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‘  plan of operations, who commanded at that locality, was based, as were all his military plans, on the leading ideas of concentration and aggression.’ That plan was, that General J. E. Johnston, at Harper's Ferry, who was confronting General Patterson, and that General Holmes, who was confronting nobody, should join their forces to his own at Manassas, thus making an effective force of 40,000 men. ‘This force,’ wrote General Beauregard to Johnston, ‘would enable us to destroy the forces of General Scott and McDowell in my front’ (which, however, would have been much superior in numbers and equipment to the attacking party). ‘Then we could go back with as many men as necessary to attack and disperse General Patterson's army before he could know positively what had become of you’ (Patterson was at Harper's Ferry). ‘We would then proceed to General McClellan's theatre of war, and treat him likewise, after which we would pass over into Maryland, to operate in rear of Washington. I think this whole campaign could be completed brilliantly in from fifteen to twenty days.’ Holmes assented readily; Johnston stated objections. At Richmond, a sort of council of war, composed of the President and of Generals Lee and Cooper, examined the scheme with much consideration and earnestness, and rejected it, although it was pronounced to be ‘brilliant and exhaustive.’ This was done on the ground of reasons which were thought sufficient at the time, and which are mentioned in Colonel Roman's book. Mr. Davis' particular and personal objection was in these words: ‘The plan is based on the improbable and inadmissible supposition that the enemy was to await everywhere, isolated and motionless, until our forces could effect junctions to attack them in detail.’ At last Johnston was permitted by the Government to join Beauregard, ‘if practicable,’ at the moment when a battle was imminent at Manassas. He arrived at noon on the 20th of July, and a hard fought battle began on the next day, early in the morning—30,000 Confederates against 50,000 Federals. McDowell, at 4 P. M., was defeated, but he had very near been successful. He had put us under the necessity of changing twice our plan of battle; we fought on no anticipated plan at all of our own, and on the field which we had been forced to accept. There was a ‘critical moment’ when disaster stared us in the face. Our men seemed to have accomplished all that could be done against such overwhelming powers, but depression, added to exhaustion, was about to overthrow their overtaxed endurance. A splendid victory, however, was achieved, but it was comparatively
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