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[174] given it since the appearance of Mr. Davis's book, justify us in transcribing it in full, despite its length.

It is a key to the feelings underlying many of the official acts of President Davis, It brings to light the reasoning to which he resorted, at times, in his efforts to cover his errors as a military chief. How strange, and how much to be regretted, that such moral weaknesses should have existed in one whose career, as Chief Magistrate of the Confederacy, had he been able to divest himself of the inordinate love of power which is characteristic of him, would have been one of unclouded success and glory. He could easily have availed himself of the counsels of men whose patriotism equalled his own, and whose experience as statesmen, and talents as commanders in the field, would have safely guided him to the goal he must have earnestly desired, but signally failed, to attain.

The endorsement of Mr. Davis began as follows:

The order issued by the War Department to General Johnston was not, as herein reported, to form a junction, “should the movement, in his judgment, be deemed advisable.1

The following is an accurate copy of the order:

General Beauregard is attacked. To strike the enemy a decisive blow, a junction of all your effective force will be needed. If practicable, make the movement, sending your sick and baggage to Culpepper Court-House, either by rail or by Warrenton. In all the arrangements exercise your own discretion.


It is proper, in the outset, to state, that no copy of this endorsement was ever seen by General Beauregard until one was furnished him from the Bureau of War Records at Washington, in the autumn of 1880. Until that time he was unable to ascertain its exact tenor, which, for reasons of their own, his friends, in Congress and elsewhere, had carefully withheld from his knowledge.

The words given, no doubt from memory, in the preliminary part of General Beauregard's report of the battle of Manassas, and purporting to be the substance of the order sent to General Johnston, under date of July 17th, 1861, are not identically the words made use of in the order. That is evident. But who can deny that, though different in exact phraseology, they convey precisely the same meaning? Will any one pretend that such an order could have been looked upon as a peremptory one, and that the only thing General Johnston had to do after receiving it, was blindly

1 The italics are ours.

2 The italics are ours.

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