previous next

[449] and the defence of their homes and families from an offensive invader, and then march to the investment of Washington in the rear, while I resumed the offensive in front.

This plan of operations, you are aware, was not accepted at the time, from considerations which appeared so weighty as to more than counterbalance its proposed advantages.

Informed of these views, and of the decision of the War Department, I then made my preparations for the stoutest practicable defence of the line of Bull Run, the enemy having now developed his purposes by the advance on, and occupation of, Fairfax Court-House, from which my advanced brigade had been withdrawn.1

The War Department having been informed by me, by telegraph, on the 17th July, of the movement of General McDowell, General Johnston was immediately ordered to form a junction of his army corps with mine, should the movement, in his judgment, be deemed advisable. General Holmes was also directed to push forward with two regiments, a battery, and one company of cavalry.

In view of these propitious approaching reinforcements, modifying my plan of operations so far as to determine on attacking the enemy at Centreville, as soon as I should hear of the near approach of the two reinforcing columns, I sent one of my aids, Colonel Chisolm, of South Carolina, to meet and communicate my plans to General Johnston, and my wish that one portion of his forces should march by the way of Aldie and take the enemy on his right flank, and in reverse at Centreville. Difficulties, however, of an insuperable character, in connection with means of transportation and the marching condition of his troops, made this impracticable; and it was determined our forces should be united within the lines of Bull Run, and thence advance to the attack of the enemy.

General Johnston arrived here about noon on the 20th of July, and being my senior in rank, he necessarily assumed command of all the forces of the Confederate States then concentrating at this point. Made acquainted with my plan of operation and disposition to meet the enemy, he gave them his entire approval, and generously directed their execution under my command.2

In consequence of the untoward detention, however, of some five thousand of General Johnston's army corps, resulting from the inadequate and imperfect means of transportation for so many troops, at the disposition of the Manassas Gap Railroad, it became necessary, on the morning of the 21st, before daylight, to modify the plan accepted, to suit the contingency of an immediate attack on our lines by the main force of the enemy, then plainly at hand.

The enemy's forces, reported by their best-informed journals to be fifty-five thousand strong, I had learned from reliable sources, on the night of the 20th, were being concentrated in and around Centreville, and along the Warrenton turnpike road to Bull Run, near which our respective pickets were in immediate proximity. This fact, with the conviction that, after his signal discomfiture


1 See papers herewith marked ‘A’ and ‘B.’

2 See papers herewith marked ‘C’ and ‘D.’

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 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.
Joseph E. Johnston (4)
McDowell (1)
T. H. Holmes (1)
A. R. Chisolm (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 20th (1)
July 17th (1)
21st (1)
20th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: