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‘ [439] their drooping hopes after the sacrifices they have made in this terrible contest. Let us then unite all our efforts in a last deadly struggle, and with God's help we shall triumph.’

As usual, that new plan was rejected, as the others had been, and it is remarkable that on this occasion, as on the preceding ones, all that General Beauregard predicted as liable to happen, in case of the rejection of his views, took place almost to the very letter. Could it have been worse if his plans had been followed?

On the 8th of December, 1863, General Beauregard, while contemplating from Charleston the military situation in Virginia and the West, where disasters were following disasters, drew at the request of Pierre Soule, ex-Senator of Louisiana in the Congress of the United States, a comprehensive plan of campaign, which the latter desired, if it were possible, to submit to the authorities at Richmond. In that communication General Beauregard said:

The system hitherto followed of keeping in the field separate armies, acting without concert, on distant and divergent lines of operation, and thus enabling our enemy to concentrate at convenience his masses against our fractions, must be discontinued, as radically contrary to the principles of the art of war, and attended with inevitable results, such as our disasters in Mississippi, Tennessee and North Georgia.

We must arrange for a sudden and rapid concentration—upon some selected, decisive point of the theatre of war—of enough troops to crush the forces of the enemy embodied in that quarter. This must necessarily be done at the expense or hazard, for the time, of other points less important, or offering less advantages to strike the enemy. A blow thus struck must effectually disorganize his combinations, and will give us the choice of the field of operations.

I am sensibly aware of our limited means, our want of men, the materials and appliances of war and of transportation, and hence the difficulties which will embarrass us in the execution of this plan of concentration. But I see no way to success except through and by it, and nothing but ultimate disaster without it. A different course may, indeed, protract the contest, which will become, day by day, more unequal. We may fight stoutly, as hitherto, many bloody and undecisive battles, but will never win a signal, conclusive victory, until we can manage to throw a heavy and overwhelming mass of our forces upon the fractions of the enemy, and at the same time successfully strike at his communications without exposing our own.

Of course my views must be subject to such modifications, as my

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