had sent Colonel Chesnut to urge upon President an increase front General Johnston's command, then in the valley of the Shenandoah.
I am also under the impression that it was represented on the part of General Beauregard that, if compelled to abandon his position by superior numbers, he would retire by Fredericksburg, or in the direction of the Railroad. Beyond these representations or suggestions I am not sensible that any plan of operations was submitted, whether written or oral, nor can I call to mind that any written communication from General Beauregard was made to the President on the occasion of the interview. In respect to receiving aid from General Johnston, it will be recollected that that officer had in his front a large force of the enemy, at least double his own numbers, and it would been fatal to our cause in the valley to have sent away at that time any considerable portion of his command of the object contemplated by General Beauregard. Nor was it possible for him to do so, with any reasonable hope of success, until the tardiness and inactivity of the enemy in his front rendered such movement practicable, when it was finally accomplished under your telegraphic instructions of July 17, which resulted in the success of our arms at the battle of Manassas on the 21st. I have the honor to be, with great respect obedient servant
General, C. S. Army.
RICHMOND, VA., November 11, 1861.
Colonel JAMES CHESNUT:
MY DEAR SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge yours of the 2nd instant in reply to my inquire of the 30th ultimo.* My memory is confirmed as to the fact that you delivered to me orally a message from General Beauregard, but left with me no plan of battle or of campaign; and I regret, as our conversation was to be reported and to be field with the papers of General Beauregard, that the propositions were not reduced to writing and submitted for a written reply, or at least that I was not permitted to see the report of the interview before it became a public document. I well remember that you came to explain the hazard of General Beauregard's position, and to ask re-enforcements, suggesting that General Johnston should make a junction with him; but do not remember that any proposition was made to select Fairfax Court-House as a battle-field, and cannot realize how I should have objected to the choice of that field, as I did not then know how bad a selection it would have been. The rest seems to have been merely hypothetical propositions, and such as would only have imposed themselves on my memory by their errors, both as to numbers of available troops and topography of the country. The general's report does not give those detail, but presents a summary of things which no one desired more than myself, with a conclusion that the plan for their achievement more not accepted, &c. Thus has apparent confirmation been given to the slander that I would not permit the Army to advance to the capture of washington and the liberation of Maryland, attributing to me political views which I think you must know were not entertained by me. The importance of this is not any effect in may have on me individually, but is the injury inflicted on the public interests by the belief created that
* Colonel Chesnut refers to this letter as of October 15. See his letter of November 2, p. 509.
33 R R-VOL II