The movement of General Johnston
from Harper's Ferry
was dictated, not only by the circumstances within his own field of operations, but by his relations to the Confederate
commanders on his right and left.
In the northwest was General Garnett
, who, with five thousand men, confronted a Federal army of four times that number, commanded by Generals McClellan
Had this army been overpowered, as it was during the month of July, while General Johnston
was at Harper's Ferry
, the victorious forces of McClellan
would have been in a condition to threaten his rear at Winchester
East of the Blue Ridge
, General Beauregard
was organizing an army at Manassa's Junction, to cover that approach to the capital of the confederacy, and was confronted by the strongest of all the Federal
armies, under General McDowell
The fearful preponderance against Beauregard
could at any time have been increased, by suddenly withdrawing General Patterson
's army from the Upper Potomac
, for which the vast resources of the Baltimore Railroad offered ready means; while, from Harper's Ferry
to Manassa's Junction, General Johnston
must have travelled a more circuitous line; but, by placing his Headquarters at-Winchester, he tempted General Patterson
The advantages for concentration were now all reversed.
possessed the interior lino, and
was able to move by the shorter route to the support of General Beauregard
The traveller who left the town of Alexandria
, upon the Potomac
, to go southwestward into the interior of Virginia
, at the distance of twenty-five miles, found the Manassas Gap Railroad dividing itself on the right hand from the main stem, and turning westward towards the peaks of the Blue Ridge
, which are visible in the horizon.
This road sought a passage through those mountains at Manassa's Gap, a depression which received its name from an obscure Jew merchant named Manassa
, who, years ago, had fixed his home in the gorge of the ravine.
From this the railroad was called the Manassa's Gap Road
, and the junction with the Alexandria Railroad the Manassa's Junction
Thus the name of an insignificant Israelite has associated itself with a spot, which will never cease to be remembered, while liberty and heroism have votaries in the world.
This Junction was manifestly the strategic point for the defence of Northeastern Virginia
It was at a convenient distance from the Potomac
, to observe the course of that river; for the Confederate
generals were too much masters of the art of war, to adopt the stupid policy of attempting to hold all the banks of a long stream, on the stationary defensive, against a superior assailant.
It was manifest that the command of railroads, by reason of their capacity for the rapid transportation of troops and supplies, must ever be a decisive advantage in campaigns.
The general who is compelled to move all his forces and material of war over country roads, by the tedious and expensive agency of teams, in the presence of an adversary who effects his advance on a railroad, must be at his mercy.
To hold Manassa's Junction, covered two railroads, of which one led southwestward to Gordonsville
, and thence, by two branches, to Charlottesv!ue, and Richmond
; and the other led westward, through the Blue
Ridge, into the heart of the Great Valley
, the granary of the State
; but worse, the possession of the Manassa's Gap Railroad by the Federalists uncovered General Johnston
's rear to them equally whether he were at Harper's Ferry
or at Winchester
, and at once required the evacuation of the whole country north of that thoroughfare.
For these reasons, the Confederate Government made every effort to hold, and the Federal
, directed by the veteran skill of General Winfield Scott
, to seize this point.
It is situated three miles south of Bull Run
(a little stream of ten yards' width, almost everywhere fordable), in a smiling champaign, diversified with gentle hills, woodlands, and farmhouses.
The water-course takes its rise in a range of highlands, called the Bull Run Mountains
, fourteen miles west of the Junction
, and, pursuing a southeast course, meets Broad
and Cedar Runs
five miles east of it, and forms, with them, the Occoquan
The hills near the stream are more lofty and precipitous than the gentle swells which heave up the plain around the Junction
; and, on one side or the other, they usually descend steeply to the water, commanding the level meadows which stretch from the opposite bank.
Where the meadows happened to be on the north bank, the stream offered some advantages of defence for the Confederates
; but where the lowlands were on the south side, the advantage for attack was with the Federalists.
No works of any description defended this line.
, three miles in its rear, was surrounded with a single circuit of common earthworks, consisting of a ditch and an embankment of a few feet in height, with platforms for a score of cannon.
A journey of six miles from the Junction
, northeastward by the country road, brings the traveller to the hamlet of Centreville
, seated on a high ridge.
Through this little village passes the paved highway from Alexandria
, in a direction
almost due west; and, at a point five miles northwest of the Junction
, this thoroughfare crosses the channel of Bull Run
obliquely upon an arch of stone.
Here a little tributary, called Young's Branch
, enters the stream from the southwest, and the hills from which it flows rise to even a bolder elevation than the other heights of Bull Run
Upon those hills was fought the first Battle of Manassas
On the 16th of July, the hosts of General McDowell
left their entrenched camps along the Potomac
, and drove in the advance of General Beauregard
from Fairfax Court House on the 17th.
The Federal army consisted of about sixty thousand men, including nearly all the United States regulars east of the Rocky Mountains
, and sixty pieces of artillery.
It was equipped with all that wealth and art could lavish, and armed throughout with the most improved implements of destruction.
The whole army and people of the North
were inflated with the assurance of victory.
had labelled the packages of supplies “for Richmond
The fanatical volunteers had supplied their pockets with halters with which to hang the “Southern Rebels,” as soon as they were captured in battle.
The Federal Congress, then in session in Washington
, was adjourned, in order to enable the members to go with the army, and feast their eyes with the spectacle of the rout of the Confederates
; and long lines of carriages, filled with females bedecked with their holiday attire, followed the rear of the Federal
army, with baskets of champagne, and all the appliances for the feast and the dance, with which they proposed to mock the groans of the dying thousands on the evening of their victory.
The newspapers of the North
scouted with disdain the ideas of defeat; and declared that, in ten days at the utmost, their triumphant army must be established in Richmond
the Confederate Government drowned in the blood of its leaders.1
On the evening of July 17th, General Beauregard
assembled all his forces along the line of Bull Run
, from the Stone Bridge
to the Union Mills
, a distance of eight miles. He thus presented to the enemy a body of about twenty thousand combatants, with thirty field-pieces, of which the heaviest were twelve-pounder howitzers.
These forces were divided into eight brigades.
The infantry was armed, with a few exceptions, with the smooth-bore musket; and the cavalry, with fowling-pieces and sabres.
On the 18th of July, the enemy, having assembled in force at Centreville
, made a tentative effort with a heavy detachment of all arms, to force the line of Bull Run
, at Mitchell's and McLean's fords, upon the direct road to the
Meeting with a bloody repulse in this essay, he occupied Friday and Saturday, the 19th and 20th, with explorations of the country, for the purpose of devising a flank movement.
The desired route was discovered, leading to Sudley Church, on Bull Run
, two miles above the extreme left of the Confederates
at the Stone Bridge
; and the morning of Sunday, July 21st, was chosen for the second attempt.
Meantime, indeed at the first appearance of the Federal
advance, General Beauregard
had given notice to General Johnston
, that the time had arrived for him to render his aid. Accordingly, on the forenoon of Thursday the 18th, the army of the Valley
, numbering about eleven thousand men, was ordered under arms at its camp, north of Winchester
, and the tents were struck.
No man knew the intent, save that it was supposed they were about to attack Patterson
, who lay to the north of them, from Bunker Hill
, with twenty thousand men; and joy and alacrity glowed on every face.
But at midday, they were ordered to march in the opposite direction, through the town, and then to turn southeastward towards Millwood
and the fords of the Shenandoah
As they passed through the streets of Winchester
, the citizens, whose hospitality the soldiers had so often enjoyed, asked, with sad and astonished faces, if they were deserting them, and handing them over to the Vandal enemy.
They answered, with equal sadness, that they knew no more than others whither they were going.
The 1st Virginia brigade, led by General Jackson
, headed the march.
The cavalry of Stuart
guarded every pathway between the line of defence which Johnston
had just held and the Federalists, and kept up an audacious front, as though they were about to advance upon them, supported by the whole army.
The mystified commander of the Federalists stood anxiously on the defensive, and never discovered that his
adversary was gone until his junction with General Beauregard
was effected, when he sluggishly drew off his hosts towards Harper's Ferry
As soon as the troops had gone three miles from Winchester
, General Johnston
commanded the whole column to halt, and an order was read explaining their destination.
“Our gallant army under General Beauregard
,” said this order, “is now attacked by overwhelming numbers; the commanding general hopes that his troops will step out like men, and make a forced march to save the country.”
At these nervous words, every countenance brightened with joy, and the army rent the air with their shouts.
They hurried forward, often at a double-quick, waded the Shenandoah River
, which was waist-deep to the men, ascended the Blue Ridge
at Ashby's Gap, and, two hours after midnight, paused for a few hours' rest at the little village of Paris
, upon the eastern slope of the mountain.
Here General Jackson
turned his brigade into an enclosure occupied by a beautiful grove, and the wearied men fell prostrate upon the earth without food.
In a little time an officer came to Jackson
, reminded him that there were no sentries posted around his bivouac, while the men were all .wrapped in sleep, and asked if some should be aroused, and a guard set. “No,” replied Jackson
, “let the poor fellows sleep; I will guard the camp myself.”
All the remainder of the night he paced around it, or sat upon the fence watching the slumbers of his men. An hour before daybreak, he yielded to the repeated requests of a member of his staff, and relinquished the task to him. Descending from his seat upon the fence, he rolled himself upon the leaves in a corner, and in a moment was sleeping like an infant.
But, at the first streak of the dawn, he aroused his men and resumed the march.
to Manassa's Junction the distance is about sixty miles. The forced march of thirty miles brought the army
to the Piedmont Station
, at the eastern base of the Blue Ridge
, whence they hoped to reach their destination more easily by railroad.
's infantry was placed upon trains there, on the forenoon of Friday (the 19th July), while the artillery and cavalry continued their march by the country roads.
The president of the railroad company promised that the whole army should be transported on successive trains to Manassas Junction
by the morning of Saturday; but by a collision which was, with great appearance of reason, attributed to treachery, the track was obstructed, and all the remaining troops detained, without any provision for their subsistence, for two precious days.
Had they been provided with food, and ordered to continue their forced march, their zeal would have brought the whole of them to the field long before the commencement of the battle.
's whole command reached the Junction
at dusk on Friday evening, and were marched, hungry, weary, and dusty, to the pine-coppices near Mitchell's Ford, where they spent Saturday in refreshing themselves for the coming conflict.
All of Saturday night again, their indefatigable general was afoot, busy in the distribution of food and ammunition, and in the review of his preparations.
It was no part of General Beauregard
's plan to occupy the defensive attitude absolutely, along so weak and extended a line as that which he held on Bull Run
To do this, was to give the enemy leisure and opportunity to concentrate his forces, at any point which he might select, in such preponderance as inevitably to crush the portion of the Confederate army guarding that place; and then the line of the water-course, being lost at one part, must be relinquished everywhere, or the army defending it would be cut in two.
The Confederate general proposed, if General Johnston
's reinforcements had arrived in time, to mass
his troops, take the aggressive, and strike the unwieldy body of the Federal
army near Centreville
But Saturday passed, and they had not arrived.
Nothing remained for him but to retain his defensive attitude, and await the development of the enemy's purposes.
The morning of July 21st dawned with all the beauty and softness befitting a summer Sabbath-day, and the birds greeted the rising sun with as joyous a matin hymn as though the lovely quiet had been destined for nought but the worship of the Prince
But the invaders had consecrated it, with an impiety equal to their malice, to the bloody orgies of the Moloch of their ambition.
The sun had not begun to exhale the dew, when, along the Warrenton turnpike
, every more pleasing sound was hushed into terror by the rumbling of the wheels of a great park of artillery, and the hoarse oaths of the officers hurrying it towards the extreme left of the Confederates
Columns of dust, rising into the quiet air in several directions, disclosed the movements of heavy masses of infantry.
The Federal general, leaving one strong division to guard his rear at Centreville
, paraded another opposite Mitchell's Ford, and still another in front of the Stone Bridge
, each accompanied with batteries of rifled cannon; while the mass of his army made a detour through an extensive forest to the west, to cross Bull Run
at Sudley Church, and thus to commence the assault in the rear of the Confederate
They proposed to amuse the right and centre by a cannonade and a pretended assault, so as to detain those troops while the flanking force marched down the south side of Bull Run
, crushed the brigade which guarded the Stone Bridge
, and opened a way for the division attacking it to cross, and thus beat the patriot army in detail.
Had the prowess of the Yankee
troops been equal to the strategy of the chieftain, this masterly plan would have given them a great victory.
The Confederate generals anticipated
a flank attack, but were unable to decide at first, whether it would be delivered against their extreme right or left.
Their hesitation, and the friendly concealment of the forest, enabled the enemy to effect his initial plan, and throw 20,000 men across Bull Run
, at and near Sudley Ford, without a show of opposition.
, with a weak brigade of 1100 men, held the Confederate
left, and watched the Stone Bridge
A mile below, Brigadier-General Cocke
, with three regiments, guarded the next ford.
ascertained that the enemy were already threatening his rear, he left the bridge and turnpike to the guardianship of two small pieces of artillery, wheeled his gallant brigade towards the west, and advanced a mile to meet the coming foe. Here the battle began, and soon the roar of musketry, and the accelerated pounding of the great guns, told that the serious work of the day was to be upon the left.
The cruel dilemma in which the superiority of the enemy's numbers, and their successful manoeuvre, placed the Confederate
commanders, can now be comprehended.
If they disfurnished their centre or right, while threatened with an imminent attack in front, the direct road to victory was surrendered to the enemy.
If they permitted their left to remain unassisted it was inevitably crushed, and the remainder of the Confederate army was taken in reverse.
They had three brigades in reserve, of which one was not available, because of its distance in the rear of the extreme right.
But the other two were those of Generals Bee
, and the heroism of these two was sufficient to reinstate the wavering fortunes of the day. The plan of battle which was adopted, after the designs of the enemy were fully disclosed, was worthy of the genius of Beauregard
, who suggested, and of Johnston
who accepted it. This was, to send the two reserve brigades which were at hand to sustain the shock upon
the left, and to enable that wing of the army to hold its ground for a time, while the centre and right were advanced across Bull Run
, and swung around into a position parallel to the enemy's line of march, towards the Stone Bridge
, with the view of assailing their rear-guard and their line of communications, at Centreville
The movement was to begin upon the extreme right, which would have the segment of the largest circle to traverse, and to be propagated thence to the centre, so as to concentrate all the brigades below Cocke
's, in front of Centreville
, ih a formidable line of battle.
This fine conception promised every advantage.
It offered most effectual relief to the laboring left wing; for the Federal
army would be sure to relax its assault, when the thunder of the Confederate
battle on the north side of Bull Run
and in their rear, told them that their line of communications was threatened.
At the same time, it obviated the difficulty, otherwise insuperable, of employing the right and centre, now inactive, in deciding the fortunes of the day, without stripping the lower fords of Bull Run
of their defences, and thus opening an unobstructed way for the enemy to the Junction
For as the Federal
troops threatening those fords were pushed back, and the Confederates
interposed between them and the stream, that access to the Junction
was more effectually barred than before.
But chiefly, this manoeuvre promised a magnificent completeness in the victory which it seemed to secure; because it placed the strength of the Confederate army in the rear of their enemies, and in a formidable position commanding their only line of retreat.
He who considers the panic which their actual discomfiture caused in the Federal
army, will not doubt that, with the capture of Centreville
, it would have dissolved into utter rout, and been dissipated or captured.
The two generals despatched the orders for this movement to
the commanders of the right and centre, and then galloped to the scene of action on the left where the furious and increasing fire showed that their presence was so urgently needed.
The orderlies, by whom they were sent, miscarried; and Beauregard
, after listening in anxious suspense to hear his guns open upon the heights of Centreville
, until the day and the battle were too far advanced for any other resort, relinquished the movement, and devoted himself to sustaining the struggle before him. The only Confederate line seriously engaged was now at right angles to Bull Run
, and facing westward.
The Federal forces continuing to pour across at Sudley Ford, and extending their right wing perpetually farther to the south, pressed back their opponents by their fearful superiority of numbers and artillery, and by threatening to overlap their left.
The only tactics which remained to the Confederate
generals were, to bring up such reinforcements as could be spared from the centre and right successively, and as their line of battle was borne back from west to east, to repair its strength, and to increase its front by placing fresh troops at its south end, until it had sufficient extent and stability to breast the avalanche of Federal troops.
The reader is now prepared for an intelligent view of the important part borne by General Jackson
in the battle.
At four o'clock on the morning of the 21st, he was requested by General Longstreet
, whose brigade formed the right of the centre, to reinforce him with two regiments.
With this he complied, until the appearance of an immediate attack was rumored.
He was soon after ordered by General Beauregard
to support Brigadier-General Bonham
at Mitchell's Ford, then to support Brigadier-General Cocke
above, and then to take an intermediate position where he could extend aid to either of the two.
About ten o'clock A. M., General Cocke
requested him to move to the Stone Bridge
, and assume the task of
guarding it, in place of Evans
, who had gone westward to meet the enemy descending from Sudley
But as Jackson
advanced in this direction, the firing became more audible, and taught his superior judgment where was the true point of danger.
He hastened towards it, sending forward a messenger to General Bee
, who had already reinforced Evans
, to encourage him with the tidings, that he was coming to his support with all his force.
It. was, indeed, in good time.
For two hours, these two officers, with five regiments and six guns, had breasted the Federal
advance, often nearly surrounded, but stubbornly fighting as they retired, inflicting and receiving heavy losses, until their commands were disheartened and almost broken.
advanced to their assistance, he met the fragments of Bee
's regiment sullenly retiring, while the heavy lines of the Federalists were surging forward like mighty waves.
He proposed to that general to form a new line of battle, assuming the centre for himself, while Bee
rallied his men in the rear, and then resumed his place upon his right.
The ground which Jackson
selected for standing at bay, was the crest of an elevated ridge running at right angles to Bull Run
, between Young's Branch
and another rivulet to the eastward, which flowed by a parallel course into the former stream.
The northern end of this ridge overlooked the Stone Bridge
Its top and its western slopes were cleared of timber, and swept down in open fields to a valley, which divided Jackson
at the moment from the advancing enemy; but the reverse side of the hill, towards the Confederate
rear, was clothed with a tangled thicket of pines, impenetrable, save by two pathways, to artillery or cavalry.
Before the Confederate
line, were two homely cottages, with their enclosures and stables; and a country road descended obliquely across the front, at the distance of a few hundred yards, enclosed on both sides with the heavy wooden fences of the country, and
worn, by the action of the elements, into an excavation of a yard in depth.
The soldierly eye of Jackson
, at a glance, perceived that this was the spot on which to arrest the enemy's triumph.
In the rear of this, the country approached more the character of a plain, and offered no marked advantages.
It was true that the two little farm-houses in front of his right and left respectively, offered shelter to the enemy should they succeed in approaching his position, and the road which descended beyond gave them almost the advantage of an entrenchment; but the thickets on his right, left, and rear, protected them from the assault of any other force than skirmishers,--a vital point to one so fearfully outnumbered.
The swelling ridge gave his artillery a commanding elevation, whence every approach of the enemy in front could be swept with effect, and, by placing his guns a little behind the crest, he gave the cannoneers who served them a protection from the adverse fire.
The infantry supports in the rear of the batteries were still better shielded.
Here, then, he began the new formation, by putting in position two guns of Stanard
's battery, with the regiments which headed his column of march, and, while the remainder came to the ground designed for them, these two pieces held the enemy in check by their accurate fire.
The opposing batteries were then upon the hill beyond the valley in front, which was also swarming with heavy masses of Federal infantry.
's battery, which had entered the action with General Bee
's command, and gallantly maintained a perilous position until all its supports were routed.
He brought up the other two guns of Stanard
, and also the Pendleton
battery, so that twelve pieces, which a little after were increased to seventeen, were placed in line under his command behind the crest of the eminence.
Behind this formidable array he placed the 4th and 27th Regiments, commanded
respectively by Colonel Preston
and Lieut.-Colonel Echols
, lying upon their breasts to avoid the storm of cannon-shot.
On the right of the batteries, he posted Harper
's 5th Virginia, and on the left the 2d Regiment commanded by Colonel Allen
, and the 33d led by Colonel Cummings
Both ends of the brigade, when thus disposed, penetrated the thickets on the right and left, and the 33d was wholly masked by them.
On the right of Jackson
's Brigade, General Bee
placed the remains of the forces which, under him and Evans
, had hitherto borne the heat and burden of the day, while, on the left, a few regiments of Virginian and Carolinian
troops were stationed.
At this stage of affairs, Generals Johnston
galloped to the front, inspiriting the men by their words and fearless exposure of their persons, and assisted in advancing the standards of the rallying regiments.
Their appeals were answered by the fierce cheers of the Confederates
; and a new battle now began, to which the former was but a skirmish.
's Brigade numbered 2600 bayonets, and all the troops confronting the enemy, about 6500.
The Federal commander, according to his own declaration, marshalled 20,000 of his best troops, with twenty-four guns, for the attack upon this position.
Successive lines of infantry were pressed across the valley and up the ascent of the ridge; they filled the fences of the roadway with sharp-shooters, who picked off the Confederate
gunners with their long-range rifles; they crowded onward, and got foothold in the buildings before their lines.
The Federal artillery poured a tempest of missiles upon our batteries, while they as furiously cannonaded the advancing lines of infantry.
From 11 o'clock A. M. to 3 P. M. the artillery shook the earth with its incessant roar, while the more deadly clang of the musketry rolled in peals across the field.
To the spectator in the rear, the smoke and dust rolled sullenly upward beyond the dark horizon of pines, like the fumes of Tophet.
the long summer hours, Jackson
's patient infantry stood the ordeal, which even the hardiest veterans dread, lying passive behind their batteries while the plunging shot and shells of the enemy ploughed frequent gaps through their lines.
He rode, the presiding genius of the storm, constantly along his lines, between the artillery and the prostrate regiments, inspiring confidence wherever he came.
In the early morning, while he was ordered first to one post and then to another, but always in the rear, and it seemed as if he were destined for no decisive share in the great struggle, his men noticed that his cheeks were wan and his eye haggard with anxiety and suspense.
But now, all was changed, the ruddy glow had returned to his face, his whole form was instinct with life; and while his eye blazed with that fire which no other eye could meet, his countenance was clothed with a serene and assured smile.
As the grim wrestle continued, for the key of the Confederate
position, the enemy perceived that they could make no impression upon Jackson
They therefore extended and advanced their wings.
On his left, they brought a formidable battery of six guns within musket range, intending to enfilade his line, while on his right their irresistible numbers overwhelmed the shattered ranks of Bee
It was then that this general rode up to Jackson
, and with despairing bitterness exclaimed, “General, they are beating us back!”
“Then,” said Jackson
, calm and curt, “we will give them the bayonet.”
seemed to catch the inspiration of his determined will, and, galloping back to the broken fragments of his over-tasked command, exclaimed to them, “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall
. Rally behind the Virginians
. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer.
At this trumpet-call a few score of his men reformed their ranks.
Placing himself at their head, he charged
the dense mass of the enemy, and in a moment fell dead, with his face to the foe. From that time Jackson
's was known as the Stone-wall Brigade
, a name henceforward immortal, and belonging to all the ages; for the christening was baptized in the blood of its author, and that wall of brave hearts has been, on every battle-field, a steadfast bulwark of their country.
Meantime, the battery which advanced upon Jackson
's left had paid dearly for its temerity.
It formed itself close upon the masked position of the 33d regiment, which, after a welldirected volley from the unerring mountain riflemen that slaughtered the larger part of the horses, dashed upon it with the bayonet, and captured every gun. But the excavated road-way was just beyond, and, from its depressed banks and zig-zag fences, the Federal infantry poured in such a fire, that it was impossible to retain the prize.
The struggle for the crest of the eminence had now continued three hours, and was evidently approaching its crisis.
Both of Jackson
's flanks were threatened.
Upon his front the enemy was pressing with overwhelming numbers; the ammunition and the strength of his cannoneers were failing together; and the red cloud of dust, in which the advancing line of the Federalists shrouded itself, was rolling perilously near to his batteries.
saw that the moment had come to appeal to his supreme arbiter, the bayonet.
his guns suddenly to the rear by his right and left, he cleared away the arena before his regiments, and gave them all the signal.
Riding up to the 2d regiment, he cried, “Reserve your fire till they come within fifty yards, then fire and give them the bayonet; and, when you charge, yell like furies!”
Like noble hounds unleashed, his men sprang to their feet, concentrating into that moment all the pent — up energies and revenge of the hours of passive suffering, delivered one deadly volley, and dashed upon the enemy.
These did not tarry to cross bayonets with them,
but recoiled, broke, and fled headlong from the field.
The captured battery was recaptured, along with a regimental flag; the centre of the enemy's line of battle was pierced, and the area, for which they had struggled so stubbornly, cleared of their presence.
This was) for the Confederates
, the critical success.
For nearly four hours, Jackson
had held the enemy at bay; and the precious season had been diligently improved by the commanding Generals
, in bringing up their reserves.
As the pressure upon their lines below was relaxed, regiments and brigades were detached, and hurried up to the scene of action.
A perpetual stream of fresh men was pouring on towards the smoking pinewoods, the chasms made in the scanty host on the crest were refilled, and the Confederate
line of battle extended towards the south, by new batteries and brigades.
The decisive hour was saved, and saved chiefly by Jackson
's skill and heroism.
It is true that, even when he charged the enemy's centre, their sharpshooters found an inlet through the breaches of the line upon his right and left, and almost enveloped his rear; that his brigade was partially broken and dissipated, by the eagerness of its pursuit of the fugitive foe; and that their teeming numbers enabled these to return again and re-occupy a portion of the contested arena, and the battery which Jackson
had twice taken.
But the other troops which were now at hand, were formed by him, under the direction of General Johnston
, and speedily regained the lost ground; a few well-directed shots from the artillery which Jackson
posted farther to the rear, cleared away the encumbrances of his right flank; and the fresh regiments killed or captured the audacious skirmishers, who had insinuated themselves into the thickets behind him.
It was now four o'clock in the afternoon, and the Federalists were as yet only repulsed, and not routed.
They were still
bringing up fresh masses, and, on the eminences fronting that from which they had just been driven, were forming an imposing line of battle, crescent-shaped, with the convex side toward the Confederates
, for a final effort.
But their hour had passed.
The reserves from the extreme right, under Early
, were now at hand; and better still, the Manassa's Gap Railroad, cleared of its obstructions, was again pouring down the remainder of the Army of the Valley
. General Kirby Smith
led a body of these direct to the field, and receiving at once a dangerous wound, was replaced by Colonel Arnold Elzy
, whom Beauregard
styled the Blucher of his Waterloo
These troops being hurled against the enemy's right, while the victorious Confederates in the centre turned against them their own artillery, they speedily broke, and their retreat became a panic rout.
Every man sought the nearest crossing of Bull Run
Cannon, small arms, standards, were deserted.
The great causeway, from the Stone Bridge
, was one surging and maddened mass of men, horses, artillery, and baggage, amidst which the gay equipages of the amateur spectators of the carnage, male and female, were crushed like shells; while the Confederate cavalry scourged their flanks, and Kemper's field-battery from behind, pressed them like a Nemesis, and ploughed through the frantic medley with his bullets.
In this pursuit Jackson
took no share, except to plant a battery upon a rising ground at his rear, whence he could speed the flight of the enemy with some parting shots.
He retired then to seek relief for a painful wound in the hand, which he had received early in the action; while his officers collected their wearied and shattered men, and ministered to their disabled comrades.
Along a little rivulet, fringed with willows, which ran behind the hill that received the farthest cannon-shot of the enemy, many hundreds of wounded Confederates were gathered, with
many more of shameless stragglers, who had deserted the field under the pretext of assisting disabled comrades.
During all the afternoon, the surgeons were busy here, under the grateful shade, plying their repulsive but benevolent task, and the green sward was strewn for half a mile with men writhing in every form of suffering, and the corpses of those just dead.
found the Medical Director
and the surgeons of his brigade.
A rifle-ball had passed through his bridle-hand, breaking the longest finger and lacerating the next.
He was seen at the time to give his hand an impatient shake, and wrap his handkerchief around it, but, during the remainder of the action, he took no further notice of it. When he came up, his friend, Dr. McGuire
, said, “General, are you much hurt?”
“No,” replied he; “I believe it is a trifle.”
“How goes the day?”
asked the other.
, with intense elation, “we have beat them; we have a glorious victory; my brigade made them run like dogs.”
And this was the only instance in which he was ever known to give expression to these emotions, upon his most brilliant triumphs.
Several surgeons now gathered around to examine him, but he refused their services, saying, “No, I can wait; my wound is a trifle; attend first to these poor fellows.”
And he persisted, against their earnest entreaties, in compelling them to dress the hurts of all the seriously wounded belonging to their charge, while he sat by upon the grass holding up his bloody hand, evidently suffering acute pain, but with a quiet smile on his face.
After the common soldiers were attended to, he submitted to their examination, and, as they passed judgment upon the nature of the wound, he looked intently from one speaker to another, while all, except their chief, concurred in declaring that one finger at least must be removed immediately.
Turning to him, he said, “Dr. McGuire
, what is your opinion?”
He answered, “General, if we attempt to save the finger, the cure will be more painful; but if this were my hand, I should make the experiment.”
His only reply was to lay the mangled hand in Dr. McGuire
's, with a calm and decisive motion, saying, “Doctor
, then do you dress it.”
The effort was a successful, though a tedious one, and his hand was restored, after a time, nearly to its original shape and soundness.
While he was at this place, the President
of the Confederate States
, with a brilliant staff, galloped by towards the battle-field, and called upon the idlers to return with him to the assistance of their comrades.
arose, waved his cap, and exhorted the men to give him a lusty cheer, and to respond with alacrity to his orders.
The men who had shed their blood for the cause were much more hearty in their greeting than the stragglers.
, describing the manifest rout of the enemy, remarked to the physicians, that he believed “with 10,000 fresh men he could go into the city of Washington
The actual results of this victory were the capture of twentyeight cannon, with several thousands of muskets, and a vast store of ammunition, equipments, and clothing; a number of armywagons and ambulances, and a thousand or two of prisoners of war. The State was delivered from the immediate danger of invasion, and, while the Federal
army and capital, with the rabble of the nation, were thrown into a panic as abject as their previous boasting had been arrogant, the Confederate
people and armies received the news of their deliverance with an unwonted quiet, made up of devout gratitude to God, and solemn enthusiasm.
No bells were rung in Richmond
, no bonfires lighted, no popular demonstrations made.
From the solemn acts of religious thanksgiving, the people turned at once to eager ministrations to the wounded heroes, who had purchased the victory with their blood.
For these, the preparations made by the Confederate
Government were crude and scanty, but the generosity of the people amply supplemented the lack of public service.
The commanding generals reported, on the Confederate
side, a loss of 369 killed on the field, and 1483 wounded. The Federal commander never confessed his real loss, covering up the number of his killed in a vague statement of the missing; but the greater masses engaged on his side, the superior accuracy of the Confederate
fire, and the appearance of the field of battle, proved that the enemy's killed and wounded must have been twice or thrice as numerous as ours.
The portion of the Confederate
loss borne by Jackson
's brigade was the best evidence of the character of their resistance, and of its importance to the general result.
Out of less than 2700 men present it lost 112 killed and 393 wounded. The object of this narrative has been to give such a sketch of the whole battle, as to make the part borne by the Stonewall Brigade and its leader intelligible, and to give fuller details of the conduct of the general whose life is the subject of this work.
The reader will not infer from this that all the stubborn and useful fighting was done by Jackson
and his command.
Other officers and other brigades displayed equal heroism, and contributed essentially to the final result.
But the divine Providence which he delighted so much to recognize assigned to him the maintenance of the critical post, during the critical hours.
Had the enemy overpowered his brigade and occupied the eminence, which was the key of the Confederate
position, or had they not been held at bay until forces could be assembled to cope with them, no other stand could have been made, save within the entrenchments around the Junction
, where the lack of water and the confined limits would speedily have made surrender inevitable.
In this sense Jackson
may be said to have won the first Battle of Manassas
But no narrative of the event will be so full of interest to the reader as the disclosure of his own secret emotions in view of the battle.
To his wife he wrote, July 22d:--
“Yesterday we fought a great battle, and gained a great victory, for which all the glory is due to God alone
. Though under a heavy fire for several continuous hours, I only received one wound, the breaking of the largest finger of the left hand, but the doctor says the finger can be saved.
My horse was wounded, but not killed.
My coat got an ugly wound near the hip. My preservation was entirely due, as was the glorious victory, to our God, to whom be all the glory, honor, and praise.
Whilst great credit is due to other parts of our gallant army, God made my brigade more instrumental than any other in repulsing the main attack.
This is for your own information only; . . . say nothing about.
it. Let another speak praise, not myself.”
To complete this view of his magnanimous and modest temper, two other letters will be anticipated.
In reply to some expression of impatience at the silence of rumor concerning his valuable services, while so many others were vaunting their exploits in the newspapers, he wrote, July 29th:--
“You must not be concerned at seeing other parts of the army lauded, and my brigade not mentioned.
‘Truth is powerful, and will prevail.’
When the reports are published, if not before, I expect to see justice done to this noble body of patriots.”
.--You think that the papers ought to say more about me. My brigade is not a brigade of newspaper correspondents.
I know that the 1st Brigade was the first to meet and pass our retreating forces, to push on with no other aid than the smiles of God, to boldly take its position with the artillery that was under my command, to arrest the victorious foe in his
onward progress, to hold him in check until reinforcements arrived, and, finally, to charge bayonets, and, thus advancing, pierce the enemy's centre.
I am well satisfied with what it did, and so are my Generals
. ... I am thankful to our ever kind heavenly Father, that He makes me content to await His own good time and pleasure for commendation, knowing that all things work together for my good.
Never distrust our God
, who doeth all things well.
In due time He will make manifest all His pleasure, which is all His people should ever desire.
If my brigade can always play as important and useful a part as in the last battle, I shall always be very grateful, I trust.”
The pursuit of the enemy was not continued beyond Centreville
, and this was the first error which made the laurels of the Confederate army, so fair to the eye, barren of substantial fruit.
It was accounted for, in part, by the paucity of the cavalry; but this excuse was no justification, because the cavalry in hand, of which only two companies had been engaged in the actual combat, was not pertinaciously pressed after the fugitives, but paused even before it met with any solid resistance from them.
Another cause of the interrupted pursuit was a rumor brought at sunset to the commanding generals
, by some alarmed scout, who had seen a bewildered picquet of the enemy wandering through the country,--that a powerful Federal force was about to attack the lines of Bull Run
near the Union Mills
, where they were now denuded of defenders.
This caused them to recall the fresher regiments from the chase, and send them upon a forced march of seven or eight miles, by night, to meet an imaginary enemy, and to return next morning to the field of battle.
It would have been better had those regiments marched an equivalent fourteen miles upon the track of the fugitives.
It should have been remembered also, that, even if full credit were given
to the rumor of a fresh force advancing from the east, the masses which General McDowell
had that day displayed on the left and front, all of which were now discomfited, were too large to permit the supposition that this detachment could be itself a formidable array.
But, if it were, obviously enough its proposed attack was intended to be only in concert with the one already made by McDowell
, so that the most speedy and certain way to repel it was to precipitate the rout of the latter.
The true policy of the Confederate
generals should therefore have been to leave this supposed assault to take care of itself, for the moment, and to hurry every man after the beaten enemy.
The whole army and country naturally hoped, that so splendid a victory would not be allowed to pass, without prompt and energetic efforts to gather in all the fruits.
It was expected that the Confederate
commanders would at least pursue the enemy to the gates of their entrenchments before Alexandria
; and it was hoped that it might not be impracticable, in the agony of their confusion, to recover the Virginian city
, to conquer the hostile capital, with its immense spoils, and to emancipate oppressed Maryland
, by one happy blow.
The toiling army, which had marched and fought along the hills of Bull Run
through the long July day, demanded, with enthusiasm, to be led after the flying foe, and declared that they would march the soles off their feet in so glorious an errand without a murmur.
But more than this; the morning after the battle saw an aggregate of 10,000 fresh men, composed of the remainder of the Army of the Valley
, who had at length reached the scene, and of reinforcements from Richmond
, arrive within the entrenchments at Manassa's Junction, who were burning with enthusiasm, and expected nothing else than to be led against the enemy at once.
In a few days, the patriotic citizens of Alexandria
sent authentic intelligence of the condition
of the beaten rabble there, and in Washington
, which a true military sagacity would have anticipated, as Jackson
did, without actual testimony.
were repulsed in the forenoon, the Federalists had telegraphed to Washington
that the “rebels” were beaten in the open field; that the Grand Army
was marching triumphantly upon the Junction
; and that victory was assured.
This premature boast the vain confidence of the Federals
accepted as sufficient, and they spent the remainder of the Sabbath-day in exultation; but the dawn of Monday revealed to the citizens of Alexandria
a different story.
Already the streets were full of a miserable, jaded, and unarmed rabble, whose fears had given them wings to flee the thirty miles, within the short summer night.
They sat cowed, upon the curbstones and door-steps, and begged the citizens, over whom they had so lately boasted, in pitiful tones, for a morsel of bread and a few rags to bind up their wounds.
As the morning advanced, the stream increased into a torrent.
They had run until their laboring breath compelled them to fall into a languid walk, and yet, at every sound in the rear, they burst into fresh speed.
Stalwart men were seen to throw themselves upon the pavement, upon reaching the town, and give vent to their sense of relief, in floods of tears.
To the questions of the citizens, some replied that Beauregard
, with his bloody horsemen, was just beyond the last hill; while some were too frightened and eager to pause for any answer.
For days, there was neither organization nor obedience, nor thought of resistance, on the south side of the Potomac
; and the confused crowd heeded only two wants, food for their present hunger, and means to cross the river, that they might at once desert, and return to their homes.
The steam ferry-boats were crowded nearly to sinking, until the authorities of Washington
arrested their journeys altogether.
Sentry or picket-guard there was none
on the front next the enemy; the whole energies of the military authorities were directed to guarding the other side, to prevent their brave soldiers from running away.
Nor was the capital city in a more hopeful condition.
Confusion and uncertainty reigned there; nothing was needed but a few cannon-shots upon the southern bank, to turn their alarm also into a panic rout.
Now, then, said the more reflecting, was the time for vigorous audacity.
Now, a Napoleonic genius, were he present, would make this victory another Jena
, in its splendid fruits; and, before the enemy recovered from his staggering blow, would concentrate, into one effort, the labors and successes of a whole campaign.
He would fiercely press upon the disorganized masses; he would thunder at the gates of Washington
; and, replenishing his exhausted equipments with the mighty spoils, would rush blazing, like the lightning that shineth from the one part under heaven to the other, through the affrighted North
, until the usurper was crippled, humbled, and compelled to relinquish his iniquitous designs.
Especially was this boldness the true prudence now, because of the revolutionary nature of the war. Such struggles are so much moral convulsions, that military success is usually the prize of that party which knows how to impress, and mould the vacillating mind of the public, by its initial policy.
Nowhere else is it more true, that the use made of the first tide of fortune decides the whole issue.
In the North
, the coercive policy of the Lincoln Government
was an acknowledged innovation upon the established doctrines of the Republic
Up to that year, all schools of politicians had condemned it as wicked and absurd.
The rage and pride of the Black Republicans
had impelled them to adopt it, but it was a confessed novelty; and with all their heat, there was no solid assurance of its success.
The triumphs of the patriots against
it would have taught multitudes to reconsider the rash and bloody experiment, and to return, though with reluctance, to the creed which founded the Union
on the consent of the sovereign States.
But especially were decisive results at the outset important to determine the wavering judgments of Maryland
, and Missouri
The occupation of Washington
would have transferred the former of these States from the Northern
to the Southern
side, and have united the divided allegiance of the other two; and such a change in the balance of strength, would have decided the whole subsequent success, had the North
thereafter endeavored to continue the struggle.
With these views of the campaign, General Jackson
His sense of official propriety sealed his lips; and, when the more impatient spirits inquired, day after day, why they were not led after the enemy, his only answer was to say, “That is the affair of the commanding Generals
But to his confidential friends he afterwards declared, when no longer under the orders of those officers, that their inaction was a deplorable blunder; and this opinion he was subsequently accustomed to assert, with a warmth and emphasis unusual in his guarded manner.
He was then compelled to sit silent, and see the noble army, with its enthusiastic recruits, withering away in inaction on the plains of Bull Run
, now doubly pestilential from the miasma of the August heats, and the stench of the battle-field, under camp-fevers tenfold more fatal than all the bullets of the enemy.
Regiments dwindled, under the scourge, to skeletons; and the rude, temporary hospitals acquired trains of graves, far more numerous and extended than those upon the hills around the Stone Bridge
The enemy recovered from their terror, which was replaced, again, by a mocking contempt for the Government
, which could be capable of so impotent a policy.
A new commander was installed by them, and the gigantic North
set itself, with energies only quickened by its shame, revenge, and consciousness of danger just escaped, to equip more enormous fleets and armies, and to carry the scourge of war to every coast and river of the South
had the mind to comprehend the inestimable value of the opportunity thus wasted, and the heart to feel a grief commensurate with the evils it was destined to cost his country.
He knew that when God's providence gives either to a man or a people rare occasion for securing the blessing, it is not for nought; and His goodness cannot be slighted or misunderstood with impunity.
The question may be asked, with scarcely less emphasis in the affairs of providence than in those of redemption, “How can ye escape, who neglect so great salvation?”
He foresaw that the country would be called to pay the penalty of this mistake in future arduous and protracted struggles.
But his lips were silent.
He busied himself as diligently, and, to outward appearance, as cheerfully, in the duties assigned to him, as though the policy of the campaign had been his own.
Those who justified the inactive policy, affected, indeed, to treat the hope that the Confederate forces might now occupy Washington
, as fanciful.
They urged that the utter disorganization of the Yankee
army could not be immediately known, and was not naturally to be inferred from losses so moderate as theirs; that the dreary rain which succeeded the battle hindered immediate pursuit, and that, to be effective, the pursuit of so powerful a foe must be prompt; that the Commissary
's warehouse was empty, and the troops must have marched without rations; that the army, after its large increase, had not adequate transportation to enable it to move; and that, if it went towards Washington
, it could expect nothing else than to meet the unbroken army of General Patterson
, which, it was well known, was effecting a junction with that of McDowell
The reply to
these pleas is, that the military intuitions of Jackson
told him, before the battle was ended, what the rout and disorganization of the enemy would be. The wearied Confederate soldiers did not find the rain any the less dreary on the next day, because they were either countermarched up and down Bull Run
, or left to crouch on the battle-field in fence-corners, without tents, instead of engaging in the inspiring pursuit of the enemy; and it would have been well to begin teaching them, even for no other object, the lesson they have since so abundantly learned, of marching and fighting in all weathers.
Rations were not created by sitting still, and the appropriate supply for the victorious army was that which was in the magazines of their enemies.
The country was then teeming with supplies; herds of bullocks were feeding in the pastures around Centreville
, and the barns of the farmers were loaded with grain, which was denied its usual outlet to Washington
A march of twenty-five miles could surely have been accomplished without baggage or rations, especially when the short effort might lead them to the spoils of a wealthy capital.
If the arrival of General Patterson
's army was suspected, it was not known.
At the most, it was only the army which, before it was appalled by disaster, had so often recoiled before the 11,000 of General Johnston
How then could it meet 40,000 Confederates flushed with victory?
But in truth, at the hour Jackson
was piercing the centre of McDowell
, with a fatal thrust, at Manassas
was haranguing his mutinous troops at Charleston
, within a few miles of the lines in which Johnston
had left him the Thursday before; and the Confederate forces would have reached Washington
before him. The recital of these numerous obstacles, which were surmised (and with probable reason) to exist, but which the event showed did not exist, teaches what was the true fault of the Southern
They are not to be condemned by history because they
did not actually take Washington
, but because they did not try. Their inexcusable error was, that they were not adventurous enough to explore the extent of their own good fortune.
It is ever the duty of a leader of armies to hope that obstacles may be superable, unless he has proved them insuperable.
It is early enough for him to arrest his career, when he has found them actual, and not merely possible.
The true solution of the enigma, how men, capable of winning such a victory, could prove so incompetent to improve it, is probably to be found in their mistrust of their own irregular soldiery.
They were officers of the regular army of the United States, accustomed to prize its professional accuracy, and to depreciate the uninstructed militia, and they were unable to understand the capacities of the peculiar force which they handled.
This was an army of volunteers, who had been drilled, at most, for eight or twelve weeks, and were led by company-officers who had never seen a battle, nor heard the whistling of a bullet.
Subordination was slight, and the feeble bond of order which they had acquired, although it sufficed to give them on the parade-ground the semblance of a gallant army, was not as yet habitual enough to endure the strain of battle.
Under the pressure of either success or repulse, it was dissolved, and regiments reverted almost into mobs.
This body was pervaded by a large infusion of personal heroism, and, even after its exact order was lost, the major part of its men continued to fight with admirable gallantry; but their impulse was personal, and not common.
In their tactics,--intelligence, patriotism, and chivalry supplied the place of methodical concert and mutual dependence.
In the melee, each man found opportunity to do what was right in his own eyes, and, while the larger number, the brave men, fought on in their irregular fashion, and won the day, the remainder of poltroons straggled shamefully to the rear.
Hence, doubtless, these great professional soldiers were horrified when they saw their army so disorganized by its own success.
They shuddered when they asked themselves what would have been its condition in defeat?
They felt as though a victory with such an army was only a lucky accident; and that their wisdom would be to “let well enough alone,” and tempt the Fates no more with so uncertain an instrument.
was more than the professional soldier.
Leaving the army, he had become the citizen, the philosophic scholar, the statesman.
He knew both the vices and virtues of this citizen-soldiery.
He knew that, penetrated by such a moral sentiment as animated the larger number, it would be even less disorganized by defeat than by victory.
While he reprobated the base stream of stragglers, and was as anxious as any to superinduce upon the good men all the advantages of a thorough discipline, in addition to a generous morale
, he knew how to take those thin, irregular lines, decimated by the laggards, and so to launch them against the enemy as to pluck a brilliant triumph from the midst of numbers.
His hardy and sober judgment reminded him that, if battle had loosened the bonds of order in our ranks, it had destroyed them in those of our enemies; for their army also was a militia, composed, not of gallant gentlemen and their reputable dependants, but of unwarlike mechanics.
He foresaw that, while the thorough drill would benefit our gallant soldiery, relatively it would advance the mercenary hordes of the enemy yet more.
The more nearly both were brought to the mechanical perfections of a regular army, the more would the difference between them be narrowed.
And, therefore, notwithstanding the imperfections of the Confederate army, the present was its opportunity, and its earliest blows would be successful at least cost to it.
A few days after the battle of Manassas
, General Jackson
moved his brigade to a pleasant woodland, a mile in advance of Centreville
There he busied himself in perfecting the discipline of the troops.
After a time the Confederate
generals, whose forces had grown to about 60,000 men, pushed their lines forward to Munson
's and Mason's Hills, within sight of the Federal
capital, and erected slight earthworks upon these eminences.
Their object was to tempt General McClellan
to an assault.
But this leader was too well taught by the disasters of Bull Run
to risk a general action.
He occupied the attention of the Confederates
with skirmishes of pickets and occasional feints, which required the advance of heavy supports to the front.
In these alarms the 1st Brigade was always conspicuous for the promptitude with which it appeared at the threatened point, and for its martial bearing.
This season of comparative quiet was largely employed by General Jackson
in religious labors for the good of his command.
His correspondence showed the same humility and preference for the quiet enjoyments of home which characterized him before he became famous.
August 22d, he wrote to his wife :--“Don't put any faith in (the assertion) there will be no more fighting till October.
It may not be till then; and God grant that, if consistent with His glory, it may never be. Sure, I desire no more, if our country's independence can be secured without it. As I said before leaving you, so say I now, that if I fight for my country it is from a sense of duty, a hope that, through the blessing of Providence
, I may be enabled to serve her, and not merely because I prefer the strife of battle to the peaceful enjoyments of home
September 24th, he says:--“This is a beautiful and lovely morning, beautiful emblem of the morning of eternity in heaven.
I greatly enjoy it, after our cold, chilly weather, which has made me feel doubtful of my capacity, humanly speaking, to endure the campaign, should we remain longer in tents.
But God, our
, will do, and does all things well, and if it is His pleasure that I should remain in the field, He will give me the ability to endure all its fatigues.”
This hope was fully realized.
The life in the open air proved a cordial to his feeble constitution.
Every appearance of the scholastic languor vanished from his face, his eye grew bright, and its vision, so long enfeebled, was so fully restored that thenceforward it endured, by night and by day, all the labors of his burdensome correspondence, and the business of his command.
His cheek grew ruddy and his frame expanded, so that to his former acquaintances he appeared a new man.
The period is now reached when it is necessary to narrate the views and efforts of General Jackson
, in reference to his native region, Northwestern Virginia
The communications of all the region between the Ohio River
and the Alleghany Mountains
, are much more easy with the States of the Northwest
than with the remainder of Virginia
A large portion of the population was, moreover, from this cause, disaffected.
The type of sentiment and manners prevailing there, was rather that of Ohio
than of Virginia
To the military invasions of the enemy it lay completely open, while direct access from the central parts of the Confederacy
could only be had by a tedious journey over mountain roads.
The western border is washed by the Ohio River
, which floats the mammoth steamboats of Pittsburg
, save during the summer-heats.
, a navigable stream, pierces its northern boundary.
The district is embraced between the most populous and fanatical parts of the States of Ohio
. Two railroads from the Ohio
eastward, uniting at Grafton
, enabled the Federalists to pour their troops and their munitions of war, with rapidity, into the heart of the country.
The Confederate authorities, on the contrary, had neither navigable river nor
railroad by which to transport their troops, or to subsist them there, but could only effect this by a long wagon-road crossing numerous mountain-ridges from Staunton
, upon the Central Virginia Railroad.
It was manifest, therefore, that the Government
had little prospect of being able to cope with the Federalists for the occupation of the country.
The traitorous partisans of the region, intimidating the loyal people by the bayonets of the invaders, set up a usurping government, and adhered to the Lincoln
But the same difficulties of transportation would evidently press the enemy, so soon as he, not content with the occupation of Northwestern Virginia
, sought to invade the central parts of the State
; for, then, it would be the Federal
army which would have the long and laborious line of communication to sustain, and the Confederate
force would be brought near its railroad and its supplies.
The obvious military policy for Virginia
, therefore, was to make no attempt to hold the Northwest
, in the face of such difficulties; but to tempt the enemy to involve himself in the arduous mountain-roads, and to await his enfeebled attacks on the nearer side of the wilderness, where the means of more rapid concentration would give the power to crush him. But this policy was forbidden by a generous pride, and an unwillingness to leave a loyal population exposed, even for a time, to the oppressions of a clique of traitors, backed by invaders.
A small army was sent thither, under General Garnett
, through vast difficulties.
It numbered about 5000 men, and, as might have been expected, found itself confronted by a force of fourfold numbers and resources, under General McClellan
On the 11th of July, the little army, indiscreetly divided into two detachments, was assailed at Rich Mountain
Both parts were compelled to retreat across the Alleghanies
with the loss of their baggage and a number of prisoners, and, at the skirmish at Cannock's Ford, their unfortunate leader was killed.
It was this
easy triumph which procured for General McClellan
, from the Yankee
people, the title of “The young Napoleon
,” the most complete misnomer by which the rising fortunes of a young aspirant were ever caricatured.
held, that there was one plan of campaign by which the difficulty of contesting this country with the enemy might probably be solved, and, during the first year of the war, he was eager to be engaged in it. His scheme embraced two parts.
One was, the sending of a commander into the northwest, to rally as many of the population as possible to the Confederate
cause, and thus find a large part of the men and materials for sustaining the contest, in the country itself.
The leader, therefore, must be one who was known to the people, and possessed their confidence, and who knew how to conciliate their peculiar temper.
He believed that nearly all the more respectable people of that region were loyal to their State and duty; and, in this, events sustained his opinion; for, after a year's experiment, the most which the usurping Government could assert was, that among the forty counties which they claimed for their pretended State, they had dared to collect revenues in eleven only.
And it has been shown that, with a few exceptions, the county majorities, polled in their favor at elections, were composed of the intrusive votes of the soldiers encamped there, to intimidate the people; while the true voters, not being permitted to speak their real wishes, almost unanimously stayed at home.
The other part of General Jackson
's plan was, to retain, by force of arms, that section of the great Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which lies on the territory of Virginia
, from Harper's Ferry
westward, and to employ it as the line of operations for the major force employed in the northwest: For, he argued, this road being the great military and commercial thoroughfare
connecting the enemy's capital with the West
, whence he drew so many of his men and supplies, it was at all times a vital matter to us to deprive him of it. Next, its use as a line of operations would cover, from the ravages of the enemy, a most important part of central
and northern Virginia
, the counties of the lower Valley, and of the south branch of the Potomac-a magnificent region teeming with precious resources, and inhabited, in the main, by a gallant and loyal people.
But the chief reason for maintaining this line was, that it was the only one by which it was practicable for us to move men and materials in sufficient masses, and with speed enough, to cope with the Federalists, entering the contested district by two navigable rivers and two railroads.
A strong force, he said, should be pushed along the railroad, so far west as to place itself in the rear of the Federal
army, operating against the little detachment which we so painfully sustained at the western side of the mountains.
This would compel the retreat of our enemies, and make their capture probable.
The country, being thus cleared of their presence, and reassured against their return by the occupation of the great railroad, would, in consequence, revert to its proper allegiance, and by its resources make this part of the war nearly selfsustaining.
A reference to the map will show that this scheme was in appearance liable to a capital objection: The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, thus made the line of operations for the Confederate forces, would be parallel to the frontier of Pennsylvania
, which the enemy might at once make the base of their operations against us. But such an arrangement is likely to be fatal to the party pursuing the aggressive (in this case the Confederates
), because their communications are ever within the reach of their enemy's blows.
Here, however, the objection was more seeming than real.
The true base from which the Federalists must have operated against this line of advance,
was not the Pennsylvanian frontier, but the Central Pennsylvania Railroad, parallel thereto, and a hundred miles distant. Now, to operate from that base against the Confederate
line of advance, they would have had not railroads, but only the country roads of a mountainous region.
Thus the superior mobility of our forces along their line of operations would have compensated, in great measure, for their exposure to the enemy's advance across it.
From the beginning of the war, General Jackson
was anxious to be sent to the Northwest
It was the land of his birth and his kindred.
The oppressions of the enemy and the traitorous defection of a part of its people, filled him with grief and indignation.
The patriots who fled thence before the Federal
bayonets and domestic informers, looked to him as their natural avenger.
They knew that he was the pride of his numerous race — everywhere stanch in its loyalty to Virginia
, and wielding the wealth and influence of the district; and that they would have secured for him a popular support which no other commander could have received.
Hence, when General Jackson
was placed at the head of the 1st Brigade, in June, he expressed to his wife an earnest hope that the Government
would despatch it to the Northwest
, and the modest belief, that he could march with it to the Ohio River
He declared that he was willing to serve in any capacity under General Garnett
, then commanding there.
After that unfortunate commander was killed, and his army expelled from the country, the Confederate Government sent out from Staunton
a much more powerful expedition, under General Robert E. Lee
This commander endeavored to shorten the arduous line of communication over the mountain roads, by leaving the Central Virginia Railroad, at a point forty miles west of Staunton
, and penetrating the northwest through the counties of Bath
and Pochahontas at the Valley Mountain
But the intrinsic difficulties of his line, aggravated by a season of unusual rains, robbed him of solid success.
From his great reputation, and the fine force entrusted to him, brilliant results were expected.
In this hope General Jackson
He wrote, August 15th, to his wife:--“General Lee
has recently gone west, and I hope that we will soon hear that our God
has again crowned our arms with victory. . .. If General Lee
remains in the Northwest
, I would like to go there and give my feeble aid, as an humble instrument in the hand of Providence
, in retrieving the down-trodden loyalty of that part of my native State.
But I desire to be wherever those over me may decide, and I am content to be here (Manassas
). The success of my cause is the earthly object near my heart, and, if I know myself, all that I am and have is at the service of my country.”
To his friend, Colonel Bennet
, first auditor of the Commonwealth
, he wrote, August 27th:--
“My hopes for our section of the State
have greatly brightened since General Lee
has gone there.
Something brilliant may be expected in that region.
Should you ever have occasion to ask for a brigade from this army for the Northwest
, I hope that mine will be the one selected.
This of course is confidential, as it is my duty to serve wherever I may be placed, and I desire to be always where most needed.
But it is natural for one's affections to turn to the home of his boyhood and family.”
In a few weeks, the unavoidable obstacles surrounding General Lee
's line of operations disclosed the truth, that, although he might check the enemy, he could do nothing aggressive.
The second failure of the campaign, in hands so able, only demonstrated more fully than before that General Jackson
's was the proper conception.
He returned therefore to this with redoubled strength of conviction, and in the month of September endeavored, through every appropriate channel, to infuse his
ideas into the rulers of the country.
While he did this, he strictly charged his friends to make no reference to his name or authority, both because he would not be suspected of craving any power or distinction in a new field of enterprise, and because his punctilious subordination forbade his even seeming to criticise his military superiors.
His plans were submitted to some civilians, that, as the authorized counsellors of the Government
, they might recommend them for adoption if approved by their judgment.
He urged that, inasmuch as six precious weeks had been wasted since the victory at Manassas
, and the enemy had been allowed to recover from his panic so far as to render an attack upon Washington city
hazardous, the Army of the Valley
, under General Johnston
, should be again detached and sent westward; that General Beauregard
should be left near Manassas
with his corps, to hold the enemy in check, supported, if need be, by General Lee
, who, by falling back to the Central Railroad, could reinforce him in a few days; that General Johnston
meantime should re-occupy the lower Valley about Winchester
, Harper's Ferry
, and Martinsburg
, and, making it his base, push his powerful corps, by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, direct to the Ohio River
; and that thence he should cut off the retreat of General Rosecranz
and his whole force, whom General Lee
had drawn far eastward into the gorges of the Alleghanies
The capture of the larger part of the Federal
army, and the deliverance of the country, he thought, could hardly fail to reward the prompt execution of this project.
But it was not brought to the test of experiment.
The fine army of North Virginia expended the remainder of the year in inactivity, neither attempting nor accomplishing any.-thing.
was held in check, not by the enemy, but by the mud, and the Northwest
remained in the clutches of the oppressor.
Whether General Jackson
would have succeeded in
that difficult region, or whether Providence
was kind to him and his country in crossing his desires, and preserving him for future triumphs in more important fields, must remain undecided.
On the 7th of October, 1861, the Minister
of War rewarded General Jackson
's services at Manassas
with promotion to the rank of Major-General
in the Provisional Army.
The spirit in which this new honor was received, is displayed in the following letter to his wife:--
October 14th, 1861.--It gives my heart an additional gratification to read a letter that hasn't travelled on our holy Sabbath.
I am very thankful to that good God who withholds no good thing from me (though I am so utterly unworthy and so ungrateful), for making me a major-general of the provisional army of the Confederate States.
The commission dates from October 7th.
What I need is a more grateful heart to the “ Giver of every good and perfect gift.”
I have great reason to be thankful to our God for all His mercies which He has bestowed, and continues to shower upon me. Our hearts should overflow with gratitude to that God who has blest us so abundantly and overabundantly.
O that my life could be more devoted to magnifying His holy name!
Soon after came an order assigning him, under General Johnston
, to the Valley District, a military jurisdiction embracing all the country between the Blue Ridge
and the Alleghany Mountains
The force assigned him would be still under the general supervision of the Commander-in-Chief
; yet it constituted a separate, and, to a great degree, an independent command.
When this appointment reached him, his venerable pastor was present, upon that visit to his soldiery which has been mentioned.
him the order, and, when he had read it, said with a simplicity and candor which could not be mistaken: “Such a
degree of public confidence and respect as puts it in one's power to serve his country, should be accepted and prized; but, apart from that, promotion among men is only a temptation and a trouble.
Had this communication not come as an order
, I should instantly have declined it, and continued in command of my brave old Brigade.”
To his wife he wrote thus:--
“ Nov. 4th
, 1861.--I have received orders to proceed to Winchester
My trust is in God for the defence of that country.
I shall have great labor to perform, but through the blessing of an ever-kind heavenly Father, I trust that He will enable me and other instrumentalities to accomplish it. I trust that you feel more gratitude to God than pride, or elation At my promotion.
Continue to pray for me, that I may live to glorify God more and more by serving Him and our country.”
His brigade was ordered to remain with the Army of the Potomac, and it became necessary for him to part from his comradesin-arms.
On the day fixed for beginning his journey to his new scene of labor, he directed the regiments to be paraded in arms, and rode to their front with his staff.
No cheer arose, like those which usually greeted him, but every face was sad. Ranging his eye along their ranks, as though to say an individual farewell to each familiar face, he addressed them thus: “I am not here to make a speech, but simply to say farewell.
I first met you at Harper's Ferry
in the commencement of this war, and I cannot take leave of you without giving expression to my admiration of your conduct from that day to this, whether on the march, in the bivouac, or the tented field; or on the bloody plains of Manassas
, where you gained the well-deserved reputation of having decided the fate of the battle.
Throughout the broad extent of country over which you have marched, by your respect for the rights and the property of citizens, you
have shown that you were soldiers, not only to defend, but able and willing both to defend and protect.
You have already gained a brilliant and deservedly high reputation, throughout the army of the whole Confederacy, and I trust, in the future, by your deeds on the field, and by the assistance of the same kind Providence
who has heretofore favored our cause, you will gain more victories, and add additional lustre to the reputation you now enjoy.
You have already gained a proud position in the future history of this, our second War of Independence.
I shall look with great anxiety to your future movements; and I trust, whenever I shall hear of the First Brigade on the field of battle, it will be of still nobler deeds achieved, and higher reputation won.”
Then pausing, as though unable to leave his comrades-in-arms without some warmer and less official words, he threw the rein upon the neck of his horse, and, extending his arms, exclaimed,--
“ In the army of the Shenandoah you were the First Brigade; in the army of the Potomac you were the First Brigade; in the Second Corps of the army you are the First Brigade; you are the First Brigade in the affections of your general; and I hope, by your future deeds and bearing, you will be handed down to posterity as the First Brigade in this our second War of Independence.
Thus saying, he waved his hand, wheeled, and left the ground at a gallop, followed by a shout in which his brave men poured out their whole hearts.
He repaired immediately to Winchester
, and entered upon his duties as General commanding in the Valley district.
This chapter will be closed with four passages from his correspondence, which show how thoroughly public spirit and disinterestedness ruled in his heart.
The new and enlarged sphere to which he was promoted called for a re-arrangement of his
Application was made to him by dear friends, to make this the occasion of advancing persons near to his affections, as well as to theirs.
His reply was the following:
My desire, under the direction and blessing of our heavenly Father, is to get a staff specially qualified for their specific duties, and that will, under the blessing of the Most High, render the greatest possible amount of service to their country.
And his personal friends were not appointed.
To another kinsman he replied, by stating that qualification must be, with him, in every case, the first requisite; and inasmuch as the prosperity of the service, and even the fate of a battle, might depend on the fitness of a staff-officer for his post, he could not gratify personal partialities at his country's expense.
The habits into which he made most anxious inquiry, were early rising
; and, upon the whole subject of seeking promotion, his views were expressed with characteristic wisdom and manliness to another friend thus:--
“ Your letter, and also that of my much esteemed friend, Hon. Mr.
--in behalf of Mr.
-- , reached me to-day; and I hasten to reply, that I have no place to which, at present, I can properly assign him. I knew Mr.--personally, and was favorably impressed by him. But if a person desires office in these times, the best thing for him to do is at once to pitch into service somewhere, and work with such energy, zeal, and success, as to impress those around him with the conviction that such are his merits, he must be advanced, or the interest of the public service must suffer.
-- should mention the subject to you again, I think that you might not only do him, but the country, good service, by reading this part of my letter to him. My desire is, to make merit the basis of my recommendations and selections.”
The next extract is upon a different topic:--
, 1861.--I think that, as far as possible, persons should take Confederate State bonds, so as to relieve the Government
from any pecuniary pressure.
You had better not sell your coupons from the bonds, as I understand they are paid in gold, but let the Confederacy
keep the gold.
Citizens should not receive a cent of gold from the Government
, when it is so scarce.
The only objection to parting with your coupons, is, that if they are payable in gold, it will be taking just so much out of the treasury, when it needs all it has.”
To appreciate the self-denial expressed in the following passage, it must be known how dear his home was to him. In reply to a suggestion that he should obtain a furlough, he says:--“I can't be absent, as my attention is necessary in preparing my troops for hard fighting, should it be required; and as my officers and soldiers are not permitted to visit their wives and families, I ought not to see mine.
It might make the troops feel that they are badly treated, and that I consult my own comfort, regardless of theirs.
Every officer and soldier who is able to do duty ought to be busily engaged in military preparation, by hard drilling, etc., in order that, through the blessing of God, we may be victorious in the battles which, in His all-wise providence, may await us. If the war is carried on with vigor, I think, under the blessing of God, it will not last long.”