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[119] verified, that no fortifications existed then at or around Washington; none, at any rate, that could have seriously obstructed the march of our army; second, to General Beauregard's letter to Colonels Chestnut and Miles, bearing date July 29th, 1861, and to his answer to President Davis (August 10th of the same year), wherein is considered this very question of an advance upon Washington, and its feasibility, as late as the 24th of July. These letters appear in full further on in the present chapter. The fact is, that General Beauregard's whole correspondence, official and private, touching these events, confirms, in every respect, what is stated in the two letters above mentioned.

Our object is not, at present, to dwell upon the causes—whatever they may have been—of our failure to reap the fruits of that first great victory of the war. We wish merely to state that General Beauregard exonerates Mr. Davis from all responsibility for the failure to pursue the enemy on the night of the 21st of July. Mr. Davis did not object to such a pursuit; on the contrary, he desired it. But it was declared inexpedient, and, after discussion, Mr. Davis himself acknowledged it to be so. This, however, does not relieve him from the responsibility of preventing, a few days or weeks later, the advance of our army, in an aggressive campaign against Washington.

On the morning after the battle an order was issued by General Beauregard, recalling his troops to their organization, and assigning them new positions, with the advance—Bonham's brigade— at Centreville. Holmes's brigade, by direction of President Davis, was ordered back to ‘its former position.’1

At the breakfast-table, on the same morning, the President handed General Beauregard the following graceful letter:

Manassas, Va., July 21st, 1861.
Sir,—Appreciating your services in the battle of Manassas and on several other occasions during the existing war, as affording the highest evidence of your skill as a commander, your gallantry as a soldier, and your zeal as a patriot, you are appointed to be “General” in the army of the Confederate States of America, and, with the consent of the Congress, will be duly commissioned accordingly.

Yours, etc.,


On the 23d, Hunton's 8th Virginia, with three companies of

1 See Appendix to this chapter.

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