18th, the full texts of which have already been laid before the reader.
An additional despatch of the 21st was, in substance, as follows:
As you have had time sufficiently to study the field, even should you be too unwell to assume command, I hope you will advise General Polk
of your judgment as to the proper disposition of his army, in accordance with the views expressed in your memorandum, unless you have deemed it necessary to change them.
I cannot issue any orders to him, for fear that mine might conflict with yours.
Here was an entirely different plan of operations, based upon entirely different views, which circumstances now brought forth, and to which no reference, however remote, had been or could have been made in the ‘memorandum’ of General Johnston
's strategic movements, so often alluded to before.
In reflecting upon the situation, as shaped by our recent disasters, General Beauregard
became convinced that our substantial success required the abandonment at once, on our part, of the passive-defensive through which, defeated at every successive point in the West
, we had gradually been driven to our present state of distress; and it was his conviction that necessity now compelled us boldly to assume the offensive.
To this end, and while reviewing thoroughly the sources from which additional troops might be levied or spared, he resolved to call upon the governors of Mississippi
, and Tennessee
, for whatever number of men they could collect, if only for sixty or ninety days, with whatever arms they could procure, to enable him to make or meet the last encounter, which, he thought, would decide the fate of the Mississippi Valley
The following is the confidential circular he sent on that occasion.
Its admirable conception and characteristic vigor will, no doubt, be appreciated by the reader: