- Conference with the Generals after the battle -- order to pursue the enemy -- evidences of a thorough rout -- “Sweet to die for such a cause” -- movements of the next day -- what more it was practicable to do -- charge against the President of preventing the capture of Washington -- the failure to pursue -- reflection on the President -- General Beauregard's report -- endorsement upon it -- strength of the opposing forces -- extracts relating to the battle, from the narrative of General early -- resolutions of Congress -- efforts to increase the efficiency of the army.
At A late hour of the night I had a conference with Generals Johnston and Beauregard; the adjutant general of the latter, Colonel Jordan, was present, and sat opposite me at the table. When, after some preliminary conversation, I asked whether any troops had been sent in pursuit of the enemy, I was answered in the negative. Upon further inquiry as to what troops were in the best position for pursuit, and had been least fatigued during the day, General Bonham's brigade was named. I then suggested that he should be ordered in pursuit; a pause ensued, until Colonel Jordan asked me if I would dictate the order. I at once dictated an order for immediate pursuit. Some conversation followed, the result of which was a modification of the order by myself, so that, instead of immediate pursuit, it should be commenced at early dawn. Colonel Jordan spoke across the table to me, saying, “If you will send the order as you first dictated it, the enemy won't stop till he gets into the Potomac.” I believe I remember the words very nearly, and am quite sure that I do remember them substantially. On March 25, 1878, I wrote to General Beauregard as follows:
To this letter General Beauregard courteously replied that his order book was in New York, in the hands of a friend, to whom he would  write for a copy of the order desired if it should be in said book, and that he would also write to his adjutant, General Jordan, for his recollection of the order if it had not been inscribed in the order book. On April 24th General Beauregard forwarded to me the answer to his inquiries in my behalf, as follows:
General Beauregard, in his letter forwarding the above, wrote, “The account given herewith by General Jordan of what occurred there respecting further pursuit that night agrees with my own recollection.” It was a matter of importance, as I regarded it, to follow closely on the retreating enemy, but it was of no consequence then or now as to who issued the order for pursuit, and unless requested, I should not have dictated one, preferring that the generals to whom the operations were confided should issue all orders to the troops. I supposed the order, as modified by myself, had been sent. I have found, however, since the close of the war, that it was not, but that an order to the same effect was sent on the night of July 21st, for a copy of which I am indebted to the kindness of that chivalrous gentleman, soldier, and patriot, General Bonham. It is as follows:
Impressed with the belief that the enemy was very superior to us, both in numbers and appointments, I had felt apprehensive that, unless  pressed, he would recover from the panic under which he fled from the field, rally on his reserves, and renew the contest. Therefore it was that I immediately felt the necessity for a pursuit of the fugitives, and insisted that the troops on the extreme left should retain their position during the night of the 21st, as has been heretofore stated. In conference with the generals that night, this subject was considered, and I dictated an order for a movement on the rear of the enemy at early dawn, which, on account of the late hour at which it was given, differed very little from one for an immediate movement. A rainfall, extraordinary for its violence and duration, occurred on the morning of the succeeding day, so that, over places where during the battle one could scarcely get a drink of water, rolled torrents which, in the afternoon of the 22d, it was difficult to cross. From these and other causes, the troops were scattered to such an extent that but few commands could have been assembled for immediate service. It was well for us that the enemy, instead of retiring in order, so as to be rallied and again brought to the attack, left hope behind and fled in dismay to seek for safety beyond the Potomac. Each hour of the day following the battle added to the evidence of a thorough rout of the enemy. Abandoned wagons, stores, guns, caissons, small arms, and ammunition proved his complete demoralization. As far as our cavalry went, no hostile force was met, and all the indications favored the conclusion that the purpose of invasion had for the time been abandoned. The victory, though decisive and important, both in its moral and physical effect, had been dearly bought by the sacrifice of the lives of many of our bravest and best, who at the first call of their country had rushed to its defense. When riding to the front, I met an ambulance bearing General Barnard Bee from the field, where he had been mortally wounded, after his patriotism had been illustrated by conspicuous exhibitions of skill, daring, and fortitude. Soon after, I learned that my friend Colonel Bartow had heroically sealed with his life blood his faith in the sanctity of our cause. He had been the chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs in the provisional Congress, and, after the laws were enacted to provide for the public defense, he went to the field to maintain them. It is to such virtuous and devoted citizens that a country is indebted for its prosperity and honor, as well in peace as in war. Reference has been made to the dispersion of our troops after the battle, and in this connection the following facts are mentioned: in the  afternoon of the 22d, with a guide supposed to be cognizant of the positions at which the different commands would be found, I went to visit the wounded, and among them a youth of my family, who, it was reported to me, was rapidly sinking. After driving many miles, and witnessing very painful scenes, but seldom finding the troops in the position where my guide supposed them to be, and always disappointed in not discovering him I particularly sought, I was, at the approach of night, about to abandon the search, when, accidentally meeting an officer of the command to which the youth belonged, I was directed to the temporary hospital to which the wounded of that command had been removed. It was too late; the soul of the young soldier had just left his body; the corpse lay before me. Around him were many gentle boys, suffering in different degrees from the wounds they had received. One bright, refined-looking youth from South Carolina, severely if not fatally wounded, responded to my expression of sympathy by the heroic declaration that it was “sweet to die for such a cause.” Many kindred spirits ascended to the Father from that field of their glory. The roll need not be recorded here; it has a more enduring depository than the pen can make—the traditions of a grateful people. The victory at Manassas was certainly extraordinary, not only on account of the disparity of numbers and the inferiority of our arms, but also because of many other disadvantages under which we labored. We had no disciplined troops, and though our citizens were generally skilled in the use of small arms, which, with their high pride and courage, might compensate for the want of training while in position, these inadequately substituted military instruction when manoeuvres had to be performed under fire, and could not make the old-fashioned musket equal to the long-range, new-model muskets with which the enemy was supplied. The disparity in artillery was still greater, both in the number and kind of guns; thanks to the skill and cool courage of the Reverend Captain W. N. Pendleton, his battery of light, smooth-bore guns, manned principally by the youths whose rector he had been, proved more effective in battle than the long-range rifle-guns of the enemy. The character of the ground brought the forces into close contact, and the ricochet of the round balls carried havoc into the columns of the enemy, while the bolts of their rifle-guns, if they missed their object, penetrated harmlessly into the ground. The field was very extensive, broken, and wooded. The senior general had so recently arrived that he had no opportunity minutely to learn the ground, and the troops he brought were both unacquainted with the  field and with those with whom they had to cooperate. To all this must be added the disturbing fact that the plan of battle, as originally designed, was entirely changed by the movement of the enemy on our extreme left, instead of right and center, as anticipated. The operations, therefore, had to be conducted against the plan of the enemy, instead of on that which our generals had prepared and explained to their subordinate commanders. The promptitude with which the troops moved, and the readiness with which our generals modified their preconceived plans to meet the necessities as they were developed, entitled them to the commendation so liberally bestowed at the time by their countrymen at large. General Johnston had been previously promoted to the highest grade in our army, and I deemed it but a fitting reward for the services rendered by General Beauregard that he should be promoted to the same grade; therefore I addressed to him the following letter:
The 22d, the day after the battle, was spent in following up the line of the retreating foe and collecting the large supplies of arms, of ammunition, and other military stores. The supplies of the army were on a scale of such luxurious extravagance as to excite the surprise of those accustomed only to our rigid economy. The anticipation of an easy victory had caused many to come to the battle as to a joyous feast, and the signs left behind them of the extent to which they had been disappointed in the entertainment, constituted the staple of many laughable stories, which were not without their value because of the lesson they contained as to the uncertainties of war and the mortification that usually follows vain boasting. Among the articles abandoned by the enemy in his flight were some which excited a just indignation, and which indicated the shameless disregard of all the usages of honorable warfare. They were handcuffs, the fit appendage of a policeman, but not of a soldier who came to meet his foeman hilt to hilt. These were reported to have been found in large numbers; some of them were sent to Richmond. On the night of the 22d I held a second conference with Generals Johnston and Beauregard. All the revelations of the day were of the  most satisfactory character as to the completeness of our victory. The large amount gained of fine artillery, small arms, and ammunition, all of which were much needed by us, was not the least gratifying consequence of our success. The generals, like myself, were well content with what had been done. I propounded to them the inquiry as to what more it was practicable to do. They concurred as to their inability to cross the Potomac, and to the further inquiry as to an advance to the south side of the Potomac, General Beauregard promptly stated that there were strong fortifications there, occupied by garrisons, which had not been in the battle, and were therefore not affected by the panic which had seized the defeated army. He described those fortifications as having wide, deep ditches, with palisades, which would prevent the escalade of the works. Turning to General Johnston, he said, “They have spared no expense.” It was further stated in explanation that we had no sappers and miners, nor even the tools requisite to make regular approaches. If we had possessed both, the time required for such operations would have more than sufficed for General Patterson's army and other forces to have been brought to that locality in such numbers as must have rendered the attempt, with our present means, futile. This view of the matter rests on the supposition that the fortifications and garrisons described did actually exist, of which there seemed then to be no doubt. If the reports which have since reached us be true, that there were at that time neither fortifications nor troops stationed on the south bank of the Potomac; that all the enemy's forces fled to the north side of the river, and even beyond; that the panic of the routed army infected the whole population of Washington city; that no preparation was made, or even contemplated, for the destruction of the bridge across the Potomac—then it may have been, as many have asserted, that our army, following close upon the flying enemy, could have entered and taken possession of the United States capital. These reports, however, present a condition of affairs altogether at variance with the information on which we had to act. Thus it was, and so far as I knew, for the reasons above stated, that an advance to the south bank of the Potomac was not contemplated as the immediate sequence of the victory at Manassas. What discoveries would have been made and what results would have ensued from the establishment of our guns upon the south bank of the river, to open fire upon the capital, are speculative questions upon which it would be useless to enter. After the conference of the 22d, and because of it, I decided to return  to Richmond and employ all the power of my office to increase the strength of the army, so as to better enable it to meet the public need, whether in offensive-defensive or purely defensive operations, as opportunity should offer for the one, or the renewal of invasion require the other. A short time subsequent to my return, a message was brought to me from the prison, to the effect that a noncommissioned officer, captured at Manassas, claimed to have a promise of protection from me. The name given was Hulburt of Connecticut. I had forgotten the name he gave when I saw him; but, believing that I would recognize the person who had attended to Colonel Gardner, and to whom only such a promise had been given, the officer in charge was directed to send him to me. When he came, I had no doubt of his identity, and explained to him that I had directed that he should not be treated as a prisoner, but that, in the multitude of those wearing the same uniform as his, some neglect or mistake had arisen, for which I was very sorry, and that he should be immediately released and sent down the river to the neighborhood of Fortress Monroe, where he would be among his own people. He then told me that he had a sister residing a few miles in the country, whom he would be very glad to visit. Permission was given him to do so, and a time fixed at which he was to report for transportation; so he left, with manifestations of thankfulness for the kindness with which he had been treated. In due time a newspaper was received, containing an account of his escape, and how he had lingered about the suburbs of Richmond and made drawings of the surrounding fortifications. The treachery was as great as if his drawings had been valuable, which they could not have been, as we had only then commenced the detached works which were designed as a system of defenses for Richmond. When the smoke of battle had lifted from the field of Manassas, and the rejoicing over the victory had spread over the land and spent its exuberance, some who, like Job's war horse, “sniffed the battle from afar,” but in whom the likeness there ceased, censoriously asked why the fruits of the victory had not been gathered by the capture of Washington city. Then some indiscreet friends of the generals commanding in that battle, instead of the easier task of justification, chose the harder one of exculpation for the imputed failure. Their ill-advised zeal, combined perhaps with malice against me, induced the allegation that the President had prevented the generals from making an immediate and vigorous pursuit of the routed enemy. This, as other stories had been, was left to the correction which time  it was hoped would bring, the sooner because it was expected to be refuted by the reports of the commanding generals with whom I had conferred on that subject immediately after the battle. After considerable time had elapsed, it was reported to me that a member of Congress, who had served on that occasion as a volunteer aide to General Beauregard, had stated in the House of Representatives that I had prevented the pursuit of the enemy after his defeat at Manassas. This gave to the rumor such official character and dignity as seemed to me to entitle it to notice not theretofore given, wherefore I addressed to General Johnston the following inquiry, which, though restricted in its terms to the allegation, was of such tenor as left it to his option to state all the facts connected with the slander, if he should choose to do me that justice, or should see the public interest involved in the correction, which, as stated in my letter to him, was that which gave it in my estimation its claim to consideration, and had caused me to address him on the subject:
This answer to my inquiry was conclusive as to the charge which had been industriously circulated that I had prevented the immediate pursuit of the enemy, and had obstructed active operations after the battle of Manassas, and thus had caused the failure to reap the proper fruits of the victory. No specific inquiry was made by me as to the part I took in the conferences of July 21st and 22d, but a general reference was made to them. The entire silence of General Johnston in regard to those conferences is noticeable from the fact that, while his answer was strictly measured by the terms of my inquiry as to pursuit, he added a statement about a conference at Fairfax Court House, which occurred in the autumn, say October, and could have had no relation to the question of pursuit of the enemy after the victory of Manassas, or other active operations therewith connected. The reasons stated in my letter for making an inquiry naturally pointed to the conferences of July 21st and 22d, but surely not to a conference held months subsequent to the battle, and on a question quite different from that of hot pursuit. In regard to the matter of this subsequent conference I shall have more to say hereafter. I left the field of Manassas proud of the heroism of our troops in battle, and of the conduct of the officers who led them. Anxious to recognize the claim of the army on the gratitude of the country, it was my pleasing duty to bear testimony to their merit in every available form. Those who left the field and did not return to share its glory, it was wished, should only be remembered as exceptions proving a rule. With all the information possessed at the time by the commanding generals, the propriety of maintaining our position, while seeking  objects more easily attained than the capture of the United States capital, seemed to me so demonstrable as to require no other justification than the statements to which I have referred in connection with the conference of July 22d. It would have seemed to me then, as it does now, to be less than was due to the energy and fortitude of our troops, to plead a want of transportation and supplies for a march of about twenty miles through a country which had not then been denuded by the ravages of war. Under these impressions, and with such feelings, I wrote to General Beauregard as follows:
I had declared myself content and gratified with the conduct of the troops and the officers, and supposed the generals, in recognition of my efforts to aid them by increasing their force and munitions, as well as by my abstinence from all interference with them upon the field, would have neither cause nor motive to reflect upon me in their reports, and it was with equal surprise and regret that in this I found myself mistaken. General Johnston, in his report, represented the order to him to make a junction with General Beauregard as a movement left to his discretion, with the condition that, if made, he should first send his sick and baggage to Culpeper Court House. I felt constrained to put upon his report when it was received the following endorsement:
The telegram referred to by General Johnston in this report as received by him about one o'clock on the morning of the 18th of July is inaccurately reported. The following is a copy:Upon the receipt of General Beauregard's report of the battle of Manassas, I found that it contained matter which seemed to me out of place, and therefore addressed to him the following letter:
The word “after” is not found in the dispatch before the words “sending your sick,” as is stated in the report; so that the argument based on it requires no comment. The order to move “if practicable” had reference to General Johnston's letters of the 12th and 15th of July, representing the relative strength and positions of the enemy under Patterson and of his own forces to be such as to make it doubtful whether General Johnston had the power to effect the movement.
As General Beauregard did not think proper to omit that portion of his report to which objection was made, it necessitated, when the entire report was transmitted to Congress, the placing of an endorsement upon it, reviewing that part of the report which I considered objectionable. The Congress, in its discretion, ordered the publication of the report,  except that part to which the endorsement referred, thereby judiciously suppressing both the endorsement and the portion of the report to which it related. In this case, and every other official report ever submitted to me, I made neither alteration nor erasure. That portion of the report which was suppressed by the Congress has, since the war, found its way into the press, but the endorsement which belonged to it has not been published. As part of the history of the time, I will here present both in their proper connection:
It has not been my purpose to describe the battles of the war. To the reports of the officers serving on the field, in the armies of both governments, the student of history must turn for knowledge of the details, and it will be the task of the future historian, from comparison of the whole, to deduce the truth. It is fortunate for the cause of justice that error and misrepresentation have, in their inconsistencies and improbabilities, the elements of self-destruction, while truth is in its nature consistent and therefore self-sustaining. To such general remarks in regard to campaigns, sieges, and battles as may seem to me appropriate to the scope and object of my work, I shall append or insert, from time to time, the evidence of reliable actors in those affairs, as well to elucidate obscurity as to correct error. From the official reports it appears that the strength of the two armies was: Confederate, 30,167 men of all arms, with 29 guns;2 Federal, 35,732 men,3 with a body of cavalry, of which only one company is reported, and a large artillery force not shown in the tabular statement.  Of these troops, some on both sides were not engaged in the battle. This, it is believed, was the case to a much larger extent on our side than on that of the enemy. He selected the point of attack, and could concentrate his troops for that purpose, but we were guarding a line of some seven miles front, and therefore widely dispersed. For the purpose above stated, extracts are herein inserted from a narrative in the “Operations on the Line of Bull Run in June and July, 1861, including the First Battle of Manassas.” The name of the author, J. A. Early, will, to all who know him, be a sufficient guarantee for the accuracy of the statements, and for the justice of the conclusions announced. To those who do not know him, it may be proper to state that he was educated as a soldier; after leaving the army he became a lawyer, but when his country was involved in war with Mexico, he volunteered and served in a regiment of his native state, Virginia. After that war terminated, he returned to the practice of his profession, which he was actively pursuing when the controversy between the sections caused the call of a convention to decide whether Virginia should secede from the Union. He was sent by the people of the county in which he resided, to represent them in that convention. There he opposed to the last the adoption of the ordinance for secession; when it was decided, against his opinion, to resort to the remedy of withdrawal from the Union, he, true to his allegiance to the state of which he was a citizen, paused not to cavil or protest, but at once stepped forth to defend her against a threatened invasion. The sword that had rusted in peace gleamed brightly in war. He rose to the high grade of lieutenant general. None have a more stainless record as a soldier, none have shown a higher patriotism or purer fidelity through all the bitter trials to which we have been subjected since open war was ended and nominal peace began. Extracts from the narrative of General J. A. Early, of events occurring when he was colonel of the Twenty-fourth Regiment of Virginia Infantry and commanding a brigade:
June 19, 1861, I arrived at Manassas Junction and reported to General P. G. T. Beauregard, the Twenty-fourth Virginia Regiment having been previously sent to him, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Hairsten, from Lynchburg, where I had been stationed under the orders of General Robert E. Lee, for the purpose of organizing the Virginia troops which were being mustered into service at that place. . . . On the morning of July 18th, my brigade was moved, by order of General Beauregard, to the left of Camp Walker, on the railroad, and remained there some time. . . .  On falling back, General Ewell, in pursuance of his instructions, had burned the bridges on the railroad over Pope's Run, from Fairfax Station to Union Mills, and while I was at Camp Walker I saw the smoke ascending from the railroad-bridge over Bull Run, which was burned that morning. The burning of this bridge had not been included in the previous instructions to Ewell, and I have always been at a loss to know why it was now fired. That bridge certainly was not necessary to the enemy for crossing Bull Run, either with his troops or wagons, as that stream was easily fordable at numerous places, both above and below. The bridge was, moreover, susceptible of easy defense, as there were deep cuts leading to it on both sides. The only possible purpose to be subserved by the burning of that bridge would have been the prevention for a short time of the running of trains over it by the enemy, in the event of our defeat, or evacuation of Manassas without a fight. As it was, we were afterward greatly inconvenienced by its destruction. . . .The attack made on the 18th is described as directed against our right center, and as having been met and repulsed in a manner quite creditable to our raw troops, of whom he writes:
On the 19th they were occupied in the effort to strengthen their position by throwing up the best defenses they could with the implements at hand, which consisted of a very few picks and spades, some rough bowie-knives, and the bayonets of the muskets. . . . The position was a very weak one, as the banks on the opposite side of Bull Run overlooked and commanded those on the south side, which were but a few feet above the water's edge, and there was an open field in rear of the strip of woods on our side of the stream, for a considerable distance up and down it, which exposed all of our movements on that side to observation from the opposite one, as the strip of woods afforded but a thin veil which could be seen through. . . . About dusk on the 19th, brigade commanders were summoned to a conference at McLean's house by General Beauregard, and he then informed us of the fact that General Johnston had been ordered, at his instance, from the Valley, and was marching to cooperate with us. He stated that Johnston would march directly across the Blue Ridge toward the enemy's right flank, and would probably attack on that flank at dawn the next morning. Before he had finished his statement of the plans he proposed pursuing in the event of Johnston's attack on the enemy's right flank, a party of horsemen rode up in front of the house, and, dismounting, one of them walked in and reported himself as Brigadier-General T. J. Jackson, who had arrived with the advanced brigade of Johnston's troops by the way of Manassas Gap Railroad, and he stated that his brigade was about twenty-five hundred strong. This information took General Beauregard very much by surprise, and, after ascertaining that General Jackson had taken the cars at Piedmont Station, General Beauregard asked him if General Johnston would not march the rest of his command on the direct road, so as to get on the enemy's right flank. General Jackson replied with some little hesitation, and, as I thought at the time, in rather a stolid manner, that he thought not; that he thought the purpose was to transport the whole force by railroad from Piedmont Station. This was the first time I ever saw General Jackson, and my first impressions of him were  not very favorable from the manner in which he gave his information. I subsequently ascertained very well how it was that he seemed to know so little, in the presence of the strangers among whom he found himself, of General Johnston's intended movements, and I presume nothing but the fact of General Beauregard being his superior in rank, and his being ordered to report to him, could have elicited as much information from him, under the circumstances, as was obtained. After General Jackson had given the information above stated, and received instructions where to put his brigade, he retired, and General Beauregard proceeded to develop fully his plans for the next day. The information received from General Jackson was wholly unexpected, but General Beauregard said he thought Jackson was not correctly informed, and was mistaken; that he was satisfied General Johnston was marching with the rest of his troops and would attack the enemy's right flank early next day as he had before stated. Upon this hypothesis, he directed that when General Johnston's attack began and he had become fully engaged, of which we were to judge from the character of the musketry-fire, we should cross Bull Run from our several positions, and move upon the enemy so as to attack him on his left flank and rear. He said that he had no doubt General Johnston's attack would be a complete surprise to the enemy; that the latter would not know what to think of it; that when he turned to meet that attack, and soon found himself assailed on the other side, he would be still more surprised and would not know what to do; that the effect would become a complete rout—a perfect Waterloo; and that, when the enemy took to flight, we would pursue, cross the Potomac, and arouse Maryland. . . . During the 20th General Johnston arrived at Manassas Junction by the railroad, and that day we received the order from him assuming command of the combined armies of General Beauregard and himself. Early on the morning of the 21st (Sunday), we heard the enemy's guns open from the heights north of Bull Run, from which they had opened on the 18th, and I soon received orders for the movement of my brigade. . . . Upon arriving there (McLean's Ford), I found General Jones had returned to the intrenchments with his brigade, and I was informed by him that General Beauregard had directed that I should join him (General Beauregard) with my brigade. . . . He then asked me if I had received an order from General Beauregard to go to him, and, on my replying in the negative, he informed me that he had such an order for me in a note to him. He sent to one of his staff officers for the note, and showed it to me. The note was one directing him to fall back behind Bull Run, and was in pencil. At the foot of it were these words: “Send early to me.” This was all the order that I received to move to the left, and it was shown to me a very little after twelve o'clock. . . . Chisholm, who carried the note to Jones, in which was contained the order I received, passed me at McLean's Ford going on to Jones about, or a little after, eleven o'clock. If I had not received the order until 2 P. M., it would have been impossible for me to get on the field at the time I reached it, about 3:30 P. M. Colonel Chisholm informed me that the order was for all the troops to fall back across Bull Run. . . . I was met by Colonel John S. Preston, one of the General's aides, who informed me that General Beauregard had gone where the fighting was, . . . but that General Johnston was just in front, and his directions were that we should proceed to the left,  where there was a heavy fire of musketry. . . . When we reached General Johnston, he expressed great gratification at our arrival, but it was very perceptible that his anticipations were not sanguine. He gave me special instructions as to my movements, directing me to clear our lines completely before going to the front. . . . In some fields on the left of our line we found Colonel Stuart with a body of cavalry and some pieces of artillery, belonging, as I understood, to a battery commanded by Lieutenant Beckham. . . . I found Stuart already in position beyond our extreme left, and, as I understood it, supporting and controlling Beckham's guns, which were firing on the enemy's extreme right flank, thus rendering very efficient service. I feel well assured that Stuart had but two companies of cavalry with him, as these were all I saw when he afterward went in pursuit of the enemy. As I approached the left, a young man named Saunders came galloping to me from Stuart with the information that the enemy was about retreating, and a request to hurry on. This was the first word of encouragement we had received since we reached the vicinity of the battle. I told the messenger to inform Stuart that I was then moving as rapidly as my men could move; but he soon returned with another message informing me that the other was a mistake, that the enemy had merely retired behind the ridge in front to form a new flanking column, and cautioning me to be on my guard. This last information proved to be correct. It was the last effort of the enemy to extend his right beyond our left, and was met by the formation of my regiments in his front. . . . The hill on which the enemy's troops were was Chinn's Hill, so often referred to in the accounts of this battle, and the one next year, on the same field. . . . An officer came to me in a gallop, and entreated me not to fire on the troops in front, and I was so much impressed by his earnest manner and confident tone, that I halted my brigade on the side of the hill, and rode to the top of it, when I discovered, about a hundred and fifty yards to my right, a regiment bearing a flag which was drooping around the staff in such a manner as not to be distinguishable from the Confederate flag of that day. I thought that, if the one that had been in front of me was a Virginia regiment, this must also be a Confederate one; but one or two shots from Beckham's guns on the left caused the regiment to face about, when its flag unfurled, and I discovered it to be the United States flag. I forthwith ordered my brigade forward, but it did not reach the top of the hill soon enough to do any damage to the retiring regiment, which retreated precipitately down the hill and across the Warrenton Pike. At that time there was very little distinction between the dress of some of the Federal regiments and some of ours. As soon as the misrepresentation in regard to the character of the troops was corrected, my brigade advanced to the top of the hill that had been occupied by the enemy, and we ascertained that his troops had retired precipitately, and a large body of them was discovered in the fields in rear of Dogan's house, and north of the turnpike. Colonel Cocke, with one of his regiments, now joined us, and our pieces of artillery were advanced and fired upon the enemy's columns with considerable effect, causing them to disperse, and we soon discovered that they were in full retreat. . . . When my column was seen by General Beauregard, he at first thought it was a column of the enemy, having received erroneous information that such a column was on the Manassas Gap Railroad. The enemy took my troops, as they approached his right, for a large body of our troops from the  Valley; and as my men, moving by flank, were stretched out at considerable length, from weariness, they were greatly over-estimated. We scared the enemy worse than we hurt him. . . . We saw the evidences of the flight all along our march, and unmistakable indications of the overwhelming character of the enemy's defeat in abandoned muskets and equipments. It was impossible for me to pursue the enemy farther, as well because I was utterly unacquainted with the crossings of the Run and the woods in front, as because most of the men belonging to my brigade had been marching the greater part of the day and were very much exhausted. But pursuit with infantry would have been unavailing, as the enemy's troops retreated with such rapidity that they could not have been overtaken by any other than mounted troops. On the next day we found a great many articles that the routed troops had abandoned in their flight, showing that no expense or trouble had been spared by the enemy in equipping his army. . . . In my movement after the retreat of the enemy commenced, I passed the Carter house and beyond our line of battle. The enemy had by this time entirely disappeared, and, having no knowledge of the country whatever, being on the ground for the first time, besides not observing any movement of troops from our line, I halted, with the expectation of receiving further orders. Observing some men near the Carter house, I rode to it, and found some five or six Federal soldiers, who had collected some wounded there of both sides, and among them Colonel Gardner, of the Eighth Georgia Regiment, who was suffering from a very painful wound in the leg, which was fractured just above the ankle. . . . Just after my return from the house where I saw Colonel Gardner, President Davis, in company with several gentlemen, rode to where my command was, and addressed a few stirring remarks to my regiments, in succession, which received him with great enthusiasm. I briefly informed Mr. Davis of the orders I had received, and the movements of my brigade, and asked him what I should do under the circumstances. He told me that I had better get my men into line, and wait for further orders. I then requested him to inform Generals Johnston and Beauregard of my position, and my desire to receive orders. I also informed him of the condition in which I had found Colonel Gardner, and also of Colonel Jones being in the neighborhood badly wounded, requesting him to have a surgeon sent to their relief, as all of mine were in the rear attending to the wounded of their regiments. While we were talking, we saw a body of troops moving on the opposite side of Bull Run, some distance below us. Mr. Davis then left me, going to the house where Colonel Gardner was, and I moved my brigade some half a mile farther, and formed it in line across the peninsula formed by a very considerable bend in Bull Run above the stone bridge. I put out a line of pickets in front, and my brigade bivouacked in this position for the night. By the time all these dispositions were made it was night, and I then rode back with Captain Gardner over the route I had moved on, as I knew no other, in order to find General Johnston or General Beauregard, so that I might receive orders, supposing that there would be a forward movement early in the morning. I first went to the Lewis house, which I found to be a hospital filled with wounded men; but was unable to get any information about either of the generals. I then rode toward Manassas, and, after going some distance in that  direction, I met an officer who inquired for General Johnston, stating that he was on his staff. I informed him that I was looking for General Johnston also, as well as for General Beauregard, and supposed they were at Manassas; but he said that he was just from Manassas, and neither of the generals was there. . . . At about twelve o'clock at night I lay down in the field in rear of my command, on a couple of bundles of wheat in the straw. My men had no rations with them. I had picked up a haversack on the field, which was filled with hard biscuits, and had been dropped by some Yankee in his flight, and out of its contents I made my own supper, distributing the rest among a number of officers who had nothing. Very early next morning, I sent Captain Gardner to look out for the generals, and get orders for my command. He went to Manassas, and found General Beauregard, who sent orders to me to remain where I was until further orders, and to send for the camp-equipage, rations, etc., of my command. A number of the men spread over the country in the vicinity of the battlefield, and picked up a great many knapsacks, India-rubber cloths, blankets, overcoats, etc., as well as a good deal of sugar, coffee, and other provisions that had been abandoned by the enemy. . . . After I had received orders showing that there was no purpose to make a forward movement, I rode over a good deal of the field, north of the Warrenton pike, and to some hospitals in the vicinity, in order to see what care was being taken of the wounded. I found a hospital on the Sudley road, back of the field of battle, at which Colonel Jones, of the Fourth Alabama, had been, which was in charge of a surgeon of a Rhode Island regiment, whose name was Harris, I think. I asked him if he had what he wanted for the men under his care, and he told me he would like to have some morphine, of which his supply was short. I directed a young surgeon of our cavalry, who rode up at the time, to furnish the morphine, which he did, from a pair of medical saddle-pockets which he had. Dr. Harris told me that he knew that their troops had had a great deal of coffee and sugar mixed, ready for boiling, of which a good deal had been left at different points near the field, and asked if there would be any objection to his sending out and gathering some of it for the use of the wounded under his charge, as it would be of much service to them. I gave him the permission to get not only that, but anything else that would tend to the comfort of his patients. There did not come within my observation any instance of harsh or unkind treatment of the enemy's wounded; nor did I see any indication of a spirit to extend such treatment to them. The stories which were afterward told before the Committee on the Conduct of the War (appointed by the Federal Congress), in regard to “rebel atrocities,” were very grossly exaggerated, or manufactured from the whole cloth. . . . On the night following the battle, when I was looking for Generals Beauregard and Johnston, in riding over and to the rear of the battle-field, I discovered that the greater part of the troops that had been engaged in the battle were in a great state of confusion. I saw companies looking for their regiments, and squads looking for their companies, and they were scattered as far as I went toward Manassas. It was very apparent that no considerable body of those troops that had been engaged on the left could have been brought into a condition next day for an advance toward Washington. . . . The dispute as to who planned the battle, or commanded on the field, General  Johnston or General Beauregard, is a most unprofitable one. The battle which General Beauregard planned was never fought, because the enemy did not move as he expected him to move. The battle which was fought was planned by Mc-Dowell, at least so far as the ground on which it was fought was concerned. He made a movement on our left which was wholly unexpected and unprovided for, and we were compelled to fight a defensive battle on that flank, by bringing up reenforcements from other points as rapidly as possible. When Generals Johnston and Beauregard arrived on the field where the battle was actually fought, it had been progressing for some time, with the odds greatly against us. What was required then was to rally the troops already engaged, which had been considerably shattered, and hold the position to which they had been compelled to retire until reinforcements could be brought up. According to the statements of both generals, the command of the troops then on the field was given to General Beauregard, and he continued to exercise it until the close, but in subordination, of course, to General Johnston, as commander-in-chief, while the movements of all the reenforcements as they arrived were unquestionably directed by the latter. According to the statement of both, the movement of Elzey's brigade to the left averted a great danger, and both concur in attributing the turning of the tide of battle to the movement of my brigade against the enemy's extreme right flank (General Beauregard in a letter on the origin of the battle-flag, and General Johnston in his “Narrative” recently published). General Beauregard unquestionably performed the duty assigned him with great ability, and General Johnston gives him full credit therefor. Where, then, is there any room for a controversy in regard to the actual command, and what profit can there be in it? General Johnston assumes the responsibility for the failure to advance on Washington, and why, then, should an effort be made to shift it on any one else? He certainly was commander-in-chief, and had the privilege of advancing if he thought proper. The attempt to show that the failure to advance was due to the want of transportation and rations for the army is idle. If the Bull Run bridge had not burned on the 18th, our supplies could have been run to Alexandria, if we could have advanced, as easily as to Manassas, for the enemy had repaired the railroad to Fairfax Station as he moved up, and failed to destroy it when he went back. Moreover, we had abundant transportation at that time for all the purposes of an advance as far as Washington. In my brigade, the two Virginia regiments had about fourteen six-horse wagons each, and that would have furnished enough for the brigade, if the Seventh Louisiana had none. In 1862 we carried into Maryland only enough wagons to convey ammunition, medical supplies, and cooking-utensils, and we started from the battle-field of second Manassas with no rations on hand, being, before we crossed the Potomac, entirely dependent on the country, which, in July, 1861, was teeming with supplies, but in August and September, 1862, was nearly depleted. The pretense, therefore, that the advance in July, 1861, was prevented by the want of transportation and of supplies is wholly untenable.I will now make the promised extracts from reminiscences of Colonel (then Captain) Lay, which were sent to a friend, and handed to me for my use. The paper bears date February 13, 1878. After some preliminary  matter, and stating that his force consisted of three cavalry companies, the narrative proceeds:
The quartermaster general of General Beauregard's command, W. L. Cabell, states in a letter written at Dallas, Texas, on August 16, 1880, in regard to the field transportation of General Beauregard's forces  before the battle of Manassas, that as nearly as he could remember it was as follows, viz.:
One four-horse wagon to each company. One four-horse wagon for field and staff (regimental). One four-horse wagon for ammunition. One four-horse wagon for hospital purposes. Two four-horse wagons for each battery of artillery. Twenty-five wagons in a train for depot purposes. One ambulance for each regiment.Transportation belonging to General Johnston's army did not arrive until the day (or probably two days) after the battle. If General Johnston, as stated, had nine thousand infantry, the field transportation reported above could surely have been distributed so as to supply this additional force, and have rendered, as General Early states, the pretense wholly untenable that the advance in July, 1861, was prevented by want of transportation. The deep anxiety which had existed, and was justified by the circumstances, had corresponding gratification among all classes and in all sections of our country. On the day after the victory, the Congress, then sitting in Richmond, upon receiving the dispatch of the President from the field of Manassas, adopted resolutions expressive of their thanks to the most high God, and inviting the people of the Confederate States to offer up their united thanksgiving and praise for the mighty deliverance. The resolutions also deplored the necessity which had caused the soil of our country to be stained with the blood of its sons, and to their families and friends offered the most cordial sympathy; assuring them that in the hearts of our people would be enshrined “the names of the gallant dead as the champions of free and constitutional liberty.” If universal gratulation at our success inspired an overweening confidence, it also begat increased desire to enter the military service; but for our want of arms and munitions, we could have enrolled an army little short of the number of able-bodied men in the Confederate States. I have given so much space to the battle of Manassas because it was the first great action of the war, exciting intense feeling, and producing important moral results among the people of the Confederacy; further, because it was made the basis of misrepresentation, and unjust reflection upon the chief executive, which certainly had no plausible pretext in the facts, and cannot be referred to a reasonable desire to promote the successful defense of our country. Impressed with the conviction that time would naturally work to  our disadvantage, as training was more necessary to make soldiers of the Northern people than of our own; further, because of their larger population, as well as their greater facility in obtaining recruits from foreign countries, the administration continued assiduously to exert every faculty to increase the efficiency of the army by addition to its numbers, by improving its organization, and by supplying the needful munitions and equipments. Inactivity is the prolific source of evil to an army, especially if composed of new levies who, like ours, had hurried from their homes at their country's call. For these, and other reasons more readily appreciated, it was thought desirable that all our available forces should be employed as actively as might be practicable. On August 1, 1861, I wrote to General J. E. Johnston, at Manassas, as follows: