206 Xontht-rit Historical Society Papers.
A Letter from General Beauregard to General Wise Regarding the Battle,
Difference between General Beauregard and General Bragg as to the War Policy at that Crisis.
Now printed, as written, from the original, now owned by the grandson of General Wise, Mr. Barton Haxall Wise, of Richmond, Virginia:
ALLEGHANY SPRINGS, October j, 1873.
My dear General : Mr. Marrin has referred to me your letter of the i gth ulto. I give you, with pleasure, some of the dates you refer to.
I arrived at Petersburg from Weldon (where I had been ordered to from Charleston to "await orders") on or about the I4th May, '64. Finding that General Pickett was very ill from fever, I ordered Genl. Whiting, then at Wilmington, to come at once to Petersburg to assume command, while I moved to Drury's Bluff, where Gen'l Hoke temporarily commanded.
Gen'l W. arrived at about noon on the i3th, & after about one hour's conference with him & leaving with him some written general instructions, I started for Drury's Bluff accompanied by 3 regiments of Colquitt's brigade & part of Col. Baker's Reg't of Cavalry.
When we arrived at Swift Creek I was informed by one of my aids just returning from Rich'd that he had met some of Butler's Federal troops on their way to attack Drury's Bluff. I therefore di- verged to Chesterfield C. H., where we arrived about 12 h. P. M., & found it occupied by a small force of Federals which we drove out of the place. We reached D's Bluff about 3 h. A. M., in a terrible rain-storm, passing between Butler's left & the river. I at once sent for Col.s Harris and Stevens of the Eng'rs & after con- ferring with them about one hour, I sent the latter to the Pres't [Davis], to tell him that, if he w'd that day (the i4th) send me 10,- ooo men from the troops about Richmond (5,000 under Ransom) & Gen'l Lee's army, I w'd attack Butler's 30,000 men (who had been successful in the afternoon of the i3th in taking the outer line of de- fences) capture or destroy them by 12 h. on the i5th. I would then move to attack Grant on his left flank & rear, while Lee attacked him in front, & I felt sure of defeating Grant & probably open the way to Washington where we might dictate Peace ! !