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Sir,—Yesterday my attention was called to various newspaper publications purporting to have been sent from Manassas, and to a synopsis of your report of the battle of the 21st of July past, and in which it is represented that you had been overruled by me in your plan for a battle with the enemy south of the Potomac, for the capture of Baltimore and Washington, and the liberation of Maryland.

I inquired for your long-expected report, and it has to-day been submitted to my inspection; it appears by official endorsement to have been received by the Adjutant-General on the 15th of October, though it is dated August 26th, 1861.1

With much surprise I found that the newspaper statements were sustained by the text of your report.

I was surprised, because, if we did differ in opinion as to the measures and purposes of contemplated campaigns, such fact could have no appropriate place in the report of a battle; further, because it seemed to be an attempt to exalt yourself at my expense; and especially because no such plan as that described was submitted to me.2 It is true that some time before it was ordered you expressed a desire for the junction of General Johnston's army with your own. The movement was postponed until the operations of the enemy rendered it necessary, and until it became thereby practicable to make it with safety to the valley of Virginia. Hence, I believe, was secured the success by which it was attended.

If you have retained a copy of the plan of campaign which you say was submitted to me through Colonel Chestnut, allow me to request that you will furnish me with a duplicate of it.

Very respectfully yours, etc.,

The tenor of this letter, the assertions it contains, and the expressions made use of by President Davis are so extraordinary, and denote such a state of mental irritation, that, though reluctant, we are compelled to fix public attention upon it. The pressure

1 General Beauregard's report of the battle of Manassas had been written and was about to be forwarded to the War Department, when the Federal reports began to appear in the Northern papers. Taking advantage of many facts and incidents thus divulged, and of important admissions on the part of the enemy, General Beauregard determined to transform his report into a full ‘history’ of the battle—which was accordingly done—thereby considerably adding to its length and value. The first portion of the report, containing what was termed the ‘strategy’ of the campaign, remained unchanged, and, by an oversight, the date was left as originally written. A letter from General Beauregard to General Cooper showed distinctly, however, when the ‘history’ of the battle was prepared and sent in to Richmond.

2 The italics are ours.

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