President Davis's answer to this earnest appeal, supported by such an imposing array of representative names, was truly characteristic. The reader will judge of it after reading the following paper: Notes of an Interview with the President relative to Transferring General Beauregard to the Command of Department No. 2.Charles J. Villere, Representative in Congress.
Richmond, September 13th, 1862.General Sparrow and myself this day called on the President, and delivered to him a petition, signed by about fifty members and senators from the Western and Southwestern States, in which the restoration of Beauregard to the command of the army now under Bragg was solicited, it being stated in the petition that it was known that Bragg would welcome the restoration of Beauregard. The President received it politely, and immediately read it aloud in our presence, making, en passant, some running comments on the correctness of some of the facts stated in the petition. He then calmly and dispassionately read aloud all the signatures attached to the petition. Having sent to an adjoining office for five or six despatches, he read them aloud in the order they were sent or received, according to date, and accompanied them in a calm manner with the following explanation, prefacing it with the remark that he supposed we had not a correct and faithful apprehension of the facts. He stated that on the day preceding his first despatch commanding Bragg to proceed to Vicksburg (14th June, I think), he received a despatch from Governor Pickens, of South Carolina, informing him that Beauregard (to whom Pickens had previously sent a despatch requesting him to come to Charleston and take command there) had replied that his presence was absolutely necessary to the army at Tupelo, and that he could not leave it. He (the President) further stated the following condition of things existed at that time: Columbus and Island No.10 had surrendered; Fort Pillow was evacuated, Memphis was abandoned, the enemy were taking possession of the line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and threatening a descent through Mississippi; that New Orleans had fallen, and the disposition seemed