- General Beauregard is at Tupelo on the 7th of June. -- the main body of his army arrives on the 9th. -- telegrams sent by him to various points. -- his communication to General Cooper. -- he places Colonel Forrest in command of the cavalry regiments in middle Tennessee. -- General Beauregard's ill-health. -- he is urged by his physicians to take a short rest. -- he finally consents. -- order sent to General Bragg from Richmond. -- General Beauregard's despatch to General Cooper, June 14th. -- his letter to the war Department, June 15th. -- General Beauregard gives temporary command of his Department to General Bragg, and leaves Tupelo on the 17th. -- General Bragg notifies the government of the fact. -- President Davis removes General Beauregard, and gives permanent command of his army and Department to General Bragg. -- comments on President Davis. -- General Bragg's despatch to General Beauregard. -- his reply. -- Mr. Randolph's telegram. -- General Beauregard's letter to General Cooper. -- Misstatements contained in President Davis's book. -- public sympathy with General Beauregard. -- General Bragg's letter to Mr. Forsyth. -- his letter to General Beauregard. -- answer to the same. -- General Beauregard's plan of operations in Tennessee and Kentucky. -- interview of the Hon. Thomas J. Semmes and Edward Sparrow with President Davis, September 13th. -- petition of Senators and Representatives for General Beauregard's restoration to his command. -- President Davis's refusal. -- notes of the interview, by Mr. Semmes. -- comments upon President Davis in connection with these events. -- successful result of military operations from Bowling Green to the retreat to Tupelo.
General Beauregard arrived at Tupelo on the 7th of June. The main body of the army reached there on the 9th. The position had been previously reconnoitred, and no difficulty was encountered in the selection of the grounds whereon the different corps were to be encamped. Many orders and telegrams, forwarded and received from different parts, far and near, show the watchful supervision exercised by General Beauregard to complete the movement he had thus far successfully accomplished. Although paying little heed to the rumors circulated by his foiled adversary, still he used all necessary precaution to meet any advance that might be attempted against him the hoped that, once concentrated and reorganized in his new position, the enemy would  soon be compelled to divide his ponderous forces, thereby materially improving our condition, and demonstrating the judiciousness of the diversion previously undertaken in middle Tennessee. As soon as it became evident that the enemy did not intend to attack our forces at Tupelo, and that two of his divisions—Mc-Cook's and Crittenden's,1 and, as reported, others also 2—were moving eastward, General Beauregard, relieved from the harassing duties that had so absorbed him of late, was able to attend more directly to the recuperation, discipline, and comfort of his command. On the 9th he addressed a communication to General Cooper, calling his attention to the necessity of furnishing funds for the payment of his men, who were growing dissatisfied—and justly so —on this score, suggesting that the War Department, through the Assistant Treasurer at Jackson, Mississippi, should make use of several millions of dollars withdrawn from the banks of New Orleans, and seized by his (General Beauregard's) orders, when informed that these funds were about to be sent back to that city in obedience to instructions from General Benjamin F. Butler. The bank agents who had the money in charge had often expressed their willingness to see it applied to the wants of our army, provided the government made itself responsible for the same.3 He also urged the department to appoint an additional Chief Commissary to the army, and stated that there was no less need of a good and energetic Chief Quartermaster. He recommended several officers and citizens for the important positions referred to. ‘These are times,’ he wrote, ‘when the man best fitted for an office should be appointed, regardless of all other considerations.’ At or about that time Colonel N. B. Forrest, who had been wounded on the day after the battle of Shiloh, reported for duty at Tupelo. He was hardly convalescent, but thought himself able, nevertheless, to resume command of his regiment. He had exhibited so much coolness and daring near Pittsburg Landing during the night of the 7th of April and the day following, while charging a strong reconnoitring party of the enemy, that General  Beauregard determined to do all he could to increase, if possible, his sphere of usefulness. The reader is aware that three regiments of cavalry—Colonels Scott's, Wharton's, and Adams's—had been sent, nearly two months before, to assist General E. Kirby Smith in an offensive movement into middle Tennessee from Chattanooga. This force, instead of operating together against the common enemy, as ordered, kept separated, because of some trivial misunderstanding about rank among its officers, and was unable to accomplish any valuable result. General Beauregard, troubled at such a state of affairs, so clearly prejudicial to good order and discipline, resolved to put a stop to it by placing Colonel Forrest in command of those regiments, with special instructions to afford their officers no time for further disputes. Forrest hesitated at first, modestly alleging his inability to assume such a responsibility; but yielded, finally, when again urged by General Beauregard, and after receiving the promise that his old regiment should be sent to him as soon as it could be spared from the Army of the Mississippi. The following order was thereupon written and immediately handed to him:
Thus began the brilliant military career of this remarkable man. He was a born soldier, and had he received a military education, would have ranked among the greatest commanders of the late war. Even as it was, he should, perhaps, be counted as one of the first. It was shown in the preceding chapter with what persistence Mr. Davis demanded of General Beauregard his reasons for abandoning  Corinth, as though the possibility of such a movement had never occurred to the President, and as though no communication upon the subject had, up to that time, been addressed to the War Department. General Beauregard wrote his report three days later, and forwarded it to Richmond.5 He counted upon no congratulatory reply. The government had not habituated him to such favors; but, knowing how fully he had performed his duty to the cause, he anticipated no reproof or censure on the part of the Chief Executive of the Confederacy. The sequel will show how much he erred in that respect. General Beauregard's infirm health, which, however, had never proved an obstacle to the discharge of the arduous duties devolving upon him, had been severely tried by the wear and care of the march from Corinth to Tupelo. He was, as usual, uncomplaining, but his impaired physical condition had not escaped the observation of his two physicians, Doctors Brodie and Choppin—the former the Medical Director, the latter the Medical Inspector, of the army, and both esteemed members of his military family. They now urged him (for the third time since his departure from Virginia) to take advantage of the partial lull in military operations at and around Tupelo, and seek a brief rest from the incessant labors incident to his immediate presence with the troops. He finally agreed to follow their advice; and they, gratified at this result, but fearing he might let the opportune moment slip by, wrote out and handed him the following certificate, which they endeavored to make as impressive as possible:
On the very day on which the foregoing certificate was delivered to General Beauregard, the following telegram was directly forwarded to General Bragg from Richmond. The word ‘directly’ is here intentionally used, because, strange to say, this  telegram reached General Bragg without having first been sent to General Beauregard, as was clearly required by all rules of propriety and of military usage. None will deny that, at that time (14th of June), General Beauregard was still in command of Department No. 2, and of the Confederate army encamped at Tupelo. The full text of the telegram referred to is not in our possession. It was an order addressed to General Bragg, and sending him to Mississippi, to relieve General Lovell. Mr. Davis, in his book, gives its concluding part, as follows:
General Bragg referred this communication, so irregularly forwarded, to General Beauregard, who, immediately after reading it, telegraphed General Cooper, in these words:
There was nothing improper or discourteous in the foregoing despatch. No one could have interpreted it to involve disobedience of the President's order. That it was laconic we readily concede, but telegraphic despatches are never otherwise. We ask the reader to examine its phraseology carefully, and say whether it could be so construed as to convey the idea that General Beauregard was about ‘to leave, on surgeon's certificate, for four months.’ Knowing, however, that he had not sufficiently explained himself, and wishing to create no false impression as to his intentions, General Beauregard, on the succeeding day, wrote the following letter:
General Beauregard, after a conference with General Bragg, left the latter in temporary command of the army and of the entire department, and started, not hurriedly, as Mr. Davis, in his book, indicates, but on the 17th of June, after all his arrangements had been leisurely completed. Knowing that there was no danger, just then, in absenting himself from his forces, and believing, in all honesty, that no other answer than a favorable one could possibly come from the War Department—for he knew of no army regulation denying a commanding general the right, for reasons of health, to move even beyond the boundaries of his own department—he proceeded quietly on his journey, never suspecting the result awaiting him, nor anticipating President Davis's resentment at so simple an act. Mr. Davis quotes the answer made by General Beauregard when General Bragg presented him the first despatch received from Richmond; but without prefixing any date to it.7 It is not denied that that answer contains the substance of General Beauregard's telegram and letter—the first, of June 14th, the second, of June 15th—but it remains none the less a fact, that it was not General Beauregard's real answer to Mr. Davis or to the War Department: it was nothing more than the statement of General Bragg's interpretation of General Beauregard's remarks to him. Mr. Davis had also before him General Beauregard's own telegram, as forwarded by himself, when informed of the President's action with regard to General Bragg's departure for Vicksburg. That despatch has already been submitted to the reader, and is, undoubtedly, the best evidence to be offered in the case.  General Bragg, after General Beauregard had left for Mobile, on the 17th, informed the President of the fact, and, doubtful as to what course to pursue, asked for further instructions. And here it is but fair to assert that, on the 17th of June, the War Department, and Mr. Davis likewise, had already received General Beauregard's telegram of June 14th; for if the President's telegram, forwarded from Richmond, at that date, to General Bragg, had taken but one day to traverse the wires—and the proof is there, none can deny it—it is certain that no greater time was required for General Beauregard's despatch to travel the same distance over the same line. And it should be stated further, that, on the 20th of June, when the President sent his order, assigning General Bragg to the permanent command of the Western Department and of the Army at Tupelo, he had not only full cognizance of General Beauregard's telegram of the 14th, but also of his explanatory letter of the 15th. The true motive actuating General Beauregard in temporarily leaving his command, was, therefore, perfectly brought home to the President, before he penned the peremptory order, so uncalled for and so arbitrary, by which—judging from appearances—he sought to humiliate and cast aside one of the most prominent generals of the South, who enjoyed then, as always during the war, the full confidence and affection of the people—if not of the President—and whose influence with the army was undoubted. If Mr. Davis had been animated, at that time, by other feelings than those of personal dislike towards General Beauregard, he would, with a view to the public weal and to the eminent services of the latter, have simply sent General Van Dorn—as he actually did—to relieve General Lovell at Vicksburg, and would have ordered General Bragg to remain with the forces at Tupelo until General Beauregard's return. It is claimed, on behalf of Mr. Davis, that had such a course been adopted, General Beauregard, though absent, would still have retained command of the department, and orders to General Bragg would have had to pass through General Beauregard's hands before finally reaching the actual commander of the forces; which would have entailed much delay, if nothing worse. This objection is utterly futile, inasmuch as General Beauregard had transferred to General Bragg the temporary command of the department as well as of the army proper.8 But even admitting that such a  transfer had not been effected, is it not a fact—well known to Mr. Davis—that, while in command of a mere military district,9 under General Joseph E. Johnston, commanding the Department of Northern Virginia, General Beauregard corresponded directly with the Secretary of War, with the Adjutant-General, and with the President himself, without incurring the displeasure, or in any way interfering with the red-tape routine, of the War Department? General Beauregard did the same thing again when he commanded an army in Western Tennessee, under General A. S. Johnston. The President and the War Department had never been known to be so punctilious as to the observance of military etiquette in matters of this kind, and Mr. Davis had clearly violated it before General Beauregard's departure from Tupelo. The order removing General Beauregard read as follows:
The opportunity was seized upon, and, under the transparent pretense of affronted dignity, President Davis worked his will. Thus was consummated an act of grossest injustice, one of the most inexcusable abuses of power perpetrated by him during the war. This was not all. His irritation at an assumed slight to his authority induced him to go still further. He prepared the list of interrogatories contained in a letter of instructions to Colonel W. P. Johnston, A. D. C., dated Richmond, June 14th, the day General Beauregard's first despatch was received. This reached General Beauregard in Mobile, on the 20th, and shows the searching ingenuity used to find him at fault, not only with regard to the evacuation of Corinth, but also as to all orders and instructions issued or given by him, for the defence of the Mississippi River. These interrogatories and General Beauregard's  answers to them were given at the end of the preceding chapter. Nothing more, therefore, need be said about them here. General Bragg informed General Beauregard of the President's last order to him. He telegraphed as follows:
This was the first intimation General Beauregard received of the arbitrary decree throwing him out of service. He felt it keenly, as it was natural that he should. He knew he had done nothing to merit such treatment, but understood the implied disgrace intended by the President. The consciousness of his worth, however, and his devotion to the cause, lent him a dignity and forbearance deserving of high praise. His answer to General Bragg exhibited no irritation whatever. It was a quiet, uncomplaining acquiescence in the government's action, and read thus:
Not a word of explanation, not an expression of regret at the abrupt change, are to be found in the few lines given above. An act of greater official discourtesy could hardly have been committed. A delinquent second lieutenant could not have been more summarily dealt with. General Beauregard made no direct answer to the Secretary of  War; but, on the 25th, from Mobile, where he still was, advising General Forney, as he had said he would do, he wrote this letter to General Cooper:
We have now to refer to what Mr. Davis says in his book upon this unfortunate incident of his administration, and to disclose the errors he commits while relating it. After giving his own version of what occurred at the time of General Beauregard's departure from Tupelo, and producing such evidence as might best support the conclusions he intended to draw, Mr. Davis says: ‘From this statement it appears: First, that General Beauregard was not, as has been alleged, harshly deprived of his command, but that he voluntarily surrendered it, after being furnished with medical certificates of his physical incapacity for its arduous duties. Second, that he did not even notify his government, still less ask permission to retire. Third, that the order, assigning another to the command he had abandoned, could not be sent through him, when he had departed and gone to a place where there was no telegraph, and rarely a mail. Fourth, that it is neither customary nor proper to send orders to the commander of an army through a general on sick-leave; and in this case it would have been very objectionable, as a similar order had just been sent and disobeyed.’12 The mere recital of the facts, as already given, clearly disproves the foregoing statement:  I. It would be as true to allege that General Beauregard was never relieved of his command at all, as to state that he was not ‘harshly deprived’ of it. Mr. Davis, who had before him, or at his disposal, every telegram and letter inserted in this text, could not have believed that General Beauregard had ‘voluntarily abandoned’ his command—in other words, permanently withdrawn from it, of his own free will—when it was so evident that the absence spoken of would only be for a short time, and that, ‘meanwhile,’ the command of the army would be intrusted to General Bragg. No better proof could be offered to show that both General Beauregard's intention and desire were to resume his command as soon as he could. II. If Mr. Davis is correct in his second point, what becomes of General Beauregard's telegram of June 14th, where he says: ‘I am leaving for a while, on surgeon's certificate. I must have a short rest’? He had certainly not left Tupelo when that despatch was forwarded. He had therefore ‘notified his government,’ in the telegram and in the letter. His ‘government,’ therefore, knew, before his departure, that his intention was to leave. True, no ‘permission’—in the strict sense of the term—was asked of the War Department. But it was clearly with no thought of ignoring—still less of overriding—the authority of the War Department or of the Commander-in-Chief. No formal permission was asked, because General Beauregard believed that, under the circumstances, he could freely transport himself to any place in the Confederacy, even outside of his territorial command, without special leave from Richmond—all the more so, that he clearly indicated the precise localities to which he was going, the reasons for which he was leaving, and the length of time he proposed being absent. III. Mr. Davis's assertion that ‘the order assigning another to the command he had abandoned could not be sent through him (General Beauregard), when he had departed and gone to a place where there was no telegraph and rarely a mail,’ is, indeed, extraordinary, to say the least of it. ‘Mobile’ was not an inaccessible place, nor was ‘Bladon Springs’ an unknown locality. General Bragg found no difficulty in notifying General Beauregard of the order superseding him; and the curt, unceremonious, official note of Mr. Randolph, dated Richmond, June 23d, also reached General Beauregard without difficulty or delay.  IV. If, as Mr. Davis has it, General Beauregard had abandoned his command without ‘permission’—that is to say, in violation of army regulations—he was not absent on ‘sick-leave,’ or any other ‘leave;’ he had simply deserted his post. If, on the other hand, as Mr. Davis plainly states, he was ‘on sick-leave,’ the temporary arrangement made at and before his departure should have been acquiesced in; for he was clearly not at fault, if on ‘sick-leave.’ But it is an undeniable fact that, when the government's despatch of June 14th was sent directly to General Brag, General Beauregard was still in full command at Tupelo, and had not, then, even intimated his intention of going to the inaccessible place Mr. Davis objects to. He only disclosed that intention after the President's order had reached General Bragg; and this is the ‘similar order,’ which, Mr. Davis states, was sent through General Beauregard and disobeyed. Scarcely over three weeks after he left Tupelo, General Beauregard—had he not been, at that time, tacitly ‘shelved’—could have resumed his active duties in the field or elsewhere. His health was sufficiently restored by the rest, quiet, and salubrious air he had enjoyed at Bladon Springs. But, as is now apparent, the current of succeeding events did not require his presence with the army, even a fortnight after his sufficient restoration to health. And this had been clearly foreseen by him before he left Tupelo. Nor was the hurried departure of General Bragg, so much insisted upon by President Davis, at all indispensable. General Van Dorn, when sent to relieve General Lovell, did just as well; and we have yet to learn that he took even a company with him to reinforce a place which, Mr. Davis said, was so imminently threatened. Days, and even weeks, passed by. General Beauregard was still in retirement at Bladon Springs. Letters of sympathy and regret reached him from all points of the Confederacy, and proved what a high place he occupied in the public esteem. Yet some injudicious friends, or ‘mischief-makers’—as the Hon. John Forsyth, who had been one of our three Peace Commissioners to Washington, so aptly called them—strove hard to create feelings of suspicion and animosity between our leading men, and, what was worse, between Generals Beauregard and Bragg. The former did his utmost, incessantly, not only to screen his successor from all imputation of blame concerning the action of the Executive in placing him in  command of Department No. 2, but made it a point (except when speaking to a limited circle of tried friends) to approve of all that had been done in that respect. We give here a few passages from a letter from General Bragg to the Hon. John Forsyth, dated Tupelo, July 17th, written in acknowledgment of a very remarkable article printed by the latter in the Mobile Evening News. In the Appendix will also be found a letter of General Beauregard on the same subject. After speaking of his determination ever to avoid discussions in the public press, and thanking Mr. Forsyth for the sentiments he had expressed concerning the positions, ‘personal and official,’ of General Beauregard and himself, General Bragg said:
No two men living ever served together more harmoniously, or parted with more regret. None of us are free from our faults and weaknesses, but among mine will never be found a jealousy which would detract from so pure a man and eminent a general as Beauregard. No one could have been more surprised at the order assigning me to his command than myself; and certainly the idea of my being a “pet” with any part of the administration is laughable. . . . Upon the urgent appeal of his physicians, after arriving here, where it was supposed we should not be assailed by the enemy for a few weeks, he retired to seek some relief from the toils which have made him an old man in the short space of one year. If it be his friends who have started this discussion, they are doing him great injustice, and so far as I am concerned I can only say to them, the records here will show with what regret I parted with their chief, and how ardently I hoped for his restoration, that he might resume the position he had filled so honorably.13On the 22d of July, from Tupelo, where no incident of note had thus far happened, General Bragg addressed an interesting communication to General Beauregard, setting forth a plan of active operations which he had prepared, and asking his opinion and advice thereon.14 General Beauregard answered as follows:
General Bragg, for reasons we cannot explain, did not follow the advice given; and his campaign into middle Tennessee and Kentucky ended almost in disaster. General Beauregard, it seems, had not given up all hope of again assuming command of his army. He followed its every movement with the greatest interest and anxiety; and during the leisure now afforded him, drew up an extensive plan for its further success, which he finally forwarded to the War Department. In the meantime—namely, on the 25th of August—he had officially reported ‘for duty in the field.’ The plan we here refer to was addressed to General Cooper, whose relations with General Beauregard had not ceased to be of an agreeable character. It was marked ‘Confidential,’ and read thus: 
Hardly a week had elapsed after the foregoing communication was forwarded to Richmond, when the Hon. Thomas J. Semmes and the Hon. Edward Sparrow, Members of Congress from Louisiana, called by agreement, with their colleagues, on President Davis, to present to him a petition, signed by nearly sixty Senators and Representatives from different States of the Confederacy. It is a paper of great interest, giving additional information upon the subject which occupies our attention:
President Davis's answer to this earnest appeal, supported by such an imposing array of representative names, was truly characteristic. The reader will judge of it after reading the following paper: Notes of an Interview with the President relative to Transferring General Beauregard to the Command of Department No. 2.
A few words more, and we have done with this subject. We have furnished the whole of the evidence relating to it; and, in order to make the chain more complete, we now refer the reader to the despatch of Governor Pickens, and General Beauregard's answer to it, to be found in the Appendix to this chapter. Let the reader carefully compare the facts composing that evidence with what Mr. Davis writes in his book, and with what he said to the committee of Congressmen who called on him to petition for General Beauregard's restoration to his army. He will need no further enlightenment in order to draw a just conclusion. We do not intend to scrutinize the motives which actuated Mr. Davis in his conduct at that time towards General Beauregard; but, that he was not moved by a spirit of patriotism, or influenced only by a pure desire to advance the interests of the cause, is shown by the expressions used by him on that occasion: ‘He would not do it, if the whole world united in the petition.’ Here was the President of the Confederacy, the first and most prominent servant of its people, ready to oppose his will, his rule, not only to the desire of the majority of that people, but—if need be—to the declared opinion of ‘the whole world:’ the plain meaning of which was that should he and the rest of mankind, including the whole population of the South, differ as to the wisdom of any measure of public interest, he would be right, and the ‘whole world’ wrong. What monarch, in this or in any former age, could have regarded his power as more absolute? Taken as a whole, the military operations in Department No. 2, from Bowling Green to the evacuation of Corinth, including the stand made at Tupelo, presented some of the most difficult problems of war. Without the wish to claim undue credit for the manner in which these were solved, in view of the desperate beginning, the wretched want of preparation, the deficiency of men and  arms, the raw and incomplete materials, collected by such strenuous efforts, the friends of General A. S. Johnston and of General Beauregard may be proud of the results; of the skill with which they met every emergency, and, with heavy odds against them, balked the plans of the enemy.