, after General Beauregard
had left for Mobile
, on the 17th, informed the President
of the fact, and, doubtful as to what course to pursue, asked for further instructions.
And here it is but fair to assert that, on the 17th of June, the War Department, and Mr. Davis
likewise, had already received General Beauregard
's telegram of June 14th; for if the President
's telegram, forwarded from Richmond
, at that date, to General Bragg
, had taken but one day to traverse the wires—and the proof is there, none can deny it—it is certain that no greater time was required for General Beauregard
's despatch to travel the same distance over the same line.
And it should be stated further, that, on the 20th of June, when the President
sent his order, assigning General Bragg
to the permanent command of the Western Department and of the Army at Tupelo
, he had not only full cognizance of General Beauregard
's telegram of the 14th, but also of his explanatory letter of the 15th.
The true motive actuating General Beauregard
leaving his command, was, therefore, perfectly brought home to the President
, before he penned the peremptory order, so uncalled for and so arbitrary, by which—judging from appearances—he sought to humiliate and cast aside one of the most prominent generals of the South
, who enjoyed then, as always during the war, the full confidence and affection of the people—if not of the President
—and whose influence with the army was undoubted.
If Mr. Davis
had been animated, at that time, by other feelings than those of personal dislike towards General Beauregard
, he would, with a view to the public weal and to the eminent services of the latter, have simply sent General Van Dorn
—as he actually did—to relieve General Lovell
, and would have ordered General Bragg
to remain with the forces at Tupelo
until General Beauregard
It is claimed, on behalf of Mr. Davis
, that had such a course been adopted, General Beauregard
, though absent, would still have retained command of the department, and orders to General Bragg
would have had to pass through General Beauregard
's hands before finally reaching the actual commander of the forces; which would have entailed much delay, if nothing worse.
This objection is utterly futile, inasmuch as General Beauregard
had transferred to General Bragg
the temporary command of the department as well as of the army proper.1
But even admitting that such a