- Colonel Pryor, of the military committee of Congress, visits General Beauregard at Centreville, to propose his transfer to the West. -- General Beauregard finally yields to the wishes of Congress and the executive. -- he parts with his army on the 2d of february, and on the 4th arrives at Bowling Green. -- interview with General A. S. Johnston. -- succinct review of the latter's situation. -- ignorance of the War Department with reference to his forces. -- General Beauregard desires to go back to his army in Virginia. -- General Johnston urges him to stay and assume command at Columbus. -- inspection of the works at Bowling Green. -- what General Beauregard thinks of them. -- he suggests concentration at Henry and Donelson to force a battle upon Grant. -- General Johnston fears the risk of such a movement, and adheres to his own plan of operations. -- fall of Fort Henry. -- conference at Bowling Green. -- memorandum of General Johnston's plan of the campaign. -- his and General Polk's army to operate on divergent lines. -- evacuation of Bowling Green. -- General Beauregard asks for specific instructions. -- letter to Colonel Pryor. -- fall of Fort Donelson. -- its effect upon the country. -- criticism of General Johnston's strategy.
Towards the end of January, 1862, General Beauregard received a visit, at his headquarters at Centreville, from Colonel Roger A. Pryor, of Virginia, a member of the Military Committee of the Confederate Congress. He informed General Beauregard that he had been deputed by his committee, and the Representatives in Congress of the Mississippi Valley States generally, to confer with him upon a plan then under consideration at Richmond, and to urge him to give it his consent. This plan consisted in the transfer of General Beauregard to the conduct of the defence of the Mississippi Valley, upon which public attention had now centred, and about the security of which great apprehensions were expressed. President Davis himself—Colonel Pryor said— was desirous of ordering the transfer, should General Beauregard agree to it. The immediate command thus proposed to General Beauregard included the forces under Major-General Polk, with headquarters at Columbus, Kentucky, within the Department of Kentucky and Tennessee, commanded by General Albert Sidney Johnston.