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1 That Gen. Scott, though loyal and Union-loving, was always in favor of buying off the Rebellion by compromises and concessions, and averse to what was most unjustly termed “coercion” and “invasion,” is no secret. How eagerly he jumped upon the “finality” platform when nominated for President, in 1852, and ordered a grand salute of one hundred guns in honor of the passage of Mr. Guthrie's Compromise propositions in the Peace Conference of 1861, are matters of record. That he sought to have Fort Sumter evacuated, a month later, as a “military necessity,” is well known. Two or three weeks thereafter, on the very morning that the Rebels opened fire on Sumter, The National Intelligencer, of April 12th, contained the following, which was widely understood to have been inspired, if not directly written, by him:
There is a general and almost universal desire that no coercive measures should be resorted to, so as to induce actual collision of arms between the States that say they have seceded and the Government of the United States, until all peaceful remedies have been exhausted, yet: Great confidence is inspired by an exhibition of the actual strength and power of the Government. It gratifies national pride to have the consciousness that the Government is in possession of power, and that, when it is not exercised, it may receive the credit of forbearance. There would be an objection that this attribute of power should be directed, at the present moment, to any specific end; even though that end should be the execution of the laws. But nothing can be more evident than that universal satisfaction is felt and security inspired by the knowledge that the power of the Government is ready, at a moment's notice, to be applied and used.
The best service which the army of the Shenandoah could render was to prevent the defeat of that of the Potomac. To be able to do this, it was necessary for Gen. Johnston to defeat Gen. Patterson, or to elude him. The latter course was the more speedy and certain, and was, therefore, adopted. Evading the enemy by the disposition of the advance guard under Col. Stuart, our army moved through Ashley's Gap to Piedmont, a station of the Manassas Gap railroad. Hence, the infantry were to be transported by the railway, while the cavalry and artillery were ordered to continue their march. Gen. Johnston reached Manassas about noon on the 20th, preceded by the 7th and 8th Georgia regiments and by Jackson's brigade, consisting of the 2d, 4th, 5th, 27th, and 33d Virginia regiments. He was accompanied by Gen. Bee, with the 4th Alabama, the 2d, and two companies of the 11th Mississippi. The president of the railroad had assured him that the remaining troops should arrive during the day.
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