the very first cry that the “rebels are coming,” but if General McDowell
and his officers are to be believed, there still remained on the southern bank of the Potomac
a considerable force in fighting condition.
' division had not been engaged and Runyon
's had not reached Centreville
when the battle took place.
Besides a considerable force had been retained in Washington
states in his report, that, when he assumed command on the 27th of July, the infantry in and around Washington
numbered 50,000, and this was much larger than our whole force was after the reinforcements had reached us subsequent to the battle.
The strength of our army at this time, as well as on all other occasions, has been greatly exaggerated even by Southern writers; its organization was very imperfect, many of the troops not being brigaded.
If we had advanced, Alexandria
would probably have fallen into our hands without a struggle, and we might have forced the enemy to evacuate his works south of the Potomac
, but very likely not until after a fight in which our loss would have been greater than the object to be accomplished would have justified.
We might have transferred our line to the banks of the Potomac
, but we could not have held it, and would eventually have been compelled to abandon it with greater damage to us than the evacuation of the line of Bull Run
So much for the question as between the commanding general
and the cavillers.
But there is another phase of it, in which a staff officer of General Beauregard
, writing for a Northern journal, has endeavored to raise an issue between that general and the Government
I have before shown that General Johnston
, as commander of the army, was the responsible person, and I believe he has never attempted to evade the responsibility.
's agency in the matter could only be as an adviser and lieutenant of the commanding general