It was out of General Beauregard's power to know what was technically ‘on file in the War Department,’ at the time Mr. Davis wrote his endorsement; but he does know that the President had been fully advised in writing, directly and through the War Department, of certain needs with regard to subsistence and transportation; needs which, left unsupplied, as they were, made it impossible for that army, immediately upon the defeat of McDowell, to undertake the only practicable offensive movement, to wit, the passage of the Potomac, at or about Edwards's Ferry, into Maryland, and a march thence upon the rear of Washington. If Mr. Davis had allowed General Beauregard to carry out his proposed plan of operations against McDowell and Patterson, we should have captured from the enemy all the requisite supplies that the President and the chiefs of the Commissary and Quartermaster Departments had so signally failed to procure. This chapter and several preceding ones of this work are replete with proof of remonstrances ignored, of demands unheeded, of requisitions disregarded, by Mr. Davis and the War Department, from the early part of June up to, and long after, the battle of Manassas. The foregoing commentaries upon this ‘executive endorsement’ may, at first sight, appear harsh, and, to a degree, unmerited. But a critical examination will show their entire justice. Far easier and less painful would it be, when chronicling our defeat, to place the blame upon circumstances and not upon persons. Unhappily for Mr. Davis, his conspicuous position as President, and the fact that his friends attempt to make of him the sacred central figure of the late Southern Confederacy, to whom no reproach should ever be affixed, compel all conscientious writers, while passing upon his eventful career, to a clear and exhaustive exposition of the truth. Such has been our object in discussing the different parts of his criticism of General Beauregard's report of the battle of Manassas. We hold that even Mr. Davis cannot be allowed to controvert the historical events of that period; that he is bound by them; that he must accept the logical conclusions, whether for praise or for censure, of his own acts; and as his words—written or spoken—have more weight in the minds of many persons than the assertions of other men, he should be held to a strict responsibility,
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