and this, we submit, should surprise no one; but what can be the meaning and intent of the words ‘perhaps fortunately,’ as applied to the change General Johnston
If the plan was unwise, why had he approved it?
If it was judicious—as he must have thought it—why does he afterwards cast a shadow of censure over it?
It may have been because, having declined to assume command, he was unwilling to appear to oppose General Beauregard
Then, why should he lead the readers of his report and of his book to the erroneous belief that his was the controlling spirit directing each and every incident of the battle?
We can imagine only one set of conditions under which the frustration of the modified plan might have been a fortunate occurrence, and that is, that General Johnston
, who was ignorant, as he admits, of the surrounding country, and had but superficially examined that plan, should himself have undertaken to carry it into operation.
Such could not have been the case with General Beauregard
, who knew every inch of ground covered by our united forces, and certainly understood what he had himself conceived.
In truth, though it seems idle to speculate upon the possible results of events that never occurred, General Beauregard
thinks—and so do many officers of merit, well acquainted with the matter—that, if the plan alluded to by General Johnston
had been executed in time, the rout of the enemy would have occurred early in the day, instead of late in the afternoon, and the whole of General McDowell
's army— not a small portion of it only—would have been captured or annihilated.
The use of the phrase ‘perhaps fortunately’ is, therefore, logically and truthfully speaking, without any justification whatever.
Towards the end of his report, alluding to the fact of his orders having failed to reach the brigade commanders to whom they were forwarded, General Beauregard
says: ‘In connection with the miscarriage of the orders sent by courier to Generals Holmes
, to attack the enemy in flank and reverse at Centreville
, through which the triumph of our arms was prevented from being still more decisive, I regard it in place to say,’ etc. And he here recommends a ‘divisional organization,’ which, he thinks, ‘would greatly reduce the risk of such mis. haps’ in the future.
All things considered, we feel justified in saying that the phrase ‘perhaps fortunately,’ though necessarily void of any effect, would mean more if applied to what might have happened to