Supplementary report of General Tyler.1
Official report of Colonel Pratt.
Beauregard's official report.A correspondent of the Richmond (Va.) Dispatch, Nov. 1, gives the following synopsis of Beauregard's official report of the battle of Bull Run.2
I have been favored with a brief synopsis of portions of Gen. Beauregard's report of the battle of Manassas, which has been forwarded to the War Department, and which will doubtless be published in a short time. Beauregard opens with a statement of his position antecedent to the battle, and of the plan proposed by him to the Government of the junction of the armies of the Shenandoah and Potomac, with a view to the relief of Maryland, and the capture of the city of Washington, which plan was rejected by the President. Gen. Beauregard states that he telegraphed the War Department on the 13th of July of the contemplated attack by Gen. McDowell, urgently asking for a junction of Gen. Johnston's forces with his own, and continued to make urgent requests for the same until the 17th of July, when the President consented to order Gen. Johnston to his assistance. Gen. Beauregard goes on to state that his plan of battle assigned to Gen. Johnston an attack on the enemy on the left, at or near Centreville, while he himself would command in front; but the condition of the roads prevented this. It was then decided to receive the attack of the enemy behind Bull Run. After the engagement at Blackburn's Ford, on the 18th, Gen. Beauregard was convinced that General McDowell's principal demonstration would be made on our left wing, and he then formed the idea of throwing forward a sufficient force, by converging roads, to attack the enemy's reserves at Centreville so soon as the main body of the latter became inextricably engaged on the left. Late in the day, finding that General Ewell, who was posted on the extreme right of our line, had not moved forward in accordance with the programme and the special order which had been sent him, General Beauregard despatched a courier to Gen. Ewell to inquire the reason why the latter had failed to advance, and received a reply from Gen. Ewell, stating that he had not received any such order. The enemy's attack having then become too strong on the left to warrant carrying out the original plan, as it would take three hours for General Ewell's brigade to reach Centreville, it became necessary to alter the plan, change front on the left, and bring up our reserves to that part of the field. This movement was superintended in person by General Johnston, General Beauregard remaining to direct the movements in front. At the time when Gen. Kirby Smith and General Early came up with their divisions and appeared on the right of the enemy, our forces on the left occupied the chord of the are of a circle, of which the arc itself was occupied by the enemy — the extremes of their line flanking ours. The appearance of Smith's and Early's brigades, and their charge on the enemy's right, broke the lines of the latter and threw them into confusion, when shortly afterwards the rout became complete. General Beauregard acknowledges the great generosity of General Johnston in fully according to him (Gen. Beauregard) the right to carry out the plans he had formed with relation to this campaign, in yielding the command of the field after examining and cordially, approving the plan of battle, and in the effective cooperation which General Johnston so chivalrously extended to him on that eventful day. He remarks that the retreat of our forces from Fairfax, immediately previous to the engagement of the 18th, is the first instance on record of volunteers retiring before an engagement, and with the object of giving battle in another position. The number under his command on the 18th July is set down at 17,000 effective men, and on the 21st to 27,000, which includes 6,200 of Johnston's army, and 1,700 brought up by Gen. Holmes from Fredericksburg. The killed on our side in this evermemorable battle are stated in the report to have been in number 393, and the wounded 1,200. The enemy's killed, wounded, and prisoners are estimated by General Beauregard at 4,500, which does not include the missing.
New York times narrative: editorial correspondence.
Atlanta “Confederacy” narrative.The special correspondent of the Atlanta, Ga., Confederacy, furnishes the following direct description of the plans and progress of the great battle:
Charleston Mercury account.
--Charleston Mercury, July 29.
Louisville Courier account.
The retreat from Centreville.
P. S.--I attach to this letter a copy of a letter addressed by an officer of the regular army to a friend, who has kindly consented that I may use it. It is graphically written, and will tell you many things which only an officer can tell: The march from our bivouac, near Centreville, was taken up at 2 1/2 A. M. on Sunday. Among officers and men the impression prevailed that the action would occur at Bull Run, the scene of Gen. Tyler's repulse a day or two previously. In this they were disappointed. Tyler's brigade posted themselves at the bridge over Bull Run, where they were ordered to feign an attack as soon as Col. Hunter's division was known to be in position. This order was partially obeyed. Hunter's division, composed of Burnside's brigade and Porter's brigade, after proceeding a mile beyond Centreville, made a detour to the right, and proceeded over a wood road, well covered from observation, to the left flank of the enemy, at Manassas, a distance of about eight miles. At six o'clock firing was heard on the heights at Bull Run, from a battery in Tyler's brigade, which was promptly answered by the enemy's batteries. Their position thus revealed, the advance division (Hunter's) ascended a hill at double quick, and almost immediately the Rhode Island battery and Griffin's West Point battery were in brisk action. The former was supported by the First regiment Rhode Island Volunteers, who maintained their ground nobly for a half hour. At this moment Porter's brigade, composed of the Fourteenth, Seventh, and Twenty-seventh New York, with a battalion of U. S. Marines, under Major Reynolds, and a battalion of U. S. Third, Second, and Eighth Infantry, under Major Sykes, took their position in line of battle upon a hill, within range of the enemy's fire. Burnside's battery being sorely pressed, the enemy having charged closely upon it, the gallant Colonel galloped to Major Sykes and implored him to come to his  assistance. Major Sykes brought his men up at a run, and, with a deafening shout, they charged upon the enemy's skirmishers, who fled before them several hundred yards. Forming in column of divisions Sykes' battalion advanced a considerable distance, until they drew upon themselves an intensely hot fire of musketry and artillery. This was a trying moment. The volunteers expected much of the regulars, and gazed upon them as they stood in unbroken line, receiving the fire, and returning it with fatal precision. Impressions and resolutions are formed on the battle-field in an instant. The impression at this moment was a happy one, and Heintzelman's brigade coming up into line, our forces steadily advanced upon the retreating rebels. The batteries, which had been meanwhile recruited with men and horses, renewed their fire with increased effect, and our supremacy upon the field was apparent. The enemy's fire was now terrific. Shell, round-shot, and grape from their batteries covered the field with clouds of dust, and many a gallant fellow fell in that brief time. At this juncture the volunteers, who hitherto had behaved nobly, seeing their ranks thinned out, many losing their field and company officers, lost confidence, and in a panic fell back. Three fresh regiments coming on the field at this time would have formed a nucleus upon which a general rally could have been effected; but while the enemy had reinforcements pouring in upon them momentarily, our entire force was in the field, and badly cut up. Thus was our action maintained for hours. The panic was momentarily increasing. Regiments were observed to march up in good order, discharge one volley, and then fall back in confusion. But there was no lack of gallantry, generally speaking, and not a great many manifestations of cowardice. Our artillery, which made sad havoc upon the rebels, had spent their ammunition, or been otherwise disabled by this time, and in the absence of reinforcements a retreat was inevitable. The time for the last attack had now come. Nearly all of the rebel batteries were in place, though silent. There was a calm — an indescribable calm. Every man on the field felt it. I doubt if any one could describe it. Gen. McDowell was near the front of our lines, mounted on his gray charger. And here let me say emphatically, that, whatever may be the criticisms upon his conduct by the military or the abominable stay-at-home newspaper scribblers and politicians, no braver man trod that turf at Manassas than Gen. McDowell. Major Sykes' battalion of eight companies, five of Third Infantry, two of the Second, and one of the Eighth, were marched several hundred yards to the right, and formed the right flank of the line. Several volunteer regiments were deployed as skirmishers on the centre and left. Thus they advanced to the crest of the hill. The enemy met them with batteries and musketry in front, and two batteries and a thousand cavalry on the right. The fire was terrific. We maintained our position for a half hour. Then it was discovered that the rebel cavalry were attempting to outflank our right. We had no force to resist them, and the bugle of the regulars sounded the march in retreat. This, so far as they were concerned, was conducted in good order. On Major Sykes was imposed the responsible duty of covering the retreat of the army. In this he was assisted on part of the route by the United States cavalry under Major Palmer. The enemy followed us with their artillery and cavalry, shelling us constantly, until we reached Centreville. Here we bivouacked for an hour, and then again took up the line of march. But of the retreat let me say a word, and pardon, my dear fellow, this incoherent letter, written in an excited Centreville bivouac, on my sound knee, the other severely scratched. As I said, Major Sykes, with his Third, Second, and Eighth Infantry, in all but eight companies, and they decimated, conducted the retreat. Three of his officers had been wounded, and one killed or captured. Several of them were detached, endeavoring to rally the volunteers in front, and have them march off in some sort of order, so as to protect themselves against the enemy's cavalry, known to be in rapid pursuit. On this duty, I recognized his special aid, Lieutenant McCook, of our State, I believe, and another infantry officer, who was also mounted. The road by which the retreat was conducted, the same as that by which we advanced, had been, I think, discovered by the rebels a day or two since. The engineers, in reconnoitring the enemy's position, had been accompanied by a body of troops, who caused such a dust to rise from the road as to make their march easily observable from the heights at Manassas. Retreating by this route, no difficulty occurred in ranging their guns directly upon our line. Major Sykes quickly discovering this, and the cavalry advancing to reconnoitre the pass near Centreville, and charge it if necessary, obliqued the column, getting them upon the turf perfectly protected from the enemy's shell, which were continued to be fired upon the line of dust which was raised in the wake of the galloping cavalry. It was an admirable piece of strategy, reflecting great credit upon the gallant Major, whose conduct in the entire action, to my knowledge, drew forth the most enthusiastic expressions of admiration from both volunteer and regular officers. Were the infantry my arm, I could ask no braver or more capable commander than he. But we are about to renew our march towards Washington, and entrusting this note to the driver of an ambulance in front of our line, in the expectation that it will reach you early, let me say that if we halt near Alexandria or Arlington, and my horse can stand the pressure, I will not be long in grasping your hand. Till then, my dear fellow, believe me your disgusted and worn-out friend, * * * * --Philadelphia Press, July 24.
Northern press on the battle.Upon the receipt of the first exaggerated reports of the retreat from Bull Run, many weak-backed and nervous individuals began to cry out that it was all over with us; that our inferiority, and the superiority of the rebels as soldiers had been so fully established as to render it expedient for us to be thinking as to what terms we would make with tile enemy. Ever since the receipt of the corrected accounts — by which it appears that the disgraceful panic and flight, which constitute, so far as we are concerned, the only alarming part of the affair at Bull Run, and were limited to a comparatively few frightened individuals, a large part of them teamsters and spectators, who, not content with running away themselves, sought, by their false and scandalous reports, to involve the whole army in the disgrace — ever since the receipt of these corrected accounts, there still remain those upon whom this first disaster casts a shade of sadness and alarm, and who see in it a malign omen as to our future success. For the benefit of these doubting Thomases, we propose, by a brief retrospect of some occurrences in the wars of the Revolution and of 1812, to show that panic, flight, disaster, and a certain proportion of cowards, are to be looked for in all armies and all wars, and that they furnish no presumption at all unfavorable to ultimate success. Even at the world-renowned battle of Bunker Hill, every common soldier present at which, in the ranks of the United Colonies, has been exalted by a grateful posterity and an, admiring world to the rank of a mythical hero — even in that famous battle, cowardice had its representatives in the colonial ranks. The conduct of several officers on that day was investigated by court-martial, and one, at least, was cashiered for cowardice — a precedent which, if all rumors are true, ought to be followed out in the case of the late fight or panic. An American historian who, in his account of the battle of Bunker Hill, saw fit to state the above fact, was very severely handled for so doing by certain patriotic critics, as if he had cast a shadow over the glories of the day. But history is written, or should be, not so much to exalt the fathers as to instruct the sons, and the above incident in the battle of Bunker Hill may now, for that purpose, be put to good use. Even the heroes of Bunker Hill, it seems, had among them a portion of the same leaven which worked so malignantly at Bull Run. About the whole early history of the Revolutionary War is a series of disasters, interspersed with a few splendid successes. One of these last was the capture of Montreal and the occupation of nearly the whole of Canada by the forces under Montgomery and Arnold. But this success was only short-lived. Sullivan, though sent with large reinforcements, and aided by the intrepid valor of Wayne, found it impossible to hold the province against the superior force which the opening of the spring enabled the British to throw into the St. Lawrence, and the American army retreated out of Canada, in the emphatic words of John Adams, “disgraced, defeated, discontented, dispirited, diseased, undisciplined, eaten up with vermin, no clothes, beds, blankets, nor medicines, and no victuals but salt pork and flour,” and a scanty supply of those. The disastrous defeat at Brooklyn, three months later, made a most alarming impression on Washington's army assembled for the defence of New York. When the van of the British crossed from Long Island and landed at Kip's Bay, the troops posted to guard that landing, panic-struck by the late disasters, fled without firing a gun. Two New England brigades, brought up to support them, seized with a like panic, ran away in the most shameful manner, leaving Washington, who had ridden up to view the ground, exposed to capture within eighty paces of the enemy. Then occurred a scene which we wonder that some one of our numerous and gifted artists has not made the subject of a picture. Greatly exasperated at the dastardly conduct of the panic-struck and flying troops, Washington dashed his hat to the ground, exclaiming, “Are these the men with whom I am to defend America?” His attendants turned his horse's head, and hurried him from the field. The occurrence will be found described at length in the Memoirs of Graydon, a Pennsylvania officer, who seems to have been present at it. Yet the very next day these same men sturdily repulsed the enemy, being spurred up to do their duty, by the example of Colonel Knowlton and other brave officers, who sacrificed themselves in their eagerness to show the soldiers how to fight. Afterwards, in the disastrous retreat through the Jerseys, on the victorious day of Trenton, these very regiments covered themselves with glory, and gained the right of standing by Washington and their country through the worst extremes of defeat and danger. So also upon the occasion of Burgoyne's invasion of New York, a year or two later. At first, his approach spread everywhere terror and dismay. St. Clair fled from Ticonderoga in haste and disorder, and the British, pursuing, captured all his baggage and stores. Of three regiments attacked at Hubbardton, one fled disgracefully, leaving most of their officers to be taken prisoners. The other two, though they made a stout resistance, were broken and dispersed, and a large number of them captured. After a disastrous retreat, or rather flight, Schuyler collected the troops of the Northern army to the number of 5,000 men at Fort Edward, on the Hudson. But he could not make a stand even there, and was obliged to continue his retreat to the mouth of the Mohawk. The loss of Ticonderoga with its numerous artillery, and the subsequent rapid disasters, came like a thunderbolt on Congress and the  Northern States. “We shall never be able to defend a post!” --so wrote John Adams in a private letter. He was at that time President of the Board of War--would to heaven our Board of War had such a head!--“we shall never be able to defend a post till we shoot a general.” Disasters, the unavoidable result of weakness, were ascribed to the incapacity or cowardice of the officers. Suggestions of treachery were even whispered, and the prejudices of the New Englanders against Schuyler — for even the North, at that time, was divided and distracted by bitter sectional prejudices, of which now, fortunately, hardly a trace remains — broke out with new violence. But all this disaster and confusion did not prevent, within two or three months after, the glorious days of Bennington and Bemis Heights, and the total capture of all Burgoyne's invading army. Not to dwell any further upon the disasters of the war of the Revolution, of which it would be easy to multiply instances, let us now cast a cursory glance at some of the occurrences of the war of 1812. Let us note, by the way, a curious circumstance with respect to that war — a circumstance eminently instructive as to the total change which has taken place of late years in the objects, ends, and aims of leading Southern politicians. That war, as everybody knows, was preeminently a Southern measure, of which the great object, and leading end and aim, by which it was alone justified as an expedient undertaking, was the conquest and annexation of Canada. That attempt, had it been successful, would have added so much to the strength and population of the free States as effectually to have curbed all the slaveholding pretensions of the last forty years to govern the nation, and now, failing that, to sectionalize and divide it. Nor is it unreasonable to suppose that such men as Clay, Calhoun, Cheves, Lowndes, and Grundy, who urged the conquest of Canada as the means within our reach to punish the maritime aggressions of England, could have failed to foresee the inevitable consequences of that enterprise had we succeeded in it. They were patriots who sought the glory, welfare, and greatness of the united nation, not the base and selfish aggrandisement of a section and a faction. Unfortunately they failed to conquer Canada, but in the impulse which the war gave to our domestic manufactures, and to the growth of our navy, they aided greatly to create the means which will now enable the nation to put down speedily with a strong hand the insolent traitors who have fallen away so rashly from the spirit and example of their noble fathers, and, deserting the altars of republican liberty at which they worshipped, have hastened to pass themselves, and are attempting to compel us and our children to pass through the fires of the Moloch of slavery. The first efforts of land warfare in the war of 1812 were signally unsuccessful, due, as is now universally admitted, to the incapacity of the Government, and the want of spirit and enterprise on the part of the general in command. Hull was sent to Detroit with a very inadequate force, under order to invade and conquer Upper Canada. Hull's troops were eager for action, and had Amherstburg — the post of the enemy nearest to Detroit, and held by a weak garrison — been attacked immediately, it might have been taken; but, ignorant of the weakness of the enemy, though fully conscious of his own, and discouraged by his isolation from means of succor — for he was 200 miles distant from the nearest frontier settlements, and 500 from any source of effectual support, much worse off in that respect than any of our present generals — Hull wished to fortify his camp, to get his cannon mounted, to give time for the operation of a formidable proclamation which he had issued. While he was thus employed, the British General, Proctor — for Proctor we might read Johnston — arrived at Amherstburg with reinforcements, followed, first by General Brock, and then by Tecumseh, a noble Indian, any parallel for whom we should seek in vain in the ranks of our rebels. Hull thereupon gave over the invasion of Canada and retired to Detroit, where he shortly after ingloriously surrendered to the approaching British and Indians, whereby not only Detroit, but the whole peninsula of Michigan, passed into the hands of the British. Great was the astonishment and anger of President and Cabinet — though they themselves, by the inadequacy of the forces which they had placed at Hull's disposal, were greatly to blame for it — great the astonishment and anger of the people at the mortifying termination of the first attempt to conquer Canada. But, so far from checking the ardor of the western people, it stimulated them to fresh exertions, and before long a force was placed at the disposal of Gen. Harrison, who succeeded to Hull's command, by which, in the course of the next year, Michigan was recovered, the battle of the Thames was fought, and Upper Canada temporarily occupied. We might cite other incidents of this war, including the conquest of Washington itself by the enemy, the burning of the national capitol — then, as now, in an unfinished condition — and the coming together of Congress, the blackened ruins of the capitol still smouldering, in the patent office, the sole remaining public building, hastily and scantily fitted up for the reception of the national legislature. Worse and more alarming than all, we might picture the fierce contentions and embittered spirit of party by which the national legislature was divided when thus assembled in this hour of disaster to quarrel over the past, and with specie payments suspended, and national credit at the lowest ebb, to provide as well as they could for the future. We prefer, rather, to quote a few extracts from Madison's message sent to Congress at that meeting, and which are not without  a certain applicability to the present moment: “Availing himself of fortuitous advantages, our enemy is aiming with his undivided force a deadly blow at our growing prosperity, perhaps at our national existence.” “He has avowed his purpose of trampling on the usages of civilized warfare, and given earnest of it in the plunder and wanton destruction of private property.” “He strikes with peculiar animosity at the progress of our navigation and our manufactures.” “From such an adversary, hostility in its greatest force and worst forms may be looked for. The American people will face it with the undaunted spirit which, in our revolutionary struggle, defeated all the unrighteous projects aimed at them. His threats and his barbarities will kindle in every bosom, instead of dismay, an indignation not to be extinguished but by his disaster and expulsion.” “In providing the means necessary, the national Legislature will not distrust the heroic and enlightend patriotism of its constituents. They will cheerfully and proudly bear every burden of every kind which the safety and honor of the nation demand. We see them rushing with enthusiasm to the scenes where danger and duty call. In offering their blood, they give the surest pledge that no other tribute will be withheld.” There is as much patriotism in the country now as in the Revolution, or in 1814. The traitors of the South are no more formidable than were the tories of the Revolution, who, at one time, aided by the British, had complete possession of the States of Georgia and the Carolinas, with an invading army in Virginia; while, in contrast to the war of 1812, the people of the North, and we may say of the Union, are united as one man.--N. Y. Tribune. So far as the late reverses by the Federal troops in Virginia may give one an idea of the actual damage done the cause of the Union, perhaps Wall street affords as good an index as any thing else — when it is summed up at about “four per cent.,” as indicated in our last issue. The material losses, the arms and munitions of war uselessly sacrificed, are, of course, but a mere trifle when we take into consideration the immense resources of the Government. That it will have a bad effect on the prestige gained previously by the prompt action of the Government, cannot be doubted. But then, one battle gained, with whatever brilliant results, will not cause the great powers of Europe to take sides with the Confederates; nor will it cause any fears of such a result on the part of those sustaining the Government. That it will vastly inspirit the secession States is perfectly certain. Previous to the battle, the utterances of such papers as the Charleston Courier and Mercury, and the Delta of New Orleans, prove that they entertained gloomy apprehensions in view of the mighty preparations for the campaign put forth by the Government, and, naturally more excitable than their opponents, their losses will prove to be terrible indeed if they do not shout over their successes to the very echo; and if, inspired by fresh hopes, they do not put forth renewed exertions to sustain their cause. But, as we have already said, this one battle will settle nothing. The closely-populated communities in the great States north of us are becoming newly stimulated by the pressure of events, and are pouring their thousands upon thousands toward the seat of war, so that probably in ten days or thereabouts an overwhelming force will be at the capital, and prepared anew to try the chances of the battle-field. How far the new general ordered to the command may be able to gain their confidence and inspirit them with fresh enthusiasm, remains to be seen; but it is evident enough, from proofs afforded on all hands, that in the late contest, the Federal troops may be said to have been without a general, in fact. One newspaper correspondent tells his readers that in the heat of one of the desperate conflicts, he met the ostensible general of the forces “three miles” from the scene of the combat, in a carriage, and that he had the honor of reporting to him how affairs were going. Another statement is made that in a whole day's conflict the general in command was not able to communicate with one brigade at all — of course, did not know where it was. Without assuming any of that profound knowledge of strategy, and of military matters generally, which has made the New York major-generals of the printing-offices so famous, it strikes us that such leadership as has thus been exhibited is not what soldiers would expect who are sent under the fire of masked batteries, each corps to act, in truth, as a forlorn hope; nor is it such as the country will hold the Government responsible for when a deliberate verdict has to be rendered in the solemn inquest over the slain. Disclaiming, as we have said, all knowledge, as a military critic, that knowledge so abundant now amongst that numerous class who, as Byron says, are “the prophets of the past,” we yet should be glad to know wherein is the great necessity of leading men, except they were made of wrought iron — cast-iron would not do — right up to the front of a net-work or checquer-board of masked batteries, constructed months before, and awaiting the advance of the simple-hearted but brave thousands who were expected to present themselves as victims? With the whole of Virginia to outflank these batteries in, with a shorter base of operations by Fredericksburg or Yorktown to Richmond, why were the gallant thousands precipitated on this deadly trap, so carefully laid for them at Manassas? A sacred proverb says: “Vainly is the snare laid in the sight of any bird,” but it was not so in this case. Again: There is an incident in the life of the great Napoleon, that life so fruitful of suggestions, that would seem to have a bearing upon the matter in question. It is long since  we saw the account alluded to, but we do remember that in his first essay with the army of Egypt he was invited by the Turks to walk up to a deliberately constructed range of batteries and be slaughtered; but that — in a cowardly sort of manner, perhaps — he chose to go around the spot where they were planted with so much care, and the result was, that he slew some thousands of the Turks, and broke their power completely for all time. Valor is a very good thing, doubtless, but we greatly prefer the “Rich Mountain” sort — the McClellan and Rosecranz school of tacticians — to that which is in vogue lower down on the Potomac, especially where the purpose of those on the line of the advance is to disorganize and conquer — not slay — with the remembrance that those who are opposed to them are people of the same country. That a more overwhelming disaster has not been the consequence of all this management — this helter-skelter rush to “Richmond” --is rather remarkable than otherwise. Nearly two hundred miles to advance through hostile territory is an exceedingly long distance, comparatively, as those have found, doubtless, who have penetrated about one-eighth as far, to retrace their footsteps under these untoward results. And suppose — here comes a lesson from history again — suppose, we say, that Beauregard and his advisers had adopted the tactics of the Parthians toward the Roman consul, Crassus — suppose they had coaxed along toward Richmond the brave but inadequate force lately defeated, and then turned upon and suddenly and completely destroyed them, what then would have been the condition of the questions at issue to-day? They might have done it. “Onward to Richmond!” has been the senseless battle-cry which has stunned the ears of the nation for weeks past, and the authorities at Washington may consider themselves fortunate that the case for them is no worse. It is not our special business either to censure or defend those attempting, with varied success, to preserve those free institutions, that unequalled fabric of free government so nearly suffered to go to ruin mainly by default of the head of the late Administration. We cannot defend the palpable blunders of our present rulers, but when we behold them reeling under the heavy burdens cast upon them by the faults of others, we would be as charitable as possible toward their shortcomings. Not their partisans, we yet hope they may, with as little suffering to the nation as possible, restore the country to its wonted condition of prosperity; but to do this, that terrible evil — political brawling — must not be recognized as a qualification for military position, or for the places of military counsellors. If there is one rock which more than any other endangers the safety of the Government in this frightful crisis it is this. And if the Government does not remorselessly, and at once, throw overboard the whole phalanx of these insane brawlers — some of them members of Congress, sitting in grand council, and yet commanders of regiments in the field — if it does not likewise silence in some way the newspaper school, who cause impatience, and consequent insubordination in the camp, as well as untimely precipitancy at Headquarters, it will prolong a struggle awful to contemplate in the far future. Some steps, it is true, have been taken toward reforms in high places, in view of the lesson of the other day; but there must be a clean sweep of the blundering and incompetent civilians, in the new levies especially, if the country at large is to expect success in the reconstruction of the Government.--Baltimore American, July 26. Washington, July 26, 1861.--The public mind, painfully but reasonably excited, is entitled to be informed of what so deeply and vitally concerns the general welfare. When the rebellion broke out into open war upon Fort Sumter, the people rose with a unanimity unexampled in the world's history, offering themselves and their possessions to the Government, asking only in return that a war thus wantonly and wickedly provoked, should be vigorously prosecuted. Passing over an interval of three months, we come to the disastrous battle of Manassas. Who is responsible for this great national disaster? Officials cannot answer — individuals may speak — their answers passing for what they are worth, according to the estimate which the public put upon the judgment and means of information. Lieutenant-General Scott, in the discharge of his duty as commander-in-chief of the army, conceived and perfected a plan or programme, by means of which he confidently, as the results of a summer and fall campaign, anticipated the overthrow of the Confederate army, and thus virtually to end the rebellion. This plan, primarily, contemplated camps of instruction, where raw levies might, during the months of June, July, and August, be subject to discipline and inured to service, sending the regiments as they became fit for duty, into the field, making room, as they departed, for green organizations. With this disposable force (after the safety of the Capital was assured) Gen. Scott commenced operations at Fortress Monroe, near Harper's Ferry, and in Western Virginia, the latter point being most favorable, profiting, as no other section did, by the cooperation and sympathies of loyal inhabitants. With Washington for his base of operations, the western wings of his army were to feel and fight their way southward; until at the appointed time, having reached their designated positions, all his columns were to move simultaneously, Richmond falling as Mexico fell, before an irresistible army. But this plan did not accord with the popular idea. Prominent individuals, whose counsels and clamors precipitated the outbreak, demanded precipitate action. These demands were  more and more clamorous. Exciting appeals to popular feeling were soon followed by open aspersions and denunciations of Gen. Scott. And finally, with a presumption and insolence unheard of, a leading journal, assuming command of the army, issued and reiterated the order, “On to Richmond.” While widely spread newspapers were thus weakening the Administration by assaults upon its Commanding-General, his embarrassments were aggravated by the persistent hostility and every-day aspersions of the Postmaster General, whose brother, a prominent member of Congress, assailed him from the stump. Meanwhile Congress assembled. Senators and representatives, with more zeal than knowledge, caught up and reiterated the cry, “On to Richmond.” The impatient Congressmen were leading and influential. They waited upon the President to complain of the inactivity of the army, and upon General Scott, urging him “On to Richmond.” Army bills, prepared with deliberation by Senator Wilson, (in accordance with the views of the Government,) were emasculated by the House Military Committee, of which Mr. Blair is Chairman. The President and his Cabinet had reason to apprehend — if not the censures of Congress — the failure of measures essential to the prosecution of the war, unless the Tribune order of “On to Richmond” was obeyed. And now the sensation journals began to disparage the strength and courage of the rebel army. “The rebels will not fight!” “The cowards will run!” &c., &c., appeared in flaming capitals over flash paragraphs. The whole popular mind was swayed by these frenzied appeals. A movement upon Manassas was universally and blindly demanded. Passions and animosities, kindred to those which once deluged France in blood, were being excited. The tyranny of the press, the denunciations of a Cabinet minister, and the impetuosity of a dozen members of Congress excited the masses, “moved” Gen. Scott “from his proprieties.” For once in his life his purposes were thwarted — for once “his mind became the mind of other men.” The result has shown that it was a fatal weakness. And yet who knows what would have been the effect of an adherence to his plan? The New York Tribune was educating millions to distrust the wisdom of the Administration and the fidelity of the commanding generals. Every day emboldened its audacity — every rail and wire disseminated its treason — and every hour augmented the popular discontent. Congress, though its session opened auspiciously, began to falter. The Blairs, one in the Cabinet and the other in Congress, were organizing the “On to Richmond” faction. To have resisted these demands would have overthrown the Administration, and might have destroyed the Government. “Madness ruled the hour,” and a battle at Manassas, right or wrong, became not a military but a political “necessity.” It is not true, however, as has been averred, that General Scott was constrained to hazard this battle by the President. Between the President and, with one exception, the Cabinet and General Scott, there have been a mutual regard and confidence. I will not now stop to consider details or criticize acts. The major blunder includes all the minor ones. There should have been no general engagement until we were in the field with an army strong enough to overwhelm and crush out rebellion. There are other points at which we could be advantageously and successfully occupied. But even if it were excusable to assault an army equal in numbers to our own, in its chosen position behind its intrenchments, the purpose should have been abandoned when the army of Manassas was reinforced by that from Winchester. Then, surely, the conflict was too unequal. With all the conditions and circumstances so changed, General McDowell should have taken the responsibility of disobeying his orders. The reason would have justified him in the judgment of the Government and people. But the order of “On to Richmond” was obeyed, and where does it leave us? Where we were three months ago, with a harder conflict on our hands, and a dismal, if not doubtful future. The “On to Richmond” dictators have added another year to the war, an hundred millions of dollars to its cost, and opened graves for fifteen or twenty thousand more soldiers. And what have we gained? Alas, too little for such a fearful expenditure of time, treasure, blood, and reputation. We have learned, what few doubted, that our army is all that is expected of it; that our men fought with the courage of veterans; that we may always, and under all circumstances, rely on them. We have learned, what was also too well known, that the army was in many instances indifferently officered. We have learned, too, the importance and necessity of discipline. Effective troops, however excellent the material, cannot be found in workshops, the cornfields, or the cities. They must have military training, without which every “On to Richmond” movement will prove a failure. Though we have encountered a great and disastrous check — though we are pained and humiliated — we possess the means and the energy to retrieve all, if these means henceforth are wisely employed. I may in a future letter indicate how, in my judgment, these means should be employed.--Albany Evening Journal.
Southern press on the battle.It would be a very difficult task to review the various accounts current in this city and along the railroad to Manassas, of the great battle which was fought on the 21st inst., in the vicinity of Manassas Junction and Centreville,  and to reduce them to an orderly and consistent shape. Indeed, the rationale of few of the world's memorable battles has been fully comprehended or stated, except after years of calm reflection and diligent investigation by the historian, the statesman, and the strategist. It was sixteen years before the Romans acquired a wholesome knowledge of the strategy of Hannibal. The same period was scarcely adequate to instruct the Generals of Austria, Russia, England, and Prussia in regard to the secret of Napoleon's success. It need not be surprising then if the Confederate victory of the 21st long remain a dark, dreadful mystery to our enemies, and if numbers of our own people shall for some time entertain most fantastic and illogical notions concerning it. To one, however, who has been closely observing military operations on the Potomac for two months past, there is no reason why such a result, though so full of glory and so profoundly gratifying, should appear either surprising or mysterious. I will not here recapitulate details which have been given you by telegraphic correspondents. I possess no facts of importance touching the actual battle beyond those which have been communicated to you through the telegraph. But information from that source is confined almost exclusively to a brief statement of results, leaving the reader to get at causes and consequences as best he may. The preliminaries of the present battle as well as its probable consequences are of the utmost interest, and to them I shall mainly address myself. Two weeks ago it was evident that both Johnston and Patterson were influenced, in their manoeuvres, by considerations connected with the line of Manassas. Johnston desired to occupy Patterson in the Shenandoah valley, and Patterson desired to occupy Johnston in the same region. Each aimed to force the other into a position from which it would be impossible to extricate himself and participate in operations between Washington and Manassas Junction. In this game Patterson was out-generalled. Johnston excelled his antagonist alike in boldness and caution, in vigilance and activity. Keeping his communication with the Manassas line intact, he could not be deceived by Patterson's feint demonstrations, but just so soon as the latter had fallen back toward the Potomac, he set out at once, from Winchester, to join Gen. Beauregard's column near Manassas Junction, marching 18 miles to Strasburg, and proceeding thence, about 50 miles, by railroad. He arrived not an hour too soon, with 20 regiments. His men had one night to rest before waking to meet the bloodiest fury of the battle on the left of Stone Bridge. I will not say that Gen. Johnston's presence was absolutely necessary to turn the scale in our favor. I firmly believe that General Beauregard's force was considerable enough, its disposition skilful enough, its defences strong enough, its men and officers determined enough, to administer a signal repulse to the entire mass of the largest army which General Scott was able to send against him from Washington. But it would have been by a victory bought at a terrible sacrifice of what the South should most assiduously economize, the precious lives of her noble defenders. As it was, one of the most brilliant victories of the age was achieved with a loss of life almost incredible, when the weight of the enemy's column and the length of the battle are considered. The enemy seemed to stake the issue of the day on turning shall our flank on the left. It was then that Johnston, after having baffled Patterson, as Blucher baffled Grouchy, did more than was done by Blucher at Waterloo. The centre led by Davis, the right commanded by Beauregard, did the rest. The enemy was exhausted, appalled, tumultuously routed by the inflexible resistance, the deadly fire, the terrible charges with which their attack was met. And yet but a small portion of our forces at and near Manassas Junction were actually engaged. Perhaps there were at no time as many as twenty thousand of them under fire or in sight of the enemy, while it is possible that double that number of the enemy's total army of about seventy thousand were brought into action. It is rumored, and believed by many persons, that General Patterson and General Scott were on the field of battle. But neither, in my opinion, was present. It would certainly have been very strange in General Patterson to come upon the field without any portion of his command, and there is no reason for believing that any portion of his command was engaged in the battle or near at hand. As for General Scott, though the movement against General Beauregard may have been made according to his order, I doubt whether that order was given in accordance with his deliberate views of policy. Precipitated into the measure, as I believe, by the clamor of the politicians at Washington, and by the blood-thirsty rage of the Black Republican Press, he was quite willing to remain at a distance, and leave the immediate responsibility of failure, if the measure should fail, with his subordinate officers, while ready to appropriate the credit of success to himself if the measure should succeed. It is not easy to believe that General Scott, if left to pursue his own plans, would stake the issue of a campaign on a battle fought under the circumstances of that of the 21st. Two months ago he committed a mistake in halting at Alexandria, after crossing the Potomac, instead of pushing forward briskly toward Richmond. But that mistake sprang from excess of prudence, and it is not reasonable to deduce from such a mistake another arising from the opposite fault of rashness. For rash it certainly was to attack General Beauregard on ground which he himself had selected and elaborately fortified. Political considerations must have prevailed over military considerations when General Scott consented to the attack, without  the support of McClellan from the West and of Patterson from the North. It was a fatal departure from the anaconda policy which he had previously been pursuing. The consequence is the backbone of the serpent is broken. The advance of McClellan's column in Western Virginia is rendered inconsequential, and if it advance far into the mountains its destruction is inevitable; while Butler at Fort Monroe is constrained to moderate his exorbitant military ambition to the humble office of performing garrison duty. Opinions differ here materially as to what will or should be the war policy of the Confederate Government after the Manassas victory. Many think that the victory should be instantly followed up by a dash upon Washington and a rush into Maryland. They say that we have forborne from the aggressive long enough to convince the most stupid and most deluded of the Northern people that we did not aim at conquest; that we had no wish to destroy the National Capital, or to overturn the Government which they were supporting, but that our only desire was to be let alone and to live under a government of our own choice. It is time now, they think, to set about conquering a peace by carrying the war into the enemy's country, since it is evident we cannot secure peace by scrupulously remaining within our own. There are others, however, who argue that it is best to prove at once our forbearance and our invincibility, by pausing after every victory and giving the enemy an opportunity to profit by the “sober second thought.” These last are for letting Washington alone, and advancing no further than the Potomac, from the belief that an attack upon the National Capital and an invasion of territory beyond the limits of the Confederate States would cause the same universal outburst and uprising in the North as was witnessed on the capture of Sumter. Such views are plausible, but they are totally without practical value. The North has explicitly, in word and act, challenged to a fight to the death, and forced us to the deadly issue. It has shown no repentance under frequent failures to overpower us in battle; and much less has it exhibited magnanimity under the encouragement of partial success. We must disable it from harm, or put our power to do so beyond question, before it will be ready either to tender or accept the olive branch. The enemy's people, in my opinion, will be far from satisfied with their trial of strength on the 21st. They will impute the defeat to any thing but intrinsic superiority in our army. They call Scott a dotard, McDowell an incapable, Patterson a coward, and distributing the responsibility for the defeat among the three, confidently predict a different result under the generalship of McClellan. Be it so. Let them bring their highest military genius, their choicest soldierly prowess against us, and we need have no misgivings of the final event. Yesterday thousands of our soldiers were but striplings; on the 21st thousands of them were heroes; and another battle will find thousands of them hardy and invincible veterans. Nor need we fear that our Generals will fail us. Davis, Beauregard, Johnston — it cannot be said of them, to-morrow or the next day, that their spirit has abated and their vision dulled — that they have
hearts worn out with many wars,
And eyes grown dim with gazing on the pilot stars.