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[159] predetermined quarrel, it corroborated warnings already received from high quarters, warnings too authentic to be wholly disregarded, to which, however, General Beauregard had been unwilling to yield entire credence. Overlooking Mr. Benjamin, he referred his letter to the President, to whom he exposed the Secretary's ignorance upon the subject, and protested against his ill-timed obstructions and arguments. The following is an extract from the letter, written to Mr. Davis, under date of October 20th, 1861.

* * * * * * * * *

I have felt it due to your Excellency and the country, at this juncture, as well as to myself, to invoke your notice of this matter, so that guard may be placed against a recurrence of this character of correspondence. . . . I am utterly at a loss to understand wherein my course, in connection with the subjectmatter of the Secretary's letter, can be pronounced “without warrant in law,” and be the source of “ so much surprise.” The Secretary seems to be unaware, evidently, that a rocket company is but a field artillery company, nothing more, and not, by any means, a special corps or arm of the service, like that, for example, of sappers, miners, or pontoniers—as I apprehend he supposes— requiring congressional enactments for its organization, in addition to existing laws. An acquaintance with the history of the military establishment and organization of the late United States would have protected the Acting Secretary from this misapprehension, as he would have then known in what way, during the war with Mexico, a rocket battery was organized for the field, with the army under General Scott. . . .

But in this very matter, it so happens I did not act without consultation with all proper authorities. Assured of the difficulties in getting field guns in any adequate number for the exigency, and convinced of the value of war rockets against such troops as our adversaries have, I despatched an officer of my staff—Captain E. P. Alexander—last August, to Richmond, to consult and arrange measures with the proper departments. He saw the Adjutant-General of the army on the subject, and received, I am happy to say, the most ample, cordial approval of the plan; and the Chief of Ordnance took immediate steps for manufacturing the rockets with the utmost celerity.

On the return of Captain Alexander from his mission, so satisfactorily concluded in all respects, it became proper to secure men to be ready for the rocket battery, so that no time should be lost. It so happened that a valuable officer, by circumstances thrown out of employment, was available, and thought to be particularly fitted for the command of a rocket battery; while it was believed that he could readily recruit a company without subtracting from our already too weak army. Under these circumstances, I need not say to your Excellency, I did not hesitate to direct him to recruit such a company as soon as possible. . . . God knows, in all I do at this time, I have no other end in view than the good and success of our cause and the interests of our country, now sorely pressed; and I can and do confidently deny the allegation of the Acting Secretary, that my conduct has been wanting in judgment in this


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