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[142] at length, if not republished, in the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion. No one is responsible for Mr. Davis's neglect to take cognizance of it. His appeal, therefore, to the ‘honorable men’ of the country, whose sympathies he desires to enlist in his favor, becomes simply puerile; and, far from resulting in injury to those whom he assails, it only recoils upon himself, and exposes the extreme carelessness with which he writes.

Mr. Davis should have inserted that document in his book. His criticisms would then have been better appreciated. Why he abstained from doing so is not, however, hard to understand. As General Beauregard has no like reasons to refrain from giving full publicity to it (we know that Generals Johnston and Smith think as he does on the subject), we now lay the whole paper before the reader, asking his most careful consideration of it.

On the 26th of September, 1861, General Joseph E. Johnston addressed a letter to the Secretary of War, in regard to the importance of putting this army in condition to assume the offensive; and suggested that his Excellency the President, or the Secretary of War, or some one representing them, should at an early day come to the headquarters of the army, then at or near Fairfax Court-House, for the purpose of deciding whether the army could be reinforced to the extent that the commanding general deemed necessary for an offensive campaign.

His Excellency the President arrived at Fairfax Court-House a few days thereafter, late in the afternoon, and proceeded to the quarters of General Beauregard.

On the same evening General Johnston and I called to pay our respects. No official subjects of importance were alluded to in that interview. At eight o'clock the next evening, by appointment of the President, a conference was had between himself, General Johnston, General Beauregard, and myself. Various matters of detail were introduced by the President, and talked over between himself and the two senior generals. Having but recently arrived, and not being well acquainted with the special subject referred to, I took little or no part in this conversation. Finally, with perhaps some abruptness, I said, “Mr. President, is it not possible to put this army in condition to assume the active offensive?” adding, that this was a question of vital importance, upon which the success or failure of our cause might depend. This question brought on discussion. The precise conversation which followed I do not propose to give: it was not an argument; there seemed to be little difference of opinion between us in regard to general views and principles. It was clearly stated and agreed to, that the military force of the Confederate States was at the highest point it could attain without arms from abroad; that the portion of this particular army present for duty was in the finest fighting condition; that, if kept inactive, it must retrograde immensely in every respect


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