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[351] a cessation of hostilities had not Governor Harris suggested that the fight had better go on. Who could give credence to this, even if Governor Harris had not given the counter-statement already submitted to the reader? But Mr. Davis reaches the culminating-point when, speaking through Colonel Johnston's book, he describes General Beauregard as a sickly, broken-down, indifferent commander, who was disposed to trust to chance for a favorable turn of events, and who listlessly remained where he was, unable, if not unwilling, to take the helm and conduct the movements of the army.

This is trifling with public credulity. Mr. Davis certainly trusts too presumptuously to the consideration accorded to him on account of his former high position.

The entire country knows that General Beauregard, the trained soldier, is a man of quick temperament, who, without being rash, has never flinched under responsibility; that the salient traits of his character are boldness and energy. To assert that such a man remained quiet and inactive, when the chief command of the army devolved upon him—when the boom of the cannon was in his ear, and the clash and fury of the battle were around him; when news from the right told that victory on that part of the line was almost within our grasp—is to put too great a strain upon the credulity of even the simple. Words are not necessary to refute this slander, or to establish the fact that General Beauregard acted, under the circumstances, as his education, his nature, his duty, and his will prompted him. The preceding chapters have sufficiently shown the difficult and masterly work he accomplished, after the sad event which left in his hands the command of the army. Here, again, truth forces the statement that Mr. Davis, in his effort to detract from the merits of one against whom he has not scrupled to exhibit his persistent animosity, has overreached his aim, and, far from accomplishing his purpose, has only succeeded in impairing the historical value of his own book.

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Jefferson Davis (3)
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