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Chapter 13:

  • Creation of the Department of Northern Virginia.
  • -- distribution of new confederate battle flags. -- debate in Congress about the action of the President with regard to General Beauregard's report of the battle of Manassas. -- telegram of the Hon. James L. Kemper concerning it. -- General Beauregard's answer. -- letter of Colonel Pryor on the same subject. -- commentaries on the executive endorsement. -- Governor Moore forwards resolutions of Louisiana legislature, congratulating General Beauregard. -- circular to division commanders about leaves of absence. -- Congress passes an act in regard to the matter. -- its effect. -- General Beauregard's plan of recruitment.

By General Orders No. 15, received October 25th, from the War Department, the armies in northern and eastern Virginia were brought into combined relation; a system which had been urgently recommended by General Beauregard in the early part of June.

The Potomac district, between the Blue Ridge and the Potomac, to the north bank of Powells River, was assigned to the command of General Beauregard. On its right and rear, the Aquia District, between the southern bank of Powells River, the Potomac, the Chesapeake, and the Rappahannock, including the counties along the southern bank of the latter river from its mouth to Fredericksburg, was assigned to Major-General Holmes. On its left, the Valley District, between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies, was assigned to Major-General Jackson. All were brought into one department, under the command of the senior generalJoseph E. Johnston.

The army of the Potomac was organized into four divisions, under Major-Generals Van Dorn, G. W. Smith, Longstreet, and E. K. Smith. But as General Johnston did not give the command of that army to General Beauregard, he, out of delicacy, would not move in the matter, but confined himself technically, as before, to a so-called army corps (his former army of the Potomac), though under no orders placing him in command of that or any other corps. Such a command the War Department persistently [171] ignored, addressing General Beauregard as the commander of the district, though sending to him, directly, for execution, orders which evidently referred to the army. Delicate embarrassments in administration arose from this state of affairs, which virtually reduced the leading general of the Confederacy to the rank of a Major-General.

On the 7th of November a strong United States naval expedition, under Admiral Dupont, seized Forts Walker and Beauregard, two small field-works armed with thirty-five guns of inferior calibre and only two of them rifled, guarding the entrance to Port Royal harbor, South Carolina. The reader is already aware of what had been done, upon General Beauregard's advice, with regard to the protection of that harbor. He had never concealed the fact that, inadequately armed as it necessarily would be, its defense, against any regularly organized expedition, would be impossible.1 As it was, however, the works held out longer than had been expected, and were the objects of praise even in the reports of the Federal commanders.

On the 28th of November General Beauregard distributed to his troops (Van Dorn's and Longstreet's divisions) the new Confederate battle-flags which he had just received, and solemnized the act with imposing religious ceremonies.

During the battle of Manassas he had observed the difficulty of distinguishing our own from the enemy's colors, and, in order to prevent all error in the future, had determined to adopt in his army a battle-flag distinct in color and design. He, at first, sought to procure a change in the Confederate flag itself, and Colonel W. P. Miles, then chairman of the House Military Committee, had caused, at his request, a report to be presented to that effect, but with no result. General Johnston had then ordered the troops to carry their State flags, none of which, however, could be obtained except for the Virginia regiments, which received them from the hands of Governor Letcher, on the 30th of October. In a conference between the three senior officers, at Fairfax Court-House, in September, out of four designs for a battle-flag, one, presented by General Beauregard, was adopted. It was a red field with a diagonal blue cross, the latter edged with white, and bearing white stars.2 To render it more portable, [172] it was made square instead of oblong, by order of General Johnston.

In the beginning of December, General D. H. Hill was sent to relieve General Evans in the important command at Leesburg, with instructions to fall back to the main army at Centreville in the event of an advance on the latter place, as Colonel Hunton had done before the battle of Manassas.

During the remainder of December there came occasional warnings and menaces of attack, to which, in fact, the United States authorities and General McClellan were constantly urged by the more impatient part of the Northern people and press; and a watchful state of preparation was maintained along the Confederate positions, from Evansport, by the way of Centreville, to Leesburg, on the upper Potomac. But no encounter of interest occurred except one at Drainsville, on the 23d of December, between two foraging parties of infantry, cavalry, and artillery. The Confederates, with about twenty-five hundred men, under Brigadier-General Stuart, attacked the Federals, numbering four thousand in a strong position, under Brigadier-General Ord. After a sharp conflict our forces were repulsed, though not pursued. The enemy's loss was seven killed and sixty-one wounded; ours, fortythree killed and one hundred and eighty-seven wounded and missing.

Our army now went into winter quarters. The cold was intense, and it was hard, at times, for officers and men to protect themselves against it. All remained quiet along the lines. Such, however, was not the case in Richmond. Towards the 10th of January the halls of the Confederate Congress became the scene of an animated secret debate, resulting from Mr. Davis's action upon General Beauregard's report of the battle of Manassas, the preliminary remarks of which had been resented by the President. Upon sending in this report to Congress, he had accompanied [173] it with strictures and comments, which were never given to the public until the appearance of his book, and which, after much trouble, were procured about that time for this work; not through Mr. Davis, however, it is proper to add.

Personally, General Beauregard remained indifferent to this debate, most sincerely deprecating the unfortunate effects it was likely to produce. He positively declined to advise any of his friends as to what should be done in the matter.

The following telegram, and his answer to it, show what were his feelings on the subject.

Richmond, January 9th, 1862.
General Beauregard:
Hon. Mr. Pryor wishes to know, confidentially, if you wish report of the battle of Manassas to be published, and, if published, must all, or a part, be published, omitting preliminary statement. Congress discusses the matter tomorrow.

The next day General Beauregard sent this reply:

Centreville, Va., January 10th, 1862.
Let Congress do for the best. We must think of the country before we think of ourselves. I believe Burnside's expedition is intended for Wilmington, to cut off railroad to Charleston. Let government look to it.

Hon. James L. Kemper, Speaker House of Delegates, Richmond, Va.

Referring to this despatch, Colonel R. A. Pryor, then a Member of Congress, wrote as follows: ‘I took the liberty of reading your telegram. The effect of its patriotic sentiment on Congress would have been most grateful to your feelings had you witnessed it.’

An effort was made to suppress the entire report; while General Beauregard's friends, and the friends of justice, were equally resolved that it should be published as actually transmitted to the War Department. The latter course would probably have prevailed, had not General Beauregard, in the same spirit which had prompted his letter to the editors of the Richmond Whig, formally requested that no further action should be taken in the matter. Congress then decided to publish the report, omitting the first part, which referred to the strategy of the campaign, and, with that part, omitting also the accompanying annotations of the President.

The importance of this executive endorsement, and the notoriety [174] given it since the appearance of Mr. Davis's book, justify us in transcribing it in full, despite its length.

It is a key to the feelings underlying many of the official acts of President Davis, It brings to light the reasoning to which he resorted, at times, in his efforts to cover his errors as a military chief. How strange, and how much to be regretted, that such moral weaknesses should have existed in one whose career, as Chief Magistrate of the Confederacy, had he been able to divest himself of the inordinate love of power which is characteristic of him, would have been one of unclouded success and glory. He could easily have availed himself of the counsels of men whose patriotism equalled his own, and whose experience as statesmen, and talents as commanders in the field, would have safely guided him to the goal he must have earnestly desired, but signally failed, to attain.

The endorsement of Mr. Davis began as follows:

The order issued by the War Department to General Johnston was not, as herein reported, to form a junction, “should the movement, in his judgment, be deemed advisable.3

The following is an accurate copy of the order:

General Beauregard is attacked. To strike the enemy a decisive blow, a junction of all your effective force will be needed. If practicable, make the movement, sending your sick and baggage to Culpepper Court-House, either by rail or by Warrenton. In all the arrangements exercise your own discretion.


It is proper, in the outset, to state, that no copy of this endorsement was ever seen by General Beauregard until one was furnished him from the Bureau of War Records at Washington, in the autumn of 1880. Until that time he was unable to ascertain its exact tenor, which, for reasons of their own, his friends, in Congress and elsewhere, had carefully withheld from his knowledge.

The words given, no doubt from memory, in the preliminary part of General Beauregard's report of the battle of Manassas, and purporting to be the substance of the order sent to General Johnston, under date of July 17th, 1861, are not identically the words made use of in the order. That is evident. But who can deny that, though different in exact phraseology, they convey precisely the same meaning? Will any one pretend that such an order could have been looked upon as a peremptory one, and that the only thing General Johnston had to do after receiving it, was blindly [175] to obey it? What difference is there between the words ‘Make the movement should you, in your judgment, deem it advisable—’ which are the words objected to, and denied to have been used in the order—and the following: ‘If practicable, make the movement’ —which, it is contended, were the real terms employed in the telegram to General Johnston? Was not the latter fully authorized, ‘in all arrangements’ relative to the suggested movement, to ‘exercise his own discretion’? Who was to judge of the advisability or practicability of the junction sought to be made for the purpose of ‘striking a decisive blow on the enemy?’ Was it the War Department, who issued the order, or General Johnston, who received it? It is clear that, under the order as given, General Johnston could have moved, or not, as he thought best in the circumstances; and that the making or not making of the junction was left entirely to his own decision.

That such is the only correct conclusion to be arrived at after reading that order, is shown by the following passage in the endorsement of Mr. Davis:

The words “if practicable” had reference to letters of General Johnston of 12th and 15th of July, which made it extremely doubtful if he had the power to make the movement, in view of the relative strength and position of Patterson's forces as compared with his own.

Hence the uncertainty, hence the want of authoritativeness, so perceptible in the governmental despatch alluded to. That the War Department construed it as entirely contingent, and as depending upon General Johnston's judgment, is further shown by the telegram already mentioned in Chapter VIII. of this book, but which we again offer to the reader:

Richmond, July 17th, 1861.
General Beauregard:

You are authorized to appropriate the North Carolina regiment on its route to General Johnston. If possible, send to General Johnston to say he has been informed, via Staunton, that you were attacked, and that he will join you, if practicable, with his effective force, sending his sick and baggage to Culpepper Court-House, by rail or through Warrenton.

S. Cooper, Adjutant-General.

General Johnston's telegram to General Beauregard, of the same date, corroborates our conclusion. It read as follows: [176]

Winchester, Va., July 17th, 1861.
General Beauregard, Manassas:

Is the enemy upon you in force?

He was gathering all such information as might guide him in determining his course. He was carefully weighing the advisability of moving just then, or not, as best suited the emergency and the interests of his command. But, whatever may have prompted his final action, he was in nowise obeying a peremptory order. ‘In the exercise of the discretion conferred by the terms of the order’—says General Johnston, in his report of the battle of Manassas—‘I at once determined to march to join General Beauregard.’ He determined. But, for having construed the Richmond order to him as a contingent one, General Johnston, no less than General Beauregard, incurred the displeasure of the Presiident.5 In a foot-note in Johnston's ‘Narrative,’ p. 34, we read as follows: ‘. . . In an endorsement on it (the report) by Mr. Davis, I am accused of reporting his telegram to me inaccurately. I did not profess to quote his words, but to give their meaning, which was done correctly.’ Mr. Davis's remarks, in his book, on this point, are valueless. How can he tell what construction General Johnston put upon the telegram he received? How can he deny that General Johnston considered the question of making a junction as left to his discretion? Further comments are unnecessary. We quote again from the executive endorsement upon General Beauregard's report:

The plan of campaign reported to have been submitted, but not accepted, and to have led to a decision of the War Department, cannot be found among its files, nor any reference to any decision made upon it; and it was not known that the army had advanced beyond the line of Bull Run, the position previously selected by General Lee, and which was supposed to have continued to be the defensive line occupied by the main body of our forces. Inquiry has developed the fact that a message, to be verbally delivered, was sent by Hon. Mr. Chestnut. If the conjectures recited in the report were entertained, they rested on the accomplishment of one great condition, namely, that a junction of the forces of Generals Johnston and Holmes should be made with the army of General Beauregard, and should gain a victory. The junction was made, the victory was won, but the consequences that were predicted did not [177] result. The reasons why no such consequences could result are given in the closing passage of the reports of both the commanding generals, and the responsibility cannot be transferred to the government at Richmond, which certainly would have united in any feasible plan to accomplish such desirable results.

The plan of campaign, mentioned in the strategic portion of General Beauregard's report, as having been submitted to and not accepted by the President, ‘could not be found among the files of the War Department,’ for the simple reason—and Mr. Davis knew it—that the plan referred to was not proposed by letter, but communicated, personally, through Colonel James Chestnut of South Carolina, one of General Beauregard's aids. This officer carried with him a written memorandum dictated by General Beauregard to Colonel Sam. Jones, on the evening of the 13th of July, containing all the main features of the military operations, acknowledged to be ‘brilliant and comprehensive,’ but, unfortunately, opposed at Richmond, and no less unfortunately rejected.6

Mr. Davis, after showing great incredulity as to having ever ‘entertained’ such a plan—one of the most important of the war —succeeds, however, in recalling to memory, ‘inquiry having developed the fact,’ that Colonel Chestnut did, in effect, verbally deliver a message in General Beauregard's name. That ‘message,’ as the President thought proper to call the communication he had received, was no less than the plan for an aggressive advance upon the enemy, ably and exhaustively explained by Colonel Chestnut, in a conference granted him by the President, as the representative and authorized exponent of General Beauregard's views on the subject. Besides Mr. Davis and Colonel Chestnut, Generals Lee and Cooper were present, and so was Colonel (afterwards General) John S. Preston, of South Carolina. We call the reader's special attention to Colonel Chestnut's report to General Beauregard, July 16th, 1861, on his return from Richmond, wherein appear the full details of the plan proposed, and the reasons given by the President for not adopting it. That report is to be found in Chapter VIII. of this work, page 85. We also refer the reader to the preceding chapter (Chapter XII.), in which [178] was given, in extenso, President Davis's letter to General Beauregard (October 30th) and the answer thereto (November 22d), in reference to the report of the battle of Manassas. ‘No such plan as that described,’ said the President, in the letter we refer to, ‘was submitted to me.’ Here the denial is absolute. Mr. Davis, at that time, was evidently ignorant of the fact that Colonel Chestnut had reduced to writing all that had occurred during that important conference.

In the endorsement now occupying our attention the President no longer denies, but, in his attempt to palliate his error, insinuates his doubts, and apparently—though not quite consistently— fails to remember. This is all the more strange, inasmuch as he was then in possession, not only of Colonel Chestnut's report, sent him by General Beauregard at his own request, but also of General Sam. Jones's letter, which bore witness that the plan referred to in the report of the battle of Manassas was ‘substantially the same’ as the one proposed by him through the medium of Colonel Chestnut.

Early in the month of June, Bonham's brigade of four South Carolina regiments had been advanced to Fairfax Court-House, and Ewell's brigade posted in front of Bull Run, at Union Mills Ford; all of which had been duly announced, and was well known to the Confederate War Department, as the correspondence of the period will show. This, however, is not at all material to the issue made by Mr. Davis's endorsement with reference to General Beauregard's plan of concentration and aggression, communicated to him through Colonel Chestnut. We mention it here, that our silence may not be construed as an acquiescence in Mr. Davis's assertion ‘that it was not known that the army had advanced beyond the line of Bull Run.’ The entire army had not, but two of its brigades had; and General Beauregard is certainly not responsible for Mr. Davis's ignorance of the fact.

We positively assert—and history bears us out—that the ‘junction’ referred to in the endorsement was only effected because General Beauregard, on the 19th of July, after checking Mc-Dowell's advance at the engagement of Bull Run, refused to withdraw the call made upon General Johnston, so that the latter ‘might be left to his full discretion.’7 I Had General Beauregard [179] obeyed the telegram of General Cooper, General Johnston, about whose movements the War Department admitted its ignorance, would not have left Winchester, and no ‘victory’ could have been won by the Confederates on the 21st of July. That ‘junction,’ that ‘victory,’ were the results of General Beauregard's untiring, unflinching perseverance. The first was effected, the second achieved, in spite of—not owing to—the action of Mr. Davis or of the War Department.

‘The reasons why no such consequences could result are given,’ not only ‘in the closing passages of the reports of both the commanding generals,’ as Mr. Davis has it, but also in General Beauregard's repeated communications to the War Department, before and after the battle of Manassas, and especially in his letter to President Davis, dated August 10th, 1861,8 in which he said: ‘With regard to my remarks about marching on to Washington, you must have misunderstood them, for I never stated that we could have pursued the enemy on the evening of the 21st, or even on the 22d. I wrote: “The want of food and transportation has made us lose all the fruits of our victory. We ought, at this time, the 29th July, to be in or about Washington, and from all accounts Washington could have been taken up to the 24th instant, by twenty thousand men.” Every news from there confirms me still more in that opinion. For several days' (about one week) after the battle, I could not put my new regiments in position for want of transportation. I do not say this to injure my friend Colonel Myers, but to benefit the service. We have, no doubt, by our success here, achieved “glory” for the country, but I am fighting for something more real and tangible, i. e., to save our homes and firesides from our Northern invaders, and to maintain our freedom and independence as a nation.’

It is not desirable to repeat here the main reasons which prevented ‘the consequences predicted’ as the result of the ‘victory won,’ after the long-prayed — for junction of General Johnston's forces with General Beauregard's at Manassas. For such information the reader is referred to Chapter X. of this work, wherein full details of General Beauregard's requisitions, and complaints as to insufficiency of provisions and transportation, are minutely [180] given. We will merely add that Mr. Davis evidently lost sight of the fact that even had he positively ordered the junction of the Confederate forces at Manassas, and not desired, as he did, to countermand it on the 19th of July, that junction, effected eight days after it had been suggested, in General Beauregard's name, by Colonel Chestnut, could very well fail to bring about the result then reasonably expected of it and so earnestly urged upon the government. As originally proposed, it was a measure of timely preparation for a clearly impending hostile movement on the part of the enemy; a preparation to meet that movement upon the only correct principle of war in the situation—the active defensive. As executed, it was a junction-unwillingly assented to, at the last hour, when the enemy was already upon General Beauregard with a largely superior force, and when most of the ‘consequences predicted’ could no longer be realized. For it must be borne in mind that the plan insisted upon by General Beauregard involved an offensive movement on our part after concentration; while the actual junction, when it was made, had become altogether imperative as a purely defensive measure; and what Mr. Davis points out as a different result from that originally proposed was but the necessary sequel of the rejection of General Beauregard's plan.

The endorsement of Mr. Davis proceeds as follows:

If the plan of campaign mentioned in the report had been presented in a written communication, and in sufficient detail to permit proper investigation, it must have been pronounced to be impossible at that time, and its proposal could only have been accounted for by the want of information of the forces and positions of the armies in the field. The facts that rendered it impossible are the following:

1. It was based, as related from memory by Colonel Chestnut, on the supposition of drawing a force of about twenty-five thousand men from the command of General Johnston. The letters of General Johnston show his effective force to have been only eleven thousand, with an enemy thirty thousand strong in his front, ready to take possession of the valley of Virginia on his withdrawal.

Mr. Davis's statement as to insufficiency of detail in the plan submitted to him forces upon him one of the following alternatives: He was either thoroughly informed of General Beauregard's proposal to him, and he, therefore, more than errs in alleging want of adequate knowledge of the question at issue; or he was without the necessary data to guide him; and, in that case, his rejection of a proposition which he had not comprehended was certainly unwise, if not unpardonable. [181]

The truth is, that the plan presented in General Beauregard's name to President Davis had all the definiteness and detail that any written proposition of the same import and moment could have had. This is established by Colonel Chestnut's official report, already referred to, which we urge the reader to examine again with particular attention. It was presented by an interpreter thoroughly possessed of his subject, speaking, not from memory alone, but from carefully prepared notes, taken under the dictation of General Beauregard himself. It is, therefore, superfluous to deal further with Mr. Davis's futile attempt to prove that a ‘written communication’ was necessary for ‘the proper investigation’ of a vital plan of campaign, upon the merits of which— say what he may—he had, nevertheless, deliberated, and which he had finally condemned.

The criticism of Mr. Davis, based on the estimated numbers, whether of General Johnston or of General Patterson, is utterly without point, in presence of the fact that the former had no difficulty whatever in bringing away his forces, when he essayed to do so. Nor did the latter ‘take possession of the valley of Virginia on the withdrawal’ of his opponent; nor did he even threaten to make any demonstration of the kind. On the other hand, Colonel Chestnut's report shows that General Beauregard had estimated General Johnston's forces at twenty thousand men, and not at twenty-five thousand, as Mr. Davis has it. As to General Patterson, his army, at the time we speak of—that is to say, between the 14th and 21st of July—never amounted even to twenty thousand men, though it was rumored, as early as the 13th, that it numbered upwards of thirty-two thousand. General Johnston refers to that rumor in his report of the battle of Manassas, but, in his book, reduces the number ‘to about twenty thousand, instead of thirty-two thousand, the estimate of the people of Martinsburg, at the time.’9 And General Patterson, who must be supposed to have known something about it, in a letter from Harper's Ferry, dated July 24th, says: ‘My force is less than twenty thousand; nineteen regiments, whose term of service was up, or will be within a week. . . . Five regiments have gone home. Two more go to day, and three to-morrow. To avoid being cut off with the remainder, I fell back, and occupied this place.’ Now [182] when General Johnston began to move from Winchester to Manassas, on the 18th, his army, with an average effective strength, per regiment, not much exceeding five hundred men, could be computed at not less than ten thousand, exclusive of artillery and cavalry, exclusive also of the sick—seventeen hundred in number —who were comfortably provided for in Winchester.10 These, however, are mere side issues, and not at all connected with the question really before us. General Beauregard never pretended to know, except by approximation, the exact force under General Johnston. What he wished and asked for was the concentration of that force, such as it might be, with his own, in order to strike the enemy with masses, not with fractions, and thus compel him, not us, to take the defensive. When General Beauregard recommended that concentration and predicted its results, he had every reason to be confident that the advance of McDowell was immediately impending; and had Mr. Davis allowed the scheme to be carried out, in anticipation of what the enemy was preparing to do, but had not yet actually done, the junction of our forces would have taken place at least forty-eight hours earlier than the date at which it was effected, and Bull Run would have been fought with the combined forces of both Generals Johnston and Beauregard, to say nothing of General Holmes, who naturally would have followed and joined in the movement, and McDowell's army would have been annihilated, or turned and cut off from Washington.

Mr. Davis's endorsement goes on as follows:

2. It proposed to continue operations, by effecting a junction of a part of the victorious forces with the army of General Garnett, in Western Virginia; General Garnett's forces amounted only to three or four thousand men, then known to be in rapid retreat before vastly superior forces under McClellan, and the news that he was himself killed and his army scattered arrived within forty-eight hours of Colonel Chestnut's arrival in Richmond.

This reference to the Garnett disaster is characteristic of Mr. Davis as a polemist, and we chiefly touch upon it to assert that, at the time he decided adversely on the general plan laid before him, he was not aware of what had happened to Garnett, an event which could only have made the concentration at Manassas—the essential feature of General Beauregard's plan—the more necessary in the exigency, as any military man may see. [183]

The co-operation with Garnett against McClellan was but a possible incident of the scheme of campaign, and could not properly have weighed in deciding the main question of General Johnston's concentration with General Beauregard, in order to defeat Mc-Dowell and Patterson. These two results, even if not followed by the proposed movement into Maryland, and on the rear of Washington, would have driven McClellan back into Ohio, or, if he had ventured a farther advance into Virginia, would have left him at our mercy.

The third main reason which rendered General Beauregard's scheme ‘impossible’ is thus explained in Mr. Davis's endorsement:

3. The plan was based on the improbable and inadmissible supposition that the enemy was to await everywhere, isolated and motionless, until our forces could effect junctions, to attack them in detail.

This is without weight or effect, and scarcely deserves a serious answer.

The enemy, on his first entrance into Virginia, had displayed the greatest hesitation and uncertainty in all his forward movements. He felt that he was treading upon dangerous ground. It was the procrastination and lack of vigor of those who held the reins of power in Richmond which finally aroused in that enemy a spirit of assurance and conquest, until then dormant. To check his first steps forward was, therefore, for us, the all-important object.

General Beauregard's plans were not based on any ‘improbable and inadmissible supposition,’ as Mr. Davis asserts, but upon information that the chief Federal force was about to be thrown forward against him; and his scheme, in accordance with a cardinal principle in war, involved an immediate concentration of our available masses, offensively to meet and overwhelm that advance. What actually occurred—the defeat of McDowell, after the longdelayed junction was brought about, under the disadvantageous conditions already alluded to—shows that the first and main feature of General Beauregard's plan, to which the others were mere consequences, was the true military course for the Confederate authorities to pursue. Its success—as always in the business of war—must have deprived the enemy of the power to make his own movements at his own pleasure, and enabled us to beat him [184] successively in detail. Mr. Davis, in rejecting that plan, left the Confederate forces ‘to await everywhere, isolated and motionless, until’ the Federal ‘forces could effect junctions, to attack them in detail.’ And this, we may add, was, unhappily, his military method throughout the war.

Says Mr. Davis, in his endorsement:

4. It could not be expected that any success obtainable on the battle-field could enable our forces to carry the fortifications on the Potomac, garrisoned and within supporting distance of fresh troops; nor, after the actual battle and victory, did the generals on the field propose an advance on the capital; nor does it appear that they have since believed themselves in a condition to attempt such a movement.

Had the concentration been made, McDowell's forces would have been captured, with his munitions and transportation, leaving the works at Washington substantially unoccupied; and Mr. Davis had no authority for supposing that a supporting force was in reach. The whole history of the time shows that, after Mc-Dowell's defeat, Washington was at our mercy, had we advanced upon it. That we did not do so was in no way due to General Beauregard or to his plans.

The concluding words in Mr. Davis's fourth objection, to wit— ‘nor does it appear that they (Generals Johnston and Beauregard) have since believed themselves in a condition to attempt such a movement,’ are an extraordinary assertion when it is considered that, not many weeks before this endorsement was written, the President had visited our army headquarters, at Fairfax Court-House, and had there been urged by Generals Johnston, G. W. Smith, and Beauregard, to make a concentration of our forces readily available, for an offensive movement upon the rear of Washington, the material for which was most minutely pointed out to him.11 This second proposed concentration and forward movement was then entirely practicable, and the failure to make it at that time was one of the fatally false courses which characterized Mr. Davis's control of the military resources of the Confederate people, by which he habitually neutralized the great advantage that we had in the possession of the interior lines.

The following are the concluding words of the endorsement:

It is proper also to observe that there is no communication on file in the War Department, as recited at the close of the report, showing what were the [185] causes which prevented the advance of our forces, and prolonged vigorous pursuits of the enemy to and beyond the Potomac.

It was out of General Beauregard's power to know what was technically ‘on file in the War Department,’ at the time Mr. Davis wrote his endorsement; but he does know that the President had been fully advised in writing, directly and through the War Department, of certain needs with regard to subsistence and transportation; needs which, left unsupplied, as they were, made it impossible for that army, immediately upon the defeat of McDowell, to undertake the only practicable offensive movement, to wit, the passage of the Potomac, at or about Edwards's Ferry, into Maryland, and a march thence upon the rear of Washington.

If Mr. Davis had allowed General Beauregard to carry out his proposed plan of operations against McDowell and Patterson, we should have captured from the enemy all the requisite supplies that the President and the chiefs of the Commissary and Quartermaster Departments had so signally failed to procure. This chapter and several preceding ones of this work are replete with proof of remonstrances ignored, of demands unheeded, of requisitions disregarded, by Mr. Davis and the War Department, from the early part of June up to, and long after, the battle of Manassas.

The foregoing commentaries upon this ‘executive endorsement’ may, at first sight, appear harsh, and, to a degree, unmerited. But a critical examination will show their entire justice. Far easier and less painful would it be, when chronicling our defeat, to place the blame upon circumstances and not upon persons. Unhappily for Mr. Davis, his conspicuous position as President, and the fact that his friends attempt to make of him the sacred central figure of the late Southern Confederacy, to whom no reproach should ever be affixed, compel all conscientious writers, while passing upon his eventful career, to a clear and exhaustive exposition of the truth. Such has been our object in discussing the different parts of his criticism of General Beauregard's report of the battle of Manassas. We hold that even Mr. Davis cannot be allowed to controvert the historical events of that period; that he is bound by them; that he must accept the logical conclusions, whether for praise or for censure, of his own acts; and as his words—written or spoken—have more weight in the minds of many persons than the assertions of other men, he should be held to a strict responsibility, [186] and judged with all due severity, whenever he gives rein to prejudice, or ceases to be fair and impartial.

In thus speaking, we are moved by no personal animosity to Mr. Davis—far from it; but knowing the truth of all the facts alluded to, and desiring that no injustice shall be done to one who, no less than Mr. Davis, had his whole heart in the success of the cause for which he fought, it is deemed a duty, as well as a right, to impart knowledge to the public, and show the source from which it is derived.

The singular circumstance that General Beauregard's report of the battle of Manassas is dated August the 26th, when it was not forwarded until the 14th of October,12 has already been explained in a foot-note to be found in Chapter XII. of this work, page 165. A repetition here would be unnecessary. We merely submit the following letter, showing the exact time at which General Beauregard's report was sent to the War Department.

Headquarters 1ST corps army of the Potomac, Fairfax Court-House, October 14th, 1861.
General S. Cooper, Adj. and Insp. Gen., Richmond, Va.:
Sir,—I have the honor to transmit by my aid, Lieutenant S. W. Ferguson, the report of the battle of Manassas, with the accompanying papers and drawings, as well as the flags and colors captured from the enemy on that occasion. Occupations of the gravest character have prevented their earlier transmission.

I send, as a guard to said colors, two of the soldiers who participated in their capture.

I remain, Sir, respectfully, etc.,

G. T. Beauregard, General.

After using his best endeavors to vindicate his course and furnish to ‘the student of history’ all he should learn as to the facts of the case, Mr. Davis, with great apparent generosity towards his assailants, adds the following sentence: ‘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 selfsustain-ing.’ 13

We quite agree with Mr. Davis in this expression of a general truth. Is it possible, however, that, while penning the words [187] quoted, he failed to see the stinging irony of their application to that part of his own book which treats of this matter?

Among the many evidences of regard, in which General Beauregard found consolation for official annoyances, came, just about that time (January 20th), the following letter from Governor Moore of Louisiana, transmitting the thanks of the Legislature of his State, for the victories of Sumter, Bull Run, and Manassas.

Executive office, Baton Rouge, La., January 14th, 1862.
To Major-General G. T. Beauregard:
Sir,—I have the honor to enclose herewith, as requested, a copy of a joint resolution of the General Assembly of the State of Louisiana.

The unanimous expression of the Legislature is but the echo of the equally unanimous voices of the people of your native State. While they confide in the efficiency and rejoice in the success of the troops under your command, they entertain the highest esteem and gratitude for the talents and labor employed by you in preparing our volunteers for such successful action and in leading them to victory.

In performing this pleasing duty, permit me to express my full and cordial concurrence in the well-deserved tribute of thanks which our Legislature has offered you.

With the highest consideration, I am, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Thomas O. Moore, Governor.

Attentive, as ever, to the personal needs of his men, General Beauregard, on the 18th of December, addressed a circular to his division commanders, providing for the granting of leaves of absence, after Christmas, to officers and privates, in limited numbers at a time, and in the order claimed by the relative wants of their families and affairs—a necessary privilege to many who, at the first sudden call, had left their homes, and had, ever since, been absent from them. On the 24th, however, upon learning that Congress had passed an act granting furloughs of sixty days to such twelve months volunteers as would re-enlist for a term of two or three years, or the war, General Beauregard revoked, but with great reluctance, the leaves given, and ordered that, unless in exceptional cases, they should be granted to those only who would accept the provisions of the act. General Beauregard was informed of this wholesale method of granting furloughs through General Orders No. 1, from the Adjutant-General's office, which was communicated to him as commander of the district, on or about the 16th of January, with instructions to execute it at once, [188] but in such a manner only as might be compatible with safety to the service. For reasons already stated, this order and the instructions accompanying it were necessarily referred to General Johnston, who deemed it best, at the time, to withhold its publication.

On the 17th, circulars under cover to General Beauregard, and separately addressed to his care, were received from Richmond, for all the colonels in the army, providing for the issue of recruiting commissions from all regiments, battalions, and independent companies. This new official freak, on the part of the Acting Secretary of War, following, as it did, closely upon the ‘bounty and furlough law,’ as it was called in the army, was calculated to do the greatest harm, and pressed heavily, not only upon company and regimental commanders, but, likewise, upon the generals in chief. General Johnston, alluding to this unfortunate intervention of Mr. Benjamin, says in his ‘Narrative of Military Operations,’ page 90: ‘Either from defects in the law itself, or faults in the manner in which it was administered, it had the effect of weakening the army, by its immediate operation, without adding to its strength subsequently. Its numbers were greatly reduced before the end of the month by furloughs under the recent law, given directly by the Acting Secretary of War. It was further weakened, and its discipline very much impaired, by Mr. Benjamin's daily interference in its administration and interior management. That officer was in the habit of granting leaves of absence, furloughs, and discharges, accepting resignations, and detailing soldiers to labor for contractors, or on nominal service, taking them out of the army upon applications made directly to himself, without the knowledge of the officers whose duty it was to look to the interests of the government in such cases. He also granted indiscriminately, to officers, privates, and civilians, authority to raise companies of cavalry and artillery—especially the latter— from our excellent infantry regiments, in some instances for merely local services.’

Meanwhile, a widespread spirit of discontent arose, from withholding the publication of the orders of the department respecting furloughs; and General Beauregard again found himself in the embarrassing position of being addressed and looked to by the War Department as the commander of the army, while in reality he had not been invested with such command by the commander of the military department. [189]

To put an end to this embarrassing state of affairs, Colonel Jordan, his Chief of Staff, urged upon General Beauregard the advisability of dropping his practice of dating his orders from ‘Headquarters 1st Corps Army of the Potomac,’ and of informing General Johnston of the change, in order to avoid clashing with the War Department. General Beauregard acknowledged the soundness of the advice, which had already presented itself to his mind, but, through a feeling of delicacy towards General Johnston, and being reluctant to appear, in any way, to encroach upon his prerogatives as Commander-in-Chief, he once more declined to move in the matter. Opposition to the War Department or to any order emanating therefrom, had nothing whatever to do with his decision. Shortly afterwards, fault being again found with this corps command, General Beauregard, in order to avoid all further complication and appearance of disobedience to orders, forwarded the following telegram to President Davis:

Centreville, Va., December 31st, 1861.
To President Jeff. Davis, Richmond:

Please state definitely what I am to command, if I do not command a corps, in consequence of latter being unauthorized.

To this no reply came, and the uncertainty continued—the War Department persisting in practically considering him as in command of the whole army; while General Johnston, though placed at the head of the Department of Northern Virginia, had not relinquished his claim to the same position.

The matter of recruitment had given anxious thought to General Beauregard, who reflected, with alarm, that, upon the disbandment of the twelve months volunteers, the army would consist mostly of raw recruits, in opposition to a force comparatively veteran, and superior both in numbers and in all the appointments of war. Accordingly, on the 20th of January, he communicated to the Hon. Roger A. Pryor, of the Confederate House of Representatives, a plan with the following main features: The governors of the States, upon an immediate call by the Confederate government, to fill the regiments in the field to their legal standard, by a draft of five hundred men for each; to hold in reserve an additional number of five hundred men, with which to raise them again to their full standard at the end of the term of the twelve months men; the second quota to be furnished about one month [190] before that event—less, however, such number of ‘veterans’ as should then have re-enlisted; the recruits thus excepted forming a reserve to supply occurring vacancies. Upon the arrival of the second quota, the officers of regiments to be elected, subject to approval after examination for competency; promotion to be, thenceforward, by grade—the lowest grade being filled by election under like approval.

No action was taken by Congress upon these suggestions, and it is even doubtful that they were ever presented in that body.

1 See Chapter V., p. 51.

2 This beautiful design, by a strange coincidence, had been previously devised by Colonel Miles, and recommended, for the Confederate flag, to the Congress then in session at Montgomery, in March, 1861. It had also been proposed by Mr. Edward C. Hancock, at the request of Colonel James B. Walton, at New Orleans, in the month of April. It had been offered by Colonel Miles to General Beauregard, in substitution for one nearly similar in emblem and pattern, but different in the distribution of colors, suggested to him by General Beauregard when the latter was seeking to procure a change in the Confederate flag. And it was now proposed anew to the General by Colonel Walton, who had Mr. Hancock's design.

3 The italics are ours.

4 The italics are ours.

5 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. p. 366.

6 See, in Appendix to Chapter VIII., letter of General (then Colonel) Sam. Jones, about written memorandum given to Colonel Chestnut by General Beauregard.

7 See, in Appendix to Chapter VIII., General Cooper's telegram to General Beauregard, to that effect.

8 The whole of this letter is to be found in Chapter X. of this work, at page 123.

9 General Johnston's ‘Narrative of Military Operations,’ p. 31.

10 General Johnston's ‘Narrative of Military Operations,’ p. 35.

11 See Chapter XI., p. 142, and Appendix to the same chapter.

12 General J. E. Johnston's Report bore the same date.

13 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. p. 871.

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