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