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[413]

General Beauregard prolonged his stay in Augusta several days, for the sake of the rest he so much needed after the fatigue and emotions of the last few weeks. He then started by rail for Atlanta, which he had not seen since the destruction of the town by General Sherman's army. Of that handsome and fast-growing city there remained but a few houses standing here and there on its outskirts. Only blackened walls and chimneys now marked the alignments of the streets. It was a relief to General Beauregard when the train left for West Point, which was then the terminus of the railroad, since the destruction by Wilson's cavalry of that part of the track running to Montgomery. From West Point he went across country to Montgomery, then occupied by Federal troops under Major-General A. J. Smith, a former friend and classmate of General Beauregard at the United States Military Academy. This was on the 17th of May. General Smith did all in his power to assist General Beauregard in his further journey southward.

Mobile was reached on the 19th. General Beauregard went directly from the railroad depot to the steamer by which he was to leave for New Orleans. He refused to stop in the city, in order to avoid the visits of a number of Confederate officers and men, who, he was told, proposed calling on him. The fear of involving them in trouble with the Federal authorities was his reason for depriving himself of the pleasure of meeting them once more.

There were now but a few hours intervening before General Beauregard would again set foot in Louisiana. When about to enter upon this last stage of his long journey he could not help painfully noting the difference between the feeling, the tone, and the outward appearance of the people four years before, when he was on his way to take command in Charleston, and that which he now felt and saw around him. Free, resolute, hopeful were the masses then; sorrowful, despondent, heart-broken he found them now. Johnston's army after Lee's, Taylor's after Johnston's, had surrendered. The Trans-Mississippi forces, under Kirby Smith, must soon do the same. It was for them a question not even of days but of hours. None, except perhaps Mr. Davis, could then imagine that General Kirby Smith was capable of making a stand in the Trans-Mississippi country and of continuing there to uphold our cause. ‘The great resources of his Department, its vast extent, the numbers, the discipline, and the efficiency ’

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