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[151] performance so short of the magnificent conception? The answer was in two little circumstances. The guide who thought he knew the paths by which to lead General Taylor to the enemy's rear (a professional officer of the engineers) did not know; he became confused in the labyrinth; he led out the head of the column unexpectedly in front of instead of beyond their left, and General Taylor concluded he had no choice but to hold his ground and precipitate the attack. That was blunder first; a little one seemingly, but pregnant with disappointment. And here let me remark upon a mischievous specimen of red-tapeism, which I saw often practiced to our detriment, even sometimes by Jackson, who was least bound by professional trammels. It was the employing of engineer officers, with their pocket compasses and pretty, red and blue crayon, hypothetical maps, as country guides; instead of the men of the vicinage with focal knowledge. Far better would it have been for Jackson had he now inquired among Ashby's troopers for the boy who had hunted foxes and rabbits through the coppices around Lewiston. Him should he have set to guide Taylor's brigade to the enemy's rear, with a Captain's commission before him if he guided it to victory, and a pistol's muzzle behind his left ear in case he played false.

The other blunder was, in appearance, even more trivial: The footbridge, constructed by moonlight, and designed to pass four men abreast, proved at one point so unsteady that only a single plank of it could be safely used. Thus, what was designed to be a massive column was reduced from that point onward to a straggling ‘Indian file.’ Instead of passing over the infantry in the early morning, we were still urging them forward when the appointed ten o'clock had come and gone, and the first attack on Shields, made with forces wholly inadequate, had met with a bloody repulse. Jackson, burning with eagerness had flown to the front as soon as the Stonewall brigade was passed over, leaving to me a strict injunction to remain at the bridge and expedite the crossing of the other troops. First the returning trains, mingled in almost inextricable confusion with the marching column, was to be disentangled, amidst much wronghead-edness of little Q. M's, swollen with a mite of brief authority. This effectually done; the defect of the bridge disclosed itself. Can it not be speedily remedied? No; not without a total arrest of the living stream, which none dared to order. Then began I to suggest, to advise, to urge, that the bridge be disused wholly and that the men take to the water en masse (kindly June water). For although it was Jackson's wont to enlighten none as to his plans; yet even my inexperienced

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