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[206]

Drewry's Bluff.


A letter from General Beauregard to General Wise Regarding the battle, and the difference between General Beauregard and General Bragg as to the war policy at that crisis.

Now printed, as written, from the original, now owned by the grandson of General Wise, Mr. Barton Haxall Wise, of Richmond, Virginia:

Alleghany Springs, October 3, 1873.
My dear General. Mr. Marrin has referred to me your letter of the 19th ulto. I give you, with pleasure, some of the dates you refer to.

I arrived at Petersburg from Weldon (where I had been ordered to from Charleston to ‘await orders’) on or about the 14th May, ‘64. Finding that General Pickett was very ill from fever, I ordered Genl. Whiting, then at Wilmington, to come at once to Petersburg to assume command, while I moved to Drury's Bluff, where General Hoke temporarily commanded.

General W. arrived at about noon on the 13th, & after about one hour's conference with him & leaving with him some written general instructions, I started for Drury's Bluff accompanied by 3 regiments of Colquitt's brigade & part of Col. Baker's Regiment of Cavalry.

When we arrived at Swift Creek I was informed by one of my aids just returning from Richmond that he had met some of Butler's Federal troops on their way to attack Drury's Bluff. I therefore diverged to Chesterfield C. H., where we arrived about 12 h. P. M., & found it occupied by a small force of Federals which we drove out of the place. We reached D's Bluff about 3 h. A. M., in a terrible rainstorm, passing between Butler's left & the river. I at once sent for Col.s Harris and Stevens of the Eng'rs & after conferring with them about one hour, I sent the latter to the Pres't [Davis], to tell him that, if he w'd that day (the 14th) send me 10,000 men from the troops about Richmond (5,000 under Ransom) & General Lee's army, I w'd attack Butler's 30,000 men (who had been successful in the afternoon of the 13th in taking the outer line of defences) capture or destroy them by 12th on the 15th. I would then move to attack Grant on his left flank & rear, while Lee attacked him in front, & I felt sure of defeating Grant & probably open the way to Washington where we might dictate Peace!


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