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[General Fitz. Comments] [Early Life Of Cooper]
Richmond Nov. 9, 1861
In reply to your letter of the 4th inst, I have the honor to state I was present at an interview in the parlor of the Spottswood Hotel on the occasion referred to in General Beauregards introductory remarks in his report of the Battle of Manassas, wherein he stated that he dispatched on the 13th of July one of his staff, Colonel James Chesnut of South Carolina, to submit for the consideration of the President a plan of operations.
My impression in respect to that interview is that General Beauregard, being fully satisfied that an early attack would be made on his position by the enemy greatly superior in force and feeling the necessity for additional aid to enable him to give battle on more equal terms, had sent Colonel Chesnut to urge upon the President an increase from General Johnstons command over in the valley of the Shenandoah. I am also under the impression that it was represented on the part of Gen'l Beauregard that if compelled to abandon his position by superior numbers, he would retire by Fredericksburg or in the direction of the Rappahannock. Beyond these representations or suggestions, I am not sensible that any plan of operations was submitted, whether written or oral, nor can I call to mind that any written communication from General Beauregard was made to the President on the occasion of the interview.
In respect to receiving aid from General Johnston, it will be recollected that that officer had in his front a larger force of the enemy, at least double his own numbers, and it would have been fatal to our cause in the valley of the Shenandoah, where he commanded, to have sent away at that time any considerable portion of his command for the object contemplated by General Beauregard. Nor was it possible for him to do so with any reasonable hope of success, until the tardiness and inactivity of the enemy in his front rendered such movement practicable, when it was finally accomplished under your telegraphic instructions of the 17th of July, and resulted in the success of our arms at the battle of Manassas on the 21st.
I have the honor to be
With great respect
Your obt. sevt.