previous next

[261] both Confederate Generals felt that no time was to be lost in fighting McDowell. Johnston was senior, and in command, but, having no time to learn the country or disposition of the troops, adopted Beauregard's plan of attacking McDowell at Centreville next day (21st). The aggressive movements of the Federals early on the 21st prevented the execution of this plan. Beauregard then proposed to check McDowell's movement against the left by attacking with the Confederate right. This, too, was approved and adopted, but the orders sent by General Beauregard failed to reach the Confederate right in time. Meantime McDowell had turned the Confederate left and was pressing back with overwhelming force the troops there stationed. All plans of aggression were now abandoned in order to resist McDowell's attack, and a battle, unforeseen in character, location and disposition of troops, ensued. Both Generals hastened to the point of danger and exerted themselves successfully to stay the progress of the Federals. Johnston then left Beauregard in command of the troops engaged, and, taking a position with reference to the whole field, devoted himself to hastening forward reinforcements. These came up so promptly that Beauregard, taking advantage of the check which Jackson's stubborn stand had wrought, was soon able to resume the offensive, and within a short time the Federals were not only defeated but routed and driven with fearful panic across Bull Run.

Mr. Davis reached the field after the battle was over, and that night, when the panic of the Federal army had become partially known, was anxious for an immediate advance toward Washington. Both Generals thought this inadvisable, so great was the exhaustion and confusion in the Confederate ranks produced by the battle, and so inadequate the stock of supplies and transportation then available. On the night of the 22d, at another conference, the Generals declared it was impracticable to cross the Potomac or to advance at once on Washington in the wake of the defeated army. Mr. Davis seems to have been satisfied with the propriety of this judgment, and the idea was abandoned.

Such are the facts. Let us see what Colonel Roman makes of them. On the rather slim basis of the reduction of Fort Sumter, General Beauregard's skill and reputation are spoken of in the most extravagant terms. He then describes the proposal of July 14 as a stroke of genius, and says: ‘A high tribunal, composed of the President, Generals Cooper and Lee, took upon itself to check and render barren the strategic powers so greatly developed in General Beauregard, ’

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Jackson (Mississippi, United States) (1)
Centreville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Bull Run, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)
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.
G. T. Beauregard (7)
McDowell (5)
J. E. Johnston (2)
Jefferson Davis (2)
Alfred Roman (1)
Robert E. Lee (1)
John A. Cooper (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 14th (1)
22nd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: