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Found 2 results

  1. Following on the Confederate evacuation from Corinth end of May 1862, many in the Government at Richmond became quite unhappy with the performance of General PGT Beauregard. President Jefferson Davis, in particular, harbored a grudge that stemmed from Beauregard's publication of his Manassas report in newspapers (criticizing Davis' role in not promoting pursuit of the retreating Federals as they fled pell- mell towards Washington.) The grudge festered with the death of Davis' friend, Albert Sidney Johnston at Shiloh, and Beauregard's cavalier report of that man's death, tacked into a telegram claiming Complete Victory on April 6th. The final straw that broke the camel's back was Beauregard's "unauthorized" evacuation from Corinth, without first engaging Federal forces in battle. It appears President Davis merely bided his time... and when Braxton Bragg reported that Beauregard had departed on sick leave (for a health spa near Mobile) the opportunity presented, and Davis struck, replacing Beauregard on 17 June 1862 with Bragg as commander of what would now be called the Army of Tennessee. Stephen R. Mallory, Confederate Secretary of the Navy, was one of the few Cabinet officers to keep a diary. His entry for 21 June 1862: "Interesting Cabinet meeting yesterday. President had ordered Bragg, who was second in command at Corinth, to proceed to Mississippi and assume command. Beauregard would not permit Bragg to go, but left Bragg in command, and goes himself to Mobile for his health. Beauregard, with the finest army ever found upon this continent, about 100,000 strong, remained about six weeks after the battle of Shiloh inactive, with the enemy in his front, and then retreated without notice to the President or War Department. And up to this time no reason for his retreat is known, and now he abandons his army without leave or notice. My own idea is that his mind has given way under the weight of his command; and that finding Bragg about to leave him, he ran away from an army he could not manage. If a soldier were thus to go off without leave he would be tried for desertion and be probably shot, and an officer would be shot or cashiered. Beauregard has never voluntarily fought a battle... and never will. Bragg is left in command, and he may do better." https://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/02229/#folder_4#1 Diary of S.R. Mallory, Secretary of Navy (CSA) at Uni North Carolina Library.
  2. A disturbing trend is encountered when examining in detail PGT Beauregard's military preparations and operations that (along with untimely illness) may prove to have been that General's Achilles heel: over-reliance upon intelligence and third-party reports. Consider: April 8, 1861 Word arrived at Charleston, South Carolina -- via Robert S. Chew, officer of U.S. State Department -- announcing intention of Lincoln Government to resupply Fort Sumter "peaceably, if possible; but forcibly, if need be." General Beauregard uses the information to his advantage, to prepare for and execute attack on Fort Sumter before expected arrival of Chew's resupply flotilla. Result: Stalemate in Charleston Harbor ends with decisive conquest of Fort Sumter by Southern forces; and PGT Beauregard gains recognition for his role in that success [Roman page 33.] 16-17 July Word arrives from Confederate agent, Rose Greenhow (via her handler, Thomas Jordan) warning of the intended cutting of the Winchester Railroad by Federal forces; and advising the impending advance of McDowell. Result: Confederate forces are not surprised by Federal move. Reinforcements avoid the questionable section of Winchester Railroad, and Confederates throw panicked Federal troops back to Washington. Confederate victory is seen as further enhancing Beauregard's reputation [Greenhow page 11; Roman page 90]. August 13 Following on Beauregard's promotion to Full General (effective July 21st), Southern newspapers report the public and leading politicians are advocating for their new Hero, suggesting "Beauregard for President in 1867." Result: a swelled head may have led to unnecessary conflict between Jefferson Davis and his most successful General [Roman page 132; Varina Davis page 165.] October 1861 After intelligence from Washington warns of "a possible move by McClellan," new information indicates "no further Federal offensive operations are anticipated until Spring (in vicinity Richmond/Washington)." Result: Beauregard offers to go West and take advantage of the Eastern winter standdown to bolster defences of New Orleans. That offer is declined by Richmond. Beauregard opts for throat surgery during the lull in offensive actions [Roman pages 152- 5 (especially page 153)]. February 1862 After accepting the opportunity to transfer to the West -- Department No.2 under Albert Sidney Johnston -- General Beauregard's health suffers a setback, probably due complications from throat surgery. Beauregard increasingly relies upon others (trusted aides) to keep him informed of developments within the Department. Result: report of Thomas Jordan verifies and supports the General's bias against Fort Columbus; the garrison there is not just reduced, but ordered totally evacuated. Unknown to General Beauregard, Federal possession of Fort Columbus was the signal for Farragut to launch his attack on the Mississippi River forts below New Orleans [Roman page 233; and SDG "Taken by Surprise"]. Feb 17 - Mar 25 Holed up in his HQ at Jackson Tennessee -- and still recuperating from impaired health -- Beauregard relied on intelligence and reports from all corners of his Department to keep abreast of developments. Result: Lacking personal inspection of facilities within his department, aspects of defences at Island No.10 are flawed (New Madrid garrison and artillery placement.) And inadequate scouting and mapping in vicinity Pittsburg Landing accomplished [Roman pages 224, 234- 5 and 247]. April 2 Reliance on flawed intelligence leads to Advance on Pittsburg Landing [Roman page 270; and SDG "Telegram of April 2nd"]. April 6 Intelligence from Colonel Helm -- incorrectly indicating Buell is headed for Decatur -- may have persuaded Beauregard that he could "mop up a vanquished US Grant in the morning" [Roman page 306]. April 6 Trust in the Helm telegram may have persuaded Beauregard to discount Human Intelligence -- collected from General Prentiss, a prisoner in custody -- indicating "Buell would arrive before morning." April 6/7 Trust in the Helm telegram may have persuaded subordinates of General Beauregard not to disturb the Confederate Commander with intelligence reports from Colonel NB Forrest... indicating Buell's Army of the Ohio was arriving [Roman page 307]. Trust, but verify. Ozzy References: OR 5, 10 and 11 SDG posts (as sited above) http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/the-wild-rose-of-washington/?_r=0 NY Times: The Wild Rose Greenhow http://archive.org/stream/militaryoperatio01roma#page/154/mode/2up Roman's Military Ops of General Beauregard http://archive.org/stream/myimprisonmentfi00gree#page/214/mode/2up Rose Greenhow "My Imprisonment" http://archive.org/stream/jeffersondavisex02davi#page/164/mode/2up Varina Davis "Life of Jefferson Davis"
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