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[207]

The country owes you an immense debt of gratitude, and the world has already paid you the tribute of just and unqualified admiration. The more the consequences of the victory at Manassas are understood, the greater and the more glorious will it seem.

The unbecoming pruriency of some, and the voracious appetite of many for even a fleeting notoriety, which have prompted undue and untimely claims to all the honors of the fight, are to be regretted, but do not amount to any serious grievance. After a little time truth will assign each his proper place.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

With great respect,

Your friend and obedient servant,


III. A few words will suffice to explain why our victory was not pushed after the battle of Manassas.

It has already been shown—and a repetition here would be useless—how it happened that the pursuit of the enemy, though ordered and in course of execution, was checked and finally abandoned on the night of the 21st of July; and it has also been shown how ‘an unusually heavy and unintermitting fall of rain,’ the next day, made ‘an efficient pursuit,’ at that time, ‘a military impossibility.’1

The reasons why the pursuit was not taken up later have also been given in detail in Chapter X.

An army deprived of transportation and subsistence is utterly powerless. This is a self-evident proposition, that needs no argument in its support. That our army was in that position, despite the unceasing efforts and remonstrances of General Beauregard, is incontrovertibly true; that there was no necessity for such destitution is clear. At the opening of the war provisions were plentiful all over the land. The rich agricultural districts of Virginia, in close proximity to the army—not to speak of the entire South, so willing to contribute in every way to the success of a cause dear to all hearts—were stocked with food, wagons, and teams. It would have required but the most ordinary administrative capacity, and but a small amount of enterprise, to furnish the army with the ‘twenty days rations’ in advance, so earnestly and repeatedly called for by General Beauregard, and with transportation

1 See Chapter IX. See also the latter part of General Beauregard's report.

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