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[202] strongly urged General Bragg to take the responsibility upon himself and issue the necessary orders at once. He feared Mr. Davis might procrastinate and even oppose his views. But General Bragg could not be induced so to act, and left to seek the approval of the President.

Within about two hours after the conference between Generals Beauregard and Bragg the President himself reached Drury's Bluff; and General Beauregard, with more minuteness than before, again detailed his plan of operations. The President objected that the proposed retrograde movement of General Lee's army towards Richmond, and the withdrawal from it of 10,000 men, were altogether out of the question; and that he could only add to General Beauregard's force the 5000 reserves of Ransom's division.

In urging the advantages of his plan General Beauregard insisted that General Lee's withdrawal behind the Chickahominy, where McClellan had been so effectually held at bay in 1862, or even—which would be still better—behind the defences of Richmond, for a few hours, would render General Grant's left flank more exposed, and bring it within easier reach of his proposed attack.1 Among the arguments used by General Beauregard in pressing his views upon Mr. Davis was that, if successful, the stroke would in all probability terminate the war; while, if it should not be successful, the end to which the Confederate cause was helplessly drifting, unless redeemed by some early, bold, and decisive success, would only come sooner. Mr. Davis persisted in his refusal. He would only consent to the transfer of Ransom's division from Richmond, and that not until the next day (15th), expressing his desire that the attack should be made on Butler's army, and his confidence that the latter would be beaten and driven back to his base at Bermuda Hundreds. To this General Beauregard replied that the defeat of Butler alone would be but a barren victory, as had been so many former operations of the war, and was not the ultimate object to be obtained. What he proposed accomplishing was, the extended decisive result which all the circumstances of the moment favored. But, to General Beauregard's chagrin, all his representations were unavailing: Mr. Davis could not be convinced.

1 This was substantially the line in assaulting which, on the 3d of June, at Cold Harbor, General Grant was so bloodily repulsed.

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