only at the very last hour, sorely against his wishes, and only when he was forced to realize that an overpowering foe threatened us with annihilation.
All this is written after a careful perusal of Mr. Davis
Nowhere in it does he assert, in so many words, that it was he, and not General Beauregard
, who first thought of and first suggested the junction of our armies at Manassas
; but, by using such expressions as, ‘the great question of uniting the two armies had been decided at Richmond
,’ he creates a false impression on the reader's mind.
That it was Mr. Davis
who finally signed the contingent order for the junction, and, to that extent, decided the question of uniting the two armies, is not contended.
He was the Commander-in-Chief
of the army and navy, and, as such, it was necessary that his consent should be obtained before a military movement of so great importance could be carried out. It is clear that General Beauregard
had no right to order General Johnston
to make a junction with him. But that the suggestion came from General Beauregard
, and that Mr. Davis
, at the last hour only, issued the necessary order, is none the less an undeniable fact.
And now, that many idle rumors of the first period of the war have died out, and plain historical facts have rightfully taken their place, is it possible that even the nearest of President Davis
's friends can still seriously claim that the victory of Manassas
was, in any way, due to his presence upon the battle-field?
So contrary to truth is any assertion of the kind, so plainly obvious is the fact that President Davis
saw nothing of the battle, and, therefore, took no part whatever in it, that we are at a loss for means of meeting the efforts of some of his admirers, who wish to give him the meed of praise exclusively belonging to another.
That President Davis
came to Manassas
on the 21st of July, with the probable intention of taking an active part in the battle, should circumstances justify his doing so, none who know anything of the events of that memorable epoch are disposed to doubt or gainsay.
But that, if such were his intention, he was disappointed, is no less historically true.
's ‘Narrative of Military Operations,’ p. 53, we read as follows: ‘Some half-hour after the termination of the battle, the President
rode upon the field, conducted from Manassas Station by Lieutenant-Colonel Jordan
He had arrived there from Richmond