advance, and unite with him in an attack upon Butler, wherever he should be found between Drury's and Petersburg.
To this I offered distinct objection, because of the hazard during a battle of attempting to make a junction of troops moving from opposite sides of the enemy; and proposed that Whiting's command should move at night by the Chesterfield road, where they would not probably be observed by Butler's advance.’
This, in the main, is correct.
, as he says, did strenuously oppose the junction spoken of by General Beauregard
, though ‘his universal practice
,’ as he asserts, ‘was never to do more than to make a suggestion to a general commanding in the field;’1
and General Beauregard
, as was his duty to do, yielded to the will of the Commander-in-chief
. Mr. Davis
‘General Beauregard, thereupon, spoke of some difficulty in getting a courier who knew the route and could certainly deliver the order to General Whiting.
Opportunely, a courier arrived from General Whiting, who had come up the Chesterfield road.
He then said the order would have to be drawn with a good deal of care, and that he would prepare it as soon as possible.
I arose to take leave, when General Beauregard courteously walked down the stairs with me, remarking as we went that he was embarrassed for the want of a good cavalry commander.
I saw in the yard Colonel Chilton, Assistant Adjutant and Inspector-General, and said, “There is an old cavalry officer, who was trained in my old regiment, the First Dragoons, and who, I think, will answer your requirements.”
Upon his expressing the pleasure it would give him to have Colonel Chilton, I told him of General Beauregard's want, and asked him if the service would be agreeable to him. He readily accepted it, and I left, supposing all the preliminaries settled.
In the next forenoon Colonel Samuel Melton, of the Adjutant and Inspector-General's Department, called at my residence, and delivered a message from General Beauregard to the effect that he had decided to order Whiting to move by the direct road from Petersburg, instead of by the Chesterfield route; and when I replied that I had stated my objections to General Beauregard to a movement which gave the enemy the advantage of being between our forces, he said General Beauregard had directed him to explain to me that, upon a further examination, he found his force sufficient; that his operations, therefore, did not depend upon making a junction with Whiting.’
For the elucidation of the facts of the case it has been necessary to quote thus extensively from Mr. Davis
He drifts away so completely from the true version of the incidents he describes that, in re-establishing the facts, our statement becomes directly contradictory to his. The fault is not ours.