war in and about Manassas
But, to the astonishment of the authorities, he indicated an intention to fall back; and when, in their surprise, they desired to know to what point he would retreat and stop, he confessed his total ignorance of the country behind him, and could give no satisfactory answer.
Surprised and alarmed at this intelligence, engineer officers were sent from Richmond
to sketch the topographical features of the country, to furnish General Johnston
with information which, as commanding general of the army, he should have given to the Richmond
The matter was deemed of sufficient importance to call him to Richmond
for consultation; and, when he left that place to return to the army, no such thing as a hasty retreat was anticipated; but preparations for a rapid movement by the army, as circumstances might direct, were agreed upon.
Suddenly, however, he put the army in motion, after destroying vast quantities of supplies, which should have been removed; and halted only when imperative instructions from Richmond
commanded him to do so.
having changed his base to Fort Monroe
, it then became necessary to face him at Yorktown
, involving long marches, and much suffering, and the occupation of a country in which it was very difficult to procure supplies and feed an army.
Here General Johnston
's judgment was strongly in favor of his position, the strength of his works, and the qualities of his troops.
But, just when public confidence was beginning to be restored, he suddenly evacuated his position, destroying quantities of supplies, and refusing the gage of battle, although the