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Chapter 2

The troops left their camps about noon, Jackson's brigade leading. After the march was fairly begun, and the rear had left Winchester a mile or two, the different regiments were informed, at the same time, of the important object in view, of the necessity of a forced march, and exhorted to strive to reach the field in time to take part in the great battle then imminent.

The discouragement of that day's march to one accustomed, like myself, to the steady gait of regular soldiers, is indescribable. The views of military command and obedience, then taken both by officers and privates, confined those duties and obligations almost exclusively to the drill-ground and guards. In camps and marches they were scarcely known. Consequently, frequent and unreasonable delays caused so slow a rate of marching as to make me despair of joining General Beauregard in time to aid him. Major Whiting was therefore dispatched to the nearest station of the Manassas Gap Railroad, Piedmont, to [37] ascertain if trains, capable of transporting the troops to their destination more quickly than they were likely to reach it on foot, could be provided there, and, if so, to make the necessary arrangements. That officer met me at Paris, after executing his instructions, with a report so favorable as to give me reason to expect that the transportation of the infantry over the thirty-four miles between Piedmont and Manassas Junction would be accomplished easily in twenty-four hours.

Jackson's brigade, his leading men, that is to say, reached Paris, seventeen miles from Winchester, about two hours after dark. The four others halted for the night on the Shenandoah, having marched thirteen miles; Jackson's brigade marched the six miles from Paris to Piedmont before eight o'clock, Friday morning; and, as trains enough for its transportation were found there, it moved in an hour or two. The other brigades came up separately in the afternoon-Bartow's first. Other trains, capable of transporting two regiments, being in readiness about three o'clock, the Seventh and Eighth Georgia regiments were dispatched in them. No other infantry had the means of moving that day, although the president of the railroad company had promised that the last regiment should reach Manassas Junction Saturday morning-nine thousand men-before sunrise.

The artillery and cavalry were directed to continue their march by the wagon-road, under Colonels Stuart and Pendleton.

At night, Captain Chisholm, an officer of General Beauregard's staff, arrived, bringing a suggestion from him to me, to march by Aldie and fall upon the [38] rear of the Federal right, at Centreville, while his troops, advancing from Bull Run, assailed that army in front. I did not agree to the plan, because, ordinarily, it is impracticable to direct the movements of troops so distant from each other, by roads so far separated, in such a manner as to combine their action on a field of battle. It would have been impossible, in my opinion, to calculate when our undisciplined volunteers would reach any distant point that right be indicated. I preferred the junction of the two armies at the earliest time possible, as the first measure to secure success.

Enough of the cars, sent down in the morning to convey about two regiments, were brought back before midnight, but the conductors and engineers disappeared immediately, to pass the night probably in sleep, instead of on the road. And it was not until seven or eight o'clock Saturday morning that the trains could be put in motion, carrying the Fourth Alabama and Second Mississippi regiments, with two companies of the Eleventh. General Bee and myself accompanied these troops. Brigadier-General E. Kirby Smith was left at Piedmont to expedite the transportation of the remaining brigades-about three-fifths of the army.

We reached General Beauregard's position about noon. The Seventh and Eighth Georgia regiments were united to the detachment just arrived, to form a temporary brigade for General Bee.

As the army had not been informed, in the usual way, of the promotion of Generals Cooper, Lee, and myself, to the grade of general, I had, after leaving Winchester, requested the President, by telegraph, to [39] state what my rank in the army was, to prevent the possibility of a doubt of the relative rank of General Beauregard and myself in the mind of the former. His reply was received on the 20th. His excellency said, in his telegram: “You are a general in the Confederate army, possessed of all the powers attaching to that rank.”

The position occupied by the Confederate army was too extensive, and the ground, much of it, too broken, thickly wooded, and intricate, to be studied to any purpose in the brief space of time at my disposal; for I had come impressed with the opinion that it was necessary to attack the enemy next morning, to decide the event before the arrival of General Patterson's forces. Meanwhile, it might reasonably be expected all of ours would be united. Delay was dangerous, because it was not to be hoped that our movement from Winchester could be concealed from General Patterson more than twenty-four hours; or that, after learning it, he would fail to follow the movement, and march promptly to join McDowell. Battle being inevitable, it was certainly our part to bring it on before the arrival of so great an addition to the number of our enemies. My intention, and these reasons for it, were expressed to General Beauregard at once. He had formed the same opinion, as I had expected.

He then showed me, on a map prepared by his engineer officers, the position of his own troops, and that of the Federal army near Centreville. Unfortunately, this map only represented the roads and streams, without expressing the configuration of the ground. [40]

He had chosen the southern bank of Bull Run for his defensive line; and, on information communicated by spies, to the effect that Lieutenant-General Scott had ordered the Federal army to advance from Centreville by roads eastward of that leading directly to Manassas Junction, which crosses Bull Run at Mitchell's Ford, he had posted his main force below (to the east of) that ford: Ewell's brigade on the right, at Union Mills, D. R. Jones's at McLean's Ford, Longstreet's at Blackburn's, and Bonham's at Mitchell's. Holmes's and Early's were in the second line, the former on the right. The remaining brigade, Colonel Cocke's, was at Ball's Ford, four miles above Mitchell's. Fourteen companies and a battery belonging to that brigade, under Colonel Evans, guarded “the Stone Bridge” (by which the Warrenton turnpike crosses Bull Run) a half-mile above, and a farmford a thousand yards still farther up the stream. Jackson's and Bee's brigades, as they arrived, had been placed near Bonham's and Longstreet's by General Beauregard's orders.

Some slight field-works constructed for the defense of the depot at Manassas Junction were armed with fourteen or fifteen old twenty-four-pounders on naval carriages, and occupied by two thousand men. The heavy artillery was under the command of naval officers.

General Beauregard pointed out, on his map, five roads converging to Centreville from different points of his front, and proposed an order of march on these roads, by which the army should be concentrated near the Federal camps. It was accepted without hesitation; and, having had no opportunity to sleep [41] in either of the three nights immediately preceding, I requested him to draw up this order of march and have the number of copies necessary written by our staff-officers and brought to me in time for distribution that evening, while I was preparing, by rest, for the impending battle.

These papers were not ready for distribution that evening, nor until the next morning (21st), when I was able to sign them by the light of day in the grove where I had slept. They were not in the form usual in the United States Army, being written by General Beauregard's adjutant-general in his name,1 my sanction to be written on each copy. This was too immaterial to be worth correction; but, even if it had not been so, it was now too late to make such a correction, for the troops should then have been in motion.

Soon after sunrise, and before the distribution of these orders could have been completed, a light cannonade was opened upon our troops at the Stone Bridge, and a little later a similar demonstration was made in General Bonham's front. At half-past 5 o'clock a report was received from Colonel Evans that a body of Federal infantry, with a long line of skirmishers deployed before it, was visible on the opposite side of the valley of Bull Run. I had previously requested General Beauregard to send orders for me to Bee and Jackson to move their brigades to the left and place them near the Stone Bridge. He also ordered Colonel Hampton with the infantry of his legion, just arrived at Manassas, to hasten to the same locality. [42]

The plan of operations adopted the day before was now, apparently, made impracticable by the enemy's advance against our left. It was abandoned, therefore, and another adopted-suggested by General Beauregard. This was, a change of front to the left, and a vigorous attack on the left flank of the troops assailing our left, by the six brigades of our centre and right, while Cocke's, Jackson's, and Bee's brigades, and Hampton's legion, were meeting their assault. The orders for this, like those preceding them, were distributed by General Beauregard's staff-officers, because they were addressed to his troops, and my staff knew neither the positions of the different brigades, nor the paths leading to them. Want of promptness in the delivery of these orders frustrated this plan-perhaps fortunately.

Scouts, sent forward in the mean time by Generals Longstreet and D. R. Jones, reported strong bodies of Federal troops on the wooded heights in front of their brigades. From their reports it seemed to be as probable that McDowell was forming his main force in front of our main body, as that he was directing it against our left. At nine o'clock, Captain Alexander, of the Engineer Corps, who was also chief signal-officer, reported that large bodies of Federal troops could be seen from one of his signal-stations, crossing the valley of Bull Run, about two miles above our extreme left. When these troops were first observed, the head of the column had passed the open ground, in which they were visible. Their number, consequently, could not be estimated. He called our attention, soon after, to a heavy cloud of dust, such as the marching of an army might raise, [43] about ten miles from us, to the north-northwest — the direction of the road from Harper's Ferry. This excited apprehensions of the near approach of General Patterson's army.

General McDowell had marched from the Potomac with instructions from the general-in-chief to turn the right of the Confederate army and seize its line of communication with Richmond. Before involving himself in such an enterprise, the Federal general bestowed three days upon the examination of the ground before him. In this way he learned that the region into which he would have been led, by obedience to his instructions, was altogether unfavorable to the more numerous assailing army, and advantageous to the smaller force standing on the defensive; for it is rugged, and covered with thick woods, and the Occoquan, a stream to be crossed, is large enough to be a serious obstacle; while to the west the country is open, the hills gentle, and Bull Run almost everywhere fordable. He therefore decided, judiciously, to attempt to turn the Confederate line by moving through the open and favorable ground on his right, instead of involving his army in the thick woods and rugged hills on his left. The best argument for this change of plan, however, was the object explained by General McDowell-“to break up the communication between the two Confederate armies,” an object which might have been accomplished by prompt action.

For some unexplained purpose, one Federal division, Runyon's, had been left between the Potomac and Centreville, near Vienna. Leaving another, Miles's, at Centreville, to divert attention from the [44] movements of his main body by demonstrations in front of the Confederate right and centre, General McDowell had marched at daybreak with Tyler's, Hunter's, and Heintzelman's divisions, to cross Bull Run at Sudley Ford, two miles and a half above the Warrenton Turnpike, seize that road, and, as he expresses it, “send out a force to destroy the railroad at or near Gainesville, and thus break up the communication between the enemy's forces at Manassas and those in the Valley of Virginia.” 2 The Federal army followed the Warrenton Turnpike three miles, and then turned to the right into a country-road by which it reached Sudley Ford and Church. There it entered, at right angles, a road crossing the turnpike a mile and a half from the Stone Bridge, and leading, though not very directly, to Manassas Junction. Before the column turned out of the turnpike, the leading brigade and a battery were sent forward and formed near the Stone Bridge, to conceal the movement around the Confederate left.

This movement was reported to Colonel Evans, by his detachment stationed above the bridge. On receiving the intelligence,.he moved rapidly to the left and rear with eleven companies and two field-pieces, to endeavor to check or delay the progress of the enemy, having left three companies and two field-pieces to prevent the passage of the bridge by the body of troops he had been observing in front of it. Following the base of the hill on the north of Young's Branch, he threw himself in the enemy's way a little in advance of the intersection of the [45] turnpike and Sudley road, and formed his small force under cover of a detached wood. Here he was soon assailed by greatly superior and continually-increasing numbers, against which he and his little band held their ground bravely. The change of direction at Sudley Ford was so strong that the portion of the column beyond the stream, when the firing commenced, was almost parallel with the line of battle. This greatly expedited the deployment of the Federal army. Burnside's brigade, leading the march, attacked first, and was soon joined by a part of Porter's and one of Heintzelman's regiments.

The noise and smoke of the fight were distinctly heard and seen by General Beauregard and myself near Mitchell's Ford, five miles off; but, in its earlier stages, they indicated no force of the enemy that the troops on the ground and those of Bee, Hampton, and Jackson, that we could see hastening toward the firing in the order given, were not competent to cope with.

Bee, who was much in advance of the others, saw the strength and dispositions of the combatants, and the character of the ground around and before him, from the summit of the hill south of Young's Branch; and, seeing the advantage given to this position by its greater elevation than that of the opposite ridge, on which the enemy stood, by its broad, level top, and by the extent of open ground before it, he formed his brigade, including Bartow's two regiments and Imboden's battery, there; but, being appealed to for aid by Evans, then fully engaged, and seeing that his troops, that had suffered much in the unequal contest, were about to be overwhelmed, he moved forward [46] to disengage him, and, crossing the valley under the fire of the Federal artillery, formed on the right, and in advance of his line.

Although, even after this accession, the Confederate force was less than that of a Federal brigade, Bee maintained the fight for some time with such appearance of equality as to inspire in him the hope, apparently, of holding his ground until effective aid could reach him. At length, however, finding himself engaged with fivefold numbers in Burnside's, Porter's, Sherman's, and Keyes's brigades, and in danger of being enveloped by the coming into action of Heintzelman's division, he fell back to the position he had first chosen; crossing the broad, open valley, closely pressed by the Federal army.

Fortunately Hampton, hastening up with his legion, had reached the valley when the retrograde movement began. He promptly formed his battalion and joined in the action, and, by his courage and admirable soldiership, seconded by the excellent conduct of the gentlemen he had assembled in his legion, contributed greatly to the maintenance of order in the retreat. His lieutenant-colonel, Johnson, fell while gallantly aiding him. Imboden rendered excellent service with his battery in this difficult operation.

On the ground where he intended to reform, Bee met Jackson at the head of his brigade, and they began, the one to reform, and the other to deploy, simultaneously; Jackson on the left.

In the mean time, I had waited with General Beauregard, on an eminence near the centre, where my headquarters had been fixed at eight o'clock, the [47] full development of General McDowell's designs. The violence of the firing on the left indicated a battle, but the heavy forces, reported by chosen scouts to be in front of our centre and right, kept me in uncertainty. At length, near eleven o'clock, reports that those forces were felling trees gave me the impression that they were preparing for defense, not attack; and new clouds of dust showed that a large body of Federal troops was arriving on the field, and about to take part in the action. These indications convinced me that the great effort was in progress against our left. This conviction was expressed to General Beauregard as well as the consequent necessity of strengthening that wing as much and as soon as possible, and my intention to hurry to it. Orders were accordingly dispatched at once to General Holmes and Colonel Early to march with their brigades as rapidly as possible to the scene of conflict marked by the firing; and to General Bonham, to send up two of his regiments and a battery; he, Longstreet, and D. R. Jones, were also directed to feel the enemy in their front.

It was now evident that a battle was to be fought entirely different, in place and circumstances, from either of the two plans previously adopted. Events just related had prevented us from attacking the Federal army near Centreville; or, later, engaging it between that place and Bull Run, according to the second plan, suggested by General Beauregard. Instead of taking the initiative and operating in front of our line, we were now compelled to fight on the defensive, a mile and a half behind that line, and at right angles to it, on a new and unsurveyed field, with no [48] other plans than those suggested by the changing events of battle.

As soon as the necessary orders had been dispatched, I set out at a rapid gallop, accompanied by General Beauregard, to give such aid as we could to our troops engaged four miles off. Passing Colonel Pendleton, chief of artillery, with his former battery and Alburtis's, I desired him to follow with them as fast as possible.

We came upon the field not a moment too soon. The long contest against great odds, and the heavy losses, especially of field-officers, had discouraged Bee's troops, and destroyed or dispersed those of Evans — for we found him apparently without a command. The Fourth Alabama Regiment, of Bee's brigade, had lost all its field-officers, and was without a commander. Colonel S. R. Gist,3 a volunteer on General Bee's staff, was requested to take command of it.

Our presence with the troops under fire, and the assurance it gave of more material aid, had the happiest effect on their spirits. Order was easily and quickly restored, and the battle well reestablished. It was during the efforts for this that Jackson and his brigade are said to have acquired the name they have since borne-by Bee's calling to his men to observe how Jackson and his brigade4 stood “like a stone-wall,” a name made still more glorious in every battle in which general and brigade afterward fought.

After assigning General Beauregard to the [49] command of the troops immediately engaged, which he properly suggested belonged to the second in rank, not to the commander of the army, I returned to the supervision of the whole field. The aspect of affairs was not encouraging, yet I had strong hope that Beauregard's capacity and courage, the high soldierly qualities of Bee and Jackson, and the patriotic enthusiasm of our Southern volunteers, would maintain the fight until adequate reenforcements could be brought to their aid.

Urgent messages were sent to Bonham, Holmes, and Early, to hasten the march of their troops; and Ewell was directed to follow them with his brigade as quickly as possible. Colonel Hunton with his regiment, and Colonel (Governor) Smith with his battalion, both detached from Cocke's brigade, were sent to Bee's support. Many of the broken troops, individual stragglers as well as fragments of companies, were reorganized and led back into the fight with the help of my own staff and a part of General Beauregard's. The largest of these bodies, about equal to four companies, and so organized, having no field-officer with it, was placed under the command of Colonel F. J. Thomas, chief ordnance-officer, who fell while gallantly leading it against the enemy. These troops were all sent to the right to strengthen and encourage the regiments that had been weakened in the previous contest.

Cocke's brigade was held in rear of the right of our line, to observe a strong body of Federal troops, on the north side of Bull Run, in a position from which it could have struck Bee in flank in a few minutes. [50]

After these additions to the forces engaged, we had nine regiments and two companies of infantry, two hundred and fifty cavalry, and five field-batteries (twenty guns) of the Army of the Shenandoah, and twenty-seven companies of infantry, six companies of cavalry, and six pieces of artillery of the Army of the Potomac, contending with three divisions of the United States army and superior forces of cavalry and artillery; yet the brave Southern volunteers lost not a foot of ground, but repelled the repeated attacks of the heavy masses of the enemy, whose numbers enabled them to bring forward fresh troops after each repulse. Colonel Stuart contributed materially to one of these repulses, by a well-timed and vigorous charge upon the Federal right flank with two of his companies, those of Captains Welby Carter and J. B. Hoge.

It must not be supposed that such successful resistance by the Southern troops was due in any degree to want of prowess in their assailants. The army they fought belonged to a people who had often contended on the field on at least equal terms with the nation that had long claimed to be the most martial in Europe. The Northern army had the disadvantage, a great one to such undisciplined troops as were engaged on both sides, of being the assailants, and advancing under fire to the attack, which can be well done only by trained soldiers. They were much more liable to confusion, therefore, than the generally stationary ranks of the Confederates.

About two o'clock an officer of General Beauregard's adjutant-general's office galloped from Manassas Junction to report to me that a Federal army had [51] reached the Manassas Gap Railroad, was marching toward us, and was then but three or four miles from our left flank. Although it seemed to me impossible that General Patterson could have come up so soon, and from that direction, I fixed on a new field upon which to concentrate our whole force should the report prove to be true-one nearly equidistant from Manassas Junction, the troops engaged, and those on the right-and sent orders to the commanders of the latter to gather their respective brigades south of the stream, that they might be ready to move to it promptly.

On the appearance of Fisher's (Sixth North Carolina) regiment soon after (at half-past 2 o'clock), approaching from the direction of Manassas Junction, Colonel Cocke was desired to lead his brigade into action on the right; which he did with alacrity. When Fisher's regiment came up, the Federal general seemed to be strengthening his right. It was ordered to the left, therefore. Kershaw's and Cash's regiments of Bonham's brigade, then in sight, received similar orders on arriving.

Soon after three o'clock, while General McDowell seemed to be striving, by strengthening his right, to drive back our left, and thus separate us from Manassas Junction, Brigadier-General Kirby Smith, hastening with Elzey's brigade from that railroad-station, arrived by the route Fisher had followed. He was instructed, by a staff-officer sent forward to meet him, to form on the left of the line, with his left thrown forward, and to assail the enemy's right flank. At his request I joined him, directed his march, and gave these instructions in person. Before the [52] formtion was completed, he fell, severely wounded, directing, while falling from his horse, Colonel Elzey to take command of the brigade. That officer, who understood and appreciated the manoeuvre, executed it well. General Beauregard promptly seized the opportunity thus afforded, and threw forward his whole line. The enemy was driven from the long-contested hill, but rallied in the valley, upon a very strong reserve; and the united force, much stronger than any previously engaged at one time, was formed for another attack.

In the mean time Colonel Early came upon the field with his brigade, by the route on which we had first seen Fisher's and Kirby Smith's troops. He was instructed by me to move around our left, to form facing the Federal right flank, and fall upon it. On the way he was reenforced by five companies of cavalry, commanded by Colonel Stuart, and a battery under Lieutenant Beckham. He reached the position intended just when the Federal army, reformed, was apparently about to resume the offensive, and assailed its exposed flank. The attack was conducted with too much skill and courage to be for a moment doubtful. The Federal right was at once thrown into confusion. A general advance of the Confederate line, directed by General Beauregard, completed our success, and terminated the battle. The right of the Federal army fled in wild confusion from the field toward Sudley Ford, while the centre and left marched off hastily by the turnpike toward Centreville.

It was then twenty minutes before five o'clock. Instructions were immediately sent to General Bon. [53] ham, through Lieutenant-Colonel Lay of his staff, who happened to be with me, to march with his own and Longstreet's brigades by the quickest route to the turnpike, and form them across it to intercept the retreating enemy. Colonel Radford, with two squadrons that had been held in reserve near me, was directed to cross Bull Run at Ball's Ford, and strike that column in flank, on the turnpike; and Stuart, with the cavalry he had in hand and Beckham's battery, pursued the fugitives on the Sudley road. The number of prisoners taken by these little bodies of cavalry greatly exceeded their own force, but they were too weak to make any serious impression upon an army, even a defeated one.

The body of troops that had passed the day near the Stone Bridge and beyond the stream made a demonstration toward the rear of our right, when the retreat commenced; it was quickly met and repelled by Holmes's brigade just arriving, principally by his artillery, Captain Lindsay Walker's battery When General Bonham saw the Federal column on the turnpike, its appearance presented so little indication of rout that he thought the execution of the instructions he had received impracticable;5 he therefore ordered the two brigades to march back to their camps.

Some half-hour after the termination of the battle, the President rode upon the field, conducted from Manassas Station by Lieutenant-Colonel Jordan. He had arrived there from Richmond when the struggle had just closed, and had, doubtless, hurried out to take part in it. The crowd of fugitives he had seen [54] from his railroad-car, before reaching the station, had so strongly impressed upon his mind the idea that we were defeated, that it was not immediately removed by the appearance of the field. I judged so, at least, from his first words, while we were shaking hands: “How has the battle gone?”

In Alfriend's “Life of Jefferson Davis” it is asserted (p. 305) that the President reached “the battle-field while the struggle was still in progress;” that “to the troops his name and bearing were the symbols of victory;” that “while the victory was assured, but by no means complete, he urged that the enemy, still on the field (Heintzelman's troops, as subsequently appeared), be warmly pursued, as was successfully done” (p. 313).

These are fancies. He arrived upon the field after the last armed enemy had left it, when none were within cannon-shot, or south of Bull Run, when the victory was “complete” as well as “assured,” and no opportunity left for the influence of “his name and bearing.”

General Ewell reported to me for orders soon after the firing ceased, and informed me that his brigade, then probably about four miles from us, was hurrying on as fast as possible. He had ridden forward to study the part of the field to which he might be assigned, to prepare to act intelligently in the battle. He was told that it would not be wanted, and desired to lead it back to its camp; General Holmes was requested to do likewise; their immediate commander, General Beauregard, was requested to give them orders, however.

The preceding narrative shows how great were [55] the odds against which the Southern volunteers contended in the early stages of this action; their numbers engaged, gradually increasing, amounted at its close to about thirteen thousand men of all arms. But two of the superior officers of General McDowell's army gave in their reports the numbers of their troops, General Heintzelman and Colonel Porter: the former led nine thousand five hundred men into battle that day, in his division, and the latter three thousand seven hundred in his brigade. From these indications it may reasonably be inferred that the three Federal divisions on the field were about two to one compared with the Confederates, at four o'clock, and four to one at noon; at eleven o'clock the disparity of numbers was much greater.

Considering the length of time in which the troops were engaged at short range, the losses were small in relation to their numbers. That of the Confederates was: in the Army of the Shenandoah two hundred and seventy killed, nine hundred and seventy-nine wounded, eighteen missing; in that of the Potomac, one hundred and eight killed, five hundred and ten wounded, twelve missing: total, three hundred and seventy-eight killed, fourteen hundred and eighty-nine wounded, thirty missing.

That of the Federal army could not be ascertained by us accurately. Including prisoners, it must have been about four thousand.

Twenty-eight pieces of artillery, four thousand five hundred muskets, almost half a million cartridges, a garrison-flag, and ten regimental colors, were taken on the field, or near it in the pursuit, besides sixty-four artillery-horses with their harness, [56] twenty-six wagons, and camp-equipage, clothing, and other military property.

The Southern infantry had great advantage over the Northern in their greater familiarity with firearms. It was the reverse, however, in relation to the artillery; for that of the South had had neither time nor ammunition for practice, while much of that of the North belonged to the regular service. Still, ours, directed principally by Colonel Pendleton, was more effective even than the regular batteries of the United States army, in that battle.

The pursuit was pressed as long as it was effective. But when the main column of retreating infantry was encountered, after the parties in its rear and on the flanks had been dispersed or captured, our cavalry found itself too weak to make any serious impression, and returned with the prisoners already taken. The infantry was not required to pursue far from the field, because by doing so it would have been harassed to no purpose. It is well known that infantry, unencumbered by baggage-trains, can easily escape pursuing infantry.

The victory was as complete as one gained by infantry and artillery only can be.

The Army of the Potomac, exclusive of the garrison of the intrenched position at Manassas Junction, amounted then to about nineteen thousand men of all arms. A large proportion of it was not engaged in the battle. This was a great fault on my part. When Bee's and Jackson's brigades were ordered to the vicinity of the Stone Bridge, those of Holmes and Early should have been moved to the left also, and placed in the interval on Bonham's left [57] --if not then, certainly at nine o'clock, when a Federal column was seen turning our left; and, when it seemed certain that General McDowell's great effort was to be made there, Bonham's, Longstreet's, Jones's, and Ewell's brigades, leaving a few regiments and their cavalry to impose on Miles's division, should have been hurried to the left to join in the battle.

If the tactics of the Federals had been equal to their strategy, we should have been beaten. If, instead of being brought into action in detail, their troops had been formed in two lines with a proper reserve, and had assailed Bee and Jackson in that order, the two Southern brigades must have been swept from the field in a few minutes, or enveloped. General McDowell would have made such a formation, probably, had he not greatly under-estimated the strength of his enemy.

It was not until the 22d that any of the troops left at Piedmont by General Kirby Smith rejoined the army. All came on that day, however.

In the biography referred to, on page 12, it is asserted that “General Jackson's infantry was placed upon trains there (at Piedmont) on the forenoon of Friday (the 19th July); .... 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 successive days. Had they been provided with food, and ordered to continue their forced march, their zeal would have brought the whole to the field long before the commencement of the battle.”

Three brigades of the Army of the Shenandoah [58] were engaged in the battle, not General Jackson's alone, as is stated in the above extract.6 The only collision in the transportation of these troops from the Piedmont to the Manassas Station, occurred Saturday night or Sunday morning, of a train bearing Colonel Fisher's (Sixth North Carolina) regiment, with an empty one returning. It “obstructed” the track so little, that the regiment was carried on, reached its destination Sunday morning, and took part in the battle. Elzey's brigade, following on another train, passed over the place of collision soon after the occurrence, and arrived upon the field but an hour later than Fisher's regiment. The detention, that kept “all the remaining troops” out of the battle, was due to miserable mismanagement of the railroad trains, such as could neither have been foreseen nor apprehended by those who directed this movement.

The troops7 had been nine or ten hours in marching from Winchester to the Shenandoah-thirteen miles. It was therefore certain that they would not accomplish the forty-four still before them in less than three days, or before Sunday evening. We met, at Paris, intelligence of the affair of the 18th, showing that the Federal army was in the immediate presence of that of General Beauregard, so that a battle on Friday was probable-its occurrence later than Saturday very unlikely. It was evident, therefore, from such experience as we had, that there was no hope of reaching the field in time, but by the railroad. [59]

The troops were provided with rations for five days, before leaving Winchester.8 If any of them were without food at Piedmont, it must have been because they had thrown away their rations, then not unusual on a march.

The President remained at Manassas Junction until nine or ten o'clock A. M., on the 23d, employed chiefly in matters of military organization. When I recommended to him General Beauregard's promotion to the grade of general in the Confederate army, he informed me that the nomination had already been written, or determined on. He also promoted Colonel Elzey, Lieutenant-Colonel S. Jones, and Major W. H. C. Whiting, to brigadiergeneralciess. He offered me the command in Western Virginia, subsequently conferred on General Lee, promising to increase the forces there adequately from the army around us. In replying, I expressed the opinion that the Government of the United States would organize a great army near Washington, which would be ready for offensive operations before the end of the fall, when we might expect another invasion, on a much larger scale than that just defeated.

Being in position to command against it, I was unwilling to be removed to a much less important though more immediate service.

If the tone of the press indicated public opinion and feeling in the South, my failure to capture Washington received strong and general condemnation.

Many erroneously attributed it to the President's prohibition; but he gave no orders, and expressed [60] neither wish nor opinion on the subject, that ever came to my knowledge. Considering the relative strength of the belligerents on the field, the Southern people could not reasonably have expected greater results from their victory than those accomplished: the defeat of the invasion of Virginia, and the preservation of the capital of the Confederacy.

All the military conditions, we knew, forbade an attempt on Washington. The Confederate army was more disorganized by victory than that of the United States by defeat. The Southern volunteers believed that the objects of the war had been accomplished by their victory, and that they had achieved all that their country required of them. Many, therefore, in ignorance of their military obligations, left the army — not to return. Some hastened home to exhibit the trophies picked up on the field; others left their regiments without ceremony to attend to wounded friends, frequently accompanying them to hospitals in distant towns. Such were the reports of general and staff officers, and railroad officials. Exaggerated ideas of the victory, prevailing among our troops, cost us more men than the Federal army lost by defeat.

Besides this condition of our army, the reasons for the course condemned by the non-combatant military critics were:

The unfitness of our raw troops for marching, or assailing intrenchments.

The want of the necessary supplies of food and ammunition, and means of transporting them. Until near the 10th of August, we never had rations for more than two days, and sometimes none; nor half enough ammunition for a battle. [61]

The fortifications upon which skillful engineers, commanding the resources of the United States, had been engaged since April, manned by at least fifty thousand Federal troops,9 half of whom had not suffered defeat.

The Potomac, a mile wide, bearing United States vessels-of-war, the heavy guns of which commanded the wooden bridges and southern shore.

The Confederate army would have been two days in marching from Bull Run to the Federal intrenchments, with less than two days rations, or not more.10 It is asserted that the country, teeming with grain and cattle, could have furnished food and forage in abundance. Those who make the assertion forget that a large Federal army had passed twice over the route in question. Many of the Southern people have seen tracts of country along which a Federal army has passed once; they can judge, therefore, of the abundance left where it has passed twice. As we had none of the means of besieging, an immediate assault upon the forts would have been unavoidable; it would have been repelled, inevitably, and our half supply of ammunition exhausted; and the enemy, previously increased to seventy thousand men by the army from Harper's Ferry, and become the victorious party, could and would have resumed their march to Richmond without fear of further opposition.

And, if we had miraculously been successful in our assault, the Potomac would have protected [62] Washington, and rendered our further progress impossible.

It is certain that the Federal Government and generals did not regard the capture of Washington by us as practicable, like the non-combatant authors of the criticisms to which I refer. The fact that the army at Harper's Ferry was left idle there instead of being brought to Washington, is conclusive on that point. I have never doubted the correctness of my course on that occasion. Had I done so, the results of the invasions made subsequently by disciplined and much more numerous armies, properly equipped and provided, and commanded by the best soldiers who appeared in that war, would have reassured me. The first of these expeditions was after General Lee's victory over Pope, and those of Majors-General Jackson and Ewell over Fremont, Banks, and Shields, in 1862; the second, when the way was supposed to have been opened by the effect of General Lee's victory at Chancellorsville, in 1863.

The armies defeated on those occasions were four times as numerous as that repulsed on the 21st of July, 1861, and their losses much greater in proportion to numbers; yet the spirit of the Northern people was so roused by these invasions of their country, that their armies, previously defeated on our soil, met ours on their own at Sharpsburg and Gettysburg so strong in numbers and in courage as to send back the war into Virginia from each of those battle-fields. The failure of those invasions, directed by Lee, aided by Longstreet and Jackson, with troops inured to marches and manoeuvres as well as to battle, and attempted under the most favorable circumstances of [63] the war, proves that the Confederacy was too weak for offensive warfare, and is very strong evidence in favor of the course against which Southern writers have declaimed vehemently.

The authors of Alfriend's “Life of Jefferson Davis” seem to regard this tone of the Southern press as evidence of Southern opinion on this question, and claim that “Mr. Davis was far from approving the inaction which followed Manassas. He confidently expected a different use of the victory.... Indeed, before leaving Manassas, President Davis favored the most vigorous pursuit practicable.... The evidences of disorganization upon which General Johnston dwells with such force and emphasis were indeed palpable, but Mr. Davis confidently believed that an efficient pursuit might be made by such commands as were in comparatively good condition. Such were his impressions then; and that he contemplated immediate activity, as the sequel of Manassas, is a matter of indisputable record” (pp. 812-314).

These assertions are accompanied by no proofs, by no orders, nor even suggestions to the commander of the army by the President while he was at Manassas Junction, nor correspondence on the subject after his return to Richmond. The author cannot assume for him, as he does for Jackson, that “his sense of official propriety sealed his lips.” He came to the army as President — to give instructions-and, if necessary, orders in such a crisis.

If he had been “far from approving the inaction that followed Manassas,” he would have required action. [64]

If he had “expected a different use of victory,” he would have compelled me to attempt to fulfil that expectation. He came to control both general and army.

If he thought that “an advance” would secure “immediate and consecutive triumphs,” and the certainty of “even more glorious and valuable achievements,” he violated his duty and his oath, by neglecting to compel an aggressive movement by the army, to accomplish such results.

He was with the army about forty hours-quite long enough to see what had been accomplished, and to learn if more could be done, but expressed none of the “views” and opinions ascribed to him in the biography, and gave me no orders for movements of troops, and discussed no matters concerning the army, except such as related to administration. The fact that he gave no instructions in relation to the employment of the army, nor orders to make any aggressive movement nor even suggested such, proves conclusively that he thought none expedient, and was satisfied with the victory as it was. His dispatch of Sunday night, and the speech at the depot of the Central Railroad in Richmond, express that satisfaction, and it only.

The President approved the course pursued after the victory at Manassas, because he knew the discouragements of a march without sufficient food, the utterly inadequate supply of ammunition, the hopelessness of assailing a far more numerous enemy in strong intrenchments, and that the Potomac was impassable. At that time, too, defensive war was regarded by the Southern leaders as our best policy, [65] as, it was apprehended, invasion by us would unite all the people of the North, Democrats and Republicans, in the defense of their country. It is certain that either country could have raised armies stronger, both in numbers and in spirit, for defensive than for offensive war.

The President could have expected no “different use of victory,” because he11 knew that I thought that the next important service of that army would be near the end of October, against the invasion of a much greater Federal army than McDowell's; and he proposed, the day after the battle, to send me, with a part of the army at Manassas, to Western Virginia.

Our own dead were buried without unnecessary delay; but the expectation on our part that General McDowell would send a party of his own soldiers to perform that duty to their late comrades, left the Federal dead unburied several days, until we found it necessary to inter them.

After the troops had been somewhat reorganized, new positions were assigned to them. Among the charges against me, is that of exposing the army at the same time to the stench of the battle-field,12 and the miasma of the August heat, and thus producing “camp-fevers tenfold more fatal than the bullets of the enemy.”

Those who have seen large bodies of new troops know that they are sickly in all climates. Our Southern volunteers were peculiarly so, being attacked in the early part of their camp-life by measles and [66] mumps-epidemics to which adults of thickly-inhabited regions, like the Northern States, are not liable. The former was often followed by pneumonia or typhoid fever. The ignorant attributed the prevalence of inevitable disease to extraordinary causes. The troops of the Army of the Shenandoah suffered as much in the healthy climate of the Valley as they and others did at Centreville and Fairfax Court-House.

I have said that the dead were all buried as soon as it appeared that General McDowell intended to leave his share of that duty to us. Before their burial, the nearest troops, a mile or mile and a half from the field, were not incommoded by its neighborhood; they were Whiting's (late Bee's) and Evans's brigades. I say this from personal observation, having been in their camps daily. After the interments were all made, parties of ladies visited the ground without inconvenience. The camp of Whiting's brigade was removed to the neighborhood of Bristow, on account of complaints of bad water — not of stench or tainted air; and Evans's was sent to Leesburg as an outpost. Longstreet's, D. R. Jones's, Cocke's, and Forney's brigades, were placed near and beyond Centreville; those of Ewell, S. Jones, and Early, were encamped from seven to nine miles from the places of burial. Jackson's camp,13 the nearest to them, was about four miles off. The headquarters of the army were at the same distance. On the 29th of July the surgeons of Jackson's brigade reported that the number of its sick was increasing. Upon that information General Jackson was requested to choose [67] the most convenient and healthy position for his camp that could be found. He selected one a mile from Centreville, on the road to Fairfax Court-House, on which he established his camp on the 1st or 2d of August. The cavalry was in advance of Fairfax Court-House, supported by Elzey's brigade. The positions described above, except Jackson's, were occupied by the troops on the 23d or 24th of July.

Although we were near the rich Piedmont region, and on a railroad leading from the Valley of the Shenandoah, complaints of scarcity, even absolute want of food, were not unfrequent. Until the 10th of August we never had a supply for more than two days, sometimes none. The chief commissary of the army, Lieutenant-Colonel R. B. Lee, an officer of capacity and experience, and a tried soldier, was not permitted by the chief of his department to purchase the more important articles of food for the troops-products of the country-but was required to apply for them to a commissary in Richmond; so the flour sent to us in one week had, in most cases, passed by our depot on its way to Richmond the previous one. The effects of this system were delay and irregularity in receiving this important article, and an addition of at least twenty-five per cent. to its price. Efforts were made by General Beauregard and myself, by correspondence with the Government, to bring about a change of system for the sake of economy, regularity of supply, and the military object of anticipating the Federal army in the consumption of the beef and flour of the rich and exposed counties of Loudon, Jefferson, and Frederick.

These efforts had no effect, unless they caused [68] the loss to the army of its excellent chief commissary, who was summarily removed. He had no other part in them than furnishing, at my orders, information from his office for my use in the correspondence.

1 See copy of this order, Appendix.

2 General McDowell's report.

3 Distinguished in the Army of Tennessee, as brigadier-general, and fell at Franklin.

4 Those in sight of Bee's troops were lying down by Jackson's order, to avoid the enemy's artillery.

5 Reports (verbal) of staff-officers; no others were received.

6 See previous Narrative, and Johnston's and Beauregard's reports.

7 Except Jackson's.

8 The rich neighborhood of Piedmont Station could have furnished food, if it had been needed.

9 Mansfield's, Miles's, and Runyon's divisions, and eleven thousand men sent from camps in Pennsylvania, July 22d.

10 Dabney's “Life of Jackson.”

11 See page 36.

12 Dabney's “Life of Jackson,” p. 234.

13 After the removal of Whiting's and Evans's.

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