed, through Colonel Chestnut
, on the 14th of July, 1861, before the battle of Manassas
, which Mr. Davis
denied having ever had any