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[418] to be to give up everything; that he had just received a despatch from Lovell, stating, unless reinforced, he would abandon Vicksburg; besides all this, he knew the people had no confidence in Lovell, and would not serve under him. He at once determined to send Bragg to Vicksburg, and on the 15th June, I think, telegraphed to Bragg to proceed at once to Vicksburg, as the danger was pressing and imminent, and that the assignment of him to Vicksburg was but temporary. Bragg immediately replied by telegraph (16th or 17th, I do not remember) that Beauregard, being in bad health, desired temporary repose, and intended to leave the army for a short period, and concluded by saying he would await further orders. When this despatch arrived in Richmond, the President was at Raleigh; as soon as he received it from the Adjutant-General, he telegraphed Bragg to go at once to Vicksburg, the danger was pressing and imminent, and he was sorry he had permitted anything to interfere with his orders. Bragg replied on the 18th or 19th, that Beauregard had left on a surgeon's certificate of four months, stating, however, that Beauregard would return in a short time, and as soon as the army was reorganized. I forget the exact terms of the despatch. It conveyed the idea of Beauregard's absence being temporary, and of no very long duration; but how long was uncertain, and where he had gone was not stated.1 Bragg informed the President his presence had now become absolutely necessary to the army, and that he awaited further orders. The President replied, giving Bragg the command of the department, and ordered Van Dorn to Vicksburg through Bragg. The President stated that under these circumstances every military man will say that Beauregard should have remained at Tupelo, even if he had to be carried about in a litter.2 He knew that Bragg's assignment to Vicksburg was but temporary, and he ought to have waited at least two or three weeks; that he left the army under these circumstances without permission, and that he had no right to leave on a surgeon's certificate without permission, and he had not stated where he had gone; that so long as Beauregard remained invested with the command of the department, Bragg was only the commander of that army at Tupelo; that Bragg could not correspond with the War Department except through Beauregard, and no orders could be issued to other forces in the department at Vicksburg or elsewhere, except through Beauregard as head of the department, and therefore, under the circumstances, a change of the head of the department was absolutely necessary for the public interest. The President, though stating the irregularities of Beauregard's conduct in leaving the army, said he had overlooked all that, and disavowed its influence on his conduct, and based his action exclusively on the public interests at that time.

That so far as giving Beauregard command of Bragg's army is concerned, that was out of the question. Bragg had arranged all his plans, and had cointelligence with the department, with Kirby Smith, and Humphrey Marshall, and to put a new commander3at the head of the army, would be so prejudicial to the public interests, he would not do it if the whole world united in the petition.4 He further stated that Charleston was no unimportant command, that

1 The italics are ours.

2 The italics are ours.

3 The italics are ours.

4 The italics are ours.

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