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[260] not grow fast enough to place it on an equality with the army in its front, and therefore General Beauregard suggested the expediency of uniting the forces of Johnston and Holmes with his own for a sudden attack upon the Federal armies in succession. This proposal Beauregard submitted through one of his staff to Mr. Davis on the night of July 14. Generals Cooper and Lee were called in conference by Mr. Davis. The plan required that General Johnston, who was seventy-five miles away, should leave 5,000 men to hold Patterson in check, and rapidly join Beauregard with 20,000. This would double the Confederate force at Manassas and make it superior to McDowell, who was to be attacked and beaten. Then Johnston was to return with his own and 10,000 of Beauregard's men and overwhelm Patterson. Beauregard thought a week would suffice for this, after which Johnston was to reinforce Garnett in West Virginia and destroy McClellan. Then Johnston's and Garnett's forces were to cross the Potomac and attack Washington in rear, while Beauregard assailed it in front. This scheme was rejected as impracticable by all present at the conference, because: 1, Johnston had hardly 10,000 men, instead of 25,000, which Beauregard's plan assumed; 2. McDowell's army was too close to Washington to permit of its being crushed in the way indicated. If pressed, it could readily fall back to that city and its reserves. Another reason General Beauregard might himself have added: neither of the Confederate armies was supplied with transportation or stores sufficient for the complicated movements mapped out.

On July 17, the third day after this conference, McDowell advanced, and Beauregard telegraphed the fact and asked for reinforcements. Johnston was then ordered to join him if practicable with his effective force, and Holmes was also sent up. Next day occurred Tyler's attempt at Mitchell's Ford, ending in a Federal repulse. Beauregard's report apparently caused the Confederate authorities to think that McDowell had been severely checked, for next day (19th) Beauregard was telegraphed as follows: ‘We have no intelligence from General Johnston. If the enemy in front of you has abandoned an immediate attack, and General Johnston has not moved, you had better withdraw the call upon him, so that he may be left to his full discretion.’ * * * Beauregard, seeing that the Federal army in front was only perfecting its plans for attack, of course did not stop Johnston, who reached Manassas on the 20th, followed by his troops during that night and the next day. As Johnston had merely eluded Patterson, who must soon learn of his movement,

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