previous next
[198] General Johnston 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 and Beauregard 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.’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
J. E. Johnston (6)
G. T. Beauregard (5)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: