- Arrival of General Hood's Army at Tuscumbia, October 30th. -- General Beauregard requests a summary of his plans of future operations. -- request not complied with. -- General Beauregard inspects the Banks of Tennessee River. -- Advises an address to the people of Tennessee. -- heavy rains begin on the 2d of November. -- General Hood takes up his Headquarters at Florence on the 10th. -- telegrams to the War Department. -- telegram of General Forrest. -- letter of General Beauregard to General Cooper. -- advice to General Hood concerning the disorderly conduct of scouts. -- despatch from General Taylor. -- further advance of the enemy. -- procrastination of General Hood. -- he Declines to send cavalry to support General Wheeler. -- General Beauregard urges him to greater activity. -- General Beauregard leaves Tuscumbia for Corinth. -- again urges an immediate advance. -- leaves Corinth for Macon. -- General Hood moves on the 21st of November. -- the enemy falls back. -- attack of his works in front of Franklin. -- our loss severe. -- letter to General Beauregard from President Davis. -- comments upon it. -- General Beauregard leaves for Augusta. -- his letter of December 6th to the President. -- Inadmissibility of the plea that Mr. Davis lacked timely notice of General Hood's proposed movements.
The army reached Tuscumbia on the afternoon of the 30th of October, and on that day General Hood received the following communication:
For reasons which cannot be explained this request was not readily complied with. On the 31st of the same month General Beauregard inspected the banks of the Tennessee, to select suitable positions for the erection of field-works for the protection of the troops while crossing at that point, intending also to fortify the opposite bank,  to facilitate a recrossing, should one become necessary; and, with a view to stimulate the enthusiasm of the people of that part of Tennessee which was about to be occupied by the army, he made the following suggestion to General Hood:
Meanwhile the pontoon-bridge was commenced; it was completed on the 2d of November. General Steven D. Lee's corps was then thrown across the river, and immediately started some defensive lines around Florence. These were inspected, on the 5th, by General Beauregard, who materially modified all that part of them which was commanded by a height in front. Two divisions of General S. D. Leo's corps were now advanced on Shoal Creek, about seven or eight miles north of Florence. Unfortunately, heavy rains began on the 2d, and lasted for many days. The river rose rapidly, and the roads became impassable. Part of the bridge being submerged, Cheatham's corps, which was to have crossed shortly after Lee's, was unavoidably delayed. General Hood moved his headquarters to Florence on the 10th of November, preparatory to taking the offensive. On the 31st of the preceding month (October) he had sent this despatch to the Secretary of War:
‘Florence is in our possession, and the pontoon-bridge is being laid down. I hope to be able to advance across the river so soon as supplies can be obtained.’On the same day General Beauregard had sent General Cooper a corresponding telegram, in the following words:
 On the same day General Forrest, telegraphing via Paris, West Tennessee, and Corinth, Miss., forwarded to General Beauregard a despatch, thus describing the result of his encounter with the enemy:
‘My batteries, on the Tennessee River, have engaged the enemy all day with great success. Two gunboats and two transports were destroyed in attempting to pass. One gunboat and two transports are now in my possession, ready for use; but the other gunboat and transport floated down the river in a disabled condition, and both will be either destroyed or captured, as my troops are still in pursuit. There is one gunboat and three transports still above my batteries, all of which will be destroyed or captured.’To this General Beauregard immediately replied, as follows:
This was addressed to General Forrest at Johnsonville, Tenn., via Corinth and Jackson, Tenn., by couriers, and shows what were General Beauregard's expectations on the 3d of November. His letter to General Cooper, dated November 6th, is more explicit, and gives a full and correct statement of the amended plan of operations adopted on the 3d, after thorough discussion of the subject by Generals Beauregard and Hood. The reader will, no doubt, peruse it with interest:
Careful instructions were given, on the 9th, to Major-General M. L. Smith, Chief-Engineer, by General Beauregard as to the  proper mode of protecting the Tennessee River against any attempted passage of the enemy's gunboats.2 The day following he addressed a letter to General Hood, advising him to regulate, by specific orders, the system of scouting then in practice by the commands of Generals Wheeler, Roddy, and Forrest, in rear of the front line of the army, and suggested that cavalry scouts should be furnished with all necessary supplies, thus preventing the depredations on private property much complained of at the time, and so ruinous to discipline and order.3 These instructions, and others verbally given, appeared to produce an unfortunate effect upon General Hood, who began to chafe under the supervision exercised over him by General Beauregard, and to fear his superior influence with the army. That supervision would have been much greater and more direct had General Beauregard not perceived this growing sensitiveness, and had he not also been thoroughly aware that any open interference on his part would bring upon him the censure of the War Department.4 His letters of November 12th, through his Chief of Staff, and of November 15th, written by himself, show what caution and considerateness he used towards the Commander of the army, and how far from his thought it was to overshadow him in any way.5 But, in his opinion, General Hood's preparations for the offensive were so slow and hesitating as to jeopardize the object of the campaign; and he therefore, in all his interviews with General Hood, urged the necessity of an immediate advance and greater rapidity in the movements of the troops. His intention, as he distinctly stated, was not to remain with or accompany the army, but merely to see it safely across the Tennessee and on the move forward. For it must be remembered that other important matters claimed his attention, in General Taylor's Department, along the Mississippi River, where the enemy appeared to be moving his forces towards Memphis and Paducah. An early attack on Corinth was  also to be feared, as was a concentration in Middle Tennessee against General Hood's offensive advance. From Selma, on the 15th, General Taylor forwarded him the following telegram:
‘Following just received, dated Jonesboroa, Ga., November 14th: “Scouts and prisoners report enemy destroying railroad between Atlanta and Marietta. Prisoners report Sherman in Atlanta, and that camp rumor says he will move towards Mobile or Savannah. Prisoners also report 15th and 20th Corps at Atlanta. Large fires observed in Atlanta for last three days.” ’On the 16th General Wheeler, through General Taylor, forwarded the following telegram:
It now became evident that the inactivity of the Commander of the Army of Tennessee, after his arrival at Tuscumbia, on October 30th, had given Sherman ample time to repair the damage done to the railroad from Atlanta to Chattanooga. He had been able to send back to that fortified place all his sick and wounded, as well as his surplus guns; and to draw from Nashville and elsewhere the supplies of provisions, ammunition, wagons, and horses required by him for his movement to the Atlantic coast. Jackson's division of cavalry being urgently needed to cooperate with and support General Wheeler's forces, General Beauregard now requested General Hood to send it without delay.6 By telegraph, on the 17th, Hood replied as follows:
This refusal General Beauregard thought ill-timed, for the army was still motionless at Florence, and its immediate safety could hardly depend upon the presence of Jackson's cavalry. Sherman had left Atlanta on the 15th, and news of his march,  in two columns, one on the Jonesboroa road, the other on the McDonough road, was being received from various quarters— through General Cobb as well as through General Wheeler. General Hood was aware of it, but could not be persuaded to comply, just then, with General Beauregard's request, nor did he appear anxious to make a forward movement, as is shown by his telegram of that date:
Realizing the fact that nothing could be gained—while much might be lost—by further procrastination, and wishing to spur on General Hood to definitive action, General Beauregard, on the same day, sent him the following letter:
Unable to await any longer the tardy preparations of General Hood for the offensive, General Beauregard left Tuscumbia on the 17th for Corinth, and reached the latter place on the next day. On his arrival there he forwarded various telegrams to the War Department, to Generals Hood, Taylor, Cobb, and  Wheeler, and lost no time in giving all necessary orders for proper defensive works and the collection there of as strong a garrison as could be had. He also gave most minute instructions for the prosecution of the road to Tuscumbia, and repairs of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, as far as needed, towards Meridian. While at Corinth alarming telegrams from Generals Hardee, Taylor, Cobb, and Wheeler were received by him relative to Sherman's advance on Macon. He determined to leave at once for that locality, and telegraphed General Hood to take the offensive at once, in order to destroy or capture the Federal forces in Middle Tennessee, and compel Sherman to return to Kentucky, even should he have already reached the coast. General Beauregard arrived at Macon on the 24th, after many annoying delays at Meridian, Demopolis, Selma, and Montgomery, and had a long and important conference with Generals Cobb and Taylor. The latter had been ordered to Macon, to assist Generals Cobb and Hardee in the defence of Georgia. He was an officer of acknowledged merit, though not educated as a soldier, and could be relied upon whenever judgment and firmness were requisite. General Hardee, who appreciated these qualities in General Taylor, had urgently solicited his presence at Savannah, to aid in preparing for Sherman's threatened approach. General Beauregard decided upon sending him at once, and soon afterwards forwarded some important communications to General Hardee concerning Sherman's movements, and what could best be done to anticipate them. 7 At last, on the 21st of November, General Hood, being ready to march, started on his offensive campaign into Eastern Tennessee, which was destined not to be of long duration. On his approach the enemy retired from Columbia, where an abundance of supplies was found; and on the 30th our forces, having arrived in front of Franklin, made a vigorous attack, at 4 P. M. on that day, and drove the enemy from his outer line of temporary works to his inner works, which he abandoned during the night, leaving his killed and wounded in our possession. He retreated rapidly towards Nashville, our cavalry still pursuing. It was then that General Cheatham failed to attack the enemy  in flank, while he was filing away on his front, thus disregarding the orders given him by General Hood and frustrating his plan. Our loss was severe, many of our best officers being among the killed and wounded. There fell Major-General Cleburne and Brigadier-Generals John Adams, Gist, Strahl, and Grandberry. Among the wounded were Major-General John Brown and Brigadier-Generals Canty, Manigault, Quarles, Cockerell, and Scott. Our aggregate loss amounted to 4500.8 It was a hard-fought battle, but, withal, a barren Confederate victory. On the 30th of November, in response to his telegram of the 24th, General Beauregard received the following letter from President Davis:
This letter reached General Beauregard on or about the 4th of December, on his way from Macon to Augusta, where He arrived on the 6th of December, at 6 P. M., after an uninterrupted and fatiguing journey, from Montgomery, Macon, Milledgeville, Sparta, and Mayfield. He had thus retraced his steps and abandoned his intention of visiting Mobile, then seriously threatened, because of the reception, on December 2d, of a despatch from Richmond extending his Department to the Atlantic coast. It will be seen by the foregoing communication from the President that, far from disapproving General Hood's tardy and persistent effort to march into Tennessee and Kentucky, he was of opinion that nothing effective could be accomplished ‘until Hood reaches the country proper of the enemy.’ Does this indicate opposition to the plan adopted? On the contrary: Let Hood go on, let him reach, as soon as he can, ‘the country proper of the  enemy;’ then will he compel Sherman to retrace his steps and abandon his march into Georgia. Such is the only interpretation to be given to Mr. Davis's letter. The President's despatch of November 7th to General Hood, quoted by the latter in his book,9 as showing opposition to the campaign into Tennessee, is not more explicit and defined. In neither does Mr. Davis do more than set forth surmises and suppositions. In neither does he state any positive objection, or advise any positive course of action. Had he shown open opposition to the campaign, it is needless to say that General Hood could not and would not have undertaken it, nor, under such circumstances, would General Beauregard have given it his assent. From all points of the vast Department over which General Beauregard now had command came despatches and communications and urgent calls for advice and assistance. Despondency and confusion were gradually taking possession of the public mind and gaining upon the commanders of the various menaced points in that part of the Confederacy. All that personal energy and unremitting attention could accomplish was done by General Beauregard to respond to the unceasing calls upon him. He neglected none, and, in all his answers and counsels, endeavored to instil that hope and confidence in our success which he himself, perhaps, no longer entertained. During his short stay at Augusta he met General Bragg, who had just arrived, and held with him a long conference in relation to the condition of affairs in General Hardee's Department. General Bragg promised heartily to co-operate with him, but failed to do so when the occasion arose. Before leaving Augusta to repair to Charleston, on his way to Savannah, General Beauregard wrote the following letter to President Davis:
Thus was the President kept well advised, not only of the main movements of our forces, but of the reasons for them. General Beauregard thought it incumbent upon himself to do so, and, from the moment he assumed command of the almost boundless Department placed under him to the day he was relieved of it, never did he, in a single instance, fail to inform Mr. Davis, or the War Department, of every new phase of the military situation in that part of the country. Mr. Davis therefore gives an erroneous impression in his book, when he leads the reader to believe that he was unaware of General Hood's ‘change of plan,’ and did not oppose it, because when notified of the same ‘it was too late to  regain the space and time which had been lost.’10 It may have been ‘too late’ on the 30th of November; but was it ‘too late’ on the 12th of October, on the 22d and 24th of the same month, on the 3d and the 6th of November—dates at which both the President and the War Department, as we have seen, had been officially apprised of the successive alterations, deemed necessary by General Hood for the success of his campaign? That General Beauregard had originated none of these alterations, and that he, more than once, deplored their adoption, has already been shown; and that the President, though made conversant in season with General Hood's amended views and intentions, said nothing to indicate his disapproval of them, is no less a patent and wellestablished fact. His disapprobation, if not officially expressed and communicated to General Hood, could be of no import, was altogether futile, and might as well have been acquiescence. Mr. Davis never hesitated to reject the plans of any of the generals commanding in the field when, in his opinion, there was sufficient reason for so doing. He had gone farther, and, on former occasions, had openly prohibited the execution of many a proposed military movement. We refer to the plan of aggressive campaign prepared by General Beauregard and submitted to the President, through Colonel Chestnut, on the 14th of July, 1861; to the advance urged at the Fairfax Court-house conference, in October of the same year, by Generals J. E. Johnston, Beauregard, and G. W. Smith; to the plan of campaign suggested, instead of the invasion of Pennsylvania, in 1863; to the proposed concerted attack upon Butler's forces, near Bermuda Hundreds, in May, 1864, by the whole of General Beauregard's army, reinforced by 10,000 men from the Army of Northern Virginia. On those occasions the President's purpose was clear, his opposition unmistakable. No doubt could exist as to his meaning. Here, on the contrary, so vague and equivocal, so liable to misconstruction, was the language made use of in Mr. Davis's despatch of November 7th to General Hood, and in his letter of November 30th to General Beauregard, that, had the campaign into Tennessee resulted in success instead of disaster, this same despatch and this identical letter could have been interpreted to show Mr. Davis's unqualified approbation of the movement.