when he left his ambulance that morning he did not see it again until his return to Corinth
, after the battle of Shiloh
In support of this statement the reader is referred to General Beauregard
's letter to Governor Harris
, dated March 9th, 1880, written after the appearance of Colonel W. P. Johnston
The following is an extract from that letter:
You will observe this text imputes to you a knowledge, and also implies that it is upon your authority, that Colonel W. P. Johnston asserts my having said that I would be found in bed in my ambulance; whereas the fact is, that I had ridden with General Johnston from Monterey, on the preceding day, to the field.
I only slept in my ambulance that night, as I had no tent, and did not see it again until my return to Corinth.
I was again on horseback shortly after daybreak on the 6th—earlier, for that matter, than General Johnston, whom I found at his headquarters taking his coffee.
We parted in advance of his headquarters, when he went to the front, with the understanding that I was to follow the movements of the field and direct the reserves; in which connection I call your attention to Colonel Jacob Thompson's statement, at page 570 of W. P. Johnston's book: “General Johnston determined to lead the attack in person, and leave General Beauregard to direct the movements of troops in the rear.”
I may add, that I was on horseback all that day, with very few intervals, until you rejoined me at my headquarters, near Shiloh meeting-house, about sundown, after my return from the front; and I was again on horseback all the next day from about seven o'clock, with few intervals, until my arrival at Corinth, late that night.
This is clear and unambiguous.
It utterly disproves and reduces to naught the groundless story chronicled by Mr. Davis
In reply to that letter (April 13th, 1880) Governor Harris
. . . But my recollection is, and I have so stated upon several occasions, that the last words you spoke to General Johnston, as he was starting to the front on Sunday morning of the battle of Shiloh, were, “General, if you wish to communicate with me, send to my ambulance,” etc.2
Here the words ‘in bed’ are entirely omitted.
They are in Colonel Johnston
's and Mr. Davis
's books, but not in Governor Harris
's letter to General Beauregard
We know that Governor Harris
is sincere in his belief that these were General Beauregard
's words, but his impression about them, however strong it may be, is none the less erroneous.
Where that ambulance was, or would be a few hours later, General Beauregard
knew no more than