thus far unrivalled.
The President knew this, as did the whole South
; as did even the North
, whose apprehension of the untiring activity and engineering ability of General Beauregard
was a se cret to none.
How Mr. Davis
, with all this before his mind, could have assumed the responsibility of declining so far-sighted and far-reaching a campaign as was proposed to him, is more than we can well explain.
But, exercising the right which a thorough knowledge of what then transpired affords us, we assert it as an incontrovertible truth, fully proved by later events, that the President
of the Confederacy
, by neglecting to compel his Quarter master-General
to procure the transportation which could have been easily procured, more than a month before the battle of Manassas
; by refusing, as early as the 13th of June, to assent to General Beauregard
's urgent request that authority should be given to concentrate our forces at the proper moment, at Manassas Junction
; by again refusing, on the 15th of July, to allow him to execute his bold, offensive plans against the enemy, the certain result of which would have been the taking of Washington
; that the President
of the Confederacy
, by thus persisting in these three lamentable errors, lost the South her independence
. We write this in no spirit of detraction.
But, after a lapse of more than twenty-two years, President Davis
must expect to stand before the public merely on the merits of his acts and omissions.
Personal friendships, which would kindly palliate errors, have faded away or disappeared.
The tribunal of public opinion, occupied by just and impartial men, will study the events of which we are now treating by the light of truth alone, and, in seeking for the causes of our failure, will unerringly place the finger on Mr. Davis
's want of foresight, on his incapacity to appreciate and reward merit, on his upholding of incompetent men in offices of responsibility and trust, and, above all, on his unwillingness to allow others to achieve greatness.
The words, ‘Letat, c'est moi
,’—the haughty maxim of the French
monarch-unconsciously, perhaps, to President Davis
, but not the less fatally, must have governed his course in the council-chamber on more than one occasion.
His book, now before the public, whatever its merits in other respects may be, is powerless in its vain attempt to cover his fatal mistakes, or to change the merciless logic of facts and events.
Before leaving Richmond
, Colonel Chestnut
had telegraphed to General Beauregard
that his recommendations would not be approved.