would have been useless, as they could not have sustained the arduous campaign sought to be inaugurated, which required previous military training and discipline.
But Mr. Davis
turned a deaf ear to the suggestions made to him. He would not receive the advice of the generals in the field.
He failed to seize the great opportunity offered him, and, as usual, took upon himself to decide the fortunes of the Confederacy
No troops, he declared, could be taken from the points named—though none of then were threatened at the time—and no reinforcements, of the character asked for, could, therefore, be furnished to the army.
He did propose twenty-five hundred recruits for that number of small arms which we had in store; but no further mention was made of recruits, either before, during, or after the conference.
What was said of arms, of the expectations of the government about them, and even of Mr. Davis
's disappointment at finding the strength of the army ‘but little increased,’ are side issues, which should not divert our attention from the true object of the conference and the main question submitted to the President
, namely: An aggressive campaign into the energy's country, conditioned upon reinforcements to be procured from divers points of the Confederacy
, then and there specially designated.
charges Generals Johnston
, and Smith
with assuming to know more about the positions of our troops at different stations of the country than the War Department itself, whose duty it was to receive all the army returns, and by which questions involving the position and withdrawal of troops, in the field or elsewhere, ‘could best be decided.’
If the War Department, or ‘Richmond
,’ as Mr. Davis
has it, knew so much about army matters, how is it that the President
, or head of the War Department, expressed so much wonder at the relative smallness of our force at Fairfax Court-House?
The ‘returns’ forwarded to Richmond
must certainly have shown him the fact, and the cause of it. If the Commander-in-Chief
of the army and navy knew so little about the number and condition of forces then in such close proximity to Richmond
, is it not reasonable to suppose that his knowledge of troops stationed at distant points, and in other States, was still more scanty and imperfect?
Knowing the purely patriotic motives actuating Generals Johnston
, and Smith
, when they suggested the means by