immediately telegraphed General Gist to send for me at the depot. The message was delayed, and Colonel Urquhart, whom I met at the railroad depot, insisted that I should stop at General Bragg's headquarters with him, and promised I would not be thrown in contact with His Excellency, unless I desired it. I have refused taking my meals at the same table, but content myself eating with two aides of General Bragg at a later hour. Of course since my arrival I have not had an opportunity to see the general as I should wish, only a few moments, the following information having been gathered from that short interview; and at the general's request or suggestion I am awaiting the President's departure from here, which has been daily announced since but as many times countermanded.
After having exchanged the usual courtesies of a first meeting, General Bragg expressed his gratification of your successful defense of Charleston, and sincerely hoped you would continue to hold the place with so much credit to yourself and those under you. He then reverted to the strong friendship and admiration he entertained for you. He alluded with pleasure to his past association with you, the great intimacy which existed in your confidential relations in the exchange of views upon national topics; referred to his own troubles at present, having no one to share them; how much he was depressed with the thought that the load was getting too heavy for his shoulders, unassisted and unsupported as he was. That, notwithstanding his strongest efforts to please every one, since his connection with the army, the best matured plans had been frustrated from the want of united action on the part of those who had been called upon to execute them. Whether from dissatisfaction with him personally, or desire of his lieutenants to supplant him by others, it had been his misfortune to see every battle terminate in a fruitless victory; so much so, that he was becoming dejected and nearly despondent.
He then alluded to the battle of Chickamauga and to the arrest of General Polk, who, at and since Shiloh, had invariably delayed operations by modifying instructions given him and executing them too late. In the last battle both he (Polk) and Hill had jeopardized the successful annihilation of Rosecrans' whole army. The first is under arrest, and charges to be brought against him; the latter to be relieved from command. General Pemberton, with his staff and baggage, had accompanied the President, expecting to be the successor of General Polk, but abandoned his pretensions upon learning the opposition raised by the troops.
In the course of the conversation the general referred to his own position in front of the enemy, his own forces amounting to about 55,000 men, effectives, independently of his cavalry, which was, for the greater part-4,500 men-under Wheeler, operating in the rear of the enemy between the river Tennessee and the Yankee's base of supplies. The occupation of one part of their railroad communication by our forces extended their line to about 55 miles by wagon transportation through a mountainous section of country. General S. D. Lee was also expected, with 2,500 men, to cut off Rosecrans' supplies in the section around Bridgeport. The general then reverted to the subject of my visit, and approved highly the plan submitted. He was to support, or rather further it, in presenting it to the President. The question had already been broached satisfactorily, only General Bragg did not expect any assistance from General Johnston,