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[411]

IV. If, as Mr. Davis has it, General Beauregard had abandoned his command without ‘permission’—that is to say, in violation of army regulations—he was not absent on ‘sick-leave,’ or any other ‘leave;’ he had simply deserted his post. If, on the other hand, as Mr. Davis plainly states, he was ‘on sick-leave,’ the temporary arrangement made at and before his departure should have been acquiesced in; for he was clearly not at fault, if on ‘sick-leave.’

But it is an undeniable fact that, when the government's despatch of June 14th was sent directly to General Brag, General Beauregard was still in full command at Tupelo, and had not, then, even intimated his intention of going to the inaccessible place Mr. Davis objects to. He only disclosed that intention after the President's order had reached General Bragg; and this is the ‘similar order,’ which, Mr. Davis states, was sent through General Beauregard and disobeyed. Scarcely over three weeks after he left Tupelo, General Beauregard—had he not been, at that time, tacitly ‘shelved’—could have resumed his active duties in the field or elsewhere. His health was sufficiently restored by the rest, quiet, and salubrious air he had enjoyed at Bladon Springs. But, as is now apparent, the current of succeeding events did not require his presence with the army, even a fortnight after his sufficient restoration to health. And this had been clearly foreseen by him before he left Tupelo. Nor was the hurried departure of General Bragg, so much insisted upon by President Davis, at all indispensable. General Van Dorn, when sent to relieve General Lovell, did just as well; and we have yet to learn that he took even a company with him to reinforce a place which, Mr. Davis said, was so imminently threatened.

Days, and even weeks, passed by. General Beauregard was still in retirement at Bladon Springs. Letters of sympathy and regret reached him from all points of the Confederacy, and proved what a high place he occupied in the public esteem. Yet some injudicious friends, or ‘mischief-makers’—as the Hon. John Forsyth, who had been one of our three Peace Commissioners to Washington, so aptly called them—strove hard to create feelings of suspicion and animosity between our leading men, and, what was worse, between Generals Beauregard and Bragg. The former did his utmost, incessantly, not only to screen his successor from all imputation of blame concerning the action of the Executive in placing him in

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