- President Davis and Generals Johnston and Beauregard discuss the propriety of pursuing the enemy during the night following the battle. -- error of Mr. Davis as to the order he wrote. -- on the 22d General Beauregard assigns his troops to new positions. -- the President confers the rank of General on General Beauregard, subject to the approval of congress. -- on the 25th, address issued to troops by Generals Johnston and Beauregard. -- organization of General Beauregard's army into brigades. -- impossibility of any military movement of importance, and why. -- army without transportation and without subsistence. -- Colonel Northrop appoints Major W. B. Blair as Chief Commissary of the army. -- General Beauregard informs the President of the actual state of affairs. -- Colonel Lee to the President. -- General Beauregard to Colonels Chestnut and miles. -- his telegram to Colonel Myers. -- answer of President Davis. -- General Beauregard's reply. -- Colonel Myers alleges ignorance of want of transportation in the army of the Potomac. -- General Beauregard's answer. -- cause of the failure of the campaign. -- effect of General Beauregard's letter upon congress. -- an apparent improvement in Commissary and Quartermaster Departments. -- General Beauregard complains again on the 23d of August. -- no action taken. -- Suggests removal of Colonel Northrop. -- the President believes in his efficiency, and upholds him. -- fifteen and twenty days rations asked for by General Beauregard.
Towards 11 P. M., on the day of the battle, while President Davis, at General Beauregard's headquarters, was engaged in writing the despatch to General Cooper given in the preceding chapter, information was received, through Captain Hill, of General Johnston's forces, that the enemy, at Centreville, was in a complete state of demoralization, and in full flight towards Washington. Upon learning this, President Davis, with great animation, urged the necessity of an immediate pursuit by General Bonham's forces, which, with General Longstreet's brigade, were then in the closest proximity to Centreville. After a brief discussion of the matter between the President and Generals Johnston and Beauregard, it was agreed that, as Captain Hill's informal report was not sufficiently authenticated, and the troops were fatigued and without rations, the suggestion made should not be acted upon; no order, therefore, was issued for its execution.  Mr. Davis's memory, that such an order was actually dictated by him, and modified as to the hour of its execution, is clearly at fault. This is shown by Colonel (afterwards General) Jordan's letter, referred to by Mr. Davis himself, as the authority for his assertion to that effect. That Generals Johnston and Beauregard kept no copy of an order that fell still-born from the lips of the President, is not to be wondered at; and Colonel Jordan, no doubt —and very naturally—destroyed it as soon as it was penned, there having been, as he says, ‘a unanimous decision against it.’ From this expression we infer that Mr. Davis, no less than the two generals, acknowledged the uselessness of the order. There was no other order for pursuit given, or spoken of, that night. So says General Beauregard; so says Colonel Jordan, his chief of staff; so would undoubtedly say General Johnston, who was opposed to any further immediate advance of our troops after the battle. The order dictated substantially to Colonel Jordan, and condemned and abandoned without being ‘despatched,’ is the only order with which Mr. Davis had anything to do on the night of the 21st of July. Colonel Jordan, in the letter quoted by Mr. Davis, says: ‘This was the only instance during Mr. Davis's stay at Manassas in which he exercised any voice as to the movement of the troops. Profoundly pleased with the results achieved, . . . his bearing towards the generals who commanded them was eminently proper, as I have testified on a former occasion; and I repeat, he certainly expressed or manifested no opposition to a forward movement, nor did he display the least disposition to interfere, by opinion or authority, touching what the Confederate forces should or should not do.’1 An ‘order to the same effect,’ says Mr. Davis (that is, an order for pursuit, modified by him, and by him deferred till the next day, at early dawn), ‘was sent’ by General Beauregard, ‘on the night of the 21st of July, . . . for a copy of which’ Mr. Davis is ‘indebted to the kindness of that chivalrous gentleman, soldier, and patriot, General Bonham.’2 This is another error. The order sent to General Bonham by General Beauregard, and given in full in Mr. Davis's book,3 was not for the pursuit of the  enemy, but for the purpose of making a reconnoissance—of affording assistance to our wounded, and of collecting ‘all the arms, ammunition, and abandoned stores, subsistence, and baggage,’ that could be found ‘on the road in our front towards Centreville,’ and on other roads by which the enemy had retreated towards the stone bridge and Sudley's Mills. Whoever reads the order here referred to cannot fail to see, from its very phraseology, that it conveys no such meaning as Mr. Davis is pleased to ascribe to it. For the order required that General Bonham should take with him ‘a vast amount of transportation,’ which, of itself, would have impeded the pursuit. And Mr. Davis acknowledges that ‘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.’4 Nor must it be forgotten that, at the time mentioned by Mr. Davis, General Johnston was already in actual command of our united forces, and that General Beauregard had, therefore, no authority to issue any such orders. Strange, indeed, would it have been that the general second in command should have sent his troops, or part of his troops, in pursuit of the enemy, when he knew that his superior in rank had expressed strong opposition to any immediate advance on our part, and had declared it utterly impracticable. Just then, General Johnston was correct in his judgment. Our troops—even those that had taken no part in the battle—were more or less exhausted by marches and countermarches, and our cavalry was evidently too insignificant in number to admit of any serious hope of an effectual pursuit that night, or even the next morning. Another obstacle, of no minor importance, intervened, which was sufficient of itself to cut short all idea of then following the routed Federal army. On the evening of the 21st, at about nine o'clock, the heavens began to assume a threatening appearance, and, a few hours later, a heavy rain fell, which lasted unremittingly throughout the whole of the succeeding day. Meanwhile, our troops were without provisions, and had no means of transportation. The railroad bridge across Bull Run had been destroyed, too, and its reconstruction was indispensable to open the way for a farther advance, which, thus deferred, could no longer  be called a pursuit. The fact is, the pursuit ordered by General Beauregard, at the close of the battle,5 having been stopped at about 6.30 P. M., in consequence of the false alarm referred to in the preceding chapter, no movement that night could have met with a successful result. It should have been instantly and vigorously made, ‘on the very heels of the flying enemy;’ and, even then, it could not have been kept up long under the circumstances. At pages 359, 360, of the first volume of his work, Mr. Davis says: ‘On the night of the 22d I held a second conference with Generals Johnston and Beauregard, . . . and 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 declared 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.” ’ Here, truth compels us to state that, in all this matter, Mr. Davis's memory is again unqualifiedly at fault. General Beauregard could not have spoken as he is represented to have done, for the simple reason that all the information then in his possession, whether received by means of his underground railroad or otherwise, led him to the strong belief that Washington was, at that time, entirely unprotected; that the works on the south side of the Potomac were barely commenced, except Fort Runnyon, which was still incomplete, and armed with but a few guns; as appeared by a sketch of it, received in the usual mysterious way from within the enemy's lines. Mrs. G—, to whose tact and intelligence was due most of the secret knowledge of the condition of affairs at and around the Federal capital, had assured General Beauregard, many a time, that no obstacle existed to prevent a successful advance on our part, and that nothing was dreaded more by those high in authority at Washington. More than once, after the battle of Manassas, Mrs. G—ended  her despatches in these words: ‘Come on! why do you not come?’ We could, in this connection, were it not necessary to resume the thread of our narrative, tell of some very interesting occurrences, showing the manner in which news was brought to General Beauregard from Washington. We mention a single instance. About the middle of July, on a bright, sultry morning, a young lady of much refinement, and possessing both youth and beauty, rode into General Bonham's lines, at Fairfax Court-House, and delivered to him a despatch of great importance, for General Beauregard, ‘from our friends in Washington.’ She had incurred great fatigue and danger in the accomplishment of her mission. This despatch she carried carefully concealed in her hair, which, when enrolled in the presence of the Confederate general, appeared to him—to use his own language—‘the most beautiful he had ever seen on human head.’6 The young lady in question was a resident of the Federal capital, and had passed out of it in a small farm wagon, disguised as a plain countrywoman coming from market. Farther on her way, at the residence of a relative, well known and wealthy, she obtained the horse she was riding and the habit she then wore. We refrain from giving her name, but it will never be forgotten either by General Beauregard or by General Bonham, and is, no doubt, as deeply graven upon the memory of the several staff officers who had the pleasure of escorting her through our lines. We wish, nevertheless—and look upon it as a duty—to place upon record her patriotic deed, so fearlessly and successfully accomplished. Irregular and unofficial as were the secret communications here spoken of, General Beauregard, who knew their importance and trustworthiness, never failed to forward their contents to the War Department. Mr. Davis, therefore, was aware—or should have been—of what General Beauregard thought of the readiness of Washington to resist an advance of our forces at that time. It is not here pretended that no one spoke to Mr. Davis, on that occasion, as he asserts that General Beauregard did; but it is now stated, emphatically, and on the direct authority of General Beauregard, that he did not make use of any such language to Mr. Davis. In support of the position here so positively assumed the reader is referred, first, to the fact, afterwards so thoroughly  verified, that no fortifications existed then at or around Washington; none, at any rate, that could have seriously obstructed the march of our army; second, to General Beauregard's letter to Colonels Chestnut and Miles, bearing date July 29th, 1861, and to his answer to President Davis (August 10th of the same year), wherein is considered this very question of an advance upon Washington, and its feasibility, as late as the 24th of July. These letters appear in full further on in the present chapter. The fact is, that General Beauregard's whole correspondence, official and private, touching these events, confirms, in every respect, what is stated in the two letters above mentioned. Our object is not, at present, to dwell upon the causes—whatever they may have been—of our failure to reap the fruits of that first great victory of the war. We wish merely to state that General Beauregard exonerates Mr. Davis from all responsibility for the failure to pursue the enemy on the night of the 21st of July. Mr. Davis did not object to such a pursuit; on the contrary, he desired it. But it was declared inexpedient, and, after discussion, Mr. Davis himself acknowledged it to be so. This, however, does not relieve him from the responsibility of preventing, a few days or weeks later, the advance of our army, in an aggressive campaign against Washington. On the morning after the battle an order was issued by General Beauregard, recalling his troops to their organization, and assigning them new positions, with the advance—Bonham's brigade— at Centreville. Holmes's brigade, by direction of President Davis, was ordered back to ‘its former position.’7 At the breakfast-table, on the same morning, the President handed General Beauregard the following graceful letter:
On the 23d, Hunton's 8th Virginia, with three companies of  cavalry, was ordered to re-occupy Leesburg, and Bonham's brigade, with Delaware Kemper's and Shields's batteries and a force of cavalry, were ordered to advance to Vienna Station, and Longstreet to Centreville. As the leading column was approaching Fairfax Court-House, Captain Terry, of Texas, a noted marksman, lowered the Federal flag by cutting the halliards with a rifle ball. This flag was sent, through General Longstreet, as a present to General Beauregard, but was placed among the stock of trophies where it belonged, as well as a larger flag, offered to Mr. Davis, who had already left Manassas for Richmond. Many spoils were gathered during and after the battle; and the line of march of our troops, on their way to the new positions assigned them, was rich in abandoned arms and other military property. A great deal was carried off by the people, and was recovered with much trouble. On the 25th, Generals Johnston and Beauregard issued an address to their troops, awarding to them the praises they deserved for their patriotic courage on the battle-fields of the 18th and 21st. The concluding words were as follows: ‘Soldiers, we congratulate you on a glorious, triumphant, and complete victory. We thank you for doing your whole duty in the service of your country.’ On that day, also, General Beauregard, in anticipation, it might be said, of the future orders of the government, organized his army, as now increased into eight brigades, each of which was made up of regiments coming from a single State. But no military movement of importance could be undertaken, on account of additional embarrassments from the want of transportation and subsistence. Only one wagon and four horses were assigned to every hundred men. Each brigade staff and each hospital were limited to the same insufficient transportation. The army was living from hand to mouth, and actually suffering from want of food. Colonel R. B. Lee, the efficient Chief Commissary of the army in the field, had not been long in finding out that the ways of the Commissary-General, Colonel Northrop, were altogether impracticable; and, in order to keep our forces properly supplied, he was compelled to resort, in a measure, to the system formerly pursued by Captain Fowle, under General Beauregard's instructions, and without which the army would have fallen to pieces, even before the battle of Manassas. Colonel Northrop, thereupon,  became very much irritated against the energetic Colonel Lee, and, without consulting or informing the general of either army, superseded him, as he had lately done Captain Fowle, for a similar reason, appointing another Chief Commissary, namely, Major William B. Blair. With regard to this all-important question of provisioning the army and supplying it with transportation, we put before the reader the following letters, which speak for themselves, and show General Beauregard's sagacity and intense anxiety upon these points. They also hold up to public view the appalling mismanagement of all army affairs at Richmond, in relation to the Quartermaster and Commissary Departments.
On the 29th of July, no satisfactory change having resulted from the foregoing communication to the President, General Beauregard wrote the following letter to Colonels Wm. P. Miles and James Chestnut, both members of the Confederate Congress, at that time, and both of whom had acted as his volunteer aids in South Carolina and in Virginia.
On the 1st of August he forwarded the following telegram to Colonel A. C. Myers, Assistant Quartermaster-General:
Congress becoming alarmed—and justly so—at such a state of affairs, upon information communicated to it by members of the Military Committee, instituted an investigation, which, besides very much incensing the heads of the two departments implicated, also aroused the displeasure of the President, who gave expression to his irritation in the following letter:
The foregoing letter shows, among other things, how completely the reiterated suggestions and remonstrances and requisitions of General Beauregard concerning the necessity of supplies and transportation, had slipped President Davis's memory. We refrain from fatiguing the attention of the reader, by again placing before him the evidence and correspondence given on this subject in a preceding chapter (Chapter VI.). It is enough to say that, from the 3d of June, just after his arrival at Manassas, to the time when President Davis penned the letter given above, General Beauregard had never ceased calling his attention and that of the War Department to the vital importance of these two matters. How President Davis could possibly plead ‘imperfect knowledge,’ and complain of want ‘of timely requisitions and estimates,’ is more than we can understand; and we have sought in vain, in his book, for any satisfactory explanation of the matter. But General Beauregard's answer to the President dispenses with the necessity for further comment:
The same surprise and want of knowledge expressed by President Davis, concerning the deficiency of these two departments, was also manifested—strange to say—by the QuartermasterGen-eral himself. His communication to General Beauregard, dated  August 1st, establishes the almost incredible fact that the head of one of the most important of our departments did not know the state of its affairs. This was but additional evidence of improvidence and mismanagement. There was this difference, however, between Colonel Myers and Colonel Northrop; the former was ever ready to correct an error when in his power to do so, the latter would not allow his errors to be pointed out, and, still less, discussed. In Colonel Myers's letter to General Beauregard, above referred to, he writes: ‘I never, until day before yesterday, have heard one word of this deficiency; then, the knowledge came to me through a despatch from General J. E. Johnston, to the Adjutant-General. I took immediate steps to collect, at Manassas, as much transportation as I suppose you will require. . . . The military operations and manoeuvres of your army are never divulged, and it is utterly impossible for me to know how to anticipate your wants. . . . We have had, so far, too many heads, which I can say to you, and which means, we have had no head at all. You should write me often, if only a line, when anything is required, and you shall be provided if possible.’ The only conclusion to be drawn from this is, that General Beauregard's demands and requisitions made to the War Department were totally disregarded, and never reached the office of the Quartermaster-General. We now give General Beauregard's answer to Colonel Myers:
Upon calm reflection, an impartial mind is forced to acknowledge that the failure of this campaign, during what were so appropriately called ‘the golden days of the Confederacy,’ was the unmistakable result of short-sighted and inefficient management, the responsibility for which rests upon him who, though clearly unable to give personal supervision to and direct each detail of the wheels of government, yet would allow no latitude either to the heads of the various bureaus of the War Department, or to the generals in the field. The unceasing efforts of General Beauregard finally succeeded in stirring up the authorities at Richmond, and brought about some effort to produce a favorable change in the administration of the Quartermaster's and Commissary's Departments. This is testified to by the following letter of Hon. W. P. Miles, of South Carolina, then chairman of the Military Committee of Congress, addressed to General Beauregard, under date of August 8th, 1861:
But the improvement alluded to—a spasmodic one, it would seem, and one which had been altogether compulsory—was only of very short duration. Colonel Myers, it is fair to say, seriously  exerted himself, and, in a reasonable measure, satisfied many of the exigencies of the hour. But Colonel Northrop was less open to conviction. This officer, whose want of administrative capacity was obvious to all—the President alone excepted—could not be induced to pursue any other than the inefficient, improvident course he had, thus far, so persistently followed. This fact is again brought to notice by the following extract from another communication from General Beauregard to President Davis:
The most effective mode of remedying these evils was, as General Beauregard and many other leading men of the country had pointed out and suggested, forthwith to remove Colonel Northrop from a position he was so inadequate to fill. But this the administration would not do. In spite of the pressure of public opinion, brought to bear against the Commissary-General, whose honesty none doubted, but whose incapacity all knew, the President persistently  upheld him, as he was wont to do all personal friends of his. This is corroborated by the following extract from a significant letter of the Hon. Wm. P. Miles to General Beauregard, bearing date of Richmond, August 6th, 1861.
Colonel Miles's opinion was more than confirmed by events. Not only was the Commissary-General maintained in his position, but his influence with the administration appeared to increase, as did, most undoubtedly, his well-known and already proverbial inefficiency. Mr. Davis's book is replete with words of praise and commendation for him. Mr. Davis has not, even to this day, forgiven those who complained, not of the motives of Colonel Northrop—who was known to be a man of character and education—but of his fearful shortcomings, so detrimental to the good of the service. Mr. Davis says that it affords him the greatest pleasure to speak as he does of Colonel Northrop, ‘because those less informed of all he did, and skilfully tried to do, have been profuse of criticism, and sparing indeed of the meed justly his due.’8 In another part of his book he uses the following language: ‘To direct the production, preservation, collection, and distribution of food for the army, required a man of rare capacity and character at the head of the subsistence department. It was our good fortune to have such a one in Colonel L. B. Northrop, who was appointed Commissary-General at the organization of the bureaus of the executive department of the Confederate government.’9 These remarks of Mr. Davis are made in defiance of the opinion of the whole South, as entertained and openly expressed throughout the war. The disposition to defend a friend and to protect his  reputation is a commendable trait, which should ever be admired among men; but the First Magistrate of a free people, and Commander-in-Chief of their armies, is not a man, in the ordinary sense of the word: he must be more guarded in his encomiums of a friend; he cannot be allowed to give rein to his likes or dislikes; his eye, ever keen and watchful, must be directed to the general good of those who chose him as their leader; otherwise he betrays the trust reposed in him; he is recreant to his duty; he derides public opinion, becomes the accomplice of inefficiency, if not unworthiness, and deserves as great—perhaps greaterblame, than those he so unwisely sustains. Mr. Davis's efforts to shield Colonel Northrop can only result in shaking the confidence heretofore felt by many persons in the judgment and sagacity of the ex-President of the Confederacy, without doing the slightest good to his former CommissaryGen-eral. It would have been kinder, on the part of Mr. Davis, to have adopted towards him the course he never hesitates to follow towards those whose merits he cannot deny, but will not admit— pass him by in silence, as though he had never been an actor in the great drama wherein were lost most of the fondest hopes of the South. The supply of fifteen or twenty days rations, at Manassas, suggested in the foregoing communication to the President, as a necessary preparation for probable movements of the army, had long been the subject of General Beauregard's anxious thought. As we have already seen (Chapter VI.), he had endeavored, as early as June, to collect many of the wagons he needed, and ‘twentyfive days' rations for about twenty thousand men.’ Again, a little later, he caused the following order to be given to his Chief Commissary:
That this had not been done, at the time referred to, or at any  subsequent period, General Beauregard's earnest appeal to the President for such supplies very conclusively demonstrates. It is almost unnecessary to add, that no action was taken by the War Department to carry out these all-important suggestions; and that, far from any advance on the enemy being made practicable for us, we were saved from the calamities foreseen and dreaded by General Beauregard, not through efforts of the administration, but by the simple fact that the enemy was so crippled and demoralized as to preclude any forward movement on his part.