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[419] Charleston and Savannah were of vast consequence to the Confederacy, and as he believed General Beauregard's qualifications peculiarly fitted him for its defence, he had selected him on that account as the best man in the army for the South Carolina and Georgia Department. The President read aloud to us all the despatches spoken of above. I may not therefore give their tenor accurately; he promised us copies, and, moreover, authorized us to repeat what passed in conversation. The above, however, is substantially what passed, as far as I can recollect; it is not all that passed, nor do I pretend to give the exact language.

A few words more, and we have done with this subject. We have furnished the whole of the evidence relating to it; and, in order to make the chain more complete, we now refer the reader to the despatch of Governor Pickens, and General Beauregard's answer to it, to be found in the Appendix to this chapter. Let the reader carefully compare the facts composing that evidence with what Mr. Davis writes in his book, and with what he said to the committee of Congressmen who called on him to petition for General Beauregard's restoration to his army. He will need no further enlightenment in order to draw a just conclusion. We do not intend to scrutinize the motives which actuated Mr. Davis in his conduct at that time towards General Beauregard; but, that he was not moved by a spirit of patriotism, or influenced only by a pure desire to advance the interests of the cause, is shown by the expressions used by him on that occasion: ‘He would not do it, if the whole world united in the petition.’ Here was the President of the Confederacy, the first and most prominent servant of its people, ready to oppose his will, his rule, not only to the desire of the majority of that people, but—if need be—to the declared opinion of ‘the whole world:’ the plain meaning of which was that should he and the rest of mankind, including the whole population of the South, differ as to the wisdom of any measure of public interest, he would be right, and the ‘whole world’ wrong. What monarch, in this or in any former age, could have regarded his power as more absolute?

Taken as a whole, the military operations in Department No. 2, from Bowling Green to the evacuation of Corinth, including the stand made at Tupelo, presented some of the most difficult problems of war. Without the wish to claim undue credit for the manner in which these were solved, in view of the desperate beginning, the wretched want of preparation, the deficiency of men and

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G. T. Beauregard (4)
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