alone, for he admits the knowledge General Beauregard
had of our own and of the enemy's positions.
All our forces already on the field are being concentrated, as rapidly as possible, on the ground where the enemy compels us to give him battle.
The weight against us is terrible.
Our troops display the greatest gallantry, but are about to give way. Generals Johnston
are among them.
They rally on their colors.
The battle is re-established.
And now, at this critical moment of the day, ‘the aspect of affairs being not encouraging,’ as General Johnston
says, a circumstance occurred, which, better than any other, will serve to define the real position of the two generals, and finally determine to which of them unmistakably belong the success and glory of the battle of Manassas
We quote from the ‘Narrative of Military Operations,’ p. 48: ‘After assigning General Beauregard
to the command of the troops immediately engaged, which he properly suggested belonged to the second in rank, not to the commander of the army, I returned to the whole field.’
The language of the report is as follows: ‘Then, in a brief and rapid conference, General Beauregard
was assigned to the command of the left, which, as the younger officer, he claimed, while I returned to that of the whole field.’
The question naturally occurring to the reader's mind is, where, at that momentous juncture, was ‘the whole field?’
We must not forget what General Johnston
tells us, to wit, that the ‘field’ is a new one; that the battle is being fought according to nobody's plan; that all our forces are either now engaged on, or being sent to, the ground where the enemy forced us to fight him, and where ‘the aspect of affairs is not encouraging.’
To what ‘whole field’ is General Johnston
, the ‘commander of the army,’ now about to ‘return?’
The word ‘return’ implies the act of going back to a place—in this instance to a ‘field’—where one had been before.
Where was the ‘whole field,’ before Where was it at this time?
The evidence General Johnston
furnishes shuts out all other conclusion than this, that by ‘returning’ to what he terms ‘the whole field,’ he was actually leaving the immediate field of battle.
For here, on the ground where General Beauregard
is now fighting, where all our forces—except reinforcements not yet arrived—are being massed, is unquestionably the ‘field.’