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meeting the imminent crisis, General Beauregard, in his official and semi-official correspondence at the time, suggested that the troops under General Holmes, at Aquia Creek, at least two thousand five hundred men, with two batteries, should be so posted as to be available for a timely junction with his own forces. General Holmes fully concurred, asserting that his command, as then disposed, was not likely to be of any military use; but the suggestion met with no favor at Richmond. On the 18th, having begun to receive from Norfolk the naval guns for which he had called, to arm the works at Manassas, General Beauregard made a requisition for naval officers to command those batteries and drill the recruits. They came with a number of sailors, bringing their gun-ropes, blocks, and tackles, and in their exercises the terms port and starboard, novel in the field, were used as familiarly as on board a man-of-war. Officers and men were noticeable for their zeal, efficiency, and discipli
ille, says Major Barnard, United States Engineer, See his book entitled The C. S. A. and the Battle of Bull Run, p. 46. and our three right columns were directed to co-operate, on that point. We entered that place about noon of the 17th, finding the intrenchments abandoned, and every sign of a hasty retreat. Hence the loud exultation of the Federal troops, and the predictions, in the Northern journals, of the certain defeat of the Confederate army. On the morning of the next day, the 18th, the enemy was reported advancing on Mitchell's and Blackburn's Fords. As the former was the only point even partially intrenched, and the latter had natural defensive advantages, General Beauregard was gratified that the attack, as he had hoped, was made there. His line now extended some five miles, from Union Mills Ford, on the right, to the stone bridge, on the left, as follows: at Union Mills Ford, Ewell's brigade, with four 12-pounder howitzers and three companies of Virginia cavalry;
urged upon the government, and so earnestly demanded, had not been accorded; the military aspect had also changed; and he was now forced to occupy that defensive position which he had tried his utmost to avoid. But McDowell's apparent hesitation in his forward movement, the confidence General Beauregard had in his troops and in the wisdom of his order of battle, were most encouraging, and justified him in looking hopefully and fearlessly to the result. Our line remained the same as on the 18th, except as modified by the distribution of the newly arrived reinforcements. General Holmes's brigade, the 2d Tennessee and 1st Arkansas regiments were placed in rear of Ewell. Early's brigade was shifted from the rear of Ewell to the rear of Jones's brigade; Longstreet was supported by Bee's and Bartow's brigades (of General Johnston's forces), posted at even distance in rear of McLean's and Blackburn's Fords; and, still farther in the rear, was Barksdale's Mississippi regiment. Bonham wa
at Manassas. And it must be remembered, that General Beauregard's forces at that moment numbered about eighteen thousand men, while those of General McDowell, at and advancing on Fairfax Court-House, amounted to some forty thousand. And it was only because General Beauregard's sagacious strategy forced the enemy to follow General Bonham in his preconcerted retreat to Mitchell's Ford, the only strong point of General Beauregard's defensive line, that he was enabled to defeat McDowell on the 18th, and hold him in check until the 20th, when General Holmes joined his forces with General Beauregard's, and General Johnston arrived with part of his own, the other and larger portion of which only reached the point of concentration about 3 P. M. on the 21st, while the battle was in fierce progress and we were near being overpowered. Procrastination and hesitation are always fatal to military success. It is through waiting for the enemy to develop his plans that great battles and great oppo
s, p. 31. And General Patterson, who must be supposed to have known something about it, in a letter from Harper's Ferry, dated July 24th, says: My force is less than twenty thousand; nineteen regiments, whose term of service was up, or will be within a week. . . . Five regiments have gone home. Two more go to day, and three to-morrow. To avoid being cut off with the remainder, I fell back, and occupied this place. Now when General Johnston began to move from Winchester to Manassas, on the 18th, his army, with an average effective strength, per regiment, not much exceeding five hundred men, could be computed at not less than ten thousand, exclusive of artillery and cavalry, exclusive also of the sick—seventeen hundred in number —who were comfortably provided for in Winchester. General Johnston's Narrative of Military Operations, p. 35. These, however, are mere side issues, and not at all connected with the question really before us. General Beauregard never pretended to know, exc
that General Johnston arrived at Manassas on the 20th of July, at noon; that is to say, only half a day, and one night, before the battle of the 21st. He would certainly have arrived too late, had not the result of the action of Bull Run, on the 18th, deterred General McDowell from sooner making his contemplated attack. And it must also be borne in mind that General Johnston marched to the assistance of General Beauregard, not of his own free will, or to prepare for a battle he had already plenemy. Before proceeding further, we think it our duty to add that General Johnston is certainly mistaken when he asserts that General Beauregard's telegram asking—we might almost say imploring—him to move on immediately, was only received on the 18th, when his answer to it is dated July 17th, and reads as follows: Winchester, Va., July 17th, 1861. General Beauregard, Manassas: Is the enemy upon you in force? J. E. Johnston. This shows conclusively how little General Joh
llow, was in their extended lines, requiring a whole army to hold them, leaving no forces for operations in the field. This was one of the great mistakes in engineering on both sides during the war. A garrison of from three to five thousand men, in properly constructed forts, with an ample supply of ammunition and provisions, would have been sufficient for the defence of our principal rivers until reinforcements, in an emergency, could have been sent to their relief. From Memphis, on the 18th, Governor Harris, of Tennessee, telegraphed General Beauregard to know his plans, saying that he had made similar inquiries of the President and Generals Johnston and Pillow, so as to enable him to rally at once all possible forces in Tennessee, and issue orders to them accordingly. He was requested to meet General Beauregard, with General Polk, at Jackson, on the 19th. His reply was that he had ordered out every man in the State who could be armed, but that he himself was compelled to go t
orders to march to the battle-field. On the 16th of March, General Sherman, by order of General C. F. Smith, at Savannah, disembarked with his division at Pittsburg Landing, to make a reconnaissance in the direction of Monterey, twelve miles from the Landing and ten miles from Corinth. He marched a few miles into the interior, encountering only the regiment stationed there, which retired as he advanced. He, nevertheless, returned to the Landing and re-embarked with his division. On the 18th, Hurlbut's division landed and took position about a mile and a half from the river, near the fork of the roads, leading, the one to Corinth, the other to Hamburg, five or six miles up the river. On the 19th, General Sherman again disembarked his division, taking post about three miles in the interior, with three of his brigades, at or near a little log meeting-house, covering the roads to Purdy, in a northwesterly, and to Corinth, in a southwesterly, direction. His fourth brigade was deta
ured the fall, ere long, of Island No.10, and, therefore, of Madrid Bend. Hence General Beauregard's immediate order to send at once all unmounted guns, surplus supplies, and boats to Fort Pillow—thus reducing to a minimum the forces necessary to hold those two now much endangered posts. General Beauregard's letter to General Bragg, of March 15th, see Appendix. His order was first delayed on account of an earnest appeal made to him by General McCown, but was renewed and carried out on the 18th, the need being absolute for a garrison at Fort Pillow, and no other troops being then available. The force thus transferred thither consisted of five regiments of infantry, two light batteries of six guns each, and Captain Neely's squadron of cavalry, which was soon to follow; leaving, under General Walker, for the defence of Island No.10 and Madrid Bend, some companies of heavy artillery, forming about the equivalent of a regiment; seven regiments and one battalion of infantry; one compan
in contemplation. None more than he appreciated the strategic value of Corinth. Its local features for defence and the fact of its being at the intersection of two important railroads made it a very desirable point to hold, as long as it was safe to do so. But the great odds in his front and the persistent though over-cautious advance of General Halleck, convinced General Beauregard that his withdrawal from Corinth would, ere long, become a necessity. General Pope having again, on the 18th, advanced towards Farmington, and our scouts reporting all the creeks and their swampy sides overflowed from late heavy rains, another concerted movement was prepared by General Beauregard, wherein the corps and reserve commanders were all, more or less, to participate. The object was, as previously, to attack General Pope's forces and cut off their line of retreat upon the main body of the Federal army. Steady and continuous bad weather, however, delayed the execution of the plan from day
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