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Winchester, Va., July 17th, 1861.
General Beauregard, Manassas:

Is the enemy upon you in force?

He was gathering all such information as might guide him in determining his course. He was carefully weighing the advisability of moving just then, or not, as best suited the emergency and the interests of his command. But, whatever may have prompted his final action, he was in nowise obeying a peremptory order. ‘In the exercise of the discretion conferred by the terms of the order’—says General Johnston, in his report of the battle of Manassas—‘I at once determined to march to join General Beauregard.’ He determined. But, for having construed the Richmond order to him as a contingent one, General Johnston, no less than General Beauregard, incurred the displeasure of the Presiident.1 In a foot-note in Johnston's ‘Narrative,’ p. 34, we read as follows: ‘. . . In an endorsement on it (the report) by Mr. Davis, I am accused of reporting his telegram to me inaccurately. I did not profess to quote his words, but to give their meaning, which was done correctly.’ Mr. Davis's remarks, in his book, on this point, are valueless. How can he tell what construction General Johnston put upon the telegram he received? How can he deny that General Johnston considered the question of making a junction as left to his discretion? Further comments are unnecessary. We quote again from the executive endorsement upon General Beauregard's report:

The plan of campaign reported to have been submitted, but not accepted, and to have led to a decision of the War Department, cannot be found among its files, nor any reference to any decision made upon it; and it was not known that the army had advanced beyond the line of Bull Run, the position previously selected by General Lee, and which was supposed to have continued to be the defensive line occupied by the main body of our forces. Inquiry has developed the fact that a message, to be verbally delivered, was sent by Hon. Mr. Chestnut. If the conjectures recited in the report were entertained, they rested on the accomplishment of one great condition, namely, that a junction of the forces of Generals Johnston and Holmes should be made with the army of General Beauregard, and should gain a victory. The junction was made, the victory was won, but the consequences that were predicted did not

1 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. p. 366.

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J. E. Johnston (6)
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