velops neither the sense of military honor nor any of that affectionate devotion for the Union which is called by one party in America patriotism. As the General was speaking to me, a volunteer Colonel came up, and said abruptly, “General, my men have had nothing to eat for four days; what is to be done?” “Make an application to the commissariat officer, and represent the circumstances to me. There is no reason whatever why the men should be without food, for there is plenty of it in camp.” “Yes; but the carters won't bring it. They go away and leave us, and, as I tell you, the men have had nothing for four days.” “I tell you, sir, that must be the fault of their officers. Why were not the circumstances reported? Go over to Capt.----, and he will take the necessary steps.” And, after some further expatiation on the hardships of his case, the Colonel, who is as brave as a lion, but who is not very well acquainted with military routine, retired. It need not be said that the men were not actually without food for four days, although the Colonel's statement in reference to the commissariat was true. Reckless as all soldiers are of provisions and food, volunteers are notoriously extraordinarily so. Then, there is probably a want of organization in the commissariat. McDowell's corps were ordered to march with three days food cooked, not including, of course, the day of marching. The food was, however, issued, inclusive of that day, and next day the men had eaten up or wasted the two days rations in one, and had nothing. They were badly provided with food and with water on the very day of the action, and some men told me that evening they had eaten nothing since 2 1/2 A. M. Indeed, the General witnessed the disorder which was caused by the regiments rushing out of the ranks to drink at a small stream before they went into action, though their canteens were filled before they set out. Mr. Wadsworth, a gentleman of New York of large fortune, who, with the rank of Major, is acting as aide-decamp to the General, had just come in from Centreville from the Confederates, to whom he had gone yesterday with a flag of truce, relative to the dead and wounded. They would not permit him to enter their lines, but otherwise received him courteously, and forwarded his despatches. This morning he was told that an answer would be sent in due time to his despatches, and he was ordered to return to his quarters. While I was at Arlington, despatches and messengers were continually arriving. One was from Headquarters, appointing Major Barry to command the artillery. Another stated that the enemy had advanced to Fairfax Court House. Presently in came two young men, who said they had been prevented going to that place by the approach of the Confederates, and that they had heard the sound of guns as they turned back. The balloon was up in the air reconnoitring, or, as I suspect, struggling with the wind, which was drifting it steadily toward the Confederates. No one seemed to know, however, what Beauregard and Lee are doing, but it is affirmed that Johnston has gone off with a corps towards Western Virginia once more, and that an insurrection in Baltimore and Maryland is only prevented by the reenforcements which are pouring in to Gen. Banks, and by the anticipations of speedy aid from the Confederates. Mr. Bernal, the British consul, came over to-day to consult with Lord Lyons on certain matters connected with our interests in the city of Baltimore. As the truth is developed the secessionists in Washington become radiant with joy, and cannot conceal their exultation wherever it is safe to indulge it. Their ears are erect for the sound of the cannon which is to herald the entrance of the enemy into the capital of the United States. The Unionists, on the other hand, speak of the past hopes of the enemy, of the great reenforcements arriving, of the renewed efforts of the North, and of its determination to put down rebellion. There must be an infatuation which amounts to a kind of national insanity in a portion of the North, or is it possible that they believe what the journals tell them — that they are the strongest, bravest, richest, mightiest people in the world, and that they have only to will it, and the world — including the Confederate States--is prostrate before them? The exaggerations and misstatements of part of the American press would certainly lead those who believed it to such conclusions. Let us take a few phrases from the papers in reference to the action at Manassas. One New York journal on Monday announced positively “the national troops undisputed victors.” “Bull Run lost, they must want water.” “The enthusiasm which carried certain regiments” whose “brave and brilliant exploits” were “preeminent,” “into the face of the intrenched foe was startling in its effect.” “The nation has triumphed! Praise be to God! Live the Republic!” It does “not infer the Southern men are cowards,” but that “all the forgery, perjury, and telegraphic lying have not weaned a very large proportion of them from their old love of the Union.” “Splendid Union victory!” “Terrible slaughter!” “Twelve hours terrific fighting!” “Their last hope gone!” “Heroism of the Union forces!” “They know no such word as ‘fear!’ ” “Hot chase of the rebels!” At 5.30, when the Federalists were in retreat, “an officer telegraphs the enemy totally routed.” There is, of course, plenty of “flanking” and “masked batteries;” and, as a proof of hard work on the part of the pioneers, it is remarked--“An observer judged it would ordinarily take three months to do what these lumbermen did in half a day!” “Guns were discharged as rapid as two in a minute.” “We have successfully outflanked the enemy.” A “brigadier quartermaster” was taken. In several places it is stated that the men asserted “their officers were cowards.” In another journal of New York there are accounts of the
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Battle of Bull Run .
Doc . 4 .- N. Y. Tribune narrative.
Doc . 59 : a Virginian who is not a traitor: response of Lieut. Mayo , U. S. N. , to the proclamation of Gov. Letcher .
Doc . 65 -speech of Galusha A. Grow , on taking the Chair of the House of Representatives of the United States , July 4 .
Doc . 135 .- Virginia ordinance, prohibiting citizens of Virginia from holding office under the United States , passed July , 1861 .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.