After the Bull Run battle.
The growing Southern dissatisfaction because the loudly heralded victory of Bull Run
did not at once end the war was vigorously used in the fall of 1861 to foment opposition to the administration.
It was generally believed that the President
had prevented the pursuit of the Federals
on that ill-fated day, and in consequence the victory was barren of results.
encouraged this view.
The rumors of his responsibility caused Davis
in a letter, dated November 21, 1861, to ask Johnston
to squarely state if he (Davis
) obstructed pursuit, and it is noteworthy that Johnston
answered in the negative.
, who was present on the field, asserts that at a conference on the night of the 21st he favored energetic pursuit, and dictated an order for such to General Thomas Jordan
's chief of staff, which was not obeyed.
substantially corroborates this, but Johnston
in his ‘Narrative
’ and Beauregard
in the ‘Military Operations
’ both emphatically contradict the President
On the 22d, twenty-four hours after the battle, there was a second conference at Manassas
between the President
and his two generals, and all were satisfied with the result of the day's operations.
So, if it was a mistake not to press on to Washington
, it plainly appears neither of the three realized it at the time.
But public opinion viewed it differently, and explanations were soon necessary on the part of those in authority.
In his ‘Narrative
says he was condemned by the President
and public opinion for not capturing the Federal Capital
, but in extenuation of his failure urges the lack of present force and previous preparation for such movement.
Both the generals place the responsibility for failure on the President
's shoulders because he did not put the army in condition to advance effectively.
says he returned to Richmond
and began to reinforce the army as rapidly as possible.
In his ‘Rise and Fall
’ he holds the two generals wholly accountable for the failure to achieve valuable results after Bull Run
In this opinion (of Johnston
, at least) he is seconded by General Early
, who took part in the battle.
These are the substance of their various statements on this subject, at the time and since the war. A curious commentary on all this is that while the victorious generals claimed large captures of