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Timing is Everything

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While reviewing the performance of General Beauregard at Shiloh, one cannot help thinking they are witnessing a "what if" situation, in reverse. This requires explaining: there is no doubt that PGT Beauregard was the most successful Confederate General of 1861 (3-for-3 in the Eastern Theatre.) But, from his arrival at Bowling Green, the highly competent, impressively capable Beauregard was suffering poor health: so debilitated that he should have been declared "unfit for duty."

But, the timing of the required Surgeon's Certificate would be important, because no one possessed the required organizational skills besides PGT Beauregard. His creation of the Army of the Mississippi -- from virtually nothing -- was magnificent. Able to persuade local and State political leaders to get on board with providing essential troops, and with such rapidity, was nothing short of amazing. But that initiation of an Army was for all practical purposes completed by end of the Third Week of March. From that moment, General Beauregard should have stepped aside, taken charge of the Post of Corinth, and overseen the scrutiny of intelligence providers. And on the day the Army of the Mississippi departed Corinth, General Beauregard should have saluted and wished General Albert Sidney Johnston well as he led his strike force north to Pittsburg Landing.

And the "what if" we're discussing should have been this:  "What if General Beauregard had gone north to Shiloh, instead of remaining behind at Corinth?"



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