The truth is, that the plan presented in General Beauregard
's name to President Davis
had all the definiteness and detail that any written proposition of the same import and moment could have had. This is established by Colonel Chestnut
's official report, already referred to, which we urge the reader to examine again with particular attention.
It was presented by an interpreter thoroughly possessed of his subject, speaking, not from memory alone, but from carefully prepared notes, taken under the dictation of General Beauregard
It is, therefore, superfluous to deal further with Mr. Davis
's futile attempt to prove that a ‘written communication’ was necessary for ‘the proper investigation’ of a vital plan of campaign, upon the merits of which— say what he may—he had, nevertheless, deliberated, and which he had finally condemned.
The criticism of Mr. Davis
, based on the estimated numbers, whether of General Johnston
or of General Patterson
, is utterly without point, in presence of the fact that the former had no difficulty whatever in bringing away his forces, when he essayed to do so. Nor did the latter ‘take possession of the valley of Virginia
on the withdrawal’ of his opponent; nor did he even threaten to make any demonstration of the kind.
On the other hand, Colonel Chestnut
's report shows that General Beauregard
had estimated General Johnston
's forces at twenty thousand men, and not at twenty-five thousand, as Mr. Davis
has it. As to General Patterson
, his army, at the time we speak of—that is to say, between the 14th and 21st of July—never amounted even to twenty thousand men, though it was rumored, as early as the 13th, that it numbered upwards of thirty-two thousand. General Johnston
refers to that rumor in his report of the battle of Manassas
, but, in his book, reduces the number ‘to about twenty thousand, instead of thirty-two thousand, the estimate of the people of Martinsburg
, at the time.’1
And General Patterson
, who must be supposed to have known something about it, in a letter from Harper's Ferry
, dated July 24th, says: ‘My force is less than twenty thousand; nineteen regiments, whose term of service was up, or will be within a week. . . . Five regiments have gone home.
Two more go to day, and three to-morrow.
To avoid being cut off with the remainder, I fell back, and occupied this place.’