an adviser to President Davis
While others were winning laurels at First Manassas
) he was trying to direct from a distance the Confederate
attempts to hold what is now West Virginia
, and in August he took personal charge of the difficult campaign.
There is no denying the fact that he was not successful.
His subordinates were not in accord, his men were ill supplied, the season was inclement, and the country was unfavorable to military operations.
Perhaps a less kindly commander might have accomplished something; it is more certain that Lee
did not deserve the harsh criticism to which for the moment he was subjected.
He was next assigned to command the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida
, and he showed remarkable skill in laying down plans of coast defenses which long held the Union fleet at bay. In March, 1862, he was recalled to Richmond
to direct the military operations of the Confederacy
under President Davis
, who was not a merely nominal commander-in-chief.
's self-control and balance of character enabled him to fill the post without friction, and for a time he was permitted to be with his wife and children, who were exiles from the confiscated estate of Arlington
He prepared men and supplies to oppose McClellan
's advance toward Richmond
, and successfully resisted ‘Joe’ Johnston
's plan to withdraw troops from the South
and risk all on a pitched battle with McClellan
near the capital.
When, later, Johnston
was wounded at Seven Pines
, the command of the Confederate army on the Chickahominy
devolved upon Lee
(June, 1862) and he was at last in a position to make a full display of his genius as a strategist and an offensive fighter.
He at once decided, against the opinions of most of his officers, not to fall back nearer Richmond
, and, after sending J. E. B. Stuart
on a scouting circuit of the Union
army, he prepared for the offensive.
The attack made on June 26th failed because ‘Stonewall
's fatigued soldiers, who