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[405] for a short while from here, hoping to be back to assume the offensive at the earliest moment practicable. Meanwhile, I will transfer the command of the forces and of this department to the next officer in rank, General B. Bragg, furnishing him with such instructions as will enable him to give all orders required during my absence. I propose leaving here to-morrow, at 12 M., for Mobile, where I will remain a day or two, inspecting the condition of its defences, and will offer to Brigadier-General Forney such advice as, in my judgment, may be necessary, and he may be willing to accept. I will then repair to Bladon Springs, on the Tombigbee River, about seventy-five miles north of Mobile, where I will remain about one week or ten days, or long enough to restore my shattered health,

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

General Beauregard, after a conference with General Bragg, left the latter in temporary command of the army and of the entire department, and started, not hurriedly, as Mr. Davis, in his book, indicates, but on the 17th of June, after all his arrangements had been leisurely completed. Knowing that there was no danger, just then, in absenting himself from his forces, and believing, in all honesty, that no other answer than a favorable one could possibly come from the War Department—for he knew of no army regulation denying a commanding general the right, for reasons of health, to move even beyond the boundaries of his own department—he proceeded quietly on his journey, never suspecting the result awaiting him, nor anticipating President Davis's resentment at so simple an act.

Mr. Davis quotes the answer made by General Beauregard when General Bragg presented him the first despatch received from Richmond; but without prefixing any date to it.1 It is not denied that that answer contains the substance of General Beauregard's telegram and letter—the first, of June 14th, the second, of June 15th—but it remains none the less a fact, that it was not General Beauregard's real answer to Mr. Davis or to the War Department: it was nothing more than the statement of General Bragg's interpretation of General Beauregard's remarks to him. Mr. Davis had also before him General Beauregard's own telegram, as forwarded by himself, when informed of the President's action with regard to General Bragg's departure for Vicksburg. That despatch has already been submitted to the reader, and is, undoubtedly, the best evidence to be offered in the case.

1 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. p. 74.

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