previous next
[137] to the Secretary of War, asking that either he or the President should come to Fairfax Court-House, to confer upon the subject of organization, and upon a plan for an offensive movement, which would then be submitted to him.

General Beauregard had conceived a scheme of operations, as distinguished for its breadth of view, and greatness of proposed result, as that which had been ineffectually urged before the battle of Manassas. It involved the raising of the available forces from forty thousand to sixty thousand, by drawing troops from various parts of the Confederacy; their places, in the meantime, to be filled by State troops, called out for three or six months. This force assembled, a small corps of diversion was to remain in front, while the army should cross the Potomac, under partial cover of night, either at Edwards's Ferry, or, by means of a pontoon train, at a point nearly north of Fairfax Court-House, which General Beauregard was having reconnoitred for that purpose. This army was then to march rapidly upon Washington, and seize the Federal supplies in that city. It seemed almost certain that, even should McClellan reach the threatened point in time—which he might undoubtedly do—he could not withstand our sudden attack and maintain his position. His forces were undisciplined and demoralized, and Washington had not yet been fortified. McClellan's army thus placed at our mercy, and Maryland won, the theatre of war was to be transferred to the Northern States, from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, the entire West being thereby relieved from peril of invasion. As the Federal government had not yet recovered from the effects of defeat, none of the points from which troops were to be drawn for this movement were seriously threatened; some of them were not menaced at all; and this offensive movement would have forced the Federal government to recall its scattered troops for the protection of those points upon which the Confederate army would have been able to march after the fall of Washington. The moral effect of such an exhibition of power on the governments of England and France would have been of incalculable benefit to the Confederacy.

Upon the submission of this plan to Generals Johnston and Smith, the latter at once approved it, and the former, though for some time unwilling, finally yielded his assent.

President Davis arrived at Fairfax Court-House on the 30th of

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Maryland (Maryland, United States) (1)
France (France) (1)
England (United Kingdom) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
McClellan (2)
G. T. Beauregard (2)
Gustavus W. Smith (1)
J. E. Johnston (1)
Jefferson Davis (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: