when the struggle had just closed, and had, doubtless, hurried out to take part in it. The crowd of fugitives he had seen from his railway car, before reaching the station, had so strongly impressed upon his mind the idea that we were defeated, that it was not immediately removed by the appearance of the field.
I judged so, at least, from his first words, while we were shaking hands: “How has the battle gone?”
's ‘Life of Jefferson Davis
’ it is asserted (p. 305) that the President
reached ‘the battle-field while the struggle was still in progress;’ that ‘to the troops his name and bearing were the symbols of victory;’ that ‘while the victory was assured, but by no means complete, he urged that the enemy, still on the field (Heintzelman
's troops, as subsequently appeared), be warmly pursued, as was successfully done’ (p. 313).
‘These are fancies,’ says General Johnston
. ‘He arrived upon the field after the last-armed enemy had left it, when none were within cannon-shot, or south of Bull Run
, when the victory was “complete” as well as assured, and no opportunity left for the influence of his name and bearing.’
, in his report, also alludes to the arrival of Mr. Davis
on the battle-field of Manassas
, just after the enemy had ‘given way and fled, in wild disorder, in every direction—a scene the President
of the Confederacy
had the high satisfaction of witnessing, as he arrived upon the field at that exultant moment.’
True, President Davis
, on his return to Richmond
, was serenaded in honor of the great Confederate victory, and was even extolled as ‘the hero’ of that memorable day. But nowhere has it appeared, so far, that he ever laid claim to this honor, though he is said never to have had sufficient moral courage openly to refuse it. Be this as it may, neither the efforts of his friends, nor the insinuations in his published work, will succeed in altering the facts of the case.
History, in its wonted impartiality, will never accord him the honors of the plan of campaign, or of the concentration of the troops, or of the victory won on the hardfought field of Manassas
On those points the true verdict of the country has already been rendered.
In a letter to General Beauregard
, dated Richmond
, August 25th, 1861, Colonel Chestnut
, of South Carolina
, so aptly and forcibly expresses this opinion, that we feel impelled to transcribe his words.