P. G. T. Beauregard: Napoleon in Gray

By T. Harry Williams | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THIRTEEN
Return to Virginia

I T was Quiet after the big bombardment. For almost two months the Federals made no major move against Sumter or the other works. Admiral Dahlgren was convinced that the navy by itself could not force an entrance into the harbor; he feared the firepower of Beauregard's new batteries and the mines rumored to be in the channel. Many of his monitors had been damaged in the recent operations, and these had to be repaired. General Gillmore was occupying himself with erecting new batteries at Cummings Point. He acted as though his part of the operation was largely accomplished. He had neutralized Sumter, which was all he had contracted to do originally, and he did not have sufficient force to seize it.

Beauregard was busier than the Federals. At Sumter he put the garrison at work repairing the damages of the bombardment. Sand and dirt were brought in to strengthen the outer walls, a central bombproof was constructed, and some heavy guns were returned to the fort. As he usually did in a period of quiet on his own front, Beauregard turned his mind to making plans for generals in other theaters. Now he began to think about Bragg in the West. Bragg had defeated the Federals in September at Chickamauga and had shut them up in Chattanooga, but he was not making much progress toward getting them out and recovering the Tennessee line. Beauregard worked out a plan, which he sent to Bragg, asking that general to present it to the government as his own. Beauregard proposed that in Virginia the Confederates stand on the defensive. From Lee's army and other sources Bragg would be reinforced with thirty-five thousand troops; Bragg could then cross the Tennessee, flank the Federals out of Chattanooga, and smash them in a showdown battle. After that Bragg could aid Lee in Virginia. "I fear any other plan will, sooner or later, end in our final destruction in detail...," Beauregard gloomily told Bragg. "Our resources are fast getting exhausted; our

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