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Chapter 14:

  • The part taken by General Johnston in the battle of Manassas.
  • -- he assumes no direct responsibility, and, though superior in rank, desires General Beauregard to exercise full command. -- President Davis did not plan the campaign; ordered concentration at the last moment; arrived on the battle-field after the enemy had been routed. -- pursuit ordered and begun, but checked in consequence of false alarm. -- advance on Washington made impossible by want of transportation and subsistence.

Various are the comments and animadversions that have been made upon the conduct of the Manassas campaign, and the Confederate victory resulting from it. The clearest and most satisfactory evidence exists with regard to what then occurred. The public, informed of the truth, would have naturally accepted it; but public opinion has been studiously kept in a state of uncertainty by the propounding of many insidious questions which may not here be passed without being set at rest.

What has been said, and is yet persisted in, by those who, through error or otherwise, have drawn false conclusions from the contradictory accounts of these events, may be classified and condensed under three heads:

1. Was it not General Johnston, the superior in rank of General Beauregard, who planned and fought the battle of Manassas? Did not the latter merely act as one of the former's subordinates, and in obedience to orders received?

2. Was not President Davis the originator of the concentration of our forces at and around Manassas? Was it not his timely presence on the battle-field, and his inspiriting influence over the troops, that secured victory to our arms?

3. Why was not the pursuit of the enemy continued after the battle of Manassas? Admitting the impossibility of doing so on the evening of the 21st of July, why was it not attempted afterwards?

It is due to the distinguished services of General Beauregard, no less than to the truth, that each of the points enumerated above

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G. T. Beauregard (3)
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