General Gustave Beauregard autograph letter signed, dated 3 June 1864, with riveting content on holding back the Union forces from taking Petersburg, the battle which would begin less than a week after this letter. Written from ''Head Quarters in the Field near Chester Va'', Beauregard writes to General Braxton Bragg in Richmond VA, ''...That there may not be...any possible misapprehension of the part I was called upon to act in the momentous events which are transpiring, and which I cannot but watch with the most intense interest and solicitude, I send you herewith copies of the telegrams [not present] which have been exchanged between General Lee & myself...You may not doubt of my readiness and anxiety to co-operate with Genl. Lee in any manner that may be deemed most conducive towards the crushing of the foe in his front. I shall be found willing and ready at all times to obey any orders the War Department may judge fit and proper to give...but I cannot under existing circumstances advise the withdrawal of more troops from this vicinity...Already 13,000 out of 20,000 infantry have been sent to the North side of the James River since the battle of Drewry's Bluff, and with the forces remaining, unless taken temporarily and for an immediate encounter with the enemy, it might become impossible to prevent the latter from destroying the communications between Richmond & Petersburg, nay, from capturing Petersburg, which could not be retaken without great great [sic] sacrifice of life. If Rasmussen's Brigade, numbering over one third of the present available force...were withdrawn...it would become necessary to abandon our lives in front of Bermuda Hundreds neck, to assume a strategic position at Port Walthall Junction, from there to protect...Petersburg, the Ironclad gunboats guarding the crossing of James River as far below Chaffin's Bluff is practicable. If Johnson's Division was ordered to the North side of James River, it would then be necessary to occupy the junction with at least one brigade of infantry, assisted by such cavalry, (at least 2 regiments) as might be shared from General Benning's Brigade, or other cavalry in the field, to watch closely in front of the enemy 's lines across Bermuda Hundred's neck, and give timely notice of any offensive expeditions from the quarter...G.T. Beauregard / General''. On 9 June, Beauregard's fears were confirmed when Grant struck Petersburg; Beauregard moved south to the city, and with initially only 14,000 men -- compared to Grant's 50,000, defended the city until the end of the war. Additional autograph endorsement on page four reads, ''To be copied in letter book & returned / G.T.B.'' Letter itself is Beauregard's retained copy. Two page card style letter measures 8'' x 12.5''. Light toning and separation to folds, else near fine.
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