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[85] were taken at that time; for, as will be seen further on in this work, Mr. Davis, who claims, even now, ‘that the great question of uniting the two armies was decided at Richmond,’1 (which seems to mean ‘decided at Richmond’ by Mr. Davis), subsequently denied that any such plan had ever been presented to him, and that his alleged refusal to approve it could, in no manner or form, have thwarted General Beauregard's efforts at concentration.

General Beauregard's anxiety was intense while awaiting the return of his messengers. He knew that each moment was of vital importance, and that the fate of our cause hung in the balance. First came telegrams from Colonels Preston and Chestnut, stating that the communication was before the President, who was giving it his careful consideration.2 On the 16th of July, Colonel Chestnut, upon his return, presented his official report, containing a detailed account of his mission. So great has become the historical value of this paper, that we present it in full to the reader:

Headquarters army of the Potomac, Manassas, Va., July 16th, 1861.
Brigadier-General Beauregard, Commanding Army of the Potomac:
Sir,—In obedience to your order, I proceeded on Sunday last, 14th instant, to Richmond, with the purpose of laying before the President, for his consideration, your views and plans for the combined operation of the two armies under the commands of General Joseph E. Johnston and yourself respectively. I arrived at Richmond at 3.30 on the same day I left your quarters, and without delay reported to the President, who, although sick in bed, received me with great kindness and cordiality. After stating to him the object of my visit, he appointed an hour to meet him, that evening, in company with General R. E. Lee, and Adjutant and Inspector General Cooper. At the appointed time the President, Generals Lee and Cooper, and Colonel Preston, of your staff, met me in private conference. Being requested by the President to lay before those present the subject-matter with which I was charged, I submitted, on your part, the following proposition:

That the Confederate armies were in front of the enemy, with greatly inferior forces at all points; that it was desirable, by uniting a portion of our forces, to outnumber the enemy at some important point; that the point now occupied by you was, at present, in reference to the armies, considered the most important. I stated also that the enemy were at present at or near Falls Church, with eight or ten thousand men on the Alexandria, Loudon, and Hampshire Railroad, and also with some portion of his forces at Springfield, on the Alexandria and Orange Railroad, with every indication of a purpose to advance

1 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. p. 347.

2 See Appendix to Chapter VIII.

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