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Anthology of Louisiana Literature

Alfred Roman.
Military Operations of General Beauregard in the war Between the States, 1861 to 1865, vol. I.

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Biographical Sketch of General Beauregard

Major Beauregard appointed Superintendent of the United States military Academy. — his determination to resign should Louisiana withdraw from the Union. — takes command at West point, but is immediately relieved. — Returns to New Orleans. — is offered the rank of Colonel of Engineers and artillery in the Louisiana State forces, — Declines. — plan to obstruct river near Forts. — floating booms. — is summoned to Montgomery by President Davis. — ordered to Charleston, S. C., to assume command and direct operations against Fort Sumter.

Description of Charleston. — General Beauregard’s arrival. — cursory sketch of the condition of the public mind in the South. — the Hon. Robert Barnwell Rhett. — one sentiment and one resolve animating South Carolinians. — South Carolina commissioners to Washington. — failure of negotiations. — Major Anderson evacuates Fort Moultrie and occupies Fort Sumter. — hoisting of Palmetto flags. — steamer Star of the West. — Governor Pickens summons Major Anderson to surrender the Fort. — he declines, but refers the matter to Washington. — Mr. Buchanan refuses to withdraw federal garrison. — all eyes centred on South Carolina. — system and plan of operations adopted by General Beauregard. — more troops volunteer than are needed.

The Confederate States Commissioners. — their correspondence with Mr. Seward. — how they were deceived. — Mr. Lincoln’s sectional views. — letter of Major Anderson to the Adjutant-General of the United States army. — on whom must rest the responsibility for the War. — Mr. Buchanan’s wavering policy. — General Beauregard distrusts the good faith of the federal authorities. — his plan to reduce Fort Sumter. — detached batteries. — floating and iron-clad batteries. — Fort Sumter’s supplies cut off. — Drummond lights. — steam harbor-boats. — enfilade or masked battery. — Mr. Chew. — his message to General Beauregard. — Secretary of War apprised of same. — his answer to telegram. — Blakely rifled gun. — by whom sent. — General Beauregard demands the surrender of Fort Sumter. — Major Anderson declines. — fire opened on the Fort April 12th.

General Beauregard makes no material changes in the distribution of forces in Charleston. — Brigadier-General Simons in command of Morris Island. — Brigadier-General Dunovant of Sullivan’s Island. — tone of troops. — the first shell fired from Fort Johnson. — the only motive actuating the South. — at 5 A. M., April 12th, every battery in full play. — Sumter responds at 7 o’clock. — how our guns were served. — engagement continued until nightfall. — firing kept up all night by our batteries. — no response from Sumter. — conduct of the federal fleet. — Fort re-opens fire on the morning of the 13th. — burning of barracks. — Sumter still firing.-our troops cheer the garrison. — General Beauregard offers assistance to Major Anderson, who declines. — hoisting of the white flag. — terms of surrender. — accident during the salute of the flag. — evacuation. — our troops enter the Fort, April 14th. — hoisting of Confederate and Palmetto flags.

Condition of Fort Sumter after the bombardment. — repairs begun at once. — mustering of South Carolina Volunteers. — Bonham’s brigade. — General Beauregard makes a reconnoissance of the South Carolina coast. — recommends works at Stono, the two Edistos, and Georgetown. — Declines advising plan of defence for Port Royal harbor. — Yields under pressure, but predicts the result. — receives congratulations upon the reduction of Sumter.-vote of thanks of Congress. — Resolutions of the General Assembly of South Carolina. — General Beauregard is called to Montgomery. — the President wishes him to assist General Bragg at Pensacola. — he Declines. — his reasons therefor. — deputation from New Orleans asking his transfer to Louisiana. — the President sends him back to Charleston. — propositions of the house of John Frazer & Co., relative to purchase of steamers. — comments thereon. — General Beauregard advocates the plan. — government Declines moving in the matter. — silence of Mr. Davis’s book about it. — General Beauregard ordered to Richmond. — regrets of Carolinians at his departure. — letter of Governor Pickens.

Secession of Virginia. — Confederate troops sent to her assistance. — arrival of General Beauregard in Richmond. — he assumes command at Manassas. — position of our forces. — his proclamation and the reasons for it. — Site of ‘Camp Pickens.’ — his letter to President Davis. — our deficiencies. — mismanagement in Quartermaster’s and Commissary’s Departments. — how he could have procured transportation. — manufacture of cartridges. — secret service with Washington.

Position of troops in Northern Virginia. — General Beauregard advocates concentration, June 12th. — letter to that effect to President Davis. — answer declining. — General Beauregard suggests a junction with General Holmes. — again refused. — division of General Beauregard’s forces into brigades, 20th June. — begins forward movement. — instructions to brigade commanders. — reconnoissances made at the end of June. — McDowell’s strength. — General Beauregard’s anxieties. — his letter to Senator Wigfall. — Submits another plan of operations to the President, July 11th.

General Beauregard again urging concentration. — Colonels Preston and Chestnut sent to Richmond, to explain plan. — Report of Colonel Chestnut. — the President disapproves the proposed campaign. — letter of General Beauregard to General Johnston. — comments upon Mr. Davis’s refusal. — General McDowell ordered to advance. — strong demonstration against General Bonham. — General Beauregard’s telegram to the President. — General Johnston ordered to make junction if practicable. — action of Bull Run. — what Major Barnard, U. S. E., says of it. — repulse of the enemy. — War Department inclined to withdraw order to General Johnston. — General Beauregard disregards the suggestion.

Battle of Manassas. — General J. E. Johnston assumes command, but General Beauregard directs operations and fights the battle. — superiority of numbers against us. — deeds of heroism. — enemy completely routed. — Ordnance and supplies captured. — ours and enemy’s losses. — strength of General McDowell’s army. — the verdict of history.

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.

General Beauregard suggests a forward movement. — not approved by General Johnston. — sanitary measures. — deficiency in light artillery. — instructions to Colonel Stuart. — Mason’s and Munson’s Hills. — General Beauregard proposes to hold them. — General Johnston of a different opinion. — popularity of General Beauregard. — he establishes his headquarters at Fairfax Court-House. — proposes another plan involving decisive battle. — General Johnston deems it better not to hazard the movement. — organization of the forces into divisions. — General Beauregard advises that the army be placed under one head. — President Davis invited to a conference at Fairfax Court-House. — scheme of operations submitted. — Generals Johnston and G. W. Smith approve it. — troops in splendid fighting condition. — the President objects. — no reinforcements can be furnished, and no arms in the country. — review of Mr. Davis’s remarks on the subject. — he proposes a plan for operations across the Potomac. — the commanding Generals do not consider it feasible.

Signal rockets and signal telegraph. — General Beauregard advises coast defenses at New Orleans, Mobile, Galveston, and Berwick bay, and calls attention to the exposure of Port Royal. — counsels General Lovell concerning River obstructions between Forts St. Philip and Jackson. — General Johnston orders the troops into winter quarters. — our lines formed at Centreville. — Drainsville and Ball’s Bluff. — General Beauregard proposes to intercept General Stone’s retreat, and also suggests resolute attack against McClellan’s right. — unfriendly correspondence between War Department and General Beauregard. — uncourteous language of Mr. Benjamin. — General Beauregard exposes the ignorance of the acting Secretary of War. — controversy in the press about General Beauregard’s report of battle of Manassas. — his letter to the editors of Richmond Whig. — the President accuses General Beauregard of attempting to exalt himself at his expense. — he upholds Mr. Benjamin and condemns General Beauregard. — dignity and forbearance of the latter.

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.

The part taken by General Johnston in the battle of Manassas. — he assumes no direct responsibility, and, though superior in rank, desires General Beauregard to exercise full command. — President Davis did not plan the campaign; ordered concentration at the last moment; arrived on the battle-field after the enemy had been routed. — pursuit ordered and begun, but checked in consequence of false alarm. — advance on Washington made impossible by want of transportation and subsistence.

Colonel Pryor, of the military committee of Congress, visits General Beauregard at Centreville, to propose his transfer to the West. — General Beauregard finally yields to the wishes of Congress and the executive. — he parts with his army on the 2d of february, and on the 4th arrives at Bowling Green. — interview with General A. S. Johnston. — succinct review of the latter’s situation. — ignorance of the War Department with reference to his forces. — General Beauregard desires to go back to his army in Virginia. — General Johnston urges him to stay and assume command at Columbus. — inspection of the works at Bowling Green. — what General Beauregard thinks of them. — he suggests concentration at Henry and Donelson to force a battle upon Grant. — General Johnston fears the risk of such a movement, and adheres to his own plan of operations. — fall of Fort Henry. — conference at Bowling Green. — memorandum of General Johnston’s plan of the campaign. — his and General Polk’s army to operate on divergent lines. — evacuation of Bowling Green. — General Beauregard asks for specific instructions. — letter to Colonel Pryor. — fall of Fort Donelson. — its effect upon the country. — criticism of General Johnston’s strategy.

General Beauregard telegraphs for instructions after the fall of Donelson. — General Johnston’s answer. — Colonel Jordan’s report of the situation at Columbus. — General Beauregard calls General Polk to Jackson, Tennessee, for conference. — opinion of the latter as to the strength of Columbus. — he concurs, however, in General Beauregard’s views. — evacuation of Columbus authorized by the War Department. — General Beauregard’s detailed instructions to that effect. — defects in River defences at Columbus. — Governor Harris of Tennessee. — General Johnston retreating towards Stevenson, along the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. — his letter of February 18th to the War Department. — depression of the people. — General Beauregard resolves to replenish the army. — makes use of the discretion given him by General Johnston. — his plan of operations. — Believes success depends upon offensive movement on our part. — calls upon the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee; and also upon Generals Van Dorn, Bragg, and Lovell, for immediate assistance. — sixty and ninety days troops. — the War Department not favorable to the method proposed, but finally gives its assent. — General Johnston requested by General Beauregard to change his line of retreat and turn towards Decatur, so as to co-operate with him. — General Johnston accedes to his request.

Evacuation of Columbus. — how the enemy discovered it. — loss of ordnance stores, anchors, and torpedoes. — Island no.10. — difficulty in placing guns in position. — Federal gunboats might have passed unhindered. — small garrison under Colonel Gantt reinforced by General McCown with part of the garrison of Columbus. — defences at New Madrid to be held until the completion of the works at Fort Pillow. — remainder of General Polk’s forces assembled upon Humboldt. — preparations for an offensive movement by the enemy. — danger of isolation for General Johnston. — General Beauregard’s letter to him. — the great battle of the controversy to be fought at or near Corinth. — General Johnston accedes to General Beauregard’s request, and begins a movement to join him. — General Beauregard assumes command. — arrival of General Bragg’s forces at Corinth. — Corinth the chief point of concentration, as originally decided upon. — General Beauregard appeals to the War Department for the General officers promised him. — their services greatly needed. — unwillingness and apathy of the War Department.

General Beauregard orders the collection of grain and provisions, and establishes depots of supplies. — his appeal to the people to procure metal for the casting of cannon. — warning preparations of the enemy. — arrival of federal divisions at Savannah. — General Sherman’s attempted raid to destroy the railroad. — burning of small bridge near Bethel Station.-General Pope before New Madrid. — the place abandoned. — General Beauregard’s instructions to General McCown. — General MacKALLall relieves him. — bombardment of Island no.10. — what might have been the result had the enemy disembarked at once at Pittsburg Landing. — the troops we had to oppose them. — what General Johnston thought of Bolivar as a base of operation. — recommends it as more advantageous than Corinth. — why General Beauregard preferred Corinth. — he presses concentration there, as soon as the intentions of the enemy become sufficiently developed. — success of his plan. — Co-operation of the governors of adjacent states. — troops poorly armed and equipped. — the enemy begins Landing at Pittsburg. — arrival of Hurlbut’s, Prentiss’s, McClernand’s, and the two Wallaces’ divisions. — force of the army opposing us. — General Buell. — his slow advance on Nashville. — is at last aroused by order to unite his forces with those of General Grant. — aggregate of Buell’s forces in Tennessee and Kentucky. — our only hope for success was to strike a sudden blow before the junction of Buell and Grant.

Arrival of General Johnston at Corinth. — position of his troops on the 27th of March. — offers to turn over command of the army to General Beauregard, who declines. — General Beauregard urges an early offensive movement against the enemy, and gives his views as to plan of organizing the forces. — General Johnston authorizes him to complete the organization already begun. — General orders of March 29th. — reasons why the army was formed into small corps. — General Beauregard desirous of moving against the enemy on the 1st of April. — why it was not done. — on the 2d, General Cheatham reports a strong Federal force threatening his front. — General Beauregard advises an immediate advance. — General Johnston yields. — General Jordan’s statement of his interview with General Johnston on that occasion. — special orders no. 8, otherwise called ‘order of March and battle.’ — by whom suggested and by whom written. — General Beauregard explains the order to corps commanders. — tardiness of the first corps in marching from Corinth. — our forces in position for battle on the afternoon of the 5th; too late to commence action on that day. — Generals Hardee and Bragg request General Beauregard to ride in front of their lines. — General Johnston calls General Beauregard and the corps commanders in an informal council. — General Beauregard believes the object of the movement foiled by the tardiness of troops in arriving on the battle-field. — alludes to noisy demonstrations on the March, and to the probability of Buell’s Junction, and advises to change aggressive movement into a reconnoissance in force. — General Johnston decides otherwise, and orders preparations for an attack at dawn next day. — description of the field of Shiloh. — strength of the Federal forces. — what General Sherman testified to. — we form into three lines of battle. — our effective strength. — carelessness and oversight of the Federal commanders. — they are not aroused by the many sounds in their front, and are taken by surprise.

Battle of Shiloh. — varied incidents and events of the first day. — enemy taken by surprise. — his lines driven in. — entire forces engaged on both sides. — triumphant advance of our troops. — General Johnston in command of the right and centre. — General Beauregard of the left and reserves. — Allurements of the enemy’s camps. — straggling begins among our troops. — death of the Commander-in-chief. — General Beauregard assumes command and renews the attack all along the line. — enemy again forced to fall back and abandon other camps. — evidence of exhaustion among the troops. — straggling increasing. — General Beauregard’s efforts to check it. — Collects stragglers and pushes them forward. — battle still raging. — capture of General Prentiss and of his command. — our troops reach the Tennessee river. — Colonel Webster’s batteries. — arrival of Ammen’s brigade, Nelson’s division, of Buell’s army. — its inspiriting effect upon the enemy. — the gunboats. — intrepidity of our troops. — their brilliant but ineffectual charges. — firing gradually slackens, as the day declines. — at dusk General Beauregard orders arrest of conflict. — troops ordered to bivouac for the night, and be in readiness for offensive movement next day. — storm during the night. — arrival of the whole of Buell’s army. — gunboats keep up an incessant shelling.

Difficulty of collecting and organizing commands during night of the 6th. — firing resumed early next morning. — Nelson’s brigades cross the Tennessee. — positions taken by the federals. — Chalmers’s brigade and a mixed command force back Nelson’s advance. — at 8 A. M. The Confederates are driven back with the loss of a battery. — they regain the position and battery at 9. — critical situation of Ammen’s brigade. — New position assumed by the Confederates. — Crittenden’s division engaged. — absence of General Polk from the field. — his timely arrival at 10.30. — his charge with Cheatham’s brigade. — organization of Federal army during the night of the 6th. — inaction of General Sherman on the morning of the 7th. — General Breckinridge ordered forward. — enemy driven back on our whole line. — advance of Federal right wing. — its repulse. — at 1 p.m. Enemy on our left reinforced. — General Bragg calls for assistance. — General Beauregard in person leads the 18th Louisiana and other troops to his aid. — Predetermination of General Beauregard to withdraw from the battle-field. — couriers sent to Corinth to inquire about General Van Dorn. — preparations for retreat. — guns and colors captured by Confederates on the 6th. — slow and orderly withdrawal of Confederate forces. — inability of the enemy to follow. — reconnoissance of General Sherman on the morning of the 8th. — Confederates not disorganized. — their loss during the battle. — computation of numbers engaged on both sides. — Federal loss.

Commentaries on the battle of Shiloh:
  1. Why Generals Johnston and Beauregard did not sooner move the army from Corinth.
  2. their reasons for forming their lines of battle as they did.
  3. why the Confederate attack was made chiefly on the enemy’s right, and not on his entire front.
  4. demonstration of the fact that the Confederate attack took the enemy completely by surprise.
  5. General Beauregard’s opinion and criticism of General Sherman’s tactics during the battle.
  6. Refutation of the charge that the Confederate troops were withdrawn too soon from the battle-field on the evening of the 6th. — comparison drawn by Mr. Davis between General A. S. Johnston and Marshal Turenne.
  7. General Beauregard’s opinion as to the fighting of the Confederates during the battle of the 7th.
  8. correction of the absurd story that General Beauregard did not leave his ambulance during the first day of the battle, and, when informed of General Johnston’s death, ‘quietly remained where he was, waiting the issue of events.’

General Beauregard’s insistance on the evacuation of Columbus. — documents relating to the matter. — General McCown to be put in command of Madrid Bend. — he is called by General Beauregard to Jackson for instructions. — he repairs to Madrid Bend. — dispositions made for its defence. — Commodore Hollins to co-operate with land forces. — number of troops under General McCown. — arrival of General Pope on the 28th of February in front of New Madrid. — Colonel Plummer establishes a battery on the river. — apprehensions of General McCown. — General Beauregard’s despatch to General Cooper. — General McCown exhibits still greater anxiety. — General Beauregard doubts General McCown’s capacity. — successful evacuation of Columbus. — attack commenced on New Madrid March 12th. — conference of General McCown with Commodore Hollins on the 13th, and evacuation of Forts. — General Beauregard applies for General MacKall. — garrison of New Madrid transferred to opposite bank of river and Island no.10. — General Beauregard orders all surplus guns, supplies, and boats to Fort Pillow. — fall of Island no.10 on the 7th of April. — General Pope’s forces transported to vicinity of Fort Pillow. — General Pope ordered to Pittsburg Landing. — want of capacity of Commodore Hollins. — General Beauregard’s various telegrams and orders. — he detains General Villepigue in command of Fort Pillow. — instructions to Captain Harris. — surrender of New Orleans. — bombardment of Fort Pillow. — the Montgomery rams. — General Beauregard has steam ram Arkansas completed, equipped, and manned. — history of the Arkansas. — tribute to Captain Isaac Brown and crew. — prisoners with smallpox sent to Fort Pillow. — what became of them. — letter to General Villepigue, May 28th. — he is directed by General Beauregard to prepare for withdrawing his troops from Fort Pillow. — Fort evacuated 1st of June. — responsibility of various movements left to General Beauregard.

Troops resume their former positions after the battle of Shiloh. — General Breckinridge forms the rear guard. — General Beauregard recommends General Bragg for promotion. — preliminary report sent by General Beauregard, April 11th, to the War Department. — difficulty of obtaining reports of corps commanders. — their reports sent directly to the War Department. — Inaccuracies resulting therefrom. — General Beauregard proposes an exchange of prisoners. — General Pope gives no satisfactory answer. — General Van Dorn’s forces reach Memphis on the 11th. — despatch of the 12th to General Smith. — a diversion movement determined upon by General Beauregard. — Captain John Morgan. — he is sent by General Beauregard into middle Tennessee and Kentucky. — efforts to force Buell’s return to those States. — location of General Van Dorn’s forces at Corinth; of Generals Bragg’s, Polk’s, and Breckinridge’s. — bad water. — mismanagement of commissary Department. — necessity of withdrawing from Corinth. — Tupelo selected for next defensive position. — General Beauregard resolves to construct defensive works around Vicksburg. — General Pope takes Farmington. — Confederate attack. — Federal retreat. — on the 25th General Beauregard calls a council of War. — evacuation of Corinth resolved upon. — General Beauregard’s instructions to his corps commanders. — dispositions taken to deceive the enemy. — retreat successfully accomplished. — false despatches of the enemy. — correct account by correspondents. — General force in error. — retreat considered masterly. — dissatisfaction of the War Department. — interrogatories sent by president Davis. — General Beauregard’s answer.

General Beauregard is at Tupelo on the 7th of June. — the main body of his army arrives on the 9th. — telegrams sent by him to various points. — his communication to General Cooper. — he places Colonel Forrest in command of the cavalry regiments in middle Tennessee. — General Beauregard’s ill-health. — he is urged by his physicians to take a short rest. — he finally consents. — order sent to General Bragg from Richmond. — General Beauregard’s despatch to General Cooper, June 14th. — his letter to the war Department, June 15th. — General Beauregard gives temporary command of his Department to General Bragg, and leaves Tupelo on the 17th. — General Bragg notifies the government of the fact. — President Davis removes General Beauregard, and gives permanent command of his army and Department to General Bragg. — comments on President Davis. — General Bragg’s despatch to General Beauregard. — his reply. — Mr. Randolph’s telegram. — General Beauregard’s letter to General Cooper. — Misstatements contained in President Davis’s book. — public sympathy with General Beauregard. — General Bragg’s letter to Mr. Forsyth. — his letter to General Beauregard. — answer to the same. — General Beauregard’s plan of operations in Tennessee and Kentucky. — interview of the Hon. Thomas J. Semmes and Edward Sparrow with President Davis, September 13th. — petition of Senators and Representatives for General Beauregard’s restoration to his command. — President Davis’s refusal. — notes of the interview, by Mr. Semmes. — comments upon President Davis in connection with these events. — successful result of military operations from Bowling Green to the retreat to Tupelo.



This work, written from notes and documents authenticated by me, furnishes a correct account of my military services and conduct prior to and during the recent war between the States. It is offered as a guide to the future historian of that momentous period.

In developing the truth of history, and fortifying it with evidence beyond dispute, I desire to express my appreciation of the earnest, able, and judicial manner in which the author has per formed his arduous undertaking; and I fully endorse all his statements and comments, excepting only such encomiums as he has thought proper to bestow upon me.

To General Thomas Jordan, formerly my Chief of Staff, and to Mr. W. J. Marrin, of Xew York, I am indebted for valuable assistance in the obtaining of many facts and data; also to Lieutenant-Colonel R. X. Scott, U. S. A., in charge, at Washington, of the publication office of the War Records of 1861-65,and to General Marcus J. Wright, agent of the War Department in the collection of Confederate Records, for copies of important papers furnished by them.

G. T. Beaueregard



THE greatest boon that can be bestowed upon a people is the adequate setting forth of the history of their illustrious men. The achievements of these, duly recorded, stand forth as beaconlights to guide coming generations; and as a just appreciation of greatness indicates worth in a people, and points to future advancement on their part, so surely does indifference to merited renown denote popular degeneracy and decay.

We therefore welcome every honestly meant publication concerning the struggle of the South for independence — a struggle replete with acts of heroic valor, and resplendent with examples of self-sacrifice, fortitude, and virtue.

Few, even now, are the remaining leaders of the great contest through which we have passed; and, as time goes on, gradually diminishing their number, the day approaches when nothing will be left of them except a memory. They must die, but the grand principles they strove, at so great cost, to maintain must not be buried with them. The Southern people, shackled by years of poverty and political helplessness, and circumscribed as they are in their sphere of action, cannot forget the teachings which, to them and to their posterity, embody the true meaning of our institutions.

In recording the causes for which the South armed and sent to the field her manhood and her youth, and in holding up before the public mind the great ability of some of her leaders, the devotion of all, we not only perform a sacred duty to our country and those who will come after us, but mark out the way for them to that peace, liberty, and prosperity which we failed to attain for ourselves.

It is in furtherance of these views that the following biographical sketch is offered, of one of the most patriotic, skilful, farseeing and heroic chieftains of the Confederate army; whose military career and successes have called forth the admiration of Europe as well as of America, and of whom Louisiana, his native State, is — and well may be — fondly proud.

Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard was born in the parish of St. Bernard, near the city of New Orleans, State of Louisiana, on the 28th of May, 1818.

The earliest authentic records of his family, one of the oldest and most illustrious of Louisiana, go back to the year 1290, or about that time, when Tider, surnamed the Young, at the early age of eighteen, headed a party of Welsh in revolt against Edward I., then King of England. Overcome, and his followers dispersed, Tider took refuge in France, where he was presented to Philip IV., surnamed the Fair, and cordially welcomed to his court. He there married Mademoiselle de Lafayette, maid of honor to Madame Marguerite, sister of Philip.

War was then raging between France and England, and was only appeased by the marriage of King Edward with Marguerite of France.

Tider and his wife followed the new queen to England; but never were the suspicions and animosity of Edward against his former rebellious subject allayed. By the queen’s entreaties Edward was induced to assign Tider to a government post in Saintonge, then part of the British possessions on the Continent; but soon afterwards he revoked his royal favor, and Tider was again compelled to seek shelter in France, where he lived, with his wife and children, on a pension left them by the dead queen. He died in the neighborhood of Tours, at the age of forty-one.

His eldest son, Marc, returned to Saintonge, and there endeavored to recover some of his father’s property, in which he only partially succeeded. Having, through powerful influences, obtained a position under the English crown, and being desirous of propitiating the king, to whom the name of Tider was still odious, he changed it into Toutank. Gradually the letter k was dropped, and the letter t substituted in its place; thus transforming the old Celtic Toutank into the Gallic Toutant. During three centuries, the family bore, unaltered, the name of Toutant.

Towards the close of the sixteenth century the last male descendant of the Toutants died, leaving an only daughter, who married Sieur Paix de Beauregard — hence the family name of Toutant de Beauregard. From records still extant in the Beauregard family. At what time the particle “de” was abandoned and the hyphen resorted to instead, is not known.

Jacques Toutant-Beauregard was the first of the name who came from France to Louisiana, under Louis XIV., as “Commandant” of a flotilla, the purpose of which was to bring assistance to the colony, and carry back timber for naval constructions. So thoroughly did he succeed in his enterprise in this connection that he was, on his return to France, decorated with the Cross of Saint Louis.

He finally settled in Louisiana; and there married Miss Magdeleine Cartier. Three sons were born to them, one of whom, Louis Toutant-Beauregard, was, in his turn, united to Miss Victoire Ducros, the daughter of a respected planter of the parish of St. Bernard, near New Orleans, who had honorably filled several offices of trust under the French and Spanish governments of Louisiana. They had one daughter and two sons, the younger of whom, Jacques Toutant-Beauregard, married, in 1808, Miss Helene Judith de Reggio. Several children were the issue of their union; the third being Pierre Gustave ToutantBeaure-gard, the Confederate general and Southern patriot, whose biography forms the subject of this memoir.

General Beauregard’s maternal ancestry is even more illustrious, he being a descendant of the Dukes of Reggio and Modena, and, consequently, of the House of Este. His great-grandfather, Francois Marie, Chevalier de Reggio (akin to the reigning duke) accompanied his friend, the Duke of Richelieu, to the siege of Bergen-op-Zoom, and there so distinguished himself that he was given a captaincy in the French army by Louis XV., and was, shortly thereafter, sent to the colony of Louisiana, with his command. When Louisiana became part of the Spanish possessions, the Chevalier de Reggio was made Alferez Real, or, in other words, Royal Standard-bearer, and First Justiciary of the estates and property of the crown. He was nearly related to the Marquis de Vaudreuil, seventh Colonial Governor of Louisiana. Of his marriage with Miss Fleuriau, two sons were born, the younger of whom, Louis Emmanuel, Chevalier de Reggio, married Miss Louise Judith Olivier de Vezin. The mother of General Beauregard — Hélène Judith de Reggio — was the issue of this last marriage.

When scarcely more than eight years of age, young Beauregard was sent to a primary school kept by Mr. V. Debouchel, near New Orleans, where could then be found many of the sons of the best families of Louisiana. Being of studious habits, modest in his demeanor, ever fair in his dealings with comrades as well as with teachers, he soon became very popular with both, and always merited and obtained the highest marks of approbation. He was of a retiring disposition, but, withal, of great firmness and decision of character. His dominant trait, even at that early age, was a passion for all that pertained to the military life — a forecast of his future career. The sight of a passing soldier, the beating of a drum, would so excite and carry him away, that for the pleasure of following either or both he would forget everything — parental admonitions, boyish playmates, and even hunger; and many a long day was thus spent, to the great anxiety of all at home.

Several curious anecdotes of his childhood, illustrative of his independent daring, are preserved in his family, and are well worth recording. We mention two of them.

When a little boy about nine years old, he was spending a day at the house of one of his aunts, in the neighborhood of his father’s estate, where had assembled several relatives and many comrades of his own age. Among the gentlemen present was one noted for his raillery and love of teasing. On that occasion he had taken young Beauregard to task, and was attempting to make a target of him for the amusement of the others. While this gentleman was in the full enjoyment of his practical jokes, young Beauregard, his patience being thoroughly exhausted, suddenly seized a stick that lay near at hand, and so violently and rapidly assaulted his tormentor, that he forced him in self-defence to make an inglorious retreat to an outhouse close by. His little enemy at once mounted guard over the building, refusing to release his prisoner until the latter had fully apologized to him.

The other incident is still more peculiar, and relates to Beauregard’s uncommon — perhaps uncontrollable — taste for military things.

A resident teacher of the household, attracted by the boy’s steady, orderly habits, and most earnest attention during family prayers, had taken charge of his spiritual training, and had so well succeeded in her pleasing task, that, at the early age of ten and a half years, he was considered sufficiently prepared to go through that most beautiful and touching ceremony, in the Catholic Church, the children’s First Communion. The appointed day had arrived. Young Beauregard, his mother, his elder brother, and the teacher were seated in one of the front pews of the old St. Louis Cathedral, awaiting the solemn moment when the young communicant was to approach and kneel at the altar. That moment at last came. His mother touched him on the shoulder, to admonish him that it was time to walk up the aisle. The child obediently rose, deeply imbued with the solemnity of the scene, and stepped reverently forward as directed. Just then, and when he had already walked half-way to the altar, the roll of a drum, as a perverse fate would have it, resounded through the cathedral. Young Beauregard stopped, hesitated, looked toward the family pew, where anxious eyes kept urging him forward. Again the roll of the drum was heard, more distinct and prolonged. Hesitation vanished at once. The little boy, fairly turning his back on the altar, dashed through the church and disappeared at the door, to the utter horror and dismay of his loving relatives. No stronger proof than this could be given of the bent of his character. His calling for a military career was there clearly manifested. It may not be considered out of place to add that he made his First Communion two years later, no drum then beating to interrupt the ceremony.

At the age of eleven he was taken to the city of New York, where he remained four years, under the firm and wise tuition of the Messieurs Peugnet, retired officers of the French army, who had both seen service under Napoleon I. — the elder as Captain of Cavalry, the younger as Captain of Engineers. They were exiles from France, on account of the active part taken by them in the Carbonari trouble, so much commented upon at the time. Then and there it was that, under quasi-military training, his taste for a soldier’s career was confirmed, and that, living amidst an English-speaking population, he grew so thoroughly familiar with the English language as to make of it, so to speak, his adopted mother-tongue.

Though he knows the French language and speaks it perfectly, as do all Louisianians of his origin and time of life, still, most of his correspondence is conducted, and all his private as well as official writings are made, in English.

At sixteen he entered, as a cadet, the United States Military Academy at West Point. His parents, who had for several years persistently opposed his wish to obtain an appointment there, had finally yielded, overcome by his pertinacious entreaties. Here really began his brilliant career. Highly impressed with the nobleness and importance of the profession he had embraced, he devoted himself with ardent zeal and untiring perseverance to his multitudinous studies, and went through his four years course with no less distinction than success. He was graduated July 1st, 1838, being second in a class of forty-five, and on July 7th of the same year was appointed Second Lieutenant in the United States Engineers. Generals Hardee, Wayne, Ed. Johnson, Reynolds, Stevenson, Trapier, and Sibley, of the Confederate army, and Mc-Dowell, A. T. Smith, Granger, Barney, and McKinstry, of the Federal army, were classmates of his, and were graduated at the same time.

His life was uneventful from that date to the year 1846-47, when, according to plans drawn up by Captain J. G. Barnard, U. S. Engineers, and himself, he directed the fortification works at the city of Tampico. In the month of March, 1847, he joined the expedition under Major-General Scott, against the city of Mexico. He distinguished himself at the siege of Vera Cruz, in several bold reconnoissances before the battle of Cerro Gordo, and also in most of the engagements in the valley of Mexico.

The strongest proof of his merit — one that gave a forecast of his great strategic and engineering powers — was exhibited during the Mexican war, at a council of general officers, held at Piedad, September 11th, 1847, after the disastrous assault on the fortified positions of Molino del Rey. The attack on the city of Mexico, and the best mode of effecting its capture, were the main subjects under discussion. Lieutenant Beauregard, in opposition to most of the general officers there present, and contrary to the views of all his comrades of the engineer corps, advocated an attack by the western approaches of Mexico. His suggestion, though very much combated at first and nearly discarded, was finally adopted, with what successful result is now a matter of history. Soon after this episode — on September 13th — Beauregard was twice wounded in the brilliant assault on the Garita de Belen, where so much dash was displayed by the American troops.

On the expiration of the Mexican war, when Major Beauregard returned to his home in New Orleans, General Totten, as chief of the Engineer Department, forwarded him the following copy of General Orders, publishing the brevets he had won on the field of battle:

  1. “For gallant and meritorious behavior in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, Mexico, August 20th, 1847, to be Captain by brevet. To date from August 20th, 1847.”
  2. “For gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Chapultepec, Mexico, September 13th, 1847, to be Major by brevet. To date from September 13th, 1847.”

And General Totten added:

It affords the department high satisfaction to communicate to you the wellearned reward of your efforts on the fields of Mexico.

In order to show the high estimation in which Major Beauregard was held, and the impression his eminent services had produced upon his superior officers and comrades in arms, we here insert the following letters, written with a view to dissuade him from his reported intention of resigning from the service, in the year 1856, during the lull in military affairs which followed the close of the Mexican war:

“New York, Dec. 9th, 1856.

“Major G. T. Beauregard, U. S. Engineers:

My dear Sir, — I am much concerned to learn that you think of leaving the army, after acquiring, at an early age, so much distinction in it, for science and high gallantry in the field. Your brilliant services in Mexico, nobody who witnessed them can ever forget. They bind the affections of the army to you, and ought, perhaps, to bind you to us. If you go abroad, you give up that connection at some hazard. My best wishes, however, will ever accompany my gallant young friend wherever he may go.

“Winfield Scott.”

The second letter is from General Persifer F. Smith, under whom Major Beauregard had often served in Mexico. We extract from it the following passage:

“I assure you, my dear Beauregard, that I look upon your quitting our service as the greatest calamity that can befall the army and the country. Let me assure you with sincerity, that I know no officer left behind who can replace you if we get into an important war.”

Whether it was owing to these remonstrances, or for some other cause, that Major Beauregard altered his determination, we are unable to state; but he did not leave the service; and from 1853 to the latter part of 1861 remained in charge of what was then called “the Mississippi and Lake Defences in Louisiana.” He was also at that time superintending the building of the United States custom-house at New Orleans.

On the 20th of November, 1860, he was appointed to the high position of Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point, but, owing to complicated events then darkening more and more our political horizon, and of which it is not now our purpose to speak, he only filled the position during a few days. He resigned his commission in the army of the United States in February, 1861; and on the 1st of March of that year entered the Confederate service, with the rank of brigadier-general.

From that eventful period to the close of the war he was ever in the van — active, self-sacrificing, vigilant, and bold. He displayed great forethought in his extensive views. He was masterly in his manner of handling troops and of leading them on to victory on the battle-field; and his record of strategic ability and engineering skill has made him immortal in the annals of war. Had more of his farsighted suggestions been heeded, the cause for which he fought would not, perhaps, be known to-day under the mournful — though, to us, erroneous — appellation of “the Lost Cause.”

His defense of the city and harbor of Charleston — unquestionably the most scientific, complete, and perfect of all defences devised during the war — has been partially comprehended and appreciated among military engineers in Europe and at the North.

When we consider with what scant and utterly inadequate resources General Beauregard held, for nearly two years, over three hundred miles of most vulnerable coast, against formidable and always menacing land and naval forces; when we bear in mind the repulse from Charleston on April 7th, 1863, of Admiral Dupont’s fleet of ironclads and monitors, supported by General Hunter’s army; when we mark the prolonged resistance made by a handful of men, in the works on Morris Island, against the combined land and naval batteries of General Gillmore and Admiral Dahlgren; the assault and repulse of June 10th, 1863; the defeat of the former’s forces in an attack on the lines of James Island, on July 16th, 1863; the masterly and really wonderful evacuation of Battery Wagner and Morris Island, after the enemy’s approaches had reached the ditch of the former work; when we remember the holding of Fort Sumter, in August, 1863, under the most terrible bombardment on record, while its guns were all dismounted and the work was battered into a mass of ruins; the successful removal during that period of all the heavy artillery, of 30,000 pounds of powder, and hundreds of loaded shells, from the endangered magazines; then the permanent holding of the dismantled wreck with an infantry guard, and the guns of James’ and Sullivan’s Islands covering the approach by boats; the defiant, unhushed boom, morning and evening, of the gallant little gun — the only one — purposely left in the fort to salute its unconquered flag; we are struck with wonder and admiration, and we cannot but recognize the rare ability of the commander, the unsurpassed fortitude and gallantry of the troops under him.

Our object is not, at present, to mention at any length General Beauregard’s many military services and victories. This interesting, important, and instructive part of the history of his military career is contained in the following pages, written from authenticated notes and documents, vouched for and furnished by General Beauregard himself, and to which this is but an introduction.

When, after voluntarily assisting General J. E. Johnston, during the last days of the war, he surrendered with that distinguished officer, in April, 1865, at Greensboro’, North Carolina, he addressed the following touching note to the members of his staff:

“Headquarters, etc., etc.,
    Greensboro’, N. C., April 27th, 1865.

To any Personal and General Staff, — Events having brought to an end the struggle for the independence of our country, in which we have been engaged together, now for four years, my relations with my staff must also terminate. The hour is at hand when I must bid each and all of you farewell, and a Godspeed to your homes.

“The day was, when I was confident that this parting would be under far different and the most auspicious circumstances — at a moment when a happy and independent people would be ready, on all sides, to welcome you to your respective communities — but circumstances, which neither the courage, the endurance, nor the patriotism of our armies could overcome, have turned my brightest anticipations, my highest hopes, into bitter disappointment, in which you must all share.

“You have served me, personally, with unvarying zeal, and, officially, with intelligence, and advantage to the public service.

“I go from among you with profound regret. My good wishes will ever attend you, and your future careers will always be of interest to me.”

In 1866, war being imminent between Turkey and the Danubian principalities, the chief command of the Roumanian Army was offered to General Beauregard; and in 1869, a similar position in the army of the Khedive of Egypt was also tendered him. He declined both offers.

Since the war he has resided permanently in his native State, where he has been the president of two important railroad companies. He is now Adjutant-General of the State of Louisiana.

Wherever met — in the streets of New Orleans or elsewhere, in his native State or out of it — General Beauregard is always greeted with great cordiality and marks of the highest regard. Louisiana, as we have said, is proud of him. She knows that none of her sons has loved her more, or has done so much to protect her from the far-reaching grasp of centralized despotism which at one time seemed to threaten her. He is now the identical constitutional State-rights Democrat he was before the war, and though he takes no active part in politics, never neglects the performance of any of his civic duties when circumstances require it.

General Beauregard has been twice married. By his first wife, Miss Laure Marie Villere, great-granddaughter of the Chevalier de Villere, he had two sons and one daughter — all three living and residing with or near him in the State of Louisiana. He was but shortly married to his second wife, Miss Caroline Deslondes, daughter of one of the prominent planters of the state, when he was unexpectedly ordered to the command of Charleston, South Carolina, at the very outbreak of the war. On his return home, in 1865, he was for the second time a widower, and had been for more than a year. He had borne his affliction not only like a Christian but with all the fortitude of a soldier, none but his own military family being able to detect any sign of grief in the countenance of the bereaved husband.

General Beauregard is now (1883) sixty-five years of age, but few men of forty are so active as he, so alert, so full of life and vigor. Those who note his elastic military step, upright bearing, and quick yet thoughtful eye, feel well assured that, should occasion require it, he could again serve his country with energy and capacity equal, if not superior, to that displayed in the past. The only effect upon him of additional years since the war seems to have been further to develop and strengthen his powers by bringing to him additional knowledge and experience.

He appears to us now to be precisely the same as when, on the second day of the battle of Shiloh, he led, flag in hand, one of the charges of the 18th Louisiana regiment. A hail-storm of minie-balls was then pouring into that gallant corps. One of his staff, expostulating with him, and almost rebuking his too-rash exposure of his person, he said: “At such moments as these, the order must not be ‘go,’ but ‘follow!’” And he still tightly grasped the battle-flag. The whole man is portrayed in this brief sentence. His words were ever few at headquarters or on the field, but terse and to the point. One could read, by the flash of his eyes, that he meant what he said.

If, as we firmly believe, traits of character, scope of mind, even tastes and prejudices, can be transmitted from generation to generation, we can understand how and why Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard displayed the capacity for command and the inspiring influence which so distinguished him during our four years’ war, when we glance back over the long line of his ancestors, where, love of liberty and soldierly qualities were so conspicuous. We very much mistake, or there is still a goodly current of the Celtic Tider’s blood running through General Beauregard’s veins, and the high-toned chivalric courtesy, coupled with irreproachable integrity, so remarkable in him, must certainly be derived from the stately old Dukes of Reggio and Modena, the heads of the House of Este.



Major Beauregard appointed Superintendent of the United States Military Academy. — His Determination to Resign should Louisiana Withdraw from the Union. — Takes Command at West Point, but is immediately Relieved. — Returns to New Orleans. — Is Offered the Rank of Colonel of Engineers and Artillery in the Louisiana State Forces. — Declines. — Plan to Obstruct River near Forts. — Floating Booms. — Is Summoned to Montgomery by President Davis. — Ordered to Charleston, S. C., to Assume Command and Direct Operations against Fort Sumter.

While in charge of the military defences of Louisiana, and of the construction of the New Orleans custom-house, in the fall of 1860, General Beauregard, then brevet Major of United States Engineers, received the following order from Washington:

Special order, No. 238.

“War Department, Adjutant-General’s Office,
November 8th, 1860.       

“By direction of the President, brevet Major Peter G. T. Beauregard, Corps of Engineers, is appointed superintendent of the Military Academy, and will relieve the present superintendent at the close of the approaching semi-annual examination of cadets.

“By order of the Secretary of War.

“S. Cooper, Adjutant-General.”

This was not only an honorable position, much coveted, and justly so, in the army, but it was also a highly responsible one, to which none but officers of the Engineer Corps of acknowledged merit had, up to that time, been appointed. Yet, under existing circumstances, to Major Beauregard it had more than one objection. Mr. Lincoln had just been elected President of the United States, and would, four months later, be duly inaugurated as such. Rumors and speculations as to the inevitable disruption of the Union and its probable consequences prevailed everywhere, and kept the public mind in a state of feverish suspense and anxiety. Flattering, therefore, as was to Major Beauregard the appointment thus tendered him by the War Department, it was with no feigned reluctance that he began closing his official accounts, preparatory to transferring the works under him to his successor in office. Though never taking a very active part in politics, he was strongly imbued with the constitutional doctrine of States’ Rights and State Sovereignty, and considered, as did the great mass of his Southern countrymen, that his allegiance was primarily due to his own State. With these views, and under such circumstances, it was but natural he should feel anxious in leaving Louisiana, while public opinion had not yet established its level, and the South was still uncertain as to the proper step to pursue in vindication of its imperilled rights. However — and happen what might — there was but one course open to him, and his determination was taken at once: to stand by his State, and share its destiny, for weal or woe.

Towards the latter part of December of that year he left New Orleans for West Point, stopping on his way in Washington, to ascertain, if he could, what shape future events would probably assume,

Several Southern States had already called their people in conventions, to determine what measures should be adopted in view of the exigencies of the hour. South Carolina had passed her Ordinance of Secession. Mississippi soon followed. So did Florida and Alabama. Louisiana, it was thought by her congressional delegation, would not hesitate much longer. Deeply convinced that such would be the result, Major Beauregard made it a point at once to apprise General Totten, chief of the Engineer Corps at Washington, of his resolution to resign his commission in the United States army should his State retire from the Union, thus giving the department full opportunity to rescind the order assigning him to West Point, and to take such other step in the matter as might be thought proper. He repaired to General Totten’s office, and, by a strange coincidence, found him busily engaged in examining fortification drawings, which were no other than those of the defences of Charleston. He was studying and endeavoring to describe the circles of fire of Forts Sumter and Moultrie. At Major Beauregard’s avowal, General Totten expressed both surprise and pain, and used every endeavor to dissuade him — we need not add, without success. Major Beauregard then went to the headquarters of General Scott, to inform him also of his intended resignation; but failed to find the general, as he was temporarily absent from Washington.

Major Beauregard had been authorized by General Totten, so anxious was the latter to retain him in the service, to defer assuming command at West Point until after the close of the January examinations; and, in the meantime, having nothing to detain him in Washington, he left for New York, to await further developments.

In New York he met several army friends, among others, Captain G. W. Smith, ex-officer of Engineers, then acting as Street Commissioner of the great northern metropolis, and Captain Mansfield Lovell. The absorbing topic of the day was necessarily brought forward and earnestly discussed. Major Beauregard informed them of his intention to follow his State should it secede. They approved of his proposed course, and declared that they would act in the same manner, were they similarly situated.

Major Beauregard had been only a few days in command at West Point, when the new Secretary of War, Mr. Holt, through animosity to Mr. Slidell, it was said, and perhaps because he had no faith in Major Beauregard’s Union sympathies, peremptorily remanded him to his former station in New Orleans. No order could have been more acceptable to him, and he hastened to obey it.

Passing through the city of New York, on his way South, he received a telegram from Governor Moore, of Louisiana, informing him of the withdrawal of the State from the Union, and requesting his immediate return. He readily complied, and took passage on a steamer leaving the next day for New Orleans. Upon reaching her wharf he found it crowded with people, very much excited, who had collected there to see the steamer Star of the West, just returned from off Charleston, with two or three shotholes in her hull and chimney-stack. He went on board and was entertained by her captain with a graphic account of the hot reception the South Carolina authorities had given him. Major Beauregard had little idea, then, that in less than two months he would be constructing additional batteries in the harbor of Charleston, to protect it more effectually from access by vessels attempting to carry reinforcements and supplies to Fort Sumter.

Upon his arrival at New Orleans, Governor Moore furnished him with a copy of the Ordinance of Secession, and informed him that his services were required to complete the defences to the approaches of the city, which were already in full possession of the State authorities. His answer was that he could not do so until he had formally resigned his commission in the United States service. This he did that day, and then joined, as a private, the battalion of Orleans Guards, composed of the élite of the Creole population of the city of New Orleans. This command had just been organized by Colonel Numa Augustin, than whom no better citizen soldier was known, in the volunteer service of the State.

The excitement and enthusiasm of the people of Louisiana and of New Orleans, especially, were intense. The shrill sound of the fife, the beating of drums, squad drills at street corners and in public avenues, and an ever-increasing military spirit greeted one at every step. New Orleans had been transformed into a garrison town.

All who met Major Beauregard on the streets, friends and even strangers, would shake him warmly by the hand, expressing the hope that he would be with them in the hour of trial, should such hour ever come.

The general impression appeared to be that the ruling party of the Northern States would not oppose the peaceable withdrawal of the Southern States from the Union, by making war on them. During his short sojourn at the North Major Beauregard had seen and heard enough to make him doubt that such would be the result, and it became a matter of conscience for him to dispel the illusions of his too-hopeful fellow-citizens.

The people of the State of Louisiana, in convention assembled, after full discussion by their ablest and best men, reached the conclusion that secession had become a necessity and was the only course to be pursued. The State called upon her sons for assistance, and, as one of them, Major Beauregard responded; though, after having been twenty-two years in the United States army, two of these spent in a short but glorious foreign war, where friendships had been created and cemented with blood, it was not to be expected that he should, without reluctance, dissever ties that had thus lasted through youth to mature manhood.

Shortly after his return to New Orleans, the General Assembly passed a law organizing the Louisiana State forces. General Braxton Bragg was appointed Brigadier-General, and Major Beauregard was offered the position of Colonel of Engineers and Artillery. This he declined, notwithstanding urgent appeals from many friends. He felt — and rightly so — that some injustice had been done him in assigning him to a secondary position. He was a native of the State, who had just resigned an important position in the United States army, while General Bragg had been out of the service for several years, and had but recently become a resident of Louisiana. His object, however, being to aid in the defence of his country, he openly declared his readiness to serve with or under General Bragg, and to put at his disposal whatever of professional knowledge and experience he might possess. But he refused all military rank in the State army.

Major Beauregard was convinced that the most important of all the avenues of approach to New Orleans was the Mississippi River; and that, to guard it properly against invasion, must be the one grand object in view on the part of the State authorities. He therefore advised Governor Moore and the Military Board to arm Forts Jackson and St. Philip with the heaviest guns procurable, and suggested the following plan for so doing: 1st, to remove the largest pieces already there, from the rear to the front or river faces of the forts; 2d, to transfer to them the heavy guns of both Fort Pike, on the Rigolets, and Fort Macomb, on the Chef Menteur — which were works of inferior order, not likely to be put in action at all against a fleet threatening the city.

Major Beauregard also drew up, and furnished to the State authorities, the plans and estimates for two distinct river obstructions, to be placed between Forts Jackson and St. Philip, and to be there used, together or separately, according to the exigency of the case. The first was a floating boom consisting of two parts, formed of long timbers twelve inches square, solidly bound together in sections of four timbers, each section to be connected with another by means of strong iron chains. One half of the boom was to be well anchored in the river, from the shore at Fort Jackson, and inclined downward as it reached the middle of the stream. The other half was to be anchored from the opposite bank of the river near Fort St. Philip, and in such a manner as to have its shore extremity made fast. To its outer and movable end was to be attached a strong wire rope connected with a steam-engine, rendered secure by a bombproof, on the Fort Jackson side. The rope worked by the engine, would close or open the boom, as circumstances might require, for the passage of friendly vessels or of accumulated drift-wood.

The second boom was to consist of about five barges or flatboats, properly constructed so as to support one or more heavy chains or wire-ropes, stretched from shore to shore, between the two forts, and above the floating boom. The estimate for this obstruction was about $90,000, and for the other about one half less. Both were to be illuminated at night with Drummond lights, placed in bombproofs on each side of the river, and the stream was to be patrolled by boats as far down as prudence would permit.

Had these floating booms been constructed and kept in working order until required for effectual use it is beyond all doubt that they would have obstructed the passage of the Federal fleet in April, 1862. Detaining the vessels under the fire of the forts, they would have afforded sufficient time to them to do their work, and to the city to prepare for a vigorous defence, if not for a triumphant resistance.

Somewhat later, Major Beauregard had occasion to offer a few suggestions to the Military Board, in a short memoir, wherein, after giving his general views as to the defence of the different approaches to New Orleans, he again directed attention to the paramount necessity of the floating booms already spoken of. He received the thanks of Governor Moore for his valuable information, of the importance of which the governor was well aware, but the Military Board, to whom all such matters were specially referred, and on whose knowledge of them the State Executive so fully relied, failed to see the extent of the result aimed at, and, as was often the case during the war, the opportunity was allowed to slip by; and the consequences, which might have been averted, advanced unhindered to their calamitous end.

On the 22d of February, 1861, Major Beauregard received a despatch from the Hon. L. P. Walker, Secretary of War of the Confederate government, informing him that his immediate presence at Montgomery was requested by President Davis. He made all possible haste to leave New Orleans, thinking he might be away for two or three weeks at the utmost — he was absent more than four years. The hope of Major Beauregard was, that he might be permanently stationed in Louisiana, with all the sea-coast of which, and the approaches to the city of New Orleans, he was known to be so thoroughly familiar; irrespective of his very natural wish to be able, in case of need, to fight in and for his native State.

It must be admitted, however, that, just at that time, few persons in either section of the country really believed that the issues would be settled by force of arms. The South will not be rash enough to attempt to retire from the Union, was the general opinion entertained at the North. The North will not make war to drag the Southern States unwillingly back, was the prevailing sentiment in the South.

This delusion is easily accounted for when we consider, not merely the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence, and the voluntary formation of the Union, by the States, but also the views expressed by many of the most prominent men of the North. We do not allude to the extravagant expressions repeated for many years by leaders in the abolition phalanx, professing hatred of the Union; nor even to the sentiments of disregard for it, uttered, during the same period, by influential members in the Republican party, even on the floor of Congress; but to the immediate declarations of that time, such as the sober statement in the New York Tribune, then the principal organ of the dominant party at the North, that the revolution of the Colonies was a precedent for the secession of the States, and that both stood equally on the same principle of the right of a people to self-government. Even General Scott, as one of the alternatives of action, had counselled the mild measure of allowing “the erring sisters” to “go in peace.”

It was not surprising, therefore, that many persons could not be made to believe in such a war, until, after their eyes had seen the flashes and their ears had heard the sounds of the guns fired at Sumter, the United States government called for 75,000 troops with which to reduce the Southern people to obedience.

Major Beauregard arrived at Montgomery on the 26th of February, and on the same day called on the Secretary of War. “Just in time” said the latter, while courteously extending his hand, “to assist me out of a great dilemma.” He was estimating the weight and cost of pieces of ordnance of different calibers, Major Beauregard cheerfully gave him what assistance he could, and took the liberty to suggest the advisability of procuring, as soon as possible, the different heads of bureaus whom the secretary needed, to relieve him of all such annoying details. Mr. Walker thereupon authorized Major Beauregard to telegraph at once to several of his friends of the old service, who in his opinion might be fitted for these positions. Thus it was that the assistance of Colonel Gorgas, as Chief of Ordnance, was eventually procured. Though a Northern man by birth, Colonel Gorgas had married in the South, and was entirely identified in feeling and interest with that section. He proved to be a meritorious officer, whose services were of value to the cause. Messages were also sent to Captains G. W. Smith and Mansfield Lovell, then in New York, advising them to repair immediately to Montgomery, where their presence was needed. Owing to circumstances beyond their control, those officers did not arrive and report for duty until after the battle of Manassas.

Major Beauregard then presented himself to Mr. Davis, who received him with great kindness, and asked him many questions as to the temper of the people and the condition of affairs, at New Orleans and Mobile. His answer was, that now that secession Was an accomplished fact on the part of Louisiana as well as of Alabama, their people were fast becoming unanimous as to the measure, which, at first, had been looked upon with hesitation and apprehension; that business was mostly suspended in the cities of New Orleans and Mobile, but that everybody seemed hopeful of the future, whether we should remain permanently separated, or should re-enter the Union with sufficient guarantees against further encroachments on our rights.

The President then asked him what knowledge he had of the defences around Charleston, and of the best mode of taking Fort Sumter, in the event of its being necessary to resort to force against it. He read to Major Beauregard a letter he had just received from Governor Pickens, of South Carolina, describing the condition of affairs there, and asking that an officer of experience should be sent to take charge of the operations then going on, and, if necessary, to assume command of the State troops there assembled. The president showed him also a communication from Major W. H. C. Whiting, an ex-officer of United States Engineers, then in the service of the State of Georgia, who had been sent to Charleston to inspect the works being constructed against Fort Sumter, and advise such changes and improvements as his professional experience might suggest. Major Whiting, in this paper, expressed his disapproval of almost all that had been done in the way of locating and constructing batteries, and gave an alarming description of the condition of affairs there.

Major Beauregard having with him a map of Charleston, given him that day by Major W. H. Chase, ex-officer of Engineers, explained to the President what should, in his opinion, be done to prevent assistance by sea to Fort Sumter, and to force its surrender, if necessary. The matter was thoroughly examined and discussed until a late hour in the night.

The next afternoon Major Beauregard was accosted by some members of the convention from South Carolina and Georgia, who informed him that he had just been appointed first Brigadier-General in the provisional army of the Confederate States; and that he would be sent to assume command at Charleston, and direct operations there against Fort Sumter. This news took Major Beauregard completely by surprise. He neither desired nor expected such an honor. He feared it might keep him away for an indefinite period from New Orleans, whither he was anxious to return, for private as well as public reasons. He knew little of the defences of Charleston, and was not familiar with its people; whereas he was thoroughly acquainted with those of New Orleans; and, although perfectly willing to serve the Confederacy to the utmost of his ability, wherever sent, he thought his services were first due to the defence and protection of his own State. There was another impediment, though, under the circumstances, of much less gravity. His resignation from the United States army, dated and forwarded February 8th, 1861, had not yet been, to his knowledge, accepted; and still regardful of the strict observance of rules and regulations to which he had been trained, he was disinclined to take up arms against the United States flag until officially relieved from his fealty to it. This he explained to President Davis, who, after urging his acceptance of the position offered, and promising that he should if necessary, be sent back to New Orleans, suggested that he should at once telegraph to the War Department in Washington, and be set at rest on this point. He did so — for communications between all sections of the country were still free — and the next day received formal information of the acceptance of his resignation by President Buchanan.

Upon his informing Mr. Davis of the fact, the latter instructed him to repair at once to Charleston, there to report to Governor Pickens, and to take command of the State troops, should the South Carolina authorities so desire — the troops then assembled at or near Charleston not having yet regularly entered the Confederate service.


Description of Charleston. — General Beauregard’s arrival. — Cursory sketch of the condition of the public mind in the South. — The Hon. Robert Barnwell Rhett. — One sentiment and one resolve animating South Carolinians. — South Carolina commissioners to Washington. — Failure of negotiations. — Major Anderson evacuates Fort Moultrie and occupies Fort Sumter. — Hoisting of Palmetto flags. — Steamer Star of the West. — Governor Pickens summons Major Anderson to surrender the Fort. — He declines, but refers the matter to Washington. — Mr. Buchanan refuses to withdraw federal garrison. — All eyes centred on South Carolina. — System and plan of operations adopted by General Beauregard. — More troops volunteer than are needed.

Seven miles from the Atlantic Ocean, and looking out upon it to the southeast, stands the city of Charleston, built at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers. It is on a tongue of the mainland, consisting of gray sandy soil, and extends southward, tapering in width from two miles to half a mile. Here the Ashley turns from the west and sweeps around, to mingle its waters with those of the Cooper, whose principal current passes close along the east or sea-front of the city. A marshy mud-flat, called Shute’s Folly Island, rises east of Charleston on the farther side of this branch of Cooper River, and beyond it is the sand-strip and beach of Sullivan’s Island. The lesser stream of Cooper River, flowing to the north and east of Shute’s Folly, passes the mainland at Haddrell’s Point and Mount Pleasant, and off the western extremity of Sullivan’s Island unites with the other waters of the bay. South of Charleston, across the water, lies James Island, with its uplands extending about two and a half miles down the harbor. It is separated by a marsh and creek from the low white sand-bank of Morris Island. On account of the flatness of the country, the waters ebb and flow many miles up the Ashley and Cooper rivers, with a mean tide of seven feet at the city. Thus constituted, the harbor of Charleston averages two miles in width, and forms a beautiful sheet of water.

Out in the bay, three miles from the city, stands Fort Sumter. It is built on a shoal just south of the main channel, which it is intended to command, and is a mile from Fort Moultrie, which lies to the northeast, across the entrance, on Sullivan’s Island. It is thirteen hundred yards from Morris Island, which lies to the south-southeast; fifteen hundred yards from Fort Johnson, which stands to the southwest, on James Island, and two miles from Castle Pinckney, on Shute’s Folly, which lies to the northwest. Fort Sumter is — or was, at the time of which we are writing — a pentagonal work of formidable strength, built for mounting one hundred and forty pieces. The height of its walls, from the water’s edge to the parapets, is sixty feet; the fort is divided into three tiers, two of which — the lower ones — were casemated, and the upper en barbette. With its commodious officers’ quarters, its barracks, mess-rooms, magazines, and hot-shot furnaces, it had been considered one of the best-built forts under the control of the United States government, and did honor to the ability of the engineers who designed and executed its construction.

Fort Moultrie was a low brick work, without casemates, but with terre-pleins for batteries en barbette, the principal of which were the sea battery, facing southeast, and the Sumter battery, facing southwest.

Fort Johnson was an antiquated and dilapidated work, that had been abandoned. Castle Pinckney, opposite the city, across Cooper River, was an old-fashioned, half-moon fortification of brick, with one row of casemates for small ordnance and a terre-plein above.

In 1860, Charleston contained about fifty thousand inhabitants. Besides its commercial importance, it was the residence of many intelligent and educated planters, cultivating rice in the malarial tide-swamps, and sea-island cotton along the rich coast region of the low country. It was the centre of the factorage business of the State, of the supply market, of banking and exchange. It was also headquarters in matters of church and school, society and politics. The town was old and respectable-looking, evidently built for personal convenience, not for show; and its people spent, their money in substantial good-living within doors, rather than in outward display. With many churches and public schools, no private palaces and few brown-stone fronts were visible; but its’ separate dwellings of brick and of wood, with their enclosed gardens and luxuriant shrubbery, unique rows of rooms accessible to the sea breeze, with tiers of spacious piazzas, gave it an air of exclusive individuality and solid comfort.

General Beauregard arrived in Charleston on the 1st of March, 1861, and immediately repaired to Governor Pickens’s headquarters, which were then established at the Charleston Hotel. Governor Pickens was found in earnest consultation with eminent citizens of the Palmetto State. A hearty welcome was extended to the Confederate commander, whose arrival from Montgomery had been announced in advance of time, and was anxiously awaited by all.

Governor Pickens proposed to put General Beauregard in command without delay, but his offer was declined; General Beauregard preferring first to acquaint himself thoroughly with the forces collected in and around Charleston, the sites of the various batteries then in course of erection, and the available resources in ordnance.

A retrospective glance over the causes which induced the course adopted by South Carolina and the Southern States, and a cursory sketch of the condition of the public mind at that juncture, cannot fail to be of interest to the reader.

The State of South Carolina was the first to dissever the ties that bound her to the Union. She was actuated, in so doing, not by motives of profit, of ambition, or love of strife, but by principle, and a sense of right to control her own destiny, and escape the ruin she foresaw in falling under the rule of a hostile sectional party, regardless of the limitations of the Constitution, which alone gave security to the minority in the South.

Time and again had the South, in a spirit of unwise conciliation, yielded to unconstitutional encroachments, knowing them to be such, but with no better result than to increase this aggression upon her rights.

The bond of union — namely, the Constitution — was virtually broken. The antagonistic relations of the two sections had culminated in the election of a President believed to be unfriendly to the States of the South. It was thought that, as a speedy sequel, the South would be excluded from the common territory; that the guarantees of the Constitution would no longer-exist; that the Southern States would lose the power of self-government, and Federal authority predominate over all.

To have acquiesced passively in such a new order of things, whereby the Government of the United States was no longer the government of confederated republics, but of a consolidated Democracy, would have been lending a hand to despotism. This, South Carolina would not do. By such an act she would have belied her past history, and condemned that noble struggle for liberty, as a result of which the American colonies had been acknowledged by Great Britain and the world to be “free, sovereign, and independent States.”

Whatever may have been the hopes of South Carolina, when, on the 20th of December, 1860, she dissolved her connection with the Union, she had no certainty that her Southern sister States would follow the course she had thought proper to adopt. She acted alone, impelled by her own sense of duty, of independence and self-respect, as a sovereign.

Her example, and the tone of her leading men, foremost among whom stood that profound statesman, the late Robert Barnwell Rhett — — the friend and successor of John C. Calhoun — had no small influence in determining the subsequent withdrawal of the other States of the South. The weight of Northern hostility had been felt by each and all; and the decisive action of any one of them was more than sufficient to kindle the latent fires of selfpreserva-tion by disunion.

At the time of which we are now writing, and no matter what may have been the previous divergence of opinions among the leaders of that gallant State, there was but one feeling, one sentiment, and one resolve animating every South Carolina heart: to retake possession, at any cost, of the arsenals, forts, and other public property then in the hands of the Federal authorities, and to assume and exercise all the rights appertaining to a free and independent commonwealth.

The object of her Commissioners in Washington, as shown by their official correspondence with President Buchanan, was to obtain a just, honorable, and peaceable settlement of the question at issue between South Carolina and the Federal Government.

“We have the honor to transmit to you,” wrote these Commissioners to the President, “a copy of the full powers from the convention of the people of South Carolina, under which we are authorized to treat with the government of the United States for the delivery of the forts, magazines, lighthouses, and other real estate, with their appurtenances, within the limits of South Carolina, and also for the apportionment of the public debt, and for a division of all other property held by the government of the United States as agent of the confederated States, of which South Carolina was recently a member; and generally to negotiate as to all other measures and arrangements proper to be made and adopted in the existing relation of the parties, and for the continuance of peace and amity between this commonwealth and the government at Washington.”

These negotiations failed.

The removal of the United States garrison, on the 25th of December, 1860, from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter — the gun carriages of the former work having been fired and the guns injured by the retiring troops — whatever may have been its cause, or by whomsoever suggested, was the first overt act of war, and the real beginning of hostilities between the two sections. That it was due to the action of a United States officer and representative of the Federal government, is beyond doubt. The question, whether he obeyed orders or acted on his own responsibility, in nowise affects the fact.

All hesitation and all illusions, on the part of the South Carolina authorities, were, from that moment, swept aside; and, as a logical sequence, on the day following, the Palmetto State flag was raised over smoking Moultrie, and over the other defences of the harbor, Sumter excepted. The South Carolina Commissioners retired from Washington and returned home, having had the full assurance from President Buchanan that he would not remand Major Anderson to Fort Moultrie, withdraw the United States troops from Fort Sumter, or give up the latter to the State authorities.

Vigorous preparations for the coming struggle were now begun by the State of South Carolina, with entire unanimity and a most admirable spirit among her people. Works were thrown up, and batteries constructed, at various points of the harbor, where it was thought they could best defend the city, and cut off outside communications with Fort Sumter.

These precautionary measures were taken none too soon. At dawn on the 9th of January, the steamer Star of the West, with a reinforcement of several hundred men, and supplies of food and ammunition for Sumter, appeared off the bar of Charleston harbor. She entered Ship Channel, and was rapidly approaching when a shot was fired across her bow from a battery on Morris Island, as a signal to heave to. Disregarding this warning, she hoisted the United States flag and boldly continued her course. Five rounds were then fired at her in quick succession, two of which took effect. At the sixth discharge she rounded to, lowered her flag, and steamed out of the harbor. Fort Moultrie had also opened fire on her.

Events now followed one another in rapid succession. Major Anderson, demanding to know of Governor Pickens whether or not he had authorized the firing on a transport bearing the United States flag, was answered in the affirmative. Soon afterwards Governor Pickens formally summoned Major Anderson to surrender Fort Sumter to the State authorities. This Major Anderson refused to do, but offered to refer the matter to his government, at Washington.

As a proof of the conciliatory spirit still animating both the people and the authorities of South Carolina, Governor Pickens acceded to this request, and the Honorable Isaac W. Hayne was accordingly sent to Washington, with power to act in the premises. Protracted negotiations ensued, but brought about no satisfactory result, the answer of Mr. Holt, the new Secretary of War, leaving but little hope of an amicable settlement.

Thus, under these perplexing circumstances, with an earnest desire for peace, but with insufficient courage to avow and promote it, Mr. Buchanan’s administration came to a close. Congress had been as irresolute as the President himself, and had taken no step to avoid the impending danger of collision.

In the meantime, other Southern States, to wit, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas, had severed their connection with the Federal Government, and linking their destinies with that of South Carolina, had regularly organized, at Montgomery, the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America.

All eyes were now fixed upon the Palmetto State, the pivot around which turned the fortunes of the South, in this grand effort for constitutional liberty which was about to be made. To her honor be it said, she proved worthy of the leadership which fate had confided to her hands. Her State troops and volunteers answered with more than alacrity to the call of the constituted authorities, and poured in from every district, eager to be counted among the first to strike a blow in defence of the cause in which their lives — and more than their lives — were now enlisted. The difficulty among the officers was, not to elevate the morale of these patriotic freemen, or prepare them for the dangers they were about to encounter, but to restrain their ardor, and maintain them within the bounds of prudence and moderation.

Such was the condition of affairs in South Carolina, and such the tone of the public mind in the city of Charleston, when General Beauregard arrived there.

Having made a thorough inspection of all the works, he came to the conclusion that a great deal still remained to be done by way of preparation for active measures against Fort Sumter.

The system and plan of operations which had been adopted seemed to be to concentrate all the available guns and mortars at two points, namely: Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan’s Island, and Gumming’s Point, on Morris Island, where a few guns and about half a dozen mortars of heavy caliber were being put in position. Battery “Star of the West” — so called, from its repulse of the steamer of that name-contained four 24-pounders, which enfiladed the main south channel, known as the Morris Island Channel.

General Beauregard determined to alter that system, but gradually and cautiously, so as not to dampen the ardor, or touch the pride, of the gallant and sensitive gentlemen who had left their comfortable homes, at the call of their State, to vindicate its honor and assert its rights. They had endured, for weeks, the privations and exposures of a soldier’s life, on bleak islands, where it was impossible, at times, to see objects at a greater distance than a few yards, because of the sand drifts created by the northers, prevalent on the coast at that season of the year.

General Beauregard noted, with feelings of admiration, an old gentleman, standing sentry at one of the camps on the island, who had organized, armed, and equipped a whole company of infantry at his own expense, and had placed it under the command of his youngest brother. This had been his contribution to his country’s cause; and, deeming it insufficient, he had also offered his services and his life, as a private in his own company.

Among the privates there assembled for duty were planters and sons of planters, some of them the wealthiest men of South Carolina, diligently working, side by side with their slaves. Not a word of complaint from any of them did General Beauregard hear during his inspection tour, except, perhaps, against the long delay in attacking Fort Sumter. Numerous were the plans — each “infallible” — suggested by these high-spirited gentlemen, for taking the formidable work which loomed up majestic and defiant in the distance, like a mountain risen from the sea its barbette guns grimly crowning its summit.


The Confederate States Commissioners. —Their correspondence with Mr. Seward. -how they were deceived. —Mr. Lincoln’s sectional views. —Letter of Major Anderson to the Adjutant-General of the United States army. —On whom must rest the responsibility for the War. —Mr. Buchanan’s wavering policy. —General Beauregard distrusts the good faith of the federal authorities. —His plan to reduce Fort Sumter. —Detached batteries. —Floating and iron-clad batteries. —Fort Sumter’s supplies cut off. —Drummond lights. —Steam harbor-boats. —Enfilade or masked battery. —Mr. Chew. —His message to General Beauregard. —Secretary of War apprised of same. —His answer to telegram. —Blakely rifled gun. —By whom sent. —General Beauregard demands the surrender of Fort Sumter. —Major Anderson declines. —Fire opened on the Fort April 12th.

The Confederate States Commissioners — Messrs. John Forsyth of Alabama, M. J. Crawford of Georgia, and A. B. Roman of Louisiana — with proposals from their government, were sent to Washington after the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln as President. They were instructed to make to the government of the United States overtures for the opening of negotiations, assuring that government that the President, Congress, and people of the Confederate States earnestly desire a peaceful solution of these great questions, and that it is neither their interest nor their wish to make any demand that is not founded in strictest justice, nor to do any act to injure their late confederates.

It was hoped that these commissioners, representing an organized government, perfect in all its parts, and clothed with powers by seven sovereign States, would be deemed entitled to greater consideration, and might accomplish more than the commissioners sent by South Carolina alone had been able to do.

But Mr. Lincoln and his advisers assumed very formal ground, and declined all official intercourse with representatives of “rebellious States.” They would have nothing to do with “irregular negotiations, having in view new and untried relations with agencies unknown to, and acting in derogation of, the Constitution and the laws.”

The correspondence of the Southern Commissioners with Mr. Seward attests this. The interesting particulars added thereto by the Honorable John A. Campbell, late Associate-Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, show that not only were the conciliatory proposals tendered to the Federal government by the Confederate States treated with uncourteous disregard, but that a covert attempt at provisioning and reinforcing Fort Sumter, was being made, pending the delay to which our commissioners were subjected in Washington, while unofficial but positive assurances were given them of an early evacuation of that fort.

So many despatches and letters, public and private, had been forwarded to the South by influential Southern statesmen then in Washington, to the effect that, despite heavy outside pressure, the President could be induced to settle the question at issue without a resort to arms, if sufficient time were allowed him, that up to the very last hour the Confederate authorities at Montgomery, and many high officials in Charleston, really hoped that the Federal troops would yet be withdrawn from Sumter, and the impending danger of war be averted. General Crawford, United States Army, in his essay, “The First Shot Against the Flag,” speaking of this impression, says distinctly, “and they had at one time reason for the belief.” General Doubleday expresses himself with no less certainty when he states that Anderson now had no doubt that we would be withdrawn, and the papers all gave out the same idea.

Not until Captain G. V. Fox, of the United States Navy, had obtained introduction into Sumter, under the plea of pacific purposes, though in reality to concert a plan for its reinforcement; not until Colonel Lamon, representing himself as a confidential agent of President Lincoln, had gained access to the fort, under the pretence of arranging matters for the removal of the troops, but in reality to confer with Major Anderson, and ascertain the amount of provisions on hand; not until, on the 8th of April, Mr. Chew, from the State Department at Washington, had notified both Governor Pickens and General Beauregard “that the government intended to provision Fort Sumter peaceably, if possible, forcibly, if necessary;” not until then was the last expectation of an amicable settlement of our difficulties dismissed from the minds of those who, though vigorously preparing for war, cherished none the less the delusive hope of peace.

It was rumored at the time, and has been repeated since by General Crawford, that Mr. Chew, after delivering his message to the South Carolina authorities, “barely escaped from the city of Charleston without molestation.” This is an error. Mr. Chew, who was an intelligent man, no doubt felt the very equivocal nature of his mission at such a juncture, and did manifest symptoms of anxiety for his personal safety; but General Beauregard and Governor Pickens gave him at once most positive assurances that he had no reason to fear any act of violence from the people of Charleston. “The crowd you see around this building,” General Beauregard told him, “shows the eagerness of the people to be informed of the news you bear us, and nothing more. You may go among them, repeat what you have here said, and not a word of insult will be offered you.” To make assurance doubly sure, however, and to appease the apparent nervousness of Mr. Lincoln’s messenger, he was escorted to the railroad depot by aids of General Beauregard and Governor Pickens, and left Charleston unmolested, and as freely as he had entered it. The only thing he could have complained of — though we have no evidence that he ever did — is, that his telegrams to Mr. Lincoln never reached their destination, and that his return journey was unusually protracted. The explanation of these facts is that General Beauregard, who considered himself justified in making use of every rightful stratagem of war, arrested Mr. Chew’s telegrams, and purposely delayed some of the trains that took him back to Washington.

Major Anderson’s letter to Colonel L. Thomas, AdjutantGen-eral United States Army, dated April 8th, 1861, and the telegrams from Messrs. Crawford, Roman, and Forsyth, from Washington, establish the fact that the object of the Federal government in delaying its final answer to the Southern Commissioners was to gain time for the reinforcement of Sumter before it could be reduced by the South Carolina troops under General Beauregard. The following is an extract from Major Anderson’s letter. It explains itself, and clears him from all participation in that act of duplicity:

“Fort Sumter, S. C., April 8th, 1861.

“To Colonel L. Thomas, etc. :

Colonel, — *    *    *    *    *    *

I had the honor to receive by yesterday’s mail the letter of the Honorable Secretary of War, dated April 4th, and confess that what he here states surprises me very greatly, following, as it does, and contradicting so positively, the assurance Mr. Crawford telegraphed he was authorized to make. I trust that this matter will be at once put in a correct light, as a movement made now, when the South has been erroneously informed that none such would be attempted, would produce most disastrous results throughout our country. It is, of course, now too late for me to give any advice in reference to the proposed scheme of Captain Fox. I fear that its result cannot fail to be disastrous to all concerned. Even with his boat at our walls, the loss of life (as I think I mentioned to Mr. Fox) in unloading her will more than pay for the good to be accomplished by the expedition, which keeps us, if I can maintain possession of this work, out of position, surrounded by strong works, which must be carried to make this fort of the least value to the United States government.

“We have not oil enough to keep a light in the lantern for one night. The boats will have to, therefore, rely at night entirely upon other marks. I ought to have been informed that this expedition was to come. Colonel Lamon’s remark convinced me that the idea, merely hinted at to me by Captain Fox, would not be carried out.

“We shall strive to do our duty, though I frankly say that my heart is not in this war, which, I see, is to be thus commenced. That God will still avert it, and cause us to resort to pacific means to maintain our rights, is my ardent prayer.

“I am, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Robert Anderson, Major 1st Artillery commanding.”

These three most significant telegrams are from our commissioners:

1. “Washington, April 5th, 1861.

“Hon. Robert Toombs, etc., Montgomery, Ala.:

“The movement of troops and preparation on board of vessels of war, of which you have already been apprised, are continued with the greatest activity. An important move, requiring a formidable military and naval force, is certainly on foot. The statement that this armament is intended for St. Domingo may be a mere ruse.

“We are, however, credibly informed that Commodore Stringham, who takes charge of the squadron, sails for St. Domingo.

“Having no confidence in the administration, we say, be ever on your guard. Glad to hear that you are ready. The notice promised us will come at the last moment, if the fleet be intended for our waters.


2. April 6th, 1861.

“Hon. Robert Toombs, Secretary, etc., Montgomery, Ala. :

“No change in the activity of the warlike armaments mentioned yesterday. The rumor that they are destined against Pickens, and perhaps Sumter, is getting every day stronger. We know nothing positive on the subject, but advise equal activity on your part to receive them if they come. We have not yet been notified of the movement, but the notification may come when they are ready to start.

“ Roman.”

3. “Washington, April 11th, 1861.

“General G. T. Beauregard:

“The Tribune of to-day declares the main object of the expedition to be the relief of Sumter, and that a force will be landed which will overcome all opposition.


The correspondence between General Scott and Captain Fox, the communication of Secretary Cameron to the latter, the letters of President Lincoln to the same and to Lieutenant D. D. Porter, come as corroborating evidence of the preconcerted determination of the Federal authorities to dupe the Southern people and their representatives in Washington.

The justice and impartial logic of history will establish, beyond the possibility of a doubt, that the Southern Commissioners, in their parting communication to Mr. Seward, dated April 9th, 1861, were fully justified in using the following dignified and truthful language:

“Your refusal to entertain these overtures for a peaceful solution, the active naval and military preparations of this government, and a formal notice to the commanding general of the Confederate forces in the harbor of Charleston, that the President intends to provision Fort Sumter by forcible means, if necessary, are viewed by the undersigned, and can only be received by the world, as a declaration of war against the Confederate States; for the President of the United States knows that Fort Sumter cannot be provisioned without the effusion of blood.”

Among the few persons, in Charleston and elsewhere, who, from the first, doubted the purpose of the Federal authorities, and never believed in any good coming from the unaccountable delays in the negotiations at Washington, was General Beauregard, Charleston’s popular commander.

He had lost no time in pushing forward, as rapidly as possible, the plan of attack he had adopted immediately after his arrival. That plan was to form a circle of fire, by distributing all his available guns and mortars around a circumference of which Fort Sumter should be the centre. To accomplish this he had three of the six mortars about to be put in position at Cummings’s Point removed to the Trapier Battery on Morris Island. They were 10-inch mortars. The three others (8-inch) he left where they had been originally mounted. With his usual prompt decision and remarkable activity, he asked and obtained from Savannah and Pensacola other mortars which he knew were there, and distributed them as follows: three in Fort Johnson, on James Island; one in Castle Pinckney, an inner defence in the harbor; two in Christ Church parish, near Mount Pleasant; and three on Sullivan’s Island, in the vicinity of Fort Moultrie.

All his mortars were now placed in proper positions, and in accord with the principles of gunnery; that is to say, near enough to Fort Sumter to do it the greatest possible damage, and yet far enough away to be almost beyond range of its fire, with the exception of the three 8-inch mortars at Cummings’s Point, already referred to, which were of but slight value or importance.

The merlons and traverses at Fort Moultrie and the batteries near it, as originally constructed by the officers in charge, were totally inadequate to the purpose for which they were intended. He had them rebuilt of a much larger size and greater solidity. He also located his gun-batteries with the utmost care, endeavoring to enfilade the barbette guns of Sumter, so as to disable them, should the emergency arise.

It was on the Morris Island shore that General Beauregard first applied his plan of detached batteries for the defence of channels and rivers. Close observation had shown him that batteries thus constructed and armed with a few guns each, well protected by heavy traverses and merlons, were much more efficacious than would be a single large work, having all the guns concentrated in it, without these protections. When a fort is attacked by a fleet, its exposed barbette guns are soon disabled and the gunners driven to cover; whereas, in detached batteries, which mutually support each other, those not immediately under fire can be worked at leisure and with accuracy. One gun ashore, well protected, is equivalent to many guns afloat, and the advantage is certain to be on the side of the fire of the detached batteries, especially when guarded against a land attack by a proper supporting force.

Captain John Randolph Hamilton, of Charleston, an ex-officer of the United States navy, had constructed a floating battery, originally of rough materials, and so clumsy and ungainly in appearance as to be criticised by those who first examined it. General Beauregard being directly applied to by the inventor, and approving of his design, procured for him the iron plating necessary for the completion of his work. Early in April it was ready for use, and was removed to the western extremity of Sullivan’s Island, where it was placed in position, so as to deliver a destructive fire upon the postern entrance of the fort facing the city, a point which could not be effectively bombarded from any other battery.

An iron-clad land battery was also constructed, at that time, by C. H. Stevens, of Charleston, who afterwards became a brigadier-general in the Confederate army, and was killed at the battle of Chickamauga. It consisted of heavy timbers overlaid with railroad iron, so fitted together as to present a smooth inclined surface, to be properly greased when ready for action. Its heavy guns, three in number, were fired through embrasures supplied with strong iron shutters. General Beauregard likewise approved of Mr. Stevens’s plan, and added to it such suggestions as his engineering experience justified. This battery was erected at Cummings’s Point, only thirteen hundred yards from Fort Sumter.

Both Captain Hamilton’s and Mr. Steven’s batteries proved the wisdom of their inventors, and fully met General Beauregard’s expectations. They were, in fact, the first experiments from which sprang all iron-clad war vessels and land batteries in the United States, and to them may be attributed most of the important changes and improvements since made in naval architecture and armaments.

“On the 6th of April,” says General Doubleday, in his “Reminiscences,” “Beauregard restricted our marketing to two days in the week. On the 7th it was wholly cut off, and we noticed gangs of negroes hard at work strengthening the defences on Morris Island.… Anderson was greatly troubled at the failure of all his plans to keep the peace.… The rebels knew, and perhaps he knew, that on the 6th and 7th of April a number of naval vessels had left New York and Norfolk under sealed orders. Their destination could hardly be doubted.”

The orders cutting off the supplies, alluded to by General Doubleday, were issued and rigidly enforced by General Beauregard, whose object was not only to prevent the fort from receiving supplies of provisions, but also to prevent the purchase of oil, without which no signals could be made to the expected fleet; moreover, without oil, the wheels and chassis of Major Anderson’s guns, then clogged by the sand drifts in the work, could not be kept in proper order for immediate effective use.

To guard further against the entrance of the Federal fleet, which might be effected during a dark night, despite the vigilance of our channel batteries, General Beauregard determined to use two large Drummond lights, one on Morris Island, the other on Sullivan’s Island, at points specially selected, in order to illuminate the channels leading to Fort Sumter, and thereby facilitate the firing of the Morris Island beach batteries and other works bearing on the outer harbor. He had ordered and received these valuable lights from New York, and having placed them in bombproofs, so constructed as to insure their usefulness and safety, intrusted them to the care of Professor Lewis R. Gibbes, of the Charleston College.

In connection with these two Drummond lights, and as an additional safeguard, Captain Hartstein, a distinguished ex-officer of the United States navy, was placed in command of the steam harbor boats, and detailed to watch the various channel entrances, with orders, should he discover vessels attempting to approach Fort Sumter, to throw up signal rockets, as a warning to the batteries and the Drummond lights, and then to steam slowly in, after hoisting a light of special color, by which his vessels could be distinguished from those of the enemy. This duty, at times very harassing, was performed by him and his officers and men, with unremitting zeal and energy.

Another object — and an important one — still remained to be accomplished: some of the barbette guns of Sumter, on the landface fronting the city, could not be effectively reached by the batteries thus far erected., General Beauregard, therefore, in order to perfect his line of attack and also to prevent a landing of any reinforcement at the postern gate of the fort, constructeda masked battery of four guns at the west end of Sullivan’s Island, in rear of a small summer residence abandoned by its owners. It proved to be, says General Doubleday, in his “Reminiscences,” page 140, a formidable work “which effectually enfiladed two rows of our upper tier of guns en barbette, and took a third tier in reverse, It was a sad surprise to us, for we had our heaviest metal there.”

Immediately after the delivery of Mr. Lincoln’s message by Mr. Chew, General Beauregard sent the following despatch to the Secretary of War, at Montgomery:

“Charleston, April 8th, 1861.

“To L. P. Walker:

Dear Sir, — An authorized messenger from Mr. Lincoln has just informed Governor Pickens and myself that provisions will be sent to Fort Sumter, ‘peaceably if they can, forcibly if they must.’

“G. T. Beauregard.”

To this the Secretary of War replied:

“Montgomery, April 10th, 1861.

“To General Beauregard, Charleston:

“If you have no doubt of the authorized character of the agent who communicated to you the intention of the Washington government to supply Fort Sumter by force, you will at once demand its evacuation; and if this is refused, proceed in such a manner as you may determine to reduce it.

“L. P. Walker.”

General Beauregard was ready. He had displayed untiring energy in his preparations, and had been most zealously and effectively assisted by the South Carolina authorities and the officers and men under him. One thing only remained to be attended to, and that was the placing in position of a small Blakely rifled gun, the first ever used in America, which had just arrived from England — an unexpected present to the State from Charles K. Prioleau, of Charleston, a partner in the Liverpool branch of the firm of John Frazer & Co. It arrived off the harbor on the day before the order from Montgomery was received, and delayed its execution for twenty-four hours.

At two o’clock P. M. April 11th, General Beauregard, through his aids, Captain S. D. Lee, Colonel James Chestnut, Jr., and Lieutenant A. R. Chisolm, made a formal demand for the immediate surrender of Fort Sumter. The terms offered were: “to transport Major Anderson and his command to any port in the United States he might select; to allow him to move out of the fort with company arms and property, and all private property; and to salute his flag on lowering it.”

General Beauregard’s despatch, forwarded on the same day to the Secretary of War, was as follows:

“Charleston, April 11th, 1861.

“To L. P. Walker:

“Major Anderson replied: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication, demanding the evacuation of this fort, and to say, in reply thereto, that it is a demand with which I regret that my sense of honor and of my obligation to my government prevent my compliance. He adds, verbally: ‘I will await the first shot, and if you do not batter us to pieces, we will be starved out in a few days.’ Answer.

G. T. Beauregard.

The answer came in all haste. It was as follows:

Montgomery, April 11th, 1861.

To General Beauregard, Charleston:

We do not desire needlessly to bombard Fort Sumter. If Major Anderson will state the time at which, as indicated by him, he will evacuate, and agree that in the meantime he will not use his guns against us, unless ours should be employed against Fort Sumter, you are authorized thus to avoid the effusion of blood. If this, or its equivalent, be refused, reduce the fort as your judgment decides to be the most practicable.

“L. P. Walker.

The substance of these instructions was immediately forwarded to the fort, by General Beauregard’s aids, accompanied by Colonel Roger A. Pryor, of Virginia. But Major Anderson, as the official despatch has it, would not consent. In consequence of which, after timely notice had been given to him in General Beauregard’s name, on April 12th, at 4. 30 A. M., We opened fire.


General Beauregard makes no material changes in the distribution of forces in Charleston. — Brigadier-General Simons in command of Morris Island. — Brigadier-General Dunovant of Sullivan’s Island. — tone of troops. — the first shell fired from Fort Johnson. — the only motive actuating the South. — at 5 A. M., April 12th, every battery in full play. — Sumter responds at 7 o’clock. — how our guns were served. — engagement continued until nightfall. — firing kept up all night by our batteries. — no response from Sumter. — conduct of the federal fleet. — Fort re-opens fire on the morning of the 13th. — burning of barracks. — Sumter still firing. — our troops cheer the garrison. — General Beauregard offers assistance to Major Anderson, who declines. — hoisting of the white flag. — terms of surrender. — accident during the salute of the flag. — evacuation. — our troops enter the Fort, April 14th. — hoisting of Confederate and Palmetto flags.

On assuming command of Charleston, General Beauregard made no material change in the distribution and location of the forces he found there, and maintained the organization previously adopted by the South Carolina State authorities.

Brigadier-General James Simons was therefore left in command of Morris Island, all the batteries of which had been placed under the immediate charge of Lieutenant-Colonel W. G. De Saussure of the Second Artillery Battalion. He was assisted, at the Trapier Battery, by Captain King, of the Marion Artillery, and, later, by Captain Russell, of the Sumter Guards. Next to the Trapier Battery, and closer to Sumter, was the Stevens or Iron Battery, of which special mention has already been made. Then came the Cummings’s Point battery, at a distance of only thirteen hundred yards from Fort Sumter. To it had been attached the rifled Blakely gun, just received from England. Both of these were held by the Palmetto Guard, and commanded by Major Stevens, of the Citadel Academy; Captain Cuthbert having special charge of the Iron Battery, and Captain Thomas of the Blakely gun. Besides the above-mentioned works, there could also be seen a long line of detached batteries, guarding the entrance of Ship Channel, and extending along the whole Morris Island beach. They were manned by detachments taken from Gregg’s regiment, and from both the German and the Columbia Artillery, under Colonel Lamar, Major Warley, and Captains Huger, Nohrden, and Green.

Sullivan’s Island was under Brigadier-General R. G. M. Dunovant; and the command of all its batteries had been assigned to Lieutenant-Colonel Ripley, of the First Artillery Battalion. Captain Ransom Calhoun was stationed at Fort Moultrie, and Captain Hallonquist at the “Enfilade” or masked battery. They were assisted by Lieutenants Wagner, Rhett, Yates, Valentine, Mitchel, and Parker. Captain Butler was on duty at the mortar battery, east of Fort Moultrie. Captain J. R. Hamilton commanded his own floating battery and the Dahlgren gun. Captain Martin was at the Mount Pleasant mortars; Captain George S. Thomas at Fort Johnson; and Castle Pinckney had been placed under the charge of an officer whose name we have not been able to procure.

A few days previous to the bombardment, the general commanding had announced, in general orders, the names of the officers composing his staff. They were Major D. R. Jones, Assistant-Adjutant-General, Captain S. D. Lee, Captain S. Ferguson, Lieutenant Sydney Legare — of the Regular staff; Messrs. John L. Manning, James Chestnut, Jr., William Porcher Miles, A. J. Gonzales, and A. R. Chisolm, and Colonels L. T. Wigfall, of Texas, and Roger A. Pryor, of Virginia — of the Volunteer staff.

Though the opening of hostilities had, for the last two days, been almost hourly expected by officers and men of the various commands, and by the whole population of the city of Charleston, still, so good was the tone of the troops, so confident of the result were the non-combatants, that when the last message of the commanding general had been delivered, notifying Major Anderson that fire would open on him in an hour’s time, quiet, order, and discipline reigned throughout the city and harbor.

The peaceful stillness of the night was suddenly broken just before dawn. From Fort Johnson’s mortar battery, at 4. 30 A. M., April 12th, 1861, issued the first — and, as many thought, the too-long-deferred — signal shell of the war. It was fired, not by Mr. Edmund Ruffin, of Virginia, as has been erroneously believed, but by Captain George S. James, of South Carolina, to whom Lieutenant Stephen D. Lee issued the order. It sped aloft, describing its peculiar arc of fire, and, bursting over Fort Sumter, fell, with crashing noise, in the very centre of the parade.

Thus was “Reveille” sounded in Charleston and its harbor on this eventful morning. In an instant all was bustle and activity. Not an absentee was reported at roll-call. The citizens poured down to the battery and the wharves, and women and children crowded each window of the houses overlooking the sea-rapt spectators of the scene. At ten minutes before five o’clock, all the batteries and mortars which encircled the grim fortress were in full play against it.

Round after round had already been fired; and yet, for nearly two hours, not a shot in response had come from Fort Sumter Had Major Anderson been taken by surprise? Or was it that, certain of his ability to pass unscathed through the onslaught thus made upon him, it mattered not how soon or how late he committed his flag in the war in which his heart was not? At last, however, near seven o’clock, the United States flag having previously been raised, the sound of a gun, not ours, was distinctly heard. Sumter had taken up the gage of battle, and Cummings’s Point had first attracted its attention. It was almost a relief to our troops — for gallantry ever admires gallantry, and a worthy foe disdains one who makes no resistance.

The action was now general, and was so maintained throughout the day, with vigor on both sides. Our guns were served with admirable spirit, and the accuracy of our range was made evident by the clouds of dust that flew as our balls struck the fort, and by the indentations hollowed in its walls. The precision with which solid shot and shells were thrown from our batteries, mainly Fort Moultrie, was such that the enemy was soon compelled to abandon the use of his barbette guns, several of which had been dismounted in the early part of the bombardment.

The iron-clad battery at Cummings’s Point, Fort; Moultrie proper, and that end of Sullivan’s Island where the floating battery, the Dahlgren gun, and the enfilade or masked battery had been placed, were the points which attracted Major Anderson’s heaviest firing. No better proof could he have given us of the effects of our fire on his fort. An occasional shot only was aimed at Fort Johnson, as if to remind the battery there that the explosion of its first shell was not yet forgiven. Captain Butler’s mortar battery, east of Moultrie, had also a share of the enemy’s wrath.

The engagement was continued with unceasing vigor until nightfall, although Sumter’s fire had evidently slackened before that time, and was then confined to its casemated guns. General Doubleday, U. S. A., in his “Reminiscences,” p. 154, speaking of the first day’s bombardment, says: “They had a great advantage over us, as their fire was concentrated on the fort, which was in the centre of the circle, while ours was diffused over the circumference. Their missiles were exceedingly destructive to the upper exposed portion of the work, but no essential injury was done to the lower casemates which sheltered us.”

Noted among our mortar batteries — all so well served — was the Trapier Battery, whose skilful firing had become the subject of much admiration among officers and men. Almost every shell it threw, from the first to the last, reached its aim with relentless effect. The Stevens Iron Battery, the destruction of which the guns of Sumter sought to accomplish, paid but little attention to the fierce opening attack made upon it, and received no serious impression on its iron-coated surface; while the south and southwest faces of Sumter bore visible signs of its own effectiveness. The floating battery was not far behind in destructive usefulness. It proved of equal invulnerability, and left telling marks of its battering powers.

During the whole night which followed, in spite of rain and darkness, our batteries continued playing upon the fort with unvarying effect, but the shots were fired at longer intervals, in obedience to orders. No response was made. General Doubleday, in his work already quoted, admits the fact. He says: “We did not return the fire, having no ammunition to waste.“ And General Crawford, in his “First Shot against the Flag,” makes the following statement: “During the night of the 12th, the accurate range of the mortars lodged a shell in the parade, or about the work, at intervals of fifteen minutes. It was estimated that over twenty-five hundred shot and shell struck the fort during the first twenty-four hours.”

It was expected that the Federal fleet, alluded to by Mr. Lincoln’s special messenger to Governor Pickens and General Beauregard, would arrive that night, and might attempt to throw troops, ammunition, and supplies into Fort Sumter. To guard against such an untoward event, the keenest watchfulness was observed at our beach batteries and by the forces on Morris and Sullivan’s islands. The details of men at the Drummond lights were also on the alert, and ready at a moment’s notice to illuminate the channels; while Captain Hartstein, with his cruising vessels, actively patrolled the outer harbor. The fleet arrived on the morning of the 13th, an hour or two after the action had been renewed, and remained spectators off the bar.

Very early on that morning all our batteries re-opened on the enemy, who responded with vigor for a while, concentrating his fire almost exclusively on Fort Moultrie. The presence of the fleet outside the bar, now visible to all, no doubt inspired both officers and men of the garrison with additional courage and a renewed spirit of endurance.

General Crawford, in his above-quoted essay, says: “Major Anderson was directed, if possible, to hold out until the 12th of April, when the expedition would go forward, and, finding his ‘flag flying,’ an effort would be made to provision him, and to reinforce him, if resisted.”

Major Anderson, with his officers and men, followed the instructions received. They did hold out; their flag was “flying” on the 12th of April, and again on the 13th; and they were fighting in all earnest. The fleet outside thought proper, nevertheless, to abstain from all participation in the engagement.

“By morning,” says General Crawford, “the fleet sent to our assistance appeared off the bar, but did not enter.” And General Doubleday adds, in his characteristic manner: “After the event much obloquy was thrown upon the navy, because it did not come in and engage the numerous batteries and forts, and open for itself a way to Charleston; but this course would probably have resulted in the sinking of every vessel.”

At about 8 o’clock A. M., in the thickest of the bombardment, a thin smoke was observable, curling up from Fort Sumter. It grew denser and denser as it steadily rose in the air; and it soon became apparent that the barracks of the fort had been set on fire by forty rounds of red-hot shot, thrown from an 8-inch Columbiad at Fort Moultrie, by a detachment of Company B, under Lieutenant Alfred Rhett. This sight increased the vigor of our attack; both officers and men feeling now that the garrison would soon be brought to terms. In spite, however, of this new and terrible element against which it had to contend, the fort still responded to the fire of our batteries, though at long and irregular intervals only.

Appreciating the critical position of the enemy, and carried away by their own enthusiasm, our troops, mounting the parapets in their front, cheered Major Anderson at each successive discharge that came from the fort, deriding and hooting, the while, what to them seemed the timorous inaction of the fleet outside the bar.

Matters had evidently reached a crisis for the men within the walls of Sumter. Fearing that some terrible calamity might befall them, and being informed that the United States flag no longer floated over the fort, General Beauregard immediately despatched three of his aids with offers of assistance to Major Anderson, who thanked him for his courtesy, but declined to accept aid. Before General Beauregard’s aids could get to the fort, the United States flag, which had not been hauled down, as we supposed, but had fallen from the effects of a shot, was hoisted anew. It did not fly long, however, but was soon lowered, and a white flag substituted for it. The contest was over. Major Anderson had acknowledged his defeat.

Now occurred an incident which was in no way surprising, being the natural result of inexperience in military matters and a lack of discipline, among some of the officers commanding the various points around the harbor. Seeing the fall of the flag, and the fort in flames, Brigadier-general Simons, actuated by the best of motives, but without authority from the commanding general, allowed Colonel Wigfall to cross from Cummings’s Point to Sumter in a row-boat, to ascertain whether the absence of the flag over the fort indicated a desire to surrender. The proximity of Morris Island to Sumter enabled him to reach the fort before the aids, who had been sent directly from general headquarters, could do so.

A short interview took place between Colonel Wigfall and Major Anderson, during which a demand of surrender was made by the former and acceded to by the latter, but upon terms not clearly defined between them.

We deem it best to transcribe the very words made use of by General Beauregard, in his “Final Report of Operations against Sumter,” as forwarded April 27th, 1861, to the Hon. L. P. Walker, Secretary of War at Montgomery, Alabama:

“Major Anderson understood him [Colonel Wigfall] as offering the same conditions on the part of General Beauregard as had been tendered him on the 11th instant, while Colonel Wigfall’s impression was that Major Anderson unconditionally surrendered, trusting to the generosity of General Beauregard to offer such terms as would be honorable and acceptable to both parties. Meanwhile, before these circumstances had been reported to me, and, in fact, soon after the aids I had despatched with the offer of assistance had set out on their mission, hearing that a white flag was flying over the fort, I sent Major Jones, chief of my staff, and some other aids, with substantially the same proposition I had made to Major Anderson on the 11th instant, excepting the privilege of saluting his flag. Major Anderson replied that it would be exceedingly gratifying to him, as well as to his command, to be permitted to salute their flag, having so gallantly defended the fort under such trying circumstances, and hoped that General Beauregard would not refuse it, as such a privilege was not unusual. He furthermore said he would not urge the point, but would prefer to refer the matter again to General Beauregard.

I very cheerfully agreed to allow the salute as an honorable testimony of the gallantry and fortitude with which Major Anderson and his command had defended their post, and I informed Major Anderson of my decision about half-past 7 o’clock, p.m., through Major Jones, my chief of staff.

A melancholy occurrence took place during the salute of the United States flag — the death of one of the garrison, who had his right arm blown off and was almost instantaneously killed, by the premature discharge of the piece he was loading. A spark, also, it was alleged, having “dropped on a pile of cartridges below, exploded them all,” and severely wounded five other men.

While final arrangements were being made for the withdrawal of the garrison, and before it was effected, the general commanding, who had twice attempted, but in vain, to assist Major Anderson in quenching the fire in the fort, ordered a company of Regulars with two fire-engines from Sullivan’s Island, to repair to Fort Sumter, to put out the conflagration which, not entirely subdued, had broken out afresh. This was a harder task than was at first supposed. The two engines proved insufficient, and others had to be brought from Charleston, with additional firemen. It was only towards dawn that the fire was at last brought under control, and the powder-magazine secured from explosion.

Owing to unavoidable delays resulting from the state of confusion existing in the fort, its formal transfer to our troops did not take place until four o’clock in the afternoon of Sunday, the 14th of April. At that hour Major Anderson and his command marched out of the work, and we entered it, taking final possession. Then it was, that, amid deafening cheers and with an enthusiastic salute from the guns of all the batteries around the harbor, the Confederate and the Palmetto flags were hoisted side by side, on the damaged ramparts of the fort. To Captain Hallonquist, of the 1st Artillery Regulars, with his worthy Lieutenants Rhett, Mitchel, and Blake, and to the gallant Captain Cuthbert, with his Lieutenants, Brownfield, Holmes, and Buist, was confided the keeping of Fort Sumter, under Lieutenant-Colonel Ripley as commander, and the Regulars remained there.

General Beauregard was not present at this imposing ceremony. Prompted by the feeling of delicacy which so distinguishes all his social and official relations, he abstained from meeting Major Anderson, his former friend and professor, now his defeated foe, lest his presence, at such a juncture, might add to the distress and natural mortification of a gallant officer.

Not until the steamer Isabel, which was placed at the disposal of Major Anderson, had conveyed him and his command to the Federal fleet, riding at anchor outside the bar, did General Beauregard enter the fort, which, in obedience to orders from his government, he had successfully reduced.


Condition of Fort Sumter after the bombardment. — repairs begun at once. — mustering of South Carolina Volunteers. — Bonham’s brigade. — General Beauregard makes a reconnoissance of the South Carolina coast. — Recommends works at Stono, the two Edistos, and Georgetown. — Declines advising plan of defence for Port Royal harbor. — Yields under pressure, but predicts the result. — Receives congratulations upon the reduction of Sumter. -vote of thanks of Congress. — Resolutions of the General Assembly of South Carolina. — General Beauregard is called to Montgomery. — The President wishes him to assist General Bragg at Pensacola. — He Declines. — His reasons therefor. — Deputation from New Orleans asking his transfer to Louisiana. — The President sends him back to Charleston. — Propositions of the house of John Frazer & Co., relative to purchase of steamers. — Comments thereon. — General Beauregard advocates the plan. — Government Declines moving in the matter. — Silence of Mr. Davis’s book about it. — General Beauregard ordered to Richmond. — Regrets of Carolinians at his departure. —letter of Governor Pickens.

What with the burning of its quarters, the injury inflicted on its walls, and the shattered condition of its parade and parapets, where dismounted guns, broken carriages and chassis, fragments of shell and shot, lay scattered on all sides — Fort Sumter, when our troops marched into it, presented a picture of desolation and ruin. One could well understand, upon viewing it then, how impossible it would have been for Major Anderson and his command to hold out more than a few hours longer. Suffocation and an endangered magazine, if not starvation, and, above all, the firing from Moultrie and other batteries, must soon have destroyed the entire garrison. With or without the assistance of the fleet, a surrender was a foregone conclusion.

The triumph of our arms, so complete and — through the kindly protection of Providence — so bloodless, was solemnly celebrated in several of the ancient churches of Charleston; and a Te Deum was sung, with great pomp, in the beautiful cathedral, on the Sunday next following this opening scene of the war.

General Beauregard, in orders issued on the day after the surrender, congratulated his troops on “the brilliant success which had crowned their gallantry.” Commenting upon the terms granted to Major Anderson and his command, he said: “And to show our magnanimity to the gallant defenders, who were only executing the orders of their government, they will be allowed to evacuate upon the same terms which were offered to them before the bombardment commenced.” He concluded as follows: “The general is highly gratified to state that the troops, by their labor, privations, and endurance at the batteries and at other posts, have exhibited the highest characteristics of tried soldiers.”

And now began in earnest, without the loss of a day, the repairs, which amounted almost to the rebuilding of Fort Sumter. With zeal and energy this work was done; and in less than three weeks no vestige of the former injuries remained. The broken chassis and carriages had been replaced, the barracks rebuilt — one story in height instead of two, as formerly — and the walls restored to their previous condition.

Meanwhile General Beauregard went on with the organization and discipline of the troops called by South Carolina, which were gradually mustered into the Provisional Army of the Confederate States.

Early in May, a brigade of four regiments of South Carolina volunteers was organized, under Brigadier-General Bonham. It consisted of the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel Gregg; the 2d South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel Kershaw; the 3d South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel Williams; and the 8th South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel Cash. That brigade, made up of the flower of Carolina’s chivalry, was sent to Virginia, by order of the War Department, the “Old Dominion” having, on the 17th of April — four days after the fall of Sumter — joined her fate to that of the Southern Confederacy.

One of the regiments of Bonham’s brigade (Gregg’s) had been sent in advance to Norfolk. Its mission was to take possession of the navy-yard and protect all public property there. This was a judicious movement. The many cannon and mortars, and the ammunition stored at Norfolk, were of the greatest value to the Confederacy, then almost entirely destitute of such important supplies. The whole brigade was soon afterwards concentrated at Manassas Junction, in the Department of Alexandria, or “the Alexandria line,” as it was also called, the command of which devolved upon General Bonham. He remained there until relieved, on the 1st of June, by General Beauregard.

As soon as he could be spared from Charleston, General Beauregard made a thorough reconnoissance of the South Carolina coast, from Charleston to Port Royal. This he did at the special request of Governor Pickens, the object being the adoption of a system of defence to be carried out at the earliest moment practicable.

On his return he prepared a memoir, wherein he recommended the erection of several important works at the mouths of the Stono and the two Edistos, and at Georgetown; but declined advising any for the entrance of Port Royal harbor. He was of opinion that field-works located on the ends of the islands which closed the harbor could not protect it, for the reason that the distance between the islands was too great. Some light works he did recommend, however, at the inner end of Port Royal, to guard that part of the coast and prevent a landing of the enemy, which might result in the destruction of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. But upon the earnest and reiterated request of Governor Pickens, and other eminent citizens, whose zeal and efforts were untiring, General Beauregard finally yielded, and drew out a plan for the defence of Port Royal, with the distinct requirement, however, that the field-works proposed in the plan should be armed with the heaviest ordnance, chiefly 10-inch and rifled guns, and that a steel-clad floating battery, with a similar armament, should be moored midway between the two field-works. His explanation was, that while the harbors of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans — the entrances to which are from half a mile to one and a quarter miles broad — require strongly casemated forts, armed with several hundred guns of heavy caliber, it could not be expected that Port Royal harbor, with an entrance nearly three miles wide and twenty-six feet deep, could be effectively protected by small, hastily constructed fieldworks, inadequately armed.

What General Beauregard had predicted was unfortunately realized. In the autumn of that year the enemy’s powerful fleet, the acquisition and fitting-out of which had cost, according to Northern accounts, more than four millions of dollars, entered Port Royal harbor and reduced its isolated works, after a short but gallant resistance on the part of their overpowered garrisons. This event cast a gloom, for a while, over the new-born Southern Confederacy.

General Beauregard, now thoroughly familiar with the topography of Charleston and the surrounding country, understood how important it was to guard the Stono. He saw at a glance that, should the enemy land a sufficient force on James Island, the city of Charleston could easily be turned by way of that river. To avert such a danger, he had a strong field-work erected on Battery Island, that being the lowest point of dry land before reaching the salt marshes which extend in an unbroken field on each side of the stream. This work, although small, occupied a commanding position, which no hostile craft could approach unseen. Towards the latter part of May it was completed and ready for service.

From various quarters messages of congratulation poured in to General Beauregard, upon the brilliant success he had achieved. The first in date was a telegram from President Davis, which read as follows:

“Montgomery, April 13th, 1861.

“To General G. T. Beauregard:

“Thanks for your achievement and for your courtesy to the garrison of Sumter. If occasion offers, tender my friendly remembrance to Major Anderson.

“Jefferson Davis.”

Then, from the Secretary of War:

“Montgomery, April 13th, 1861.

“To General Beauregard:

“Accept my congratulations. You have won your spurs. How many guns can you spare for Pensacola?

“L. P. Walker.”

The next communication was from one whose attitude towards the administration already indicated the influence he would soon exercise over it:

“Montgomery, April 16th, 1861.

My dear General, — In the midst of the éclat of your glorious triumph you will, no doubt, value but little the tribute of a poor civilian who knows nothing of war; but I cannot refrain from joining in the general voice of your fellow-citizens, and congratulating you on the signal success which has crowned the first blow stricken in defence of our rights. Louisiana is proud of her son, and I am Louisianian, heart and soul.

“Renewing my cordial greetings, and envying your delight at accomplishing such a result as you have, without the loss of one man,

I am your friend and servant,

J. P. Benjamin.

From Louisiana came words of enthusiastic rejoicing. New Orleans, especially, was lavish in her praise.

The Confederate Congress tendered the following vote of thanks to General Beauregard and the troops under him:

“No. 103. — A resolution of thanks to Brigadier-General G. T. Beauregard and the army under his command for their conduct in the affair of Fort Sumter.

Be it unanimously resolved, by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the thanks of the people of the Confederate States are due, and through this Congress are hereby tendered, to Brigadier-General G. T. Beauregard and the officers, military and naval, under his command, and to the gallant troops of the State of South Carolina, for the skill, fortitude, and courage by which they reduced, and caused the surrender of, Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, on the 12th and 13th days of April, 1861. And the commendation of Congress is also hereby declared of the generosity manifested by their conduct towards a brave and vanquished foe.

Be it further resolved, That a copy of this resolution be communicated by the President to General Beauregard, and through him to the army then under his command.

Approved May 4th, 1861.

South Carolina almost adopted General Beauregard as one of her own sons. The Legislature of that State, at its first session after the fall of Sumter, unanimously passed a resolution, the principal part of which is given below:

In General Assembly, S. C., November 28th, 1861.

Resolved, That the General Assembly of South Carolina, in grateful recognition of the distinguished services of General G. T. Beauregard in the cause of Southern independence, hereby tender to him the privilege of sending two pupils to be educated at the military schools of this State, etc.

Resolved, That his excellency the governor be requested to communicate the foregoing to General G. T. Beauregard.

Governor Pickens, than whom none valued more the worth of “the great Creole,” as General Beauregard was then called, cheerfully performed the pleasant duty assigned him; and General Beauregard, then in another field of action, gratefully accepted the proffered honor. His younger son, Henry T. Beauregard, and his nephew, James T. Proctor, were accordingly sent to the Military Academy of South Carolina, and there enjoyed all the privileges of State cadets. The former remained two years at the academy and the latter one year, when they joined South Carolina regiments, and served, though mere boys, to the end of the war. Young Proctor, after promotion to a lieutenancy for gallant conduct at Fredericksburg, was wounded and lost a foot at the battle of Chancellorsville. Governor Pickens also presented a commission as first lieutenant in the 1st South Carolina Battalion of Light Artillery to the general’s elder son, René T. Beauregard, who was promoted, first captain and then major of that command. He had previously served as a private in the Washington Artillery, from New Orleans, whose record throughout the war was surpassed by that of no other organization.

About the 5th of May General Beauregard received a telegram from the Secretary of War, requiring his immediate presence at the seat of government. On his arrival at Montgomery he was informed that the President desired to send him to Pensacola, to co-operate with General Bragg, and assist him in the execution of a plan — much thought of at the time — the main object of which was the taking of Fort Pickens.

It must be remembered that no sooner had the State of Alabama withdrawn from the Union than the Federal forces stationed at Pensacola, in imitation of Major Anderson, evacuated Fort Barrancas, on the mainland, to occupy Fort Pickens, on Santa Rosa Island — a much stronger, and in every way a more inaccessible, work.

The fort being in Confederate waters, the authorities at Montgomery feared that its occupancy by the enemy would imply weakness on the part of our government, and might possibly shake the confidence of the people. It had, therefore, been determined to pursue a course towards Fort Pickens similar to that which had been so successfully adopted against Fort Sumter. Hence the desire for the services and experience of him who, after thirty-three hours of bombardment, had forced the surrender of Major Anderson and his command.

During a long conference held with President Davis and the Secretary of War, General Beauregard stated his several objections to being sent to Pensacola. In the first place, General Bragg, not having sought his assistance, might perhaps be offended at such apparent interference, and ask to be relieved from his command, which would occasion no small annoyance to General Beauregard, and be very detrimental to the cause. In the second place, he was strongly of opinion that there was no advantage to be gained by taking possession of Fort Pickens; that to hold it would necessitate the employment of more troops than we could well spare at the time, and that it was not in ports and harbors, but in the field, that the battles upon which hung the fate of the Confederacy must be fought. He thought it wiser to leave the disadvantage of garrisoning the fort upon the enemy, than to take the task upon ourselves. He maintained, furthermore, that, as we had yet no navy, and no commerce with the exterior world, Pensacola harbor could be of no use to us at this juncture; and that, should we occupy Fort Pickens, we would, in all likelihood, be forced, ere long, to withdraw our troops from it, to employ them more usefully in other parts of the Confederacy. He suggested that, meanwhile, a school of military practice and instruction should be established at Pensacola, under General Bragg, where all raw troops might be organized and properly prepared, before being forwarded to their ultimate destination. General Beauregard’s reasons finally prevailed, and he was sent back to Charleston, the news from Washington indicating a general war, and a strong determination on the part of the Federal government to retake possession of Fort Sumter.

A deputation of gentlemen from New Orleans had recently arrived from that city, to direct the President’s attention to its unprotected condition. They urgently requested that General Beauregard should be sent thither at once, to take command and organize a system of defence, which, they were convinced, none could do so well as himself. He would have gladly accepted such an order — so many ties were drawing him back to Louisiana — but the President deemed his presence imperatively necessary at Charleston, then the most threatened point of the Confederacy, and therefore persisted in his former determination.

While journeying from Charleston to Montgomery, General Beauregard met Mr. W. L. Trenholm, whose father, George A. Trenholm, was a partner in the great firm of John Frazer & Co., of Charleston and Liverpool. This gentleman, as he informed General Beauregard, was the bearer of important propositions from the English branch of their house to the Confederate government, for the purchase of ten large and powerful steamers, then just built in England for the East India Company, which, no longer needing them, was desirous of finding a purchaser; the ships were to be properly manned and fitted out, and sent to the Confederate States, thence to export enough cotton to pay for them, and as much more as should be required to provide for the armament and equipment of our forces. Such a plan, it was thought by the Frazer house, could be easily carried out. The United States government would require time to collect and rendezvous its fleet, the inadequacy of which was well known; and no fear need, therefore, be entertained of its ability, at that time, to enforce a blockade of the Southern ports: an effective blockade could be prevented. After a certain number of voyages with large cargoes of cotton, for the purposes already mentioned, these steamers might be converted into cruisers, and employed to impede and destroy Northern commerce.

General Beauregard, thoroughly impressed with the incalculable benefits to be derived from the adoption of such a project, promised Mr. Trenholm to use his utmost endeavors in furtherance of the measures that gentleman was sent to advocate. In a letter to General Beauregard, dated Charleston, 18th September, 1878, Mr. Trenholm says: “This I remember well, that you warmly supported the proposition, and used your influence in aid of its being brought before the cabinet, which was accomplished.” But neither General Beauregard’s earnest advice, nor the strong and cogent reasons given by Mr. Trenholm, were of any avail. The Confederate government, under the erroneous belief that the war would be a short one, declined entertaining the proposals made to it. “No discussion took place in my presence,” says Mr. Trenholm, in the letter already alluded to, “but from questions put to me, I have always been under the impression that few, if any, of those present” (meaning the President and members of the cabinet) “realized at all the scope and importance of the measures laid before them.” Thus was closed upon the Confederacy a door — then wide open — through which might have entered that material assistance, those sinews of war, the want of which all the heroism of our troops and the endurance and selfsacrifice of our people could not remedy.

General Beauregard believed — and expressed the opinion at the time — that we were engaged in a long and terrible war; and he earnestly wished to see the country prepared accordingly. He was therefore most anxious that Mr. Trenholm’s proposals should be accepted. Four large and powerful steamers, and six smaller ones, but “scarcely inferior for the required purpose” — as these were represented to be — placed under the command of such officers as Semmes, Maffitt, Brown, Taylor, Jones, Huger, Hartstein, Hamilton, Pegram, and Reid, during the first year of the war, would not only have raised the attempted blockade, but would have driven the commerce of the United States from all the seas of the globe. This was abundantly proved by the exploits of the Sumter and Alabama, the results of which were so keenly felt by the North, that England, irresponsible though she was, paid, at a later date, the penalty of Admiral Semmes’s achievements.

In his “Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,” Mr. Davis has not even alluded to the facts we have just related. He states, however, that as early as February, 1861, “the third day after my inauguration at Montgomery,” he had directed Captain (afterwards Admiral) Semmes, as agent of the Confederate States, to proceed north in order not only to purchase “arms, ammunition, and machinery,” but also “to seek for vessels which would serve for naval purposes.” He further states that Captain Semmes was unsuccessful in his errand, and, on his return, reported “that he could not find any vessels which in his judgment were, or could be made, available for our uses.” For that reason, and for the additional reason, says Mr. Davis, that “the Southern officers of the navy who were in command of United States vessels abroad,” before resigning their commissions to join their respective States, invariably “brought the vessels they commanded into the ports of the North,” thereby depriving us of “our share of the navy we had contributed to build,” and allowing it to be “employed to assail us,” we were left “without the accessories needful for the rapid supply of naval vessels.”

This is proof conclusive that Mr. Davis himself had some conception of the importance of procuring war-vessels for the Confederacy; though the attempt to purchase them in the enemy’s country, was, under the circumstances, a strange proceeding, to say the least of it. And yet, two months later, that is, in the early part of May, when, to use Mr. Prioleau’s expression, a fleet of armed vessels was offered him, for the service of the Confederacy, with an opportunity to procure an unlimited supply of arms and ammunition, not to speak of provisions and accoutrements for the impending struggle, which he thought would be “long and bloody,” Mr. Davis hardly considered the proposition at all, and discarded it as being impracticable and unworthy of his attention.

Mr. Davis goes on to say: “While attempting whatever was practicable at home, we sent a competent, well-deserving officer of the navy to England, to obtain there and elsewhere, by purchase or by building, vessels which could be transformed into ships of war.”

When was this done? Mr. Davis is reticent upon that point; and, despite his statement that “these efforts and their results will be noticed more fully hereafter,” nowhere in his book is to be found any additional information upon the subject. True, Mr. Davis says, further on, “At the commencement of the war the Confederacy was not only without a navy, all the naval vessels possessed by the States having been, as explained elsewhere, left in the hands of our enemies; but worse than this was the fact that ship-building had been almost exclusively done in the Northern States, so that we had no means of acquiring equality in naval power.”

This, instead of showing what were the efforts of our government to procure war-vessels for the South, shows, on the contrary, how great was the folly, how disastrous to our interests the nonacceptance of the contract almost effected, in London, by the house of John Frazer & Co.

And Mr. Davis says also: “It has been shown that among the first acts of the Confederate administration was the effort to buy ships which could be used to naval purposes.” This can only refer to Captain Semmes’s mission North, in the latter part of February, 1861, and relates, not to what was done in Europe, not to the reasons for rejecting the Trenholm proposal, but merely to what was unsuccessfully attempted on our side of the water.

The impression Mr. Davis seems anxious to convey is, that his efforts to procure war-vessels in Europe were made shortly after his inauguration as President, and as soon as he had discovered that none could be purchased at the North. From this, and with the facts here submitted, it seems clear that, if Mr. Davis sent an agent to purchase war-vessels in Europe, it must have been at a later period, and when the opportunity to get such vessels, from England and elsewhere, had already been allowed to slip by. For he certainly cannot deny that, in May, 1861, a fleet of ten East India steamers was offered the Confederate government, in Montgomery, through Mr. W. L. Trenholm, speaking in the name and by the authority of the house of John Frazer & Co. Admitting that, as he must, how is it possible that he could have rejected the Trenholm offer — as he unquestionably did — if at that time he had a naval officer in Europe, sent thither to effect the identical purchase he then declined? Was it that our government could not have accepted any such proposal, except through the medium of the agent already alluded to? Why not, then, have referred the house of John Frazer & Co. to him, or him to that house?

Mr. Prioleau, one of the firm of John Frazer & Co., of Liverpool, through whose hands had passed the negotiations relative to the purchase of these vessels, wrote to General Beauregard the following letter on the subject. It confirms the extracts from Mr. Trenholm’s letter, as given above; and adds so much interest to the point under consideration, that we feel justified in submitting it without curtailment.

“Bruges, September 25th, 1880.

My dear General, — The facts with reference to the proposed fleet of armed vessels for the service of the Confederacy were briefly as follows:

“I had, from the very beginning of the struggle, been more impressed with the vital importance of the seaports than with anything else. I regarded them as the lungs of the country, which, once really closed, asphyxia must follow. I therefore took an early occasion to go to London to see what could be had in the shape of vessels fit to take and keep the sea, for a lengthened period, and strong enough to carry an armament which would render them efficient war-vessels, or, at all events, equal to cope with those of the enemy engaged in the blockade of the coast.

“I was fortunate in finding exactly what was wanted. A fleet of first-class East-Indiamen was lying there idle, under circumstances of a financial nature which made them available to a buyer at less than half their cost. They had been built with a view of being armed if required, and also to be used as transports for troops, as well as to carry valuable cargoes and treasure in time of peace. Four of them were vessels of great size and power, and of the very first class, and there were six others which, although smaller, were scarcely inferior for the required purpose. Having, with the assistance of an expert, thoroughly inspected them all, I at once entered into negotiations for their purchase, and having secured them for the reply of the Confederate authorities, I submitted the proposal, in a letter to the Hon. G. A. Trenholm, who referred it, as I believe, to Montgomery. he total cost of buying, arming, and fitting-out the ten ships was estimated at two millions of pounds, to put the fleet on the coast ready for action; a sum which would have been covered by forty thousand bales of cotton, out of the three or four millions of bales which the government had, at that time, under their hand, and which would not have cost them, at 6d. in their own currency, more than two millions of dollars. There would have been little or no difficulty in getting the ships to sea. The Foreign Enlistment Act had not then — and, indeed, never has been — authoritatively interpreted to mean that a neutral may not sell an unarmed ship to a belligerent: all that was required was commercial caution and coolness, and naval skill and address; all these were at hand, and there is no room for reasonable doubt that, within six months at furthest of the acceptance of the offer being received on this side, the fleet would have appeared off Boston and swept the coast thence to the Gulf, an achievement which would have compelled the prompt recognition of our government on this side, and the speedy triumph of our cause. I have always understood that the proposition was considered and rejected by the Confederate government, but I never had any communication from them on the subject. Although much disappointed at this result, so convinced was I of the value of the ships that I determined to retain my hold upon them as long as possible, to prevent their being sold elsewhere, and in hope that other counsels would prevail at home before it was too late. By means of negotiations which it is not necessary to detail here, I did succeed in retaining control of them until the occurrence of the Trent outrage; when the British government, requiring immediately ships of this class for transportation of troops and war-material to Canada, the owners broke off the negotiations with me, and got the ships, or many of them, employed in this service, in which they remained until there was no further need of them.

“This is a correct and simple statement of the facts which are (as far as regards this side of the water) necessarily known better to myself than to any other living person, and concerning which my memory is perfectly clear and reliable. It occupied my mind almost exclusively for some time, and I built the highest hopes upon the success of the scheme. It is true many of the ships were of too great draught of water to enter some of our ports, but that was a matter of comparatively little importance. What was wanted, in my view, was the moral effect which would have been produced everywhere by such a blow as could have been struck by even half of the whole number; an effect which I have always, and will always believe, would have gone very far towards determining, if it had not entirely reversed, the result of the struggle.

“I am, dear General,

“Yours very truly,

C. K. Prioleau.

General G. T. Beauregard.

We ask the reader to pause here, and reflect upon the stupendous consequences that might have followed the adoption of the scheme proposed by the house of John Frazer & Co.

This was the first of a long series of irremediable errors committed by the administration, through which, despite the righteousness of our cause, the enthusiasm of our people, the splendid fighting capacity of our armies, and all the many other chances in our favor, the Confederacy was finally overwhelmed. The silence Mr. Davis maintains in his book, as to the grave and most important proposition made to him through Mr. W. L. Trenholm, is, indeed, extraordinary, and shows conclusively that he could have given no satisfactory explanation of it to the public.

To show how completely our government was deluded, at that time, as to the tendency of public events staring us in the face, and how little it expected a “long and bloody war” with the North, General Beauregard relates that, soon after the fall of Sumter, one Major Huse — a gentleman in every sense of the word — came to the city of Charleston, from Montgomery, with a pass from the Secretary of War, authorizing him to leave for Europe, on what he termed “a secret mission.” He confidentially informed General Beauregard that he was empowered to purchase ten thousand Enfield rifles for the Confederate War Department. On his being asked whether he had not made an error in the number, so insignificantly small did it appear, he replied: “No, those were all he had been instructed to buy.” “Why,” said General Beauregard, “I could have ordered them at once through the house of John Frazer & Co., without the necessity of sending a special messenger to Europe on such a trifling errand.” A few months later, at Manassas, General Toombs confirmed the statement of Major Huse. He was present as a member of the cabinet, when the proposal about the purchase of the rifles was made. “The original number proposed,” said General Toombs, “was only eight thousand.” It was at his suggestion that the order for ten thousand was given.

Mr. Davis, in his book, makes mention of Major Huse, who, he says, was “the officer sent to Europe, to buy in the market as far as possible, and furthermore, to make contracts for arms and munitions to be manufactured.” But Mr. Davis does not state what number of “arms” Major Huse was at first instructed to purchase, or at what time he was sent, though he asserts that it was “soon” after Captain Semmes had left for the North. As to the first point, the reader has nothing further to learn; Major Huse’s own testimony, corroborated by the distinct statement of Mr. Toombs, leaves no doubt as to how many small arms (rifles) were to be purchased, at that time, for the service of the Confederacy. With regard to the second point, we positively allege that it was after the fall of Fort Sumter — and therefore not prior to the 13th of April — that Major Huse passed through Charleston, on his way to Europe.


It appears from Mr. Davis’s book that Major Huse found but few serviceable arms upon the market.

He, however, succeeded in making contracts for the manufacture of large quantities, being in advance of the agents sent from the Northern government for the same purpose.

This, Mr. Davis evidently thinks, was wonderful forethought, and a great display of energy, on the part of our government; though the sequel so painfully shows how the first were the last and the last became the first.

The only conclusion to be drawn from the foregoing passage is, that Major Huse was written to by his government, after his departure from Charleston, and was given additional instructions.

Mr. Davis, after reflection, may have found out that 10,000 rifles would scarcely be enough for the armies of the South.

A letter of Major Huse is also given in Mr. Davis’s book,

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 482. to show how false was the charge made early in the war that the President was slow in securing arms and munitions of war from Europe.

This letter bears date December 30th, 1861; that is to say, at least eight months after Major Huse’s passage through Charleston.

It was written prior to the final settlement of the Trent affair, for in it we find the following passage: If the prisoners are given up, the affair will result in great inconvenience to us in the way of shipping goods.

Major Huse had, clearly, no great faith in the mission of Messrs. Mason and Slidell to Europe, and considered his own functions as of infinitely more importance to the cause.

The letter states, further, that Major Huse had steamer-loads of arms, ammunition, and accoutrements, in divers warehouses of London, but that he could make no shipments to the South, because of his having to fight two governments, and because of the wharfingers’ orders not to ship or deliver, by land or water, any goods marked W. D., without first acquainting the honorable Board of Customs.

It seems to us, after carefully examining the whole of Major Huse’s letter, not that the charge made against Mr. Davis, of slowness in procuring arms from Europe, was untrue, but that his agent there, whatever may have been his merit otherwise, was totally unequal to the task assigned him. Had the orders to purchase arms, ammunition, etc., for the Confederacy been confided to the house of John Frazer & Co., who had power, influence, and enterprise enough in England, even to purchase a fleet of armed vessels, and offer it to our government — the Southern armies, at that time and all through the war, would have been as thoroughly and as promptly armed and equipped as the Northern armies; and Mr. Davis would have had no cause to lament the destitute condition of our men, or to write to General J. E. Johnston, in September, 1861: One ship-load of small arms would enable me to answer all demands, but vainly have I hoped and waited.

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 441.

In the selection of Major Huse, as agent, Mr. Davis seems to have been pursued by the same evil fate which almost always caused him to assign men of inferior ability to positions requiring great discernment and capacity.

Major Huse asserts that in December, 1861, he was incapable of shipping arms to the Confederacy; whereas the entire country knows that, in 1861, there existed no blockade of our ports, worthy of the name, and that blockade-runners, throughout the years 1862, 1863, and even 1864, entered the ports of Charleston and Wilmington, with almost unbroken regularity; that provisions and stores of all kinds were thus brought in by private individuals and commercial firms; and that the government — which, it seems, had succeeded in purchasing one small blockade-runner of its own

Ibid. vol i. p. 479. — could, with perhaps fewer impediments in its way, have done likewise, in the matter of arms and ammunition.

And here we might bring to light the contradiction existing between Major Huse’s letter and the assertions of Mr. Davis on the same subject: If, as late as December 30th, 1861,

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 483. no arms could be shipped from England, what are we to think of the following passage, to be found on page 476 of the first volume of Mr. Davis’s work: In December, 1861, arms purchased abroad began to come in; and a good many Enfield rifles were in the hands of the troops at the battle of Shiloh?

The query now is, which of these two statements is the correct one? Mr. Davis vouches for both, but it is evident that both cannot be relied upon.

The reader, we trust, will pardon this digression.

It may have caused a slight deviation from our main subject, but has, nevertheless, a close relation to it.

On or about the 28th of May, General Beauregard was ordered to meet the President at Richmond, whither the seat of Confederate government was being transferred.

He arrived there a few days after the receipt of the order.

All along the railroad line, on his way from Charleston to Richmond, the people turned out, at the various stations, to welcome him. They were addressed by Attorney-General Benjamin, who happened to be on the cars, and by Governor Manning, of South Carolina, one of General Beauregard’s volunteer aids.

At Charleston, officers and men, and, in fact, the whole population of the State, had expressed their deep sense of regret that the public service should require his transfer to another department.

Governor Pickens, in a letter wishing him God speed in his new field of duty, said: Your scientific attainments, your ability and your incessant labors, have been of great advantage to our State; and I return you my thanks, and the thanks of the State, for the patriotic zeal and distinguished services you have rendered us at a critical and a trying time. . . . Wherever you go, I trust that you will be blessed, and crowned with the honors of your country.


Secession of Virginia. —Confederate troops sent to her assistance. —arrival of General Beauregard in Richmond. —he assumes command at Manassas. —position of our forces. —his proclamation and the reasons for it. —Site of camp Pickens. —his letter to President Davis. —our deficiencies. —mismanagement in Quartermaster’s and Commissary’s Departments. —how he could have procured transportation. —manufacture of cartridges. —secret service with Washington.

Not until Fort Sumter had surrendered to the South Carolina troops under General Beauregard; not until Mr. Lincoln, misapprehending the attitude of those Southern States still nominally belonging to the Union, had made his requisition on them for their quota of men to aid in suppressing the Rebellion, did Virginia, faithful to her old-time traditions, openly proclaim her adhesion to the Southern cause, and assume her rightful place among the seceded States.

Hers was a disinterested step; one taken with a full appreciation of the inevitable dangers and devastation in store for her, owing to her geographical position.

Her hesitation was but another instance of the historic firmness and deliberation which had always characterized her official acts, and it was, no doubt, her example which shortly afterwards determined the withdrawal of Tennessee, Arkansas, and North Carolina.

No sooner had Virginia’s voice, through her assembled convention, pronounced her severance from the North, than the seven States forming the Confederacy, anxious to welcome her among them, hurried forward to her support a portion of their best troops.

As a natural sequence to this provident measure, it followed that the most experienced and successful of our military leaders were selected to be placed at the head of such commands.

Hence the order transferring General Beauregard to Virginia.

Pollard, in his work entitled Lee and his Lieutenants, when writing on this subject, says: Called for by the unanimous voice of the Southern people, he was now ordered to take command of the main portion of the Confederate army in northern Virginia.

Pollard’s later description of the apprehension and flurry existing in the Northern mind, concerning General Beauregard’s whereabouts, is, indeed, most singular, and shows the appreciation in which he was held by our enemies.

Many writers, in describing the traits of General Beauregard’s character, have commented upon his very retiring disposition, amounting almost to bashfulness, which forms so strong a contrast to his boldness and indomitable spirit in the field.

This was instanced upon his arrival at Richmond, May 30th, where a large concourse of people awaited him, anxious to see and welcome the Confederate commander who had already drawn upon himself the attention and admiration of the whole country.

A carriageand-four was in readiness at the Richmond depot to convey him to the apartments which had been prepared for him at the Spotswood Hotel.

But no sooner had he been apprised of this unexpected honor

which, though gratifying, interfered with his desire for privacy — than he, wishing to avoid all public demonstration, insisted upon taking an ordinary carriage, in which, with one or two officers of his staff, he quietly drove to other quarters.

The next day, May 31st, he called on President Davis, who was in conference with General Robert E. Lee, then commanding the Virginia State forces.

General Lee had just returned from Manassas, about twenty-seven miles below Alexandria, where he had left Brigadier-General Bonham, of South Carolina, with some five thousand men of all arms.

This position had been taken at the instance of Colonel Thomas Jordan, of the Virginia forces, who, in a carefully written memoir on the subject, had shown the importance of at once occupying Manassas Junction, to prevent its seizure, and the severance of communication by rail with the lower valley of Virginia.

After a full interchange of views, which lasted several hours, it was determined that General Beauregard should leave on the next morning to assume command at Manassas, whither reinforcements would be forwarded as soon as obtained.

At first it had been intended to send him to Norfolk, but General Lee’s report of the condition of affairs on the Alexandria line, and the probability of an early advance of the enemy on that point, caused the President to change his mind.

From the moment General Beauregard had left New Orleans, until the time of his arrival in Richmond, he had been so unremittingly occupied with public affairs as to preclude all attention to his personal interests and even his military outfit.

He would have willingly remained a day or two in Richmond, in order to prepare himself better for the field; but the juncture was considered so urgent by the President and General Lee, that no such leisure was granted him, and he departed at once, with two of his aids, leaving other members of his staff, including his adjutant, to effect such arrangements as were necessary.

He left Richmond on the 1st of June, and reached Manassas the same night, under the following orders:

Headquarters of the Virginia forces, Richmond, Virginia, May 31st, 1861.

Special orders, no. 149.

General P. G. T. Beauregard, of the Confederate States army, is assigned to the command of the troops on the Alexandria line.

He is referred to the orders heretofore given to his predecessors in that command, for the general direction of operations.

By order of Major-General Lee, R. S. Garnett, Adjt. -Gen.

We copy below an extract from the orders alluded to, as given to General Beauregard’s predecessors, and transferred, as we have seen, to himself:

The policy of the State, at present, is strictly defensive.

No attack or provocation for attack will therefore be given, but every attack resisted to the extent of your means.

Great reliance is placed on your discretion and judgment in the application of your force, and I must urge upon you the importance of organizing and instructing the troops as rapidly as possible, and preparing them for active service.

For this purpose it will be necessary to post them where their services may be needed and where they can be concentrated at the points threatened.

The Manassas Junction is a very important point on your line, as it commands the communication with Harper’s Ferry, and must be firmly held.

Intrenchments at that point would add to its security; and in connection with its defence, you must watch the approaches from either flank, particularly towards Occoquan.

Alexandria, in its front, will of course claim your attention as the first point of attack, and as soon as your force is sufficient, in your opinion, to resist successfully its occupation, you will so dispose it as to effect this object, if possible, without appearing to threaten Washington city.

The navigation of the Potomac being closed to us, and the United States armed vessels being able to take a position in front of the town, you will perceive the hazard of its destruction unless your measures are such as to prevent it. This subject being one of great delicacy, is left to your judgment.

The railroad communications must be secured, however, and their use by the enemy prevented. . . . R. E. Lee, Maj. -Gen. Comdg.

That such instructions, so vague as a whole, and yet so minute in some respects, should have embarrassed Brigadier-General Bonham, as was asserted, is not, we submit, to be much wondered at. To obey them implicitly was clearly an impossibility under the circumstances.

They were calculated to destroy every vestige of discretion on the part of the commanding general, without lessening, in any way, the weight of his responsibility.

That General Lee meant well in adopting such a programme of operations, no one who knew him will for a moment question; but that it must have puzzled, to no inconsiderable degree, the minds of most of those who were to be guided by it, to us appears no less evident.

And how, more than a month after the withdrawal of Virginia from the Union, a State Major-General (for such was General Lee at the time), and not the Confederate War Department, could have given instructions and issued orders to Confederate generals and to Confederate troops, is more than we can well understand.

True, the Secretary of War, with a view to avoid confusion, had, on May 10th, authorized Major-General Lee, of the Virginia troops, to assume the control of the forces of the Confederate States in Virginia, and assign them to such duties as he might indicate; but that authority emanated from Montgomery, while the Confederate government was still there, and while no Confederate general officer had, as yet, been sent to Virginia.

This was far from being the case at the time to which we now allude, to wit, the 31st of May. Brigadier-General Joseph E. Johnston, Confederate States Army, had, then, already been assigned to duty in Virginia, and, furthermore, the Confederate government itself was at that date transferred to Richmond.

Even the President was there in person, and could have acted with all authority had he chosen to do so.

The measures of extreme caution suggested in General Lee’s instructions, and the solicitude manifested to soothe the ire of the North, would have been admirably proper if the orders had been issued before the first gun was fired at Sumter, and while negotiations for a peaceful solution of our difficulties were still pending.

But in May, 1861, war already existed.

Virginia was threatened by three Northern armies, the immediate advance of one of which was then almost daily expected.

Why were we to avoid appearing even to threaten the enemy’s positions, when the invasion of our soil was openly declared to be the prime object actuating the hostile forces arrayed against us?

Orders and instructions such as these could have no other effect than to depress our people, bewilder our commanders, and embolden the enemy.

The two or three days following his arrival in his new department were spent by General Beauregard in examining the troops and the various positions they occupied, at and in advance of Manassas.

He then assumed command in the following orders:

New series.

General orders, no. 1. Headquarters, Department of Alexandria, camp Pickens, June 2d, 1861.

In obedience to Special Orders, No. 149, from Headquarters Virginia forces, Richmond, dated May 31st, 1861, assigning me to the command of the troops on the Alexandria line, I have this day relieved Brigadier-General M. L. Bonham of said command.

All orders and instructions from these Headquarters will be obeyed accordingly.

The Brigadier-General Commanding feels assured that all the troops under his orders will display, on all occasions, the discipline, patience, zeal, and gallantry of their forefathers, when defending, like ourselves, their sacred rights and liberties. G. T. Beauregard, Brig. -Gen. Comdg.

The troops were located at the following points: one regiment at Mitchell’s Ford, where the country road, from Manassas to Centreville, crosses Bull Run, at a point midway between the two.

Another regiment was stationed at Union Mills Ford, not far from where the railroad to Alexandria crosses the same stream.

Another regiment was placed at Centreville, and some detached companies of cavalry and infantry were in the vicinity of Fairfax Court-House, about six miles in advance of Centreville.

The remaining forces were at and about Manassas.

The enemy was then engaged in collecting a large force in front of Washington and Alexandria, with its advance at Falls Church, half-way to Fairfax Court-House, and it was currently reported by the Northern press that this army, under Major-General Mc-Dowell, would soon advance on Manassas, on its way to Richmond.

General Beauregard was not satisfied with the grounds selected for our troops, nor with the condition of things at Camp Pickens, Manassas.

There was no running water near enough; the plan of works was too extensive; the fords were too numerous to be easily guarded by such a small force as was at his disposal.

These facts and observations he at once reported to the President, as may be seen by the following letter:

Department of Alexandria, Va., Provisional A. C. S., June 3d, 1861.

To his Excellency President Jefferson Davis, Richmond, Va. :

Dear Sir, — I arrived here on the 1st at 2 P. M., and immediately examined the site of this encampment and the plans of its proposed defences.

The former is in an open country, traversed by good roads in every direction, without any strong natural features for the purposes of defence, and without running water nearer than three miles, except a few small springs at half that distance.

The plans of the works are good, but too extensive to be finished in less than two or three weeks, and cannot be garrisoned with less than from three to four thousand men. As this position can be turned in every direction by an enemy, for the purpose of destroying the railroads intended to be defended by it, it becomes a question whether these works could be held more than a few days, when thus isolated.

I have reconnoitred closely several of the fords on Bull Run, and one on Occoquan Run (about three miles from here), which offer strong natural features of defence, but they are so numerous and far apart, that only a much larger force than I have here at my command (say not less than ten to fifteen thousand men) could hope to defend them all, against a well-organized enemy of about 20,000 men, who could select his point of attack.

I must therefore either be reinforced at once, as I have not more than about six thousand effective men; or I must be prepared to retire (upon the approach of the enemy) in the direction of Richmond, with the intention of arresting him whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself; or I must march to meet him at one of said fords, to sell our lives as dearly as practicable.

Badly armed and badly equipped as my command is at present (several regiments having but one or two field officers), and having hardly any means of transportation, it would be expecting too much, that I could meet successfully the foe who is preparing to attack us in a few days, with all the advantages of number, arms, and discipline.

I beg, however, to remark, that my troops are not only willing, but anxious, to meet the enemies of our country, under all circumstances.

I remain, dear Sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant, G. T. Beauregard.

From what precedes it is easy to see why Bull Run did not naturally afford a strong defensive line.

In fact, the ground on the Federal side of the run commanded, in most places, the ground occupied by the Confederates.

Still, Manassas Junction, as a strategic point, was one of superior importance, as it secured communication with the valley of Virginia, and the army of the Shenandoah, under General Joseph E. Johnston, at Harper’s Ferry.

Hence General Beauregard’s determination to hold it at all hazards; and he began, without delay, to throw up works around it, so as to make it a depot of supplies and a point d’appui for ulterior operations.

But it was with great difficulty that, at this period, work on the fortifications could be procured from the troops, as most of their time was necessarily taken up with drills, and manual labor was in itself no light task for them, composed, as the commands generally were, of young men of good position at home, who had responded to the first call of the country, many of them having come with no small amount of luggage and even with body-servants.

Their answer to company officers was, that they were there to fight, and not to handle the pick and shovel.

Appreciating such a feeling in men of their position, new to arduous duties of that kind, and wishing to avoid whatever might at that moment cause disaffection, General Beauregard abstained from employing them on any but the most essential works, and procured, as far as possible, negro labor, which was furnished at his call, by the comparatively small number of slave-owners of the Piedmont region of Virginia, with great readiness.

As soon as new regiments arrived they were armed and equipped as well as the means at hand allowed, and at once drilled and organized into brigades.

This organization of an army, out of troops for the most part wholly undisciplined, in the presence of an enemy composed of a well-trained militia, superior in numbers and thoroughly appointed, whose threatened advance was expected at every moment, apart from being in itself a difficult and anxious task, was beset with obstacles resulting from the narrow methods, slowness, and, in some respects, unaccountable mismanagement, of the authorities at Richmond.

General Beauregard’s attention was at once seriously turned to those two important staff departments, the Quartermaster’s and Commissary’s, which, he thought, could never be too closely attended to. An army — he was wont to say — without means of transportation and sustenance is like a ship at sea without spars or canvas, and with famine on board.

His first step was to order the collection of wagons and twenty-five days rations for about twenty thousand men. To this end his chief quartermaster, Major Cabell, and his chief commissary, Captain Fowle, who was well acquainted with the resources of that region, were directed to draw all their supplies of forage, grain, and provisions from the fertile country stretching from Manassas to the Potomac, as far northwest as Leesburg, so as to exhaust that district first, and compel the enemy to carry their own supplies in their advance against our forces.

This system, which would have left all the region in rear of us with resources untouched, to meet the contingency of a forced withdrawal from Manassas, was most strenuously opposed by the Commissary-General, Colonel Northrop.

In a letter, singularly ill-tempered and discourteous, that functionary arraigned General Beauregard for thwarting his plans for maintaining the army, and went so far as to prohibit Captain Fowle from obeying the orders of his commanding general.

Through this vagary the provisions drawn from the vicinity of Manassas and the neighboring counties of Loudon and Fauquier, after being carried, directly, from General Beauregard’s department to Richmond, were thence returned to the chief commissary of the army of Manassas, for distribution to the troops, and as there were hardly enough cars to transport the men, guns, ammunition, and other material to the army of the Potomac and the army of the Shenandoah, which received its ordnance supplies by the same railroad, the result was that the troops at Manassas never had more than two or three days supplies on hand, even when they numbered no more than fifteen thousand men. This almost incredible mismanagement, so hurtful to the morale and efficiency of the army, was persisted in, notwithstanding General Beauregard’s earnest remonstrances, and embarrassed and clogged the conduct of the whole campaign.

Captain Fowle, finding that the army could not be supplied from Richmond, was compelled to resort to the system ordered by General Beauregard; whereupon he was summarily superseded, and Colonel R. B. Lee appointed in his stead.

This last officer, it may be added, possessed undoubted merit, and by his previous rank in the commissariat of the United States army, was entitled to the position of Commissary-General of the Confederate States army.

With such facts before us, and others that we shall have occasion to notice further on, the following eulogy of Colonel Northrop, by Mr. Davis, seems unwarranted and altogether out of place: To the able officer then at the head of the Commissariat Department, Colonel L. B. Northrop, much credit is due for his well-directed efforts to provide both for immediate and prospective wants.

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 315.

There was a great deficiency also in the means of transportation. It was insufficient, and of such poor quality as to break down even in ordinary camp service. This evil, which continued long after the battle of Manassas, was partially remedied before that event, but the remedy was applied independently of the Quartermaster’s Department at Richmond. That department having declared itself unable to procure transportation in the country, General Beauregard called to his aid Colonel James L. Kemper (7th Virginia Volunteers), whose knowledge of the resources of that portion of the State enabled him to gather, within a few days, at least two hundred effective wagons and teams. Three times that number, and even more, could easily have been collected, but General Beauregard, wishing to avoid collision with the views of the administration at Richmond, limited Colonel Kemper to the number stated above.

On the 5th of June, upon pressing application to that effect, General Beauregard issued a proclamation to the people of the counties of Loudon, Fairfax, and Prince William, which has been much commented upon, but, outside of the South, where the facts were known, has never been well understood.

The reason for issuing the proclamation was, that a deputation of citizens, headed by a prominent lawyer of Alexandria, who, before the secession of Virginia, was noted for his Union sentiments, had presented a formal complaint, of very grave outrages practised on the people by Federal troops.

General Beauregard, believing it to be his duty to take immediate steps in the matter, appointed a commission of inquiry, composed of Colonels Thomas Jordan, his Adjutant-General, and John S. Preston, and William Porcher Miles, William Porcher Miles was afterwards Chairman of the Military Committee of the House of Representatives, Confederate Congress. his volunteer aids, both eminent citizens of South Carolina.

That committee, after careful investigation of the charges made, reported that the allegations were true. Though General Mc-Dowell solicitously repressed all acts of violence — which, as was afterwards proved, were committed then only by marauding parties from his army — yet the facts elicited were naturally construed, at the time, as indicative of a truculent spirit animating a large number of his troops, and produced the deepest indignation among the people of the surrounding country.

This proclamation (others similar to which, in substance, were afterwards issued by several Confederate officers, including General Lee) was drawn up by the gentleman referred to, and, after some slight modifications by the members of the commission, through Colonel Preston, was signed and published by General Beauregard in his name, as commander of the army. It became known and was criticised in the Northern papers as the Beauty and Booty Proclamation — words which were found by the commission, upon the evidence given, to have been loudly used by the marauding troops whose acts of violence were so indignantly denounced. Our readers no doubt remember that these identical words, accompanying like conduct, on the part of the British troops at New Orleans, in the war of 1812, provoked vehement reprobation throughout the country. However true it might be to say that such a proclamation would have better fitted many subsequent phases of the war, yet, with charges so fully substantiated before the commission appointed by General Beauregard, no one can deny that the measures adopted and the language used in relation thereto were justifiable and imperatively necessary.

Besides being badly armed and suffering from the irregularity and inefficiency of the Quartermaster’s and Commissary’s Departments, the troops were also deficient in accoutrements, particularly in cartridges and cartridge-boxes, and were lacking in proper camp equipments. Alarmed at the delay in adequately supplying his forces with ammunition, General Beauregard proposed to the government to establish a cartridge factory at Manassas, if certain necessary appliances were furnished him; which was not done. His letter to that effect, dated Manassas Junction, June 23d, contained the following passage:

I must call the attention of the department to the great deficiency of my command in ammunition — not averaging more than 20 rounds in all per man. If I were provided with the necessary materials, moulds, etc., I think I could establish here a cartridge manufactory, which could supply all our wants in that respect.

Could not a similar arrangement be made at all hospital depots, State arsenals, penitentiaries, etc. ?

To go into battle, each soldier ought to be provided with at least 40 rounds of cartridges and not less than 60 rounds in reserve.

I remain, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant, G. T. Beauregard, Brig. -Gen. Comdg. Hon. L. P. Walker, Secretary of War, Richmond, Virginia.

As the Confederate troops had yet no uniform proper, it was necessary that they should be distinguished from the enemy by some clearly visible mark. To meet this requirement, a few days after his arrival in camp General Beauregard asked that his men should be provided with colored scarfs, to be worn, in battle, from the shoulder to the waist, suggesting that a call on the ladies of Richmond would no doubt secure their prompt supply, as the scarfs might be made of any material of the proper shade. As many of the regiments were then without Confederate colors, and the blue and the gray uniforms were common to the North and the South, the importance of this matter, particularly in the event of flank and rear attacks, was urged again upon the President, at a later period. Although the expedient was as simple as the need was great, the demand was complied with only after a long delay, and then with so imperfect a contrivance — a sort of rosette, to be pinned on the arm or breast — that on the field of Manassas, in the critical moment, the troops themselves were confused as to identity; and when the rout was in full tide the pursuit was more than once checked because of the difficulty of distinguishing friends from foes.

During this period a thorough secret-service communication was maintained between Washington and the Confederate headquarters at Manassas, whereby trustworthy private information was received through cipher despatches, while regular files of all the important Northern journals reached our lines in the same way; those from New York, particularly, rendering unconscious assistance to our cause.


Position of troops in Northern Virginia. —General Beauregard advocates concentration, June 12th. —etter to that effect to President Davis. —answer declining. —General Beauregard suggests a junction with General Holmes. —again refused. —division of General Beauregard’s forces into brigades, 20th June. —begins forward movement. —instructions to brigade commanders. —reconnoissances made at the end of June. —McDowell’s strength. —General Beauregard’s anxieties. —his letter to Senator Wigfall. —Submits another plan of operations to the President, July 11th.

The Confederate troops in northern Virginia, east of the grand chain of the Alleghanies, now formed a series of detached commands, stretching from northwest to southeast respectively, under General Joseph E. Johnston, at Harper’s Ferry, General Beauregard, at Manassas, and General Holmes, at Aquia Creek; each outnumbered by confronting forces, excepting General Holmes’s command, whose position on the lower Potomac was taken only to prevent a possible landing of the enemy at that point.

The forces in front of General Johnston and those in front of Colonel Eppa Hunton, commanding a battalion at Leesburg, the western extremity of the Manassas line, were still on the north bank of the Potomac.

General Beauregard, appreciating the necessity of an immediate concerted system between these independent commands, particularly between his own and the considerable forces at Harper’s Ferry, and viewing Manassas as the most important strategic point for both belligerents, and the one most likely to attract the main effort of the enemy, which, according to reports, might be made at any moment, had determined if possible to reform the Confederate military situation, in accordance with his views of sound policy. His plan, as the following letter shows, was marked, as were all his military plans, by the leading ideas of concentration and aggression.

Headquarters Manassas, Department of Va., camp Pickens, June 12th, 1861.

To His Excellency President Davis:

Sir, — The bearer, Lieutenant-Colonel Sam Jones of the Provisional Army of Virginia, a member of my general staff, has been instructed by me to lay before your Excellency a diagram, with my views relative to the operations of the present campaign in this State, which should be acted upon at once.

The enemy seem to be taking the offensive towards Harper’s Ferry, and a few days hence may find General J. E. Johnston in such a critical condition as to render it impossible to relieve him. If he were ordered to abandon forthwith his present position and concentrate suddenly his forces with mine, guarding, with small detachments, all the passes through which the enemy might follow him, we could, by a bold and rapid movement forward, retake Arlington Heights and Alexandria, if not too strongly fortified and garrisoned, which would have the effect of recalling all the enemy’s forces from northern Virginia, for the protection of Washington. But should General Johnston be unable to unite his forces with mine, then he ought to be instructed to retreat at the proper time towards Richmond, through the valley of Virginia, checking the enemy wherever and whenever he can. When compelled to abandon my present position, I will fall back also on Richmond; the forces along the lower Potomac, on the Peninsula, and at Norfolk, may have to do likewise. Then, acting on interior lines, from Richmond as a centre (our forces being increased by the reserves at that point), we could crush, in rapid succession and in detail, the several columns of the enemy, which I have supposed would move on three or four different lines. With thirty-five thousand men, properly handled, I have not the least doubt that we could an-nihilate fifty thousand of the enemy. I beg and entreat that a concerted plan of operations be adopted at once by the government, for its different columns. Otherwise, we will be assailed in detail by superior forces, and will be cut off, or destroyed entirely.

Lieutenant-Colonel Jones will present my views more in detail to your Excellency. G. T. Beauregard, Brig-Gen. Comdg.

The President made the following reply:

Richmond, Va., June 13th, 1861.

My dear General, — Colonel Jones delivered to me your letter of the 12th instant, and, as suggested by you, I conversed with him of the matter to which it related. Your information may be more accurate than we possess, in relation to the purposes of the enemy, and I will briefly reply to you on the hypothesis which forms the basis of your suggestions.

If the enemy commence operations by attack upon Harper’s Ferry, I do not perceive why General Johnston should be unable, even before overwhelming numbers, to retire behind the positions where the enemy would approach in reverse. It would seem to me not unreasonable to expect that, before he reaches Winchester, the terminus of the railroad in his possession, the people of the fertile and populous valley would rise in mass to aid him in repelling the invader. But suppose it should be otherwise, he could still, by retiring to the passes of the Manassas railroad and its adjacent mountains, probably check the progress of the enemy, and prevent him from either taking possession of the valley, or passing to the rear of your position. We hope soon to reinforce you to an extent equal to the strength you require, by the junction of General Johnston and I cannot doubt but that you would then be better circumstanced to advance upon Alexandria than if General Johnston, by withdrawing from the valley, had left the enemy the power to pass to your rear, to cut your line of communication, and advance to attack you in reverse, while you were engaged with the enemy in front.

Concurring fully with you in the effect which would be produced by the possession of Arlington Heights and Alexandria, if your rear is at the same time sufficiently covered, it is quite clear that if the case should be otherwise, your possession, if acquired, would be both brief and fruitless.

To your request that a concerted plan of operations should be adopted, I can only reply that the present position and unknown purposes of the enemy require that our plan should have many alterations. I have noted your converging lines upon Richmond, and it can hardly be necessary to remind you that we have not at this time the transportation which would enable us to move upon those lines as described. Should the fortune of war render it necessary to retire our advance columns, they must be brought mainly upon railroads, and that of Harper’s Ferry would come by your present position. It would, therefore, be a necessity that General Johnston’s column should make a junction with yours, before yours retired; but I have not anticipated the necessity of your retreat, and have struggled to increase your force, and look hopefully forward to see you enabled to assume the offensive. Had I been less earnestly engaged in providing for yours and other commands, I should have had the pleasure of visiting you before this date. Four regiments have been sent forward, neither of which had reached you at the date of your letter; and you will soon receive further reinforcements. They are not trained troops, but I think they are better than those of the enemy, and the capacity which you have recently exhibited, successfully to fight with undisciplined citizens, justifies the expectation that you will know how to use such force as we are able to furnish.

Very truly yours, Jefferson Davis.

Still persisting, however, in his effort to make use of all possible resources in meeting the imminent crisis, General Beauregard, in his official and semi-official correspondence at the time, suggested that the troops under General Holmes, at Aquia Creek, at least two thousand five hundred men, with two batteries, should be so posted as to be available for a timely junction with his own forces. General Holmes fully concurred, asserting that his command, as then disposed, was not likely to be of any military use; but the suggestion met with no favor at Richmond.

On the 18th, having begun to receive from Norfolk the naval guns for which he had called, to arm the works at Manassas, General Beauregard made a requisition for naval officers to command those batteries and drill the recruits. hey came with a number of sailors, bringing their gun-ropes, blocks, and tackles, and in their exercises the terms port and starboard, novel in the field, were used as familiarly as on board a man-of-war. Officers and men were noticeable for their zeal, efficiency, and discipline.

Meanwhile, vigilant observation of the opposite banks of the Potomac was kept up at Leesburg, an important place, which the enemy might strike in order to sever the communications between Generals Beauregard and Johnston; and such small reinforcements as could be spared from Manassas were sent thither, but without artillery, of which none was available.

From information collected in his front, General Johnston was apprehensive that General Patterson would move to attack him, and he soon abandoned the untenable salient position of Harper’s Ferry, held by him unwillingly, and to which General Patterson afterwards crossed on the 2d of July. General Beauregard’s views, based partly on reports from Washington, were that General Patterson’s movements merely simulated the offensive, to hold General Johnston in check.

About the 20th of June, General Beauregard, having organized his forces into six brigades, began a forward movement, in order to protect his advanced positions at Centreville, Fairfax Court-House, and Sangster’s Cross-roads, so as to be able — as he wrote to Colonel Eppa Hunton — to strike a blow upon the enemy, at a moment’s notice, which he hoped they would long remember. His advanced forces, three brigades of three regiments each, occupied a triangle as follows: at Mitchell’s Ford, on Bull Run, one regiment; at Centreville and another point half-way to Germantown, one brigade; at Germantown and Fairfax Court-House, one brigade, with a light battery; at the crossing of Braddock’s old road with the Fairfax Court-House and Fairfax Station roads, one regiment; and at Sangster’s Cross-roads, one battalion: all in easy and short communication with each other and with headquarters. Most of his small body of cavalry was with the advance, scouting and reconnoitring.

In view of coming events, General Beauregard now assembled his brigade commanders, and, after general directions to all of them, gave detailed instructions to those who had charge of the advanced positions (at Fairfax Court-House and Fairfax Station) touching their respective lines of retreat on Bull Run, in case they should be menaced by a combined serious movement of the enemy with largely superior forces. The substance of those instructions was embodied, with minute details, in a Special Order, No. 100, from the Adjutant-General’s office, which was the order literally executed on the 17th of July. This is one of the most remarkable instances in military history, of an order providing fully and precisely, nearly a month in advance, for all the exigencies of a strategic movement, remotely contingent upon the operations of an enemy. General Bonham, upon the near approach of the forces confronting him, was to retire slowly on Centreville, by the turnpike, then to Mitchell’s Ford, drawing the enemy after him to that point, which was the only portion of General Beauregard’s line yet fortified. General Ewell, from Sangster’s Crossroads and vicinity, was to follow the line of the railroad over a rather rough and difficult country road to Union Mills Ford, where the position was naturally strong and offered good cover to his men. The intermediate fords, McLean’s and Blackburn’s, were at that time occupied by Jones’s and Longstreet’s brigades. Early’s brigade, which had been watching the fords of the Occoquan and the approaches on the right, was now held in reserve, a short distance in rear of Union Mills Ford, to act according to circumstances. A small force of infantry guarded the stone bridge, on the extreme left, where the turnpike from Alexandria, through Fairfax Court-House and Centreville, crosses Bull Run, on its way to Warrenton. The works, armed with naval guns, were manned by the seamen already alluded to, and also by a force of the State militia, which Governor Letcher had called out, at General Beauregard’s request.

During the latter days of June and the first fortnight of July, thorough reconnoissances were made of the whole region of country likely to become the theatre of war in that quarter, either for a defensive or offensive campaign. In these General Beauregard had the effective aid of Colonel Williamson and Captains D. B. Harris and Walter H. Stevens, of the Engineers. And it may be of interest to mention here, that the reconnoissances we speak of included the surroundings of Leesburg and the passes westward, as well as the entire square between Difficult Run, the Potomac, Goose Creek, and Gum Spring. The object was to facilitate the movement of troops in that direction, to cross the Potomac, and be prepared to oppose the enemy, should he attempt to advance by that way so as to reach the Manassas Gap Railroad, on the left of General Beauregard’s position.

In one of these reconnoissances, made in force — Colonel Maxey Gregg, at the head of a South Carolina regiment, casually encountered a Federal command, under General Schenck, coming into Vienna Station, on a train of cars. A shot from a section of Kemper’s light battery brought them to a halt, and, after a few exchanges, the Federals retired, and the locomotive escaped, leaving the cars, which were burned. This was the first hostile meeting, excepting the brilliant midnight dash of Lieutenant Tompkins against the Confederate outposts at Fairfax Court-House.

On the 4th of July the Confederate pickets, well in advance of Fairfax Court-House, captured a sergeant and a private — the latter a Scotchman, who chanced to be a clerk in McDowell’s Adjutant-General’s office, and whose duty as such was to assist in making up the army returns. They were taking a ride for pleasure, and, having come a little too far, were picked up by the watchful cavalry. The Scotchman at once stated his position, and, being sent to headquarters, was there subjected to a close examination, in which he spoke freely, and appeared, from his statements on matters already known, to be telling the truth. Thus was Mc-Dowell’s strength, at that date, pretty accurately ascertained; and events verified the correctness of the information thus obtained.

The increasing forces of McDowell, the clamor of the Northern press for an advance, and the private reports from Washington, all now indicated an early attack by an army more than twice the strength of ours in numbers. And General Beauregard, in the midst of his various solicitudes, balked in his endeavors to procure the needed reinforcements, and grieved also at his unsuccessful attempts to induce the government to adopt his views, wrote the following letter to his friend, Senator Wigfall. It shows General Beauregard’s unrelieved anxiety, and his determination, while wishing and laboring for a better state of things, to make the most of his limited means:

Manassas Junction, Va., July 8th, 1861. Colonel Wigfall:

My dear Colonel, — I believe we are about to be attacked by the enemy, who has been increasing his forces rapidly in the last few days. He has doubtless at present, on this side of the Potomac, at least 30,000 men, and probably as many in or about Washington; and I am informed on good authority that he is crossing over reinforcements in large numbers every night, so that very shortly we will be attacked, probably by about 40,000 men! What do you suppose is my effective force to resist this attack? About 15,000 effective men! How can it be expected that I shall be able to maintain my ground unless reinforced immediately? I am determined to give the enemy battle no matter at what odds against us; but is it right and proper to sacrifice so many valuable lives (and perhaps our cause) without the least prospect of success? But I hope it may have the effect, at least, of delaying the advance of the enemy, and give our friends time to come to the rescue. I have to apply two or three times for the most essential things required here. To obtain anything with despatch, I have to send a special messenger to Richmond. Is this the way to direct and control the operations of an army in the field? Cannot this evil be remedied? I am sure it could be if properly represented to the President.

I fear General Johnston is no better off than I am; but his section of country is, I believe, more easily defended, being wooded and mountainous. My troops are in fine spirits and anxious for a fight. They seem to have the most unbounded confidence in me.

Oh, that I had the genius of a Napoleon, to be more worthy of our cause and of their confidence!

If I could only get the enemy to attack me, as I am trying to have him do, I would stake my reputation on the handsomest victory that could be hoped for. Yours very truly, G. T. Beauregard.

The following letter, written a few days later, is also of particular interest:

Headquarters army of the Potomac, Manassas Junction, July 11th, 1861.

To His Excellency Jefferson Davis:

Sir, — I have the honor to transmit herewith the Field Return of the army under my command, from which you will perceive the effective force at my disposition is as follows: Light Artillery, 533, with 27 pieces; Cavalry, 1425; Foot Artillery, 293; and Infantry, 16,150; in all 18,401 men of all arms. From this must be deducted the command of Colonel Hunton at Leesburg, of some 445 men, who will remain in position there until the enemy shall have advanced to attack my outposts, when the colonel will fall back and unite his force with that of Colonel Cocke, commanding the 5th Brigade at the stone bridge across Bull Run. Colonel Sloan’s regiment, 4th South Carolina Volunteers, has already fallen back from Leesburg to Frying-pan Church, preparatory to a junction with Colonel Cocke, at Centreville.

I have every reason to believe that the enemy will begin his advance from his present position, at or about Falls Church, to-morrow or on the following day, with a force not short of 35,000 men, supported by a reserve of not less than 15,000 infantry. To these I can oppose but about 16,500, reserving about 1500, merely for camp guards, pickets, and the garrison of the intrenched camp here. In consequence of this great disparity in numbers, I have issued the Special Order No. 100, enclosed herewith, concentrating my troops, in the exigency, on the naturally strong positions enumerated therein, afforded by Bull Run, in the hope of conducting the movement so as to induce the enemy to offer me battle in front of Mitchell’s Ford, where his numerical superiority would be materially counterbalanced by the difficulties of the ground and my previous preparations there for the event. But I am, however, inclined to believe he may attempt to turn my left flank, by a movement in the direction of Vienna, Frying-pan Church, and, possibly, Gum Spring, and thus cut off Johnston’s line of retreat on and communications with this place, via the Manassas Gap Railroad, while threatening my own communications with Richmond and depots of supply, by the Alexandria and Orange Railroad, and opening his communications with the Potomac through Leesburg and Edward’s Ferry.

Of course, if I had sufficient force, one less unequal to that of the enemy, I would not permit him, with impunity, to attempt so dangerous a movement on his part; but, in view of the odds against me, and of the vital importance at this juncture of avoiding the hazard of a defeat, which would open to the enemy the way to Richmond, I shall act with extreme caution, If forced, however, to retire before an overwhelming force by another route than the railroad, my line of retreat can be taken at any time through Brentsville to a junction with Brigadier-General Holmes, at or near Fredericksburg, whence we could operate on the line of communication of the enemy on their advance, so as, at least, to retard him by the way. In that event, if deemed expedient, I could leave a suitable garrison in the intrenchments here, to occupy him and retard his advance the longer, but with orders to spike our guns and follow in my rear until effecting a reunion with me. In presenting the foregoing to the consideration of your Excellency, I wish it distinctly understood, however, that if the enemy should offer battle on the line of Bull Run, I shall accept it for my command, against whatsoever odds he may array in my front.

Respectfully, Sir, your obedient servant. G. T. Beauregard, General Commanding.


General Beauregard again urging concentration. —Colonels Preston and Chestnut sent to Richmond, to explain plan. —Report of Colonel Chestnut. —the President disapproves the proposed campaign. —letter of General Beauregard to General Johnston. —comments upon Mr. Davis’s refusal. —General McDowell ordered to advance. —strong demonstration against General Bonham. —General Beauregard’s telegram to the President. —General Johnston ordered to make junction if practicable. —action of Bull Run. —what Major Barnard, U. S. E., says of it. —repulse of the enemy. —War Department inclined to withdraw order to General Johnston. —General Beauregard disregards the suggestion.

A day or two after sending to the President the communication given at the end of the preceding chapter, General Beauregard, still hoping to obtain the government’s assent to the concentration of our forces, in view of the impending offensive movement of the enemy, despatched to Richmond an aide-de-camp, Colonel John S. Preston, of South Carolina, a gentleman of ability and much personal weight, with special instructions to urge the absolute and immediate necessity of adopting his plan of operations.

No sooner had Colonel Preston left Manassas, than General Beauregard, engrossed with the all-absorbing idea of concentration — and, from information hourly received, certain of its wisdom — felt it impossible to remain passively on the defensive, while he had the opportunity of dealing a series of aggressive blows on the enemy, likely to produce decisive results favorable to the Confederate States. He therefore enlarged his plan of campaign, basing it partly upon the increased strength of our army, and sent another of his aids, Colonel James R. Chestnut, to present and explain it to the President. A memorandum, written by General (then Colonel) Samuel Jones, under General Beauregard’s dictation, and containing the substance of all the instructions given to Colonel Chestnut, had been handed to the latter, to assist his memory, and prevent any misconception as to the main features of the projected campaign.

It is well for the truth of history, that these precautionary measures were taken at that time; for, as will be seen further on in this work, Mr. Davis, who claims, even now, that the great question of uniting the two armies was decided at Richmond, Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol. i. p. 347. (which seems to mean decided at Richmond by Mr. Davis), subsequently denied that any such plan had ever been presented to him, and that his alleged refusal to approve it could, in no manner or form, have thwarted General Beauregard’s efforts at concentration. General Beauregard’s anxiety was intense while awaiting the return of his messengers. He knew that each moment was of vital importance, and that the fate of our cause hung in the balance. First came telegrams from Colonels Preston and Chestnut, stating that the communication was before the President, who was giving it his careful consideration. See Appendix to Chapter VIII. On the 16th of July, Colonel Chestnut, upon his return, presented his official report, containing a detailed account of his mission. So great has become the historical value of this paper, that we present it in full to the reader:

Headquarters army of the Potomac, Manassas, Va., July 16th, 1861. Brigadier-General Beauregard, Commanding Army of the Potomac:

Sir, — In obedience to your order, I proceeded on Sunday last, 14th instant, to Richmond, with the purpose of laying before the President, for his consideration, your views and plans for the combined operation of the two armies under the commands of General Joseph E. Johnston and yourself respectively. I arrived at Richmond at 3. 30 on the same day I left your quarters, and without delay reported to the President, who, although sick in bed, received me with great kindness and cordiality. After stating to him the object of my visit, he appointed an hour to meet him, that evening, in company with General R. E. Lee, and Adjutant and Inspector General Cooper. At the appointed time the President, Generals Lee and Cooper, and Colonel Preston, of your staff, met me in private conference. Being requested by the President to lay before those present the subject-matter with which I was charged, I submitted, on your part, the following proposition:

That the Confederate armies were in front of the enemy, with greatly inferior forces at all points; that it was desirable, by uniting a portion of our forces, to outnumber the enemy at some important point; that the point now occupied by you was, at present, in reference to the armies, considered the most important. I stated also that the enemy were at present at or near Falls Church, with eight or ten thousand men on the Alexandria, Loudon, and Hampshire Railroad, and also with some portion of his forces at Springfield, on the Alexandria and Orange Railroad, with every indication of a purpose to advance on both lines, and that it was most probable the enemy would threaten our camps at Manassas with about ten thousand men, while with the main body, twenty thousand or more, would advance towards Vienna, Frying-pans, and Pleasant Valley to Hay Market, on the Manassas Gap Railroad, with a view to cut off our communications with General Johnston. To accomplish this, possession would be taken of passes of the Blue Ridge at Manassas, Ashby’s, and Snicker’s Gaps. He would then endeavor to cut off your communication with Richmond by the Alexandria and Orange Railroad, and force you either to fight in open field, with greatly inferior numbers, or to retire towards Fredericksburg by way of Brentsville to join forces with General Holmes, or to withdraw from the intrenched camp and retire by the Alexandria and Orange Railroad, before the enemy could reach it.

Under these circumstances, I stated, you would propose, and did propose, that General Johnston should, with the bulk of his forces, say twenty thousand, unite with you, leaving from three to five thousand men to guard the passes of the Blue Ridge and to hold Patterson in check. Then, with the combined forces of General Johnston and yourself, you would move rapidly forward on Fairfax Court-House, establish yourself between the two lines of the enemy, attack them separately with larger masses, and thus exterminate them or drive them into the Potomac. This being done, General Johnston, with ten thousand of your forces in addition to his own, and rallying, as he went, those left to guard the passes, would return at once to the [valley with] superior numbers, say thirty-five thousand, to attack and destroy Patterson, at Winchester, or wherever he might be. One week from the time of leaving Winchester would be sufficient to accomplish all this. You would then either occupy the enemy’s works, in front of Washington, if he should abandon them, or fall back on your present position, according to circumstances. General Johnston having disposed of Patterson, would detach a sufficient number from his force to reinforce Garnett, and make him superior to McClellan. Having defeated McClellan, General Garnett could then unite with Johnston, and the two cross the Potomac, at the nearest point, for Maryland, and, arousing the people as they proceeded, march to the rear of Washington, while you would attack it in front.

To these propositions, respectful and earnest consideration was given by the President and the generals I have mentioned. The scheme was considered brilliant and comprehensive, but, to its adoption at this time, two leading objections were urged by the President and by General Lee. One was that General Johnston’s force was not now sufficiently strong to allow of the withdrawal of numbers sufficient to effect your object, and, at the same time, leave enough to keep Patterson in check and keep him from coming down upon your left; and the other and main objection was, that the enemy was as yet too close to their cover to allow the reasonable expectation of the accomplishment of your object; that they would immediately fall back upon their intrenchments, or, being so close to their large reserves, would be quickly reinforced in numbers sufficient to regain the superiority of numbers, and thus defeat your purpose. That the combination might be made at a later period, when these objections would be removed by a sufficient increase of your armies, and by the lengthening of the enemy’s lines, and increase of distance from river, and reserves for quick reinforcements.

Respectfully submitted, James Chestnut, Vol. A. D. C.

Before commenting upon this report, and to illustrate — as we think we should — the character of the military administration of the Confederate authorities, the following unofficial letter of General Beauregard to General Johnston is submitted to the reader. It was written on the day before Colonel Chestnut was sent to Richmond.

Manassas Junction, Va., July 13th, 1861. General J. E. Johnston:

My dear General, — I write in haste. What a pity we cannot carry into effect the following plan of operations: That you should leave four or five thousand men to guard the passes of the Blue Ridge, and unite the mass of your troops with mine. We will probably have, in a few days, about forty thousand men to operate with. This force would enable us to destroy the forces of Generals Scott and McDowell, in my front. Then we would go back with as many men as necessary to attack and disperse General Patterson’s army, before he could know positively what had become of you. We could then proceed to General McClellan’s theatre of war, and treat him likewise, after which we could pass over into Maryland, to operate in rear of Washington. I think this whole campaign could be completed brilliantly in from fifteen to twentyfive days. Oh, that we had but one good head to conduct all our operations! We are laboring, unfortunately, under the disadvantage of having about seven armies in the field, under as many independent commanders, which is contrary to the first principles of the art of war. Wishing you, however, ample success in your operations, I remain,

Yours very truly, G. T. Beauregard.

He was striking at every door, as it were; for he believed in his plan, and felt that he could accomplish it. But the rigor of military usage — so inexorable at times — compelled him to seek assistance and support from those whose right it was to adopt or reject his views. A high tribunal, composed of the President, Generals Cooper and Lee, took upon itself to check and render barren the strategic powers so greatly developed in General Beauregard, and in which the immortal Jackson alone is acknowledged to have been his peer. Who can forget that, at the period of which we write, the Confederate commander at Manassas was looked up to as the first and, unquestionably, the most promising of our generals?His prestige was undeniable. Success, the criterion of merit in military affairs, had already built up for him a reputation thus far unrivalled. The President knew this, as did the whole South; as did even the North, whose apprehension of the untiring activity and engineering ability of General Beauregard was a se cret to none. How Mr. Davis, with all this before his mind, could have assumed the responsibility of declining so far-sighted and far-reaching a campaign as was proposed to him, is more than we can well explain. But, exercising the right which a thorough knowledge of what then transpired affords us, we assert it as an incontrovertible truth, fully proved by later events, that the President of the Confederacy, by neglecting to compel his Quarter master-General to procure the transportation which could have been easily procured, more than a month before the battle of Manassas; by refusing, as early as the 13th of June, to assent to General Beauregard’s urgent request that authority should be given to concentrate our forces at the proper moment, at Manassas Junction; by again refusing, on the 15th of July, to allow him to execute his bold, offensive plans against the enemy, the certain result of which would have been the taking of Washington; that the President of the Confederacy, by thus persisting in these three lamentable errors, lost the South her independence. We write this in no spirit of detraction. But, after a lapse of more than twenty-two years, President Davis must expect to stand before the public merely on the merits of his acts and omissions. Personal friendships, which would kindly palliate errors, have faded away or disappeared. The tribunal of public opinion, occupied by just and impartial men, will study the events of which we are now treating by the light of truth alone, and, in seeking for the causes of our failure, will unerringly place the finger on Mr. Davis’s want of foresight, on his incapacity to appreciate and reward merit, on his upholding of incompetent men in offices of responsibility and trust, and, above all, on his unwillingness to allow others to achieve greatness. The words, Letat, c’est moi, — the haughty maxim of the French monarch-unconsciously, perhaps, to President Davis, but not the less fatally, must have governed his course in the council-chamber on more than one occasion. His book, now before the public, whatever its merits in other respects may be, is powerless in its vain attempt to cover his fatal mistakes, or to change the merciless logic of facts and events.

Before leaving Richmond, Colonel Chestnut had telegraphed to General Beauregard that his recommendations would not be approved. This was a heavy disappointment to him; but, nothing daunted, he began at once to provide for the possible contingency of being compelled, by the greatly superior force of the enemy, to retire behind the Rappahannock. He sent one of his engineers to the crossings of that river, with orders to throw up such fieldworks as would command them.

Colonel Chestnut had returned deeply impressed by the views and ideas of the Richmond authorities, particularly by those of General Lee — to wit, that the army should fall back behind the Rappahannock; and, not wishing to move, himself, in the matter, endeavored to persuade Adjutant-General Jordan to urge the point upon General Beauregard; which, however, the former positively declined to do.

The extension of McDowell’s pickets had now interrupted our underground mail, between Washington and Manassas; but it had fortunately happened, a few days before, that a gentleman, Mr. D — — , formerly a clerk in one of the departments at Washington, was introduced at headquarters by Colonel Chestnut as perfectly trustworthy, and capable of performing the delicate office of communicating with the friendly agencies we had managed to establish in Washington. He was provided with a paper, having neither signature nor address, but upon which was written the ciphered message, Trust the bearer, and with it immediately despatched to the residence of Mrs. G — — , our secret emissary in the Federal capital. The result was that, at about 8 o’clock P. M., on the 16th, a sealed communication was received at headquarters, despatched by relays from General Holmes’s picket line, near Eastport. It had been brought that morning from Washington, to a point on the opposite shore, by Mr. D — — , from Mrs. G — — , and announced, in cipher, this simple but important piece of news: McDowell has been ordered to advance to-night; confirming General Beauregard’s belief as to the intended Federal movement, which was otherwise apparent to him.

General Bonham was at once informed of the impending event, and directed to execute his retreat on the appearance of the enemy in force, as prescribed by the order of the 20th of June, unchanged, though issued nearly a month previously.

Colonel Rhodes, at Fairfax Station, received like instructions through General Ewell, his brigade commander; and, in view of the exigency, Colonel J. L. Kemper, whose energy and efficiency had already been tested, was again detached from his command and sent to Fairfax Court-House, to provide all necessary means of transportation.

During the night which followed (16th-17th July), General Beauregard sent an urgent request to Richmond by telegram, asking that Generals Johnston and Holmes be now ordered to make a junction with him.

He also published General Orders No. 41, announcing to his command the expected advance of the enemy, and expressing his confidence in their ability to drive him beyond his intrenched lines. It contained the names of his general and personal staff,

See Appendix to this chapter. and enjoined obedience to all orders conveyed through them to the troops.

The news of the enemy’s movement was true. On the morning of the 17th McDowell’s advance was reported to be approaching; and before noon, General Bonham’s pickets being driven in, he began his retreat, as had been previously agreed upon.

The enemy made a strong demonstration against him, and sought to strike his communication with Germantown, which was very nearly effected — General Bonham’s rear having just passed through the junction of the two roads at the hamlet, as the head of the Federal column came within sight. He retired in fine order to Centreville, and though at night he was enveloped, he was quiet ly withdrawn between 12 o’clock and daylight, behind Mitchell’s Ford, fully carrying out the detailed instructions of the general commanding. Rhodes, after a sharp brush with the enemy, fell back to Union Mills Ford, where Ewell was in command of the heaviest brigade of the army.

The enemy had no sooner attacked General Bonham’s line, than General Beauregard forwarded the following telegram to the President:

Headquarters, Manassas, July 17th, 1861.

The enemy has assailed my outposts in heavy force. I have fallen back on the line of Bull Run and will make a stand at Mitchell’s Ford. If his force is overwhelming I shall retire to the Rappahannock railroad bridge, saving my command for defence there and future operations. Please inform Johnston of this, via Stanton, and also Holmes. Send forward any reinforcements, at the earliest possible instant, and by every possible means. G. T. Beauregard.

Towhich the President answered:

Richmond, July 17th, 1861. General G. T. Beauregard:

We are making all efforts to reinforce you. Cannot send to day, but afterwards they will go regularly, daily, railroads permitting. Hampton’s Legion, McRae’s regiment, and two battalions, Mississippi and Alabama, under orders. Jefferson Davis.

Later in the day, however, Adjutant-General Cooper sent this telegram:

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, Adj. -Genl.

General Beauregard, though gratified that such an order had at last been given, was much annoyed at the thought that it had been too long delayed to effect any substantial good. He so informed the War Department, but lost no time in communicating with General Johnston, through telegram and by means of a special messenger, Colonel Chisolm, one of his aids. The latter was instructed to say to General Johnston that there was not a moment to lose, and that all the available transportation of the Manassas Gap Railroad would be in waiting at Piedmont, to assist in conveying his troops. Colonel Chisolm carried also a proposition that at least a portion of General Johnston’s forces should march by the way of Aldie, so as to assail McDowell’s left flank and rear, at Centreville. But, for reasons General Johnston must have thought important, based, as he alleges, on the difficulty of directing the movements of troops so distant from each other, no action was taken by him about this suggestion.

The feigned resistance and retreat from Fairfax Court-House, had had the desired effect of leading the enemy to believe in the abandonment of our position at Manassas. We had expected to encounter the enemy at Fairfax Court-House, seven miles this side of Centreville, says Major Barnard, United States Engineer, See his book entitled The C. S. A. and the Battle of Bull Run, p. 46. and our three right columns were directed to co-operate, on that point. We entered that place about noon of the 17th, finding the intrenchments abandoned, and every sign of a hasty retreat. Hence the loud exultation of the Federal troops, and the predictions, in the Northern journals, of the certain defeat of the Confederate army.

On the morning of the next day, the 18th, the enemy was reported advancing on Mitchell’s and Blackburn’s Fords. As the former was the only point even partially intrenched, and the latter had natural defensive advantages, General Beauregard was gratified that the attack, as he had hoped, was made there. His line now extended some five miles, from Union Mills Ford, on the right, to the stone bridge, on the left, as follows: at Union Mills Ford, Ewell’s brigade, with four 12-pounder howitzers and three companies of Virginia cavalry; at McLean’s Ford, D. R. Jones’s brigade, with two brass 6-pounders and one company of cavalry; at Blackburn’s Ford, Longstreet’s brigade, with two brass 6-pounders at Mitchell’s Ford, Bonham’s brigade, with Shields’s and Delaware Kemper’s batteries, and six companies of cavalry under Colonel Radford; in the rear of Island, Ball’s and Lewis’s Fords, Cocke’s brigade, with Latham’s battery and one company of cavalry; while Evans’s demi-brigade, with four 6-pounders and two companies of cavalry, held the left flank, and protected the stone-bridge crossing. Early’s brigade stood in the rear of, and as support to, Ewell’s.

Bull Run is a small stream running in this locality, nearly from west to east. Its banks, for the most part, are rocky and steep. The country on either side, much broken and wooded, becomes gently rolling and open as it recedes from the stream. On the northern side the ground is much the higher and completely commands the southern bank. Roads traverse and intersect the surrounding country in every direction.

About noon, the enemy opened fire in front of Mitchell’s Ford, with several 20-pounder rifled guns, at a range of one and a half miles, to which we had no means of replying, with any effect. But a Federal light battery, afterwards sent forward, was soon repulsed, with its supporting force, by Kemper’s battery, which occupied a ridge about six hundred yards in advance of the ford.

Major Barnard, in his work already quoted, speaking of the untoward incident we have alluded to, says (page 48): We had the tables turned upon us by a sudden and rapid discharge from a battery near the ford, invisible except by the smoke of its guns. And he adds: However, our 20-pounders, assisted by a battery of rifled 6-pounders, proved too much for it, and we soon succeeded in silencing its fire. So well did they succeed, that, further on, Major Barnard himself is compelled to use the following language: This ought to have been the end of the affair, but General Tyler, . . . persisting in the belief that the enemy would run whenever menaced by serious attack, had determined, I believe, to march to Manassas that day. Had he made a vigorous charge and crossed the stream at once, it is quite possible . . . that he might have succeeded. Here, Major Barnard’s and General Tyler’s success is evidently dwindling into something else. He proceeds thus: But he only filed his brigade down to the stream, drew it up parallel to the other shore, and opened an unmeaning fusilade, the results of which were all in favor of the enemy, and before which, overawed rather by the tremendous volley directed at then than suffering heavy loss, one of the regiments broke in confusion and the whole force retired. This foolish affair (called by the Confederates the battle of Bull Run, they applying the term Manassas to the ensuing battle of the 21st, which we style the battle of Bull Run), had a marked effect upon the morale of our raw troops.

Here we fail to comprehend Major Barnard’s conclusions; that he attempts to palliate the defeat of the Federal forces on that day, by calling such a forward movement a foolish affair, is not to be wondered at, and for this reason: the enemy’s attack and its result could only have been termed battle if our troops had broken in confusion, instead of those opposing them. Major Barnard would have shown better grace, however, had he frankly admitted that attacking columns, which, overawed by the tremendous volleys directed at them, break in confusion and retire from the field — as did the whole Federal force on that occasion — are unquestionably defeated.

About the same hour (noon, on the 18th), the Federals were discovered advancing also in strong columns of infantry, with artillery and cavalry, on Blackburn’s Ford, near which General Beauregard now took position. Here the ground on the northern side of the Run, after a narrow level, ascends by a steep slope to a line of heights commanding the entire southern side, which, for several hundred yards, is almost a plain, and thence rises by a gentle slope to a wooded country, undulating back to Manassas. After a halfhour’s cannonade from a battery of rifled guns, the column of attack (Richardson’s brigade), over three thousand strong, with Sherman’s brigade in immediate reserve, appeared over the brow of the height which covered their approach, and advanced until they were but a hundred yards from our skirmishers, who were posted among the trees that lined the southern bank. A large portion of the Federal force approached through the woods, near the border of the stream, which on that side presented a thick cover of trees and undergrowth, and the remainder advanced along the road, to force the passage. Longstreet met the attack with about twelve hundred men, of the 1st, 17th, and 11th Virginia Volunteers, and, after quite a brisk contest, repulsed the opposing forces. They rallied for a second attack, but were again driven back, with the aid of the reserve companies.

Two regiments and two rifled guns from Early’s brigade, which had been brought from the right and held at even supporting distance from the three threatened fords, were now ordered up. The guns, placed in position under concealment of the trees that fringed the stream, directed their fire by the sound of the enemy’s musketry, already active in a third attempt to force the crossing; which proved as unsuccessful as had the others. One of the attacking regiments gave way, and was rallied a mile and a half to the rear. When the remaining companies of Early’s brigade were brought forward, and his five additional guns were placed in rear of the other two — firing wherever the glitter of bayonets along the slope above the tree-tops showed the Federals to be thickest-the contest soon passed into an artillery duel, which lasted until the enemy abandoned his ground, in full retreat. The Confederate loss was but sixty-eight killed and wounded; that of the enemy seventy-three, besides one hundred and seventy-five stands of arms and a quantity of accoutrements.

The result of that action was of great value to us, as it gave to our army the prestige of success, and the confidence which is ever an important element of victory.

General Beauregard at once reported the result of the day to Richmond; and Mr. Davis telegraphed back an expression of his gratification, informing General Beauregard also that a regiment was on its way to reinforce him, and that more would go as soon as possible.

It would seem, however, that this first stroke of good fortune was unduly estimated at the Confederate capital; for General Cooper, on the following day, telegraphed, saying that General Johnston had not been heard from, and that, if the enemy had abandoned an immediate attack, and General Johnston had not yet moved, he (General Beauregard) had better withdraw his call on him, as the enemy was advised, at Washington, of the projected movement of Generals Johnston and Holmes, and might vary his plans in consequence.

See Appendix to this chapter.

How can this telegram be made to tally with the following passage, taken from Mr. Davis’s book? As soon as I became satisfied that Manassas was the objective point of the enemy’s movement, I wrote to General Johnston, urging him to make preparations for a junction with General Beauregard, etc. Vol. i. pp. 345, 346. Was he no longer satisfied, on the 19th of July, that Manassas was the enemy’s objective point? If he was not — as we are inclined to believe is the case — the fact clearly shows how little he knew of the movements of the enemy, at that time; if he was, why was he bent upon reconsidering his action of July 17th, as shown by his telegram of that day, to General Johnston?

General Beauregard was too far-seeing, and had made too many fruitless attempts to force the concentration which was, at last, to be granted him, to be willing, of his own accord, to countermand the long-delayed order — contingent though it was — forwarded to General Johnston. He declined to act upon General Cooper’s strange suggestion. Two days later he covered the Southern arms with glory, and won for himself the proud and immortal title of Hero of Manassas.


Battle of Manassas. —General J. E. Johnston assumes command, but General Beauregard directs operations and fights the battle. —superiority of numbers against us. —deeds of heroism. —enemy completely routed. —Ordnance and supplies captured. —ours and enemy’s losses. —strength of General McDowell’s army. —the verdict of history.

After the check received at Bull Run, on July 18th, the Federal army remained inactive throughout the 19th and 20th, except in efforts to reconnoitre and determine the Confederate position and the best point for penetrating or turning it. This prolonged delay, though somewhat unaccountable, under the circumstances, was, certainly, of great advantage to General Beauregard. It allowed General Holmes to reach the theatre of operations in time, with 1265 infantry, 6 pieces of light artillery, and a company of cavalry of 90 men. General Johnston also arrived, about noon on the 20th, with Jackson’s brigade, This brigade reached Manassas Junction the evening previous. So did, at a later hour, the 7th and 8th Georgia regiments. 2611 strong, a portion of Bee’s and Bartow’s brigades numbering 2732 bayonets, 300 of Stuart’s cavalry, and Imboden’s and Pendleton’s batteries; to which were added Barksdale’s 13th Mississippi regiment, which came up from Lynchburg; and Hampton’s Legion, 600 strong.

General Johnston was now the ranking officer at Manassas; nevertheless, as General Beauregard had already made all his plans and arrangements for the maintenance of the position, of which General Johnston was, as yet, completely uninformed, he declined assuming the responsibilities of the command until after the impending battle, but offered General Beauregard his personal services on the field, which were cordially accepted. General Beauregard thereupon explained his plan of operations, which was agreed to, and he continued his active preparations for the hourly expected conflict.

The question about to be tested was, whether our great struggle for independence should win life and honor, or fail in disaster and ruin. One or the other would necessarily be the fate of the Confederacy. Heavy, therefore, was the responsibility upon the commander who stood ready to meet the issue. What General Beauregard had urged upon the government, and so earnestly demanded, had not been accorded; the military aspect had also changed; and he was now forced to occupy that defensive position which he had tried his utmost to avoid. But McDowell’s apparent hesitation in his forward movement, the confidence General Beauregard had in his troops and in the wisdom of his order of battle, were most encouraging, and justified him in looking hopefully and fearlessly to the result.

Our line remained the same as on the 18th, except as modified by the distribution of the newly arrived reinforcements. General Holmes’s brigade, the 2d Tennessee and 1st Arkansas regiments were placed in rear of Ewell. Early’s brigade was shifted from the rear of Ewell to the rear of Jones’s brigade; Longstreet was supported by Bee’s and Bartow’s brigades (of General Johnston’s forces), posted at even distance in rear of McLean’s and Blackburn’s Fords; and, still farther in the rear, was Barksdale’s Mississippi regiment. Bonham was supported by Jackson’s brigade (of General Johnston’s forces) placed at even distance in rear of Blackburn’s and Mitchell’s fords. Ten companies of infantry, two of cavalry, and a battery of four 6-pounders, under Rogers, had been added to Cocke’s brigade, which covered the remaining fords — Island, Ball’s and Lewis’s — extending to the right of Evans’s demi-brigade. The latter, which formed a part of Cocke’s command, held the stone bridge, and covered a farm ford, about one mile above. Hampton’s Legion of infantry, which had reached the army that morning (20th), was at once thrown forward to the Lewis House, as a support to any troops that might be engaged in that quarter. Two companies of Radford’s cavalry were held in reserve, in rear of Mitchell’s Ford, and Stuart’s (of General Johnston’s forces) — some three hundred men — occupied the level ground in rear, from Bonham’s to Cocke’s brigades. The following table shows the composition and the total strength, in men and guns, of the Confederate forces assembled on the morning of the 21st, awaiting the conflict:


The Army of the Potomac, including the garrison at Camp Pickens, Manassas21,833 & 29 guns.


The Army of the Shenandoah6,000 & 20 guns.

3. General Holmes’s forces1,355 & 6 guns.

In all, 29,188 & 65 guns.

One peculiar feature of the theatre of operations was a direct road running in front of the Confederate positions, from the extreme right at Union Mills Ford, and trending off to Centreville. This was seized upon, and entered prominently into the Confederate plan of battle, as drawn up on the night of the 20th. That is to say, Ewell, from the extreme right, at Union Mills Ford, was to advance towards Centreville by that road, and, halting about half-way, await communication from Jones, who was to move from McLean’s Ford and place himself on the left of Ewell, awaiting in that position communication from Longstreet, who, by a similar advance from Blackburn’s Ford, was to take position on the left of Jones, and be joined on his own left by Bonham, from Mitchell’s Ford. Ewell, having the longest march, was to begin the movement, and each brigade was to be followed by its reserves. The several commanders were instructed in the object of the movement, which was to pivot the line on Mitchell’s Ford, and by a rapid and vigorous attack on McDowell’s left flank and rear, at Centreville, rout him and cut off his retreat on Washington. Sumter — of good omen — was given as a watchword to the troops.

In the night, scouts posted by General Beauregard’s orders in front of Evans’s lines brought in the report that McDowell was concentrating at Centreville and on the Warrenton turnpike, leading thence to the stone bridge. As General Beauregard believed that the repulse of the 18th would deter the Federal general from another attack on the centre, these facts, in his opinion, pointed to a movement against the left flank. In reality, Mc-Dowell had, at first, intended to move on the Confederate right, in anticipation of which, as the most probable operation, the strongest Confederate brigades were posted in that quarter; but the result of further reconnoissances, made with more minuteness by the enemy, the day after the engagement of Bull Run, caused an alteration of his plans, as originally adopted. As this apparent new disposition of McDowell’s forces rather favored the execution of the Confederate plan of battle, no change was made by General Beauregard; but, in view of contingencies, he despatched orders, by daybreak, to every command in the lines, to be ready to move at a moment’s notice.

At a very early hour in the morning of the 21st, Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s divisions of McDowell’s army, over sixteen thousand strong, moved forward from Centreville by the Warrenton turnpike. Striking off to the right, about half-way between Centreville and the stone bridge, they made a circuit through a difficult forest, guided by the trace of an old road, to the Sudley Springs Ford, two miles above the stone bridge, with the design of flanking the Confederate left and taking possession of the Manassas Gap Railroad, so as to cut off the advent of General Johnston, most of whose troops, it was known, had not yet arrived. Meanwhile, Tyler moved his division down the Warrenton turnpike against the stone bridge, held by the Confederate extreme left, under Colonel Evans, in front of whom he immediately deployed a portion of his force.

About 5. 30 A. M., report of this latter demonstration reached General Beauregard, who thereupon immediately ordered Colonel Evans, and, with him, General Cocke, to watch most vigilantly the movements of the forces confronting them, and, if attacked, to maintain their position at all hazards.

The surest and most effective method of relieving our left, General Beauregard thought, was by a rapid, vigorous attack of our right wing and centre on the enemy’s flank and rear, at Centreville, all due precautions being first taken against the advance of any reserves from the direction of Washington. This proposed movement he submitted to General Johnston, who fully approved of it, and orders were forthwith issued for its execution. General Ewell was to lead the movement, followed by Jones, Longstreet, and Bonham, with their respective reserves. Colonels Stuart and Radford to be held in hand and brought forward whenever their assistance might be deemed necessary.

The enemy’s extended line of skirmishers was now visible in front of Evans, who threw forward the two flank companies of the 4th South Carolina, and one company of Wheat’s Louisiana battalion, which were deployed as skirmishers to cover his front. An occasional scattering fire resulted, and for more than an hour did the two confronting forces thus face one another; the main body of the enemy, meanwhile, cautiously advancing through the forest, to take our forces in flank and rear.

Colonel Evans, being satisfied that the movement in his front was merely a sham, the real object being to turn his left, determined (8. 30 A. M. ) to change his position so as to meet the enemy, and he accordingly ordered to his left and rear six companies of Sloan’s 4th South Carolina, five of Wheat’s Louisiana battalion, and two 6-pounders of Latham’s battery — leaving only four of Sloan’s companies to guard the stone bridge: General Cocke being first informed of these changes and of the reasons necessitating them.

Colonel Evans formed his line some four hundred yards in rear of the old Pittsylvania Mansion, but the enemy not approaching by that road, he marched across the fields for three quarters of a mile, and took position mainly on the Brentsville road, in front of what was soon to be the enemy’s line of battle. There he waited, the opposing masses drawing nearer and nearer.

We now quote from General Beauregard’s official report, and will continue to do so at intervals as we proceed:

In the meantime, about 7 o’clock A. M., Jackson’s brigade, with Imboden’s and five pieces of Walton’s battery, had been sent to take up a position along Bull Run to guard the interval between Cocke’s right and Bonham’s left, with orders to support either in case of need — the character and topographical features of the ground having been shown to General Jackson by Captain D. B. Harris, of the Engineers of this army corps.

So much of Bee’s and Bartow’s brigades — now united — as had arrived — some two thousand eight hundred muskets — had also been sent forward to the support of the position of the stone bridge.

Burnside’s brigade — which here, as at Fairfax Court-House, led the advance — at about 9. 45 A. M. debouched from a wood in sight of Evans’s position, some five hundred yards distant from Wheat’s battalion.

He immediately threw forward his skirmishers in force, and they became engaged with Wheat’s command, and the 6-pounder gun under Lieutenant Leftwich.

For upwards of an hour, with less than eight hundred men, Sloan’s companies and Wheat’s battalion alone intrepidly resisted the mass of three thousand five hundred bayonets and eight pieces of artillery, including the strong battery of six 13-pounder rifled guns of the 2d Rhode Island volunteers, and two Dahlgren howitzers. At the urgent call of Colonel Evans, General Bee, with his gallant command, came to their assistance. He had been averse to leaving his position, which was the true one for the occasion, and had strongly advised Colonel Evans to fall back on his line. But realizing that, if not supported, such a small force would soon be crushed by the overwhelming numbers opposed to it, he threw forward his entire command and engaged the enemy with surpassing valor, Imboden’s battery playing at the same time with telling effect.

A fierce and destructive conflict now ensued [says General Beauregard]. The fire was withering on both sides, while the enemy swept our short, thin lines with their numerous artillery, which, according to their official reports, at this time consisted of ten rifled guns and four howitzers. For one hour did these stout-hearted men of the blended commands of Bee, Evans, and Bartow breast an uninterrupted battle-storm, animated surely by something more than the ordinary courage of even the bravest men under fire. It must have been, indeed, the inspiration of the cause, and consciousness of the great stake at issue, which thus nerved and animated one and all to stand unawed and unshrinking in such extremity.

Two brigades of Heintzelman’s division, with Ricketts’s light battery of six 10-pounder rifled guns, now opened fire on Imboden’s command, which had been increased by two rifled pieces from the Washington Artillery, and two guns from Latham’s battery.

Evans’s eleven companies, Bee’s and Bartow’s four regiments, two companies of the 11th Mississippi, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Liddell, and six pieces under Imboden and Richardson, were the only forces we had to confront two divisions of four strong brigades, of which seventeen companies were regulars of all arms. Despite this fearful disparity in numbers our troops still maintained their position, constantly breaking and shattering the enemy’s ranks. But now came Sherman’s and Keyes’s brigades of Tyler’s division, six thousand strong, adding number to number, and forcing our line at last to give way, though only when ordered to do so by the heroic Bee himself.

Our losses were heavy in officers and men. The 8th Georgia and the 4th Alabama suffered terribly. Colonels Jones and Gardiner were dangerously wounded; and many other noble-hearted patriot soldiers there fell, killed or disabled, under the murderous fire directed against them.

From Generals Johnston’s and Beauregard’s headquarters, which occupied a central position about half a mile to the rear of Mitchell’s Ford, could be distinctly heard the clattering roll of musketry and the incessant din of artillery, bearing witness to the heavy onslaught made upon us on the left. Anxiously, but confidently, did General Beauregard await its issue, expectant, the while, that similar sounds would soon be audible from the right and centre of the line. Instead of which, at about half-past 10 A. M., a messenger came from General Ewell, with the disappointing news that General Beauregard’s orders to him for his advance upon Centreville, though forwarded quite early in the morning, had not yet reached him; but that, in consequence of a communication from General D. R. Jones, he had thrown his brigade across the stream at Union Mills. It was evidently too late to undertake the projected movement. The firing appeared to be still increasing on the left, while it would have taken Generals Ewell and Holmes from two to three hours to reach the position first assigned to them. Other combinations became necessary, and were immediately resorted to.

The movement of the right and centre [says General Beauregard, in his report], already begun by Jones and Longstreet, was at once countermanded, with the sanction of General Johnston, and we arranged to meet the enemy on the field upon which he had chosen to give us battle. Under these circumstances, our reserves not already in movement were immediately ordered up to support our left flank, namely, Holmes’s two regiments, a battery of artillery under Captain Lindsay Walker, of six guns, and Early’s brigade. Two regiments from Bonham’s brigade, with Kemper’s four 6-pounders, were also called for; and, with the sanction of General Johnston, Generals Ewell, Jones (D. R. ), Longstreet, and Bonham were directed to make a demonstration to their several fronts, to retain and engross the enemy’s reserves and forces on their flank, and at and around Centreville. Previously, our respective chiefs of staff, Major Rhett and Colonel Jordan, had been left at my headquarters to hasten up and give directions to any troops that might arrive at Manassas.

And now, these orders having been rapidly despatched, Generals Johnston and Beauregard proceeded, at full gallop, to the imdiate field of action, where they arrived just as the forces under Bee, Bartow, and Evans had retired to a wooded ravine in rear of the Robinson House, south of the stone bridge — which was then gallantly held by the Hampton Legion. At this critical moment disaster stared us in the face. Our men seemed to have accomplished all that could be accomplished against such overpowering numbers; and depression, added to exhaustion, was about to destroy their over-taxed endurance. The words of the brigade, regiment, and company commanders were drowned by the noise and confusion, the whizzing of balls and the explosion of shells. Generals Johnston and Beauregard rode among the troops, but even their presence was unavailing; when it occurred to General Beauregard that the sight of their regimental colors, borne to the front by their officers, would instil new vigor into the men, and restore confidence and order among them. He instructed the colonels to plant their colors fifty yards in advance, and call upon their troops to rally on them. This was done, and proved a complete success. Few, if any, of the men remained behind; and an unbroken line of battle again confronted the foe. It was just before the execution of this brilliant device of General Beauregard’s, to the inspiriting effect of which may be attributed the retrieved fortune of the day, that General Bee, while addressing his troops and urging them forward, said of General Jackson’s brigade, which had not yet been engaged, but awaited, unmoved, the attack of the enemy: Look at Jackson’s brigade; it stands there like a stone wall — memorable words, that consecrated to fame a command whose invincibility became proverbial under the immortal hero who first led it into battle.

While our line was being reformed, and with a view to strengthening the morale of he troops, both General Johnston and General Beauregard, riding abreast with the color-bearer, led the 4th Alabama on the field, and directly engaged it with the enemy. This gallant regiment had lost all its field-officers; seeing which, General Beauregard shortly afterwards intrusted its command to S. R. Gist, of South Carolina, a young officer who had already attracted his attention, and who was then acting as volunteer aide-de-camp to General Bee. The untiring energy and cool daring of both Generals Johnston and Beauregard, as they hurried forth to the points needing their presence, produced a lasting impression on officers and men who witnessed that part of the struggle.

General Jackson had already moved up with his brigade of five Virginia regiments, and taken position below the brim of the plateau, to the left of the ravine where stood the remnants of Bee’s, Bartow’s, and Evans’s commands. With him were Imboden’s battery and two of Stanard’s pieces, supported in the rear by J. F. Preston’s and Echolls’s regiments, by Harper’s on the right, and by Allen’s and Cummings’s on the left.

It was now clearly demonstrated that upon this ground was the battle to be fought.

The enemy had forced us upon it, and there all our available forces were being concentrated.

This fact once established, it became evident that the presence of both Generals Johnston and Beauregard on the immediate scene of operations, instead of being of advantage, might impede prompt action — often necessary — by either commander.

Moreover, the important work of pressing forward the reserves and other reinforcements yet on the way from Winchester was a subject of great concern, and could not be attended to personally by the general in actual command.

For these reasons, and because, by mutual consent, the command had been left to General Beauregard, who had planned the battle and knew every inch of the country occupied by our troops, it was agreed that he should remain on the field to direct the battle, while General Johnston should withdraw some distance to the rear, where he could hurry forward the forces already ordered to the front, and indicate the positions they were to assume.

General Johnston hesitated before complying with the request that this arrangement should be made, but finally yielded, and temporarily established himself at the Lewis House, before or near which most of the forces called up had to pass on their way to the field.

General Beauregard says, in his report:

As General Johnston departed for the Lewis House, Colonel Bartow reported to me with the remains of the 7th Georgia Volunteers — Gartrell’s — which I ordered him to post on the left of Jackson’s line, in the edge of a belt of pines bordering the southeastern rim of the plateau, on which the battle was to rage so fiercely.

Colonel William Smith’s battalion of the 49th Virginia Volunteers, having also come up, by my orders, I placed it on the left of Gartrell’s, as my extreme left at the time.

Repairing then to the right, I placed Hampton’s Legion, which had suffered greatly, on the flank, somewhat to the rear of Harper’s regiment, and also the seven companies of the 8th (Hunton’s) Virginia regiment, which, detached from Cocke’s brigade by my orders and those of General Johnston, had opportunely reached the ground.

These, with Harper’s regiment, constituted a reserve to protect our right flank from an advance of the enemy from the quarter of the stone bridge, and served as a support for the line of battle, which was formed on the right by Bee’s and Evans’s commands; in the centre by four regiments of Jackson’s brigade, with Imbodens’ four 6pound-ers, Walton’s five guns (two rifled), two guns (one rifled) of Stanard’s, and two 6-pounders of Rogers’s batteries, under Lieutenant Heaton; and on the left by Gartrell’s reduced ranks and Colonel Smith’s battalion, subsequently reinforced by Faulkner’s 2d Mississippi, and by another regiment of the Army of the Shenandoah, just arrived upon the field, the 6th (Fisher’s) North Carolina.

Confronting the enemy at this time my forces numbered, at most, not more than six thousand five hundred infantry and artillerists, with but thirteen pieces of artillery, and two companies (Carter’s and Hoge’s) of Stuart’s cavalry.

The enemy’s force, now bearing hotly and confidently down on our position, regiment after regiment of the best-equipped men that ever took the field — according to their own history of the day — was formed of Colonels Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s divisions, Colonels Sherman’s and Keyes’s brigades of Tyler’s division, and the formidable batteries of Ricketts, Griffin, and Arnold’s Regulars, and 2d Rhode Island and two Dahlgren howitzers — a force of over twenty thousand infantry, seven companies of regular cavalry, and twenty-four pieces of improved artillery.

At the same time, perilous heavy reserves of infantry and artillery hung in the distance around the stone bridge, Mitchell’s, Blackburn’s, and Union Mills Fords, visibly ready to fall upon us at any moment; and I was also assured of the existence of other heavy corps at and around Centreville, and elsewhere within convenient supporting distance.

While posting his lines for the fierce struggle about to be renewed, General Beauregard, deeply impressed with the fearful odds against us, exhorted his troops to stand fast for their homes and the cause for which they were fighting.

Telling them that reinforcements would soon arrive, he urged them on to victory or death.

His words were few, but they inspired the men, who dashed forward with re-awakened ardor.

The enemy had now taken possession of the plateau which General Bee’s forces had occupied in the morning, and, with Ricketts’s battery of six rifled guns — the pride of the Federal army — and Griffin’s light battery of regulars, besides others already mentioned, opened a most destructive fire upon our advancing columns.

The plateau of which we speak, enclosed on three sides by small water-courses emptying into Bull Run, rose to an elevation of one hundred feet above the stream.

Its crest ran obliquely to Bull Run, and to the Brentsville and turnpike roads.

East and west of its brow could be seen an unbroken fringe of secondgrowth pines, affording most excellent shelter for our sharpshooters, who skilfully availed themselves of it. To the west was a broad belt of oaks extending across the crest, right and left of the Sudley road, where regiments of both armies now met and hotly contended for the mastery.

The ground occupied by our guns was an open space of limited extent, about six hundred yards from the Henry House.

Here, thirteen of our pieces, mostly 6-pounders, were maintained in action.

They displayed from the outset such skill and accuracy of aim as to excite the terror no less than the admiration of the enemy.

The advancing columns suffered severely from the fire of this artillery, assisted by our musketry on the right, and part of the left, whose good fortune it was to be under cover.

Regiment after regiment of the opposing forces, thrown forward to dislodge us, was made to break in confusion, never completely to recover their organization on that field.

The gallant Stuart, with two companies of his command, by a sudden rush on the right of the enemy, on the Brentsville-Sudley road, greatly added to the disorder our firing had caused.

But still fresh Federal troops poured in from the immediate rear, filling up their broken ranks and making it plain that their object was to turn our position.

At 2 P. M. General Beauregard, with characteristic promptitude, bringing up the whole right of his line except the reserves, gave the order to recover the plateau.

The movement was executed with determination and vigor.

It was a bold one, and such as the exigency required.

Jackson’s brigade, veteran-like and unwavering, now came up and pierced the enemy’s centre, successfully, but not without heavy loss.

With equal intrepidity the other portions of the line had joined in the onset, which proved irresistible, and the lost ground was once more ours.

The enemy being strongly reinforced, again rallied, however, and, by weight of numbers, re-occupied the contested plateau and stood ready to resume the attack.

Between 2. 30 and 3 P. M., just as the reinforcements sent forward by General Johnston reached the field, General Beauregard — resolved upon dislodging the enemy — had brought up his entire line, including the reserves, which he led in person.

It was a general attack, shared in by every command then on the ground — Fisher’s North Carolina, which had just arrived, being among them.

The whole open space was taken by storm and swept clear of the enemy, and the plateau around the Henry and Robinson Houses, ever memorable in history, remained finally in our possession.

The greater part of Ricketts’s and Griffin’s batteries were captured, with a flag of the 1st Michigan regiment, Sackson’s brigade.

Many were the deeds of valor accomplished during this part of the day; but many, also, the irreparable losses the Confederacy had now to mourn.

The heroic Bee fell, mortally wounded, at the head of the 4th Alabama; so did the intrepid Bartow, while leading the 7th Georgia. Colonel Thomas, of General Johnston’s staff, was killed; so was Colonel Fisher, whose regiment — as gallant as its leader — was terribly shattered.

Withers’s 18th regiment of Cocke’s brigade, with Hampton’s Legion, followed the charge, and captured several rifled pieces, which were instantly turned against the enemy with effect.

While the Federal troops had been driven back on our right, across the turnpike and beyond Young’s Branch, the woods on our left yet swarmed with them.

Just then arrived, most opportunely, Kershaw’s 2d and Cash’s 8th South Carolina regiments.

They were led through the oaks, east of the Sudley-Brentsville road, where, after sweeping the enemy before them, they took up a commanding position on the west, and opened a galling fire upon those commands — including the regular infantry — which had rallied in the southwest angle of the plateau, under cover of a strong Federal brigade.

Kemper’s battery, evolving northward by the same road, joined with signal effect in the attack on the enemy’s right.

Preston’s 28th regiment of Cocke’s brigade had also come up. It encountered some Michigan troops on the way, and captured Colonel Wilcox, their brigade commander.

Our army had received another important reinforcement.

While these stirring events were taking place (3 P. M. ) part of Brigadier-General Kirby Smith’s command, some seventeen hundred infantry of Elzey’s brigade, and Beckham’s battery, were seen hurrying to the field, from Camp Pickens (Manassas), where they had arrived by rail, two or three hours before.

General Johnston had directed them to the left of our line, where he thought reinforcements were most needed.

Just as they reached their position, south of the Henry House, General Smith was severely wounded, and compelled to retire to the rear.

His place was filled by Colonel Elzey, an officer of merit, who displayed great discernment in selecting the ground for the battery attached to his command.

Its accurate firing, under Lieutenant Beckham, occasioned much damage to the Federal right.

Colonel Early, who should have moved up with his command, at noon, did not receive the order to do so until 2 P. M. He appeared upon the field just after Elzey, with Kemper’s 7th Virginia, Hay’s 7th Louisiana, and Barksdale’s 13th Mississippi.

He was drawn up in line of battle near Chinn’s House, flanking the enemy’s right.

The clouds of dust raised by the advance of his force, in a direction from which none of our troops were expected at the time, had caused the keenest anxiety to General Beauregard, who thought it might be another column of the enemy threatening to turn his left.

There being then no breeze, the flags, hanging heavily to their staffs, could not be distinguished, even through field-glasses.

At last, and as General Beauregard was about to make preparations to meet this new foe, a propitious breath of air spread out the colors of one of the advancing regiments — the 13th Mississippi — at that time so similar in design to the United States flag.

To the intense relief of all, it was now ascertained that the column was Early’s gallant command, hurrying on, with all possible speed, towards the point from which was heard the heaviest firing.

At about 3. 30 P. M. the enemy, driven back on their left and centre, had formed a line of battle of gigantic proportions, crescentlike in form, from the old Carter Mansion to Chinn’s House. The woods and fields — says General Beauregard — were filled with masses of infantry and carefully preserved cavalry.

It was a truly magnificent though redoubtable spectacle, as they threw forward, in fine style, on the broad, gentle slope of the ridge occupied by their main lines, a cloud of skirmishers, preparatory to another attack.

But as Early formed his line and Beckham’s pieces played upon the right of the enemy, Elzey’s brigade, Gibbon’s 10th Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart’s 1st Maryland and Vaughn’s 3d Tennessee regiments, and Cash’s 8th and Kershaw’s 2d South Carolina, Withers’s 18th and Preston’s 28th Virginia, advanced in an irregular line, almost simultaneously, with great spirit, from their several positions upon the front and flanks of the enemy in their quarter of the field.

At the same time, too, Early resolutely assailed their right flank and rear.

Under this combined attack the enemy was soon forced, first, over the narrow plateau in the southern angle, made by the two roads so often mentioned, into a patch of woods on its western slope, thence over Young’s Branch and the turnpike into the fields of the Dogan Farm, and rearward, in extreme disorder, in all available directions towards Bull Run.

The rout had now become general and complete.

As soon as General Beauregard had ascertained that final victory was ours, he ordered all the forces then on the field to follow in active pursuit upon the heels of the enemy.

With a proud and happy feeling of elation at the issue of the day, he then rode to the Lewis House to inform General Johnston of the glorious result, and, as had been agreed — the battle being now over — to commit to his hands the command of our united forces.

The interview was a short one, and General Beauregard, anxious to reap the full benefit of the victory, hurried to the front to press the pursuit.

Early’s brigade, with the 19th Virginia regiment, followed the panic-stricken fugitive enemy.

Stuart and Beckham had also thrown their men forward along the road by which the flying columns had so confidently marched to the field that morning; but the prisoners so encumbered their way as to force them soon to give up the pursuit.

Kershaw’s, Withers’s, Preston’s, and Cash’s regiments, Hampton’s Legion and Kemper’s battery, attached to Kershaw, rushed forward on the Warrenton road, by the stone bridge, where Kershaw’s command captured a number of pieces of artillery.

The enemy, says General Beauregard in his report, having opportunely opened a way for them through the heavy abattis which my troops had made on the west side of the bridge, several days before.

The pursuit of the enemy, the result of which might have more than doubled the importance of our victory, was not further continued that evening.

A false report which had reached General Beauregard, on his way to the front, necessitated at once a complete change in the character of his orders.

From Manassas, riding at full speed, had come a messenger, sent to General Beauregard by Major Thomas G. Rhett, of General Johnston’s staff, with the startling information that the enemy’s reserves, composed of fresh troops, and in considerable force, had penetrated our lines at Union Mills Ford, and were marching on Manassas.

The report did not originate with Major Rhett, but had been brought to him by the adjutant of General D. R. Jones, in person.

No sooner had this unwelcome news been received than General Beauregard, without the loss of a moment, rode back to the Lewis House, saw General Johnston, agreed with him as to what measures should be adopted for the emergency, and, mounting a fresh horse (the fourth on that day, one of them having been killed under him by the explosion of a shell, while he was giving instructions to General Jackson), he proceeded at once to the point reported to be threatened, ordering thither Ewell’s and Holmes’s brigades, which had just come up to the Lewis House.

With these troops he proposed to attack the enemy vigorously before he should effect a lodgment on our side of Bull Run.

He asked also for such reinforcements as could be spared from the pursuit.

As General Beauregard reached the vicinity of Union Mills Ford, towards dark, he ascertained, with mingled feelings of joy and regret, that the troops which had been seen advancing from that direction were none other than those belonging to the command of General Jones, originally posted near McLean’s Ford. General Jones had crossed Bull Run at that point, in the morning, as already stated, to aid in the projected attack by our right and centre on the enemy, at Centreville; but had been ordered back, in consequence of the movements against our left.

In obedience to new instructions, he was again thrown across Bull Run, to make demonstrations against the enemy from a quarter supposed by him to be unguarded.

His advance was most gallantly effected; and not only did the brisk firing of his brigade drive the enemy’s infantry to cover, but the bold, unexpected movement was greatly instrumental in spreading the panic which finally disbanded the Federal army.

His command was on the march to resume its former position, behind Bull Run, when thus mistaken for the enemy.

It should here be added, in explanation of this unfortunate error, that the uniforms of General Jones’s men differed very slightly from those of the Northern troops — a fact of no small significance, which had already embarrassed many a Confederate officer, during the day, particularly on the arrival of General Early’s forces on the field.

After this mishap and the causes leading to it had been fully explained, it was too late to resume the pursuit, as night had then set in. It must not be forgotten, besides, that our troops had been marching and counter-marching since early morning-most of the time, says General Beauregard, without water and without food, except a hastily snatched meal at dawn — and that, when not thus marching, they had been fighting against a determined foe, at some points more than three times their superior in number.

Well, therefore, were the Confederate troops of Manassas entitled to rest, that evening, on the laurels they had so gallantly yet so dearly won. Few, however, enjoyed the privilege afforded them; so wakeful had success made both officers and men, so carried away were they by the glorious victory achieved.

While retracing his steps towards the Lewis House, General Beauregard was informed that President Davis and General Johnston had both gone to Manassas.

He repaired thither and found them, between half-past 9 and ten o’clock, at his headquarters.

The President, who, upon approaching the field, accompanied by Colonel Jordan, of General Beauregard’s staff, had felt quite despondent at the signs of defeat which he thought he saw in the groups of stragglers and fugitives — fragments thrown out from the heat and collision of battle — came up just in time to witness the rout and pursuit of the enemy.

He was greatly elated over the victory, and was profuse in his compliments to the generals and the troops.

After listening to General Beauregard’s account of the battle, he proposed that a brief despatch be sent to the War Department, which was done, that very night, in the following words:

Manassa, July 21st, 1861.

Night has closed upon a hard-fought field.

Our forces have won a glorious victory.

The enemy was routed, and fled precipitately, abandoning a very large amount of arms, munitions, knapsacks, and baggage.

The ground was strewn for miles with those killed, and the farm-houses and the ground around were filled with his wounded.

The pursuit was continued along several routes towards Leesburg and Centreville, until darkness covered the fugitives.

We have captured several field-batteries and regimental standards and one United States flag.

Many prisoners have been taken.

Too high praise cannot be bestowed, whether for the skill of the principal officers, or for the gallantry of all the troops.

The battle was mainly fought on our left, several miles from our field works.

Our force engaged them not exceeding fifteen thousand; that of the enemy estimated at thirty-five thousand. Jefferson Davis.

The list of the ordnance and supplies captured from the enemy, merely alluded to in the foregoing despatch to General Cooper, included twenty-eight field-pieces, of the best character of arms, with over one hundred rounds of ammunition for each gun; thirtyseven caissons; six forges; four battery wagons; sixty-four artillery horses, completely equipped; five hundred thousand rounds of small-arms ammunition; four thousand five hundred sets of accoutrements; over five hundred muskets; nine regimental flags; a large number of pistols, knapsacks, swords, canteens, and blankets; a great many axes and intrenching tools; wagons, ambulances, hospital stores, and not a small quantity of subsistence.

We also captured fully sixteen hundred prisoners, including those who recovered from their wounds.

Our loss in this memorable battle was computed as follows: Killed, 369; wounded, 1483; making an aggregate of 1852.

This statement is taken from General Beauregard’s report.

In General Johnston’s report, written from Fairfax Court-House, the result was summed up in this wise: Killed, 378; wounded, 1489; missing, 30; aggregate, 1897.

The enemy’s loss was not officially acknowledged at the time.

The feeling which had led the Northern press to conceal the real strength of General McDowell’s army seems also to have impelled the enemy to withhold a true statement of his casualties.

In his report, so often quoted from — the whole of which appears in the appendix to this chapter — General Beauregard says: The actual loss of the enemy will never be known — it may now only be conjectured.

Their abandoned dead, as they were buried by our people where they fell, unfortunately were not enumerated, but many parts of the field were thick with their corpses as but few battle-fields have ever been.

The official reports of the enemy are studiously silent on this point, but still afford us data for an approximate estimate.

Left almost in the dark in respect to the losses of Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s divisions — first, longest, and most hotly engaged — we are informed that Sherman’s brigade, Tyler’s division, suffered, in killed, wounded, and missing, 609 — that is, about eighteen per cent. of the brigade.

A regiment of Franklin’s brigade — Gorman’s — lost twentyone per cent.

Griffin’s (battery) loss was thirty per cent., and that of Keyes’s brigade, which was so handled by its commander as to be exposed to only occasional volleys from our troops, was at least ten per cent. To these facts add the repeated references in the reports of the reticent commanders to the murderous fire to which they were habitually exposed, the pistol-range volleys and galling musketry, of which they speak as scourging their ranks, and we are warranted in placing the entire loss of the Federals at over forty-five hundred in killed, wounded, and prisoners.

To this may be legitimately added, as a casualty of the battle, the thousands of fugitives from the field, who never rejoined their regiments, and who were as much lost to the enemy’s service as if slain or disabled by wounds.

These may not be included under the head of missing, because in every instance of such report we took as many prisoners of those brigades or regiments as are reported missing.

In his report, General Johnston, confirming General Beauregard’s estimate, says: The loss of the enemy could not be ascertained.

It must have been between four and five thousand.

It is not our purpose to dwell at any length on that part of a subject which, to us, appears of but minor importance in comparison with the real question at issue, to wit — the result of the battle of Manassas, or, in other words, the acknowledged victory of the Confederate forces over an army vastly superior in point of number, armament, and equipment.

The reader is already informed of the correct strength of our united forces, on the morning of the 21st July.

It was increased by 1700 infantry, and a battery, on the arrival of part of General Kirby Smith’s command, at 3. 30 P. M., which would bring up our aggregate to 30,888 of all arms.

It must be borne in mind, however, that the commands of Generals Holmes and Ewell, aggregating at least 3000 men, though mentioned on our field returns as present at and around Manassas, were never directly engaged with the enemy on that day.

General Beauregard estimates as follows the numerical strength of the Federal forces against us. We quote from his report: Making all allowances for mistakes, we are warranted in saying that the Federal army consisted of at least fifty-five regiments of volunteers, eight companies of regular infantry, four of marines, nine of the regular cavalry, and twelve batteries, numbering together one hundred and nineteen guns.

These regiments, at one time, . . . numbered, in the aggregate, fifty-four thousand one hundred and forty, and averaged nine hundred and sixty-four men each.

Deducting as many as one hundred and sixty-four per regiment, for the sick, and men on detached service, the average would then be reduced to eight hundred men. Adding, now, the different commands of regulars of all arms, mentioned above, and the aggregate of the Federal army opposing us at Manassas could not have been less than fifty thousand men.

The facts that have transpired one by one, gradually throwing light upon this point, have already fallen within the domain of history, and show, conclusively, in spite of the extreme reticence of many Federal commanders, that an army fifty thousand strong, under General McDowell, was defeated and routed, at Manassas, on the 21st of July, 1861, by less than thirty thousand Confederate troops, under the immediate command, before and during the battle, of General G. T. Beauregard.


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.

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 354.

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.

Ibid. vol. i. p. 355.

This is another error.

The order sent to General Bonham by General Beauregard, and given in full in Mr. Davis’s book,

I Ibid.

vol. i. pp. 355, 356. 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.

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 359. 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,

See report of battle, in Chapter IX. 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.

From a letter of General Bonham to General Beauregard. 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.

See Appendix to this chapter.

At the breakfast-table, on the same morning, the President handed General Beauregard the following graceful letter:

Manassas, Va., July 21st, 1861.

Sir, — Appreciating your services in the battle of Manassas and on several other occasions during the existing war, as affording the highest evidence of your skill as a commander, your gallantry as a soldier, and your zeal as a patriot, you are appointed to be General in the army of the Confederate States of America, and, with the consent of the Congress, will be duly commissioned accordingly.

Yours, etc., Jefferson Davis. General G. T. Beauregard.

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.

camp Pickens, July 23d, 1861. To His Excellency the President of the Confederate States:

Sir, — I am commanded by General Beauregard to inform your Excellency that the stock of provisions has become alarmingly reduced, in consequence of the non-fulfilment of requisitions of the Commissary-General.

The general directs me to say, that unless immediate supplies are forwarded, in conformity with these requisitions, most serious consequences are inevitable.

With much respect, your obedient servant, R. E. Lee, Lieut. -Col. C. S. A., and Chief Commissary of Army of Potomac.

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.

Manassas, Virginia, July 29th, 1861.

My dear Colonels, — I send you, herewith, some important suggestions relative to the best mode of providing for the wants of this army, furnished me by Colonel L. M. Hatch, whose experience in such matters entitles his views and opinions to considerable weight.

Unless the requirements of our army in the field are provided for beforehand, we shall be in a perfect state of destitution very shortly.

I will remark here, that we have been out of subsistence for several days, some of my regiments not having had anything to eat for more than twentyfour hours.

They have stood it, though, nobly; but, if it happens again, I shall join one of their camps and share their wants with them; for I will never allow them to suppose that I feast while they suffer.

The want of food and transportation has made us lose all the fruits of our victory.

We ought at this moment to be in or about Washington, but we are perfectly anchored here, and God only knows when we will be able to advance; without these means we can neither advance nor retreat.

The mobility of an army, which constitutes the great strength of modern armies, does not certainly form an element of ours, for we seem to be rooted to this spot.

Cannot something be done towards furnishing us more expeditiously and regularly with food and transportation?

It seems to me that if the States had been called upon to furnish their quota of wagons per regiment in the field, one of these evils could have been obviated.

From all accounts, Washington could have been taken up to the 24th instant, by twenty thousand men!

Only think of the brilliant results we have lost by the two causes referred to!

Again, we must have a few more field-officers from the old service, otherwise our regiments will get worsted sooner or later.

In haste, yours truly, G. T. Beauregard.

On the 1st of August he forwarded the following telegram to Colonel A. C. Myers, Assistant Quartermaster-General:

Several of my brigades are entirely destitute of transportation; no advance can be made until procured.

Can you not send me about one hundred wagons? G. T. Beauregard.

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:

Richmond, Virginia, August 10th, 1861. General G. T. Beauregard:

My dear Sir, — Enclosed I transmit copies of a resolution of inquiry and the reply to it. You will perceive that the answer was made in view of the telegram which I enclosed to you, that being the only information then before me. Since that time it has been communicated to me that your letter to Hon. Mr. Miles, on the wants of your army, and the consequences thereof, was read to the Congress, and hence the inquiry instituted.

Permit me to request that you will return the telegram to me, which I enclosed to show you the form in which the matter came before me.

Some excitement has been created by your letter; the Quartermaster and the Commissary General both feel that they have been unjustly arraigned.

As for myself, I can only say that I have endeavored to anticipate wants, and any failure which has occurred from imperfect knowledge might have been best avoided by timely requisitions and estimates.

I think you are unjust to yourself in putting your failure to pursue the enemy to Washington to the account of short supplies of subsistence and transportation.

Under the circumstances of our army, and in the absence of the knowledge since acquired, if, indeed, the statements be true, it would have been extremely hazardous to have done more than was performed.

You will not fail to remember that, so far from knowing that the enemy was routed, a large part of our forces was moved by you, in the night of the 21st, to repel a supposed attack on our right, and that the next day’s operations did not fully reveal what has since been reported of the enemy’s panic.

Enough was done for glory, and the measure of duty was full; let us rather show the untaught that their desires are unreasonable, than, by dwelling on possibilities recently developed, give form and substance to the criticisms always easy to those who judge after the event.

With sincere esteem, I am, your friend, Jefferson Davis.

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:

Manassas, Va., August 10th, 1861.

Dear Sir, — Your letter of the 4th instant has been received, but my endless occupations have prevented me from acknowledging it immediately, as I should have done.

I regret exceedingly to hear that Colonel Miles read my letter of the 29th to Congress.

It was written only for the purpose of expediting matters, if possible, and immediately after having been informed that one brigade and two or more regiments were without food, and had been so for twenty-four hours. I had before been informed that we were short of provisions; but I never supposed it would be permitted to go to the extent referred to. Some time before the battle of the 21st ultimo I had endeavored to remedy the impending evil by ordering Major Fowle, the acting Commissary-General here, to provide a certain number of rations, by purchasing in the surrounding counties, which drew from the Commissary-General of the army a letter so discourteous to me that the want of time alone prevented me from enclosing it to you for your consideration.

With regard to making timely requisitions on the Quartermaster and Commissary Department, not knowing what number of troops the War Department intended at any time to concentrate here, it was impossible to make proper requisitions until after the arrival of those troops.

I will here remark, that troops arriving at this place have often been a day or more without food in the cars, and I have had several times to order issues of provisions here to troops on their way to Winchester, for the same cause.

I accuse no one, I state facts.

I am fully aware that you have done more than could be expected of you for this army, and that it is utterly impossible you should be able to direct each one of the bureaus of the War Department, but the facts referred to show a deficiency somewhere, which ought to be remedied, otherwise we will, sooner or later, be liable to the same unfortunate results.

My experience here teaches me that, after issuing an order, I have to inquire whether it has been carried into effect; this is especially the case with the newly arrived troops.

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 of July, to be in or about Washington, and, from all accounts, Washington could have been taken up to the 24th inst. (July), 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 our 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.

After that task shall have been accomplished, as I feel that I am only fit for private life, I shall retire to my home, if my means will permit, never again to leave it, unless called upon to repel again the same or another foe.

With much respect, I remain,

Sincerely your friend, G. T. Beauregard.

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:

Manassas, Va., August 5th, 1861.

Dear Colonel, — Your favor of the 1st has been received.

My surprise was as great as yours to find that you had not been informed of our want of transportation, which has so crippled us, together with the want of provisions, that we have been anchored here since the battle, not being able to send a few regiments three or four miles from their former positions.

Major Cabell says that, Knowing your inability to comply with his former requisitions for wagons, etc., he thought it was useless to make new ones upon you, hence he was trying to get them from around here.

Be that as it may, the result was, that about fifteen thousand men were sent me by the War Department, without one solitary wagon. Before the arrival of these troops, we had, per regiment, only about twelve wagons of the meanest description, being country wagons, that break down whenever they come to a bad part of the road.

General Johnston’s command had only about seven wagons per regiment on arriving here.

This state of things cannot and ought not to last longer.

I am perfectly willing to fight, but my troops must be provided with all the means necessary to constitute an army.

I must be prepared to advance or retreat according to circumstances, otherwise disasters will overtake us in every direction.

For a long time I could not get more than twenty rounds of ammunition per man, when within a few miles (not over ten) from an enemy three times our strength.

I have applied for Colonel J. L. Kemper, 7th Virginia regiment, to be made Provisional Quartermaster-General of this and Johnston’s army.

I wish you would aid in the matter.

I should like, also, to have General McGowan, of South Carolina, appointed in that department.

He would be very useful.

The best man for each position must be looked for and appointed forthwith, without regard to other considerations; otherwise we will never succeed in defeating the enemy, who is more numerous than we, and has more resources at hand.

In haste, yours truly, G. T. Beauregard.

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:

Dear General, — Your despatch has just been received, and I hasten to send you copy of your letter, as you desire.

Whatever the powers that be may think of it, or however much they may fail to relish it, I have no doubt it has had, and will continue to have, a very salutary and stimulating effect.

You may rely upon it, Congress and the country sympathize with you, although there may be and are differences of opinion as to the immediate advance upon Washington.

Very truly yours, Wm. Porcher miles.

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:

Headquarters 1ST corps army of the Potomac, Manassas, Va., August 23d, 1861. To His Excellency, President Jefferson Davis, etc., etc. :

Dear Sir, — I have the honor to enclose you herewith a copy of the statement of provisions, etc., remaining on hand at this point and available, on the 21st instant, for the army of the Potomac, by which it will be seen that little improvement has taken place in that respect, since I last had the honor of addressing your Excellency on the subject, on the 10th instant; and that we are still as unprepared to advance or retreat, in consequence thereof, as at that period.

A serious accident to the railroads, from here to Richmond, would place this army in quite a critical condition, so far as its subsistence is concerned.

For the active operations that we may be called upon shortly to make in this vicinity, with Camp Pickens as a pivot d’action (centre of movement), it ought to be provided with at least fifteen or twenty days provisions on hand; otherwise, to prevent the enemy from taking possession of our lines of communication, we would have to abandon this place and fall back, as our forces could not be provided with means of subsistence.

I regret to say that we could not now march from here with even three days rations.

I earnestly and solicitously call your attention to this important subject.

Without an ample supply of provisions we will be perfectly powerless.

I hope you will do me the justice to believe that these facts are brought to your Excellency’s attention, without regard whatsoever to individuals.

I look only to the success of our cause, regardless of friends or foes.

* * * * * * * * *

I remain, dear Sir, respectfully,

Your obedient servant and friend, G. T. Beauregard.

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.

Dear General, — I received your despatch to-day, suggesting Colonel R. B. Lee as the best man for Commissary-General, and Colonel J. L. Kemper as Assistant Quartermaster-General.

The President has not the remotest idea of removing Colonel Northrop.

On the contrary, he is under the impression that he has done everything in his power in his department.

You can readily see that there is, therefore, no possibility of the radical reform you suggest in this department.

In the other case it would require a reorganization of the general staff, so far as the Quartermaster Department is concerned.

* * * * * * * * *

Very sincerely yours, Wm. Porcher miles.

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.

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 315. 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.

Ibid. vol. i. p. 303. 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:

Headquarters army of the Potomac, Manassas Junction, July 7th, 1861. Captain W. H. Fowle, Camp Pickens:

Captain, — The general commanding directs that you take prompt and effective measures to provide forthwith, at your depot near these headquarters, ample provisions — including fat cattle — for twenty-five thousand men for two weeks, and that amount, at least, must be constantly maintained on land, subject to requisition, until otherwise ordered. Thomas Jordan, A. A. G.

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.


General Beauregard suggests a forward movement. —not approved by General Johnston. —sanitary measures. —deficiency in light artillery. —instructions to Colonel Stuart. —Mason’s and Munson’s Hills. —General Beauregard proposes to hold them. —General Johnston of a different opinion. —popularity of General Beauregard. —he establishes his headquarters at Fairfax Court-House. —proposes another plan involving decisive battle. —General Johnston deems it better not to hazard the movement. —organization of the forces into divisions. —General Beauregard advises that the army be placed under one head. —President Davis invited to a conference at Fairfax Court-House. —scheme of operations submitted. —Generals Johnston and G. W. Smith approve it. —troops in splendid fighting condition. —the President objects. —no reinforcements can be furnished, and no arms in the country. —review of Mr. Davis’s remarks on the subject. —he proposes a plan for operations across the Potomac. —the commanding Generals do not consider it feasible.

On the 8th of August, at General Beauregard’s suggestion, Colonel Evans was ordered to move his brigade to Leesburg, and assume command of all the forces in Loudon County, the object being to protect that region against Federal incursions, about which numerous complaints were made.

It was about that time that General Beauregard resolved to throw his own forces forward.

He hoped, by an advance, to be able more easily to take the offensive, or draw on a battle, while the enemy was yet demoralized and undisciplined.

Accordingly, on the 9th and 10th, Longstreet’s brigade was moved to Fairfax Court-House, and D. R. Jones’s to Germantown.

Bonham was drawn back from Vienna to Flint Hill, leaving a strong mounted guard at the former place.

Cocke was stationed at Centreville; Ewell at Sangster’s Crossroads; Early and Hampton at the intersection of the Occoquan with the Wolf Run Shoals road; and the Louisiana brigade at Mitchell’s Ford.

Elzey’s brigade, of General Johnston’s forces, was placed in the immediate vicinity of Fairfax Station, and Jackson’s, also of General Johnston’s forces, held a position near the crossing of Braddock’s and the Fairfax Station roads.

From these advanced positions, the forces, as above enumerated, could be, at any time, concentrated for offensive or defensive purposes.

General Beauregard’s desire was, by a bold movement, to capture the exterior lines of the enemy at Annandale, and, should any serious force come out in support, give it battle, with the chances in favor of the Confederates.

But this plan or project, General Beauregard being second in command, had, first, to be submitted to General Johnston, whose approval was necessary for its execution.

General Johnston did not assent to it. This disagreement of opinion between the two commanding generals, whose official intercourse had always been — and continued to be — most friendly, showed, however, that they differed widely in temperament, and belonged to essentially distinct military schools: General Beauregard, ever in favor of the aggressive, and of subjecting an adversary’s movements to his own plans-General Johnston, ever on the defensive, and apparently awaiting the action of the enemy.

On the 13th of August General Beauregard was officially informed, by the Hon. L. P. Walker, Secretary of War, of his appointment, by and with the advice and consent of Congress, as General in the army of the Confederate States, to take rank from July 21st, 1861.

He gratefully accepted the high distinction thus conferred upon him by the President, who, it will be remembered, had not awaited the action of Congress to reward his services.

The reader is aware that, on the 23d of August, General Beauregard again addressed the President

See Chapter X. with regard to the insufficiency of subsistence for the army at Manassas.

He also urged the sanitary benefits and economy of procuring for each company a good professional cook and baker, with portable kitchens and ovens for encampments.

Out of thirty-two thousand six hundred and fifty-five men, the total of his own army at that time, only twenty-two thousand two hundred and ninety-one were fit for duty; much of the sickness being due, it was thought, to bad cooking, as well as bad water.

General Beauregard, at this time, also represented to the President, through Captain E. P. Alexander, his Chief of Artillery and Ordnance, the great deficiency of the army in light artillery (there was but one piece to each of his thirty-five regiments). He urged the necessity of three guns to each regiment, or, if these were not to be had, that rocket batteries should be supplied for the purpose of frightening the untrained horses of the enemy.

He asked, likewise, that the cavalry should be raised to at least four or five thousand men, for the purpose of charging on McClellan’s batteries and raw troops, when thrown into disorder by the rockets.

It was long, however, before this want of artillery was even partially supplied, and the organization of the rocket batteries was subsequently thwarted by the military authorities.

General Beauregard now instructed Colonel Stuart, commanding the cavalry outposts, to keep constantly near the enemy, and ordered General Longstreet, with his brigade, to remain in close proximity to Stuart.

Towards the end of August, in complying with these orders, Stuart, who was an officer of great enterprise, by a series of daily encounters gradually drove back the Federal force in his front, and, with the co-operation of General Longstreet, finally captured Mason’s and Munson’s Hills, in full view of Washington.

General Beauregard, who had had minute information concerning these positions, through Colonel George W. Lay, long a resident of Washington, proposed to General Johnston, now that they were in our hands, to hold and support them by the following arrangement of troops:

1 brigade (Bonham’s) at or about old Court-House, near Vienna.

2 brigades (D. R. Jones’s and Cocke’s) at or about Falls Church. 1 brigade (Longstreet’s) at or about Munson’s Hill. 1 brigade (Johnston’s forces) half-way between Mason’s and Munson’s Hills. 1 brigade (Johnston’s forces) at Mason’s Hill. 2 brigades (Walker’s and Early’s) at or about Annandale.

1 brigade (Ewell’s) at or about Springfield.

Some of General Johnston’s other brigades were to be placed at Centreville, Fairfax Court-House, and Fairfax Station, and they might occasionally be moved towards the Potomac above, to alarm the enemy and keep him in a state of constant anxiety as to the safety of Washington; then troops could cross into Maryland, should the enemy move in a large force from Washington to any point on the lower Potomac.

The place on the river which General Beauregard believed the enemy would make his next point d’appui was Evansport, some thirty miles below Washington, and, at the request of General Holmes, he had given instructions as to the manner of its fortification.

General Johnston, however, was opposed to the occupation of Mason’s and Munson’s Hills, and did not approve of the arrangement suggested, considering the line of Fairfax Court-House sufficiently advanced for all purposes; and even too distant for the support of Evansport.

His main objection was the danger of being drawn into a serious, perhaps general, action, so much nearer to the Federal position than to our own. But General Beauregard believed that any expedition of the enemy, sent down the Potomac, might be at once neutralized by a bold movement from above into Maryland and on the rear of Washington.

He was willing, besides, should it so happen, to exchange Richmond, temporarily, for Washington and Maryland.

As to a general action, he desired it, for the reason that the Federal army was yet undisciplined, while our forces, as strong in numbers as might for some time be expected, were in the full prestige of recent victory; an advantage now clearly perceptible in the occasional encounters, with or without an action, between the respective reconnoitring and foraging parties, and quite conspicuous in the affair at Lewinsville, on the 11th of September — but sure to diminish, as time elapsed, by the great increase in numbers, discipline, and armament of the opposing forces.

The chronic evil — lack of transportation — had become the subject of anxious remonstrance from Captain Alexander, General Beauregard’s Chief of Ordnance.

With a portion of the army now at the threshold of the Federal encampments (Sept. 7th) his reserve ammunition had been more than a week awaiting transportation, for which requisition had been made on the 20th of August, on the Chief Quartermaster of the army corps.

These ever-recurring annoyances, resulting from the incurable inefficiency which had to be daily contended against, would have depressed and utterly discouraged a man less gifted than General Beauregard.

But his activity, his energy and — we may add — his confidence in his own resources, seemed to increase with the obstacles thus thrown in his way. He could not and would not be despondent.

His words, both to his officers and to his men, no matter under what circumstances, were always of a nature to inspire them with additional hope, renewed endurance, and confidence of success.

Through that quick, innate sympathy with military glory, which has ever distinguished the American people, General Beauregard’s name was now borne to the highest point of popularity.

He had struck the first blow at Sumter, and had thereby asserted the existence of the Confederacy.

He had struck the second blow at Manassas, and had there demonstrated the power and vitality of our cause.

On the afflatus of victory, says the author of The Lost Cause, Beauregard at once ascended to the first reputation of the war.

He was looked up to as the future military agent of Southern Independence.

The many letters of congratulation, and testimonials of sympathy, confidence, and esteem, he had received from every part of the country, and from all classes of our people, sufficiently showed the light in which he was held, and to whom chiefly, of all Southern leaders in the field, was attributed the triumphant achievements of our arms.

The real difficulties of the task he had performed were better understood by his officers and men; and, with them, the enthusiasm which his successes had created throughout the country took the form of an absolute devotion.

Nor was this all. Gentlemen of position and influence outside of the army now urged him to allow his name to be presented for the Constitutional Presidency, the election to which was then approaching.

But he unhesitatingly declined, declaring his place to be only that of a soldier.

Led by that singleness of purpose which guided him throughout the war, and unelated, except by a just gratification that his efforts in the cause had borne fruitful results, and had brought him heart to heart with his comrades and countrymen, he at once directed his whole care to the reorganization of the troops in the field, to the preparation for new successes, and the advancement of the strategic frontier beyond the Potomac.

Throwing forward a portion of his troops, by the 12th of September, he moved his headquarters to Fairfax Court-House, in order to be nearer to his outer lines, which now stretched from Springfield, below Alexandria, on the right, to the little falls on the Potomac, above Georgetown, on the left, enclosing the Federal forces within a narrow circle, from which they made their observations and occasional sorties.

For the purpose of watching our camps, and of gaining information of what transpired there, a balloon was much used by the enemy, often in the night.

To deceive this inconvenient scrutiny, General Beauregard ordered the kindling of numerous fires as soon as darkness fell, so as to suggest extensive bivouacs on our lines.

He had himself endeavored, before this, to procure a balloon from Richmond, but without success; and though he afterwards obtained one from a private source, some defect in its construction rendered it of no avail.

Anxious not to lose the present opportunities, General Beauregard now proposed to General Johnston, who had also moved his headquarters to Fairfax Court-House, a plan involving a decisive battle.

General Gustavus W. Smith,

General Smith had joined the Confederacy, and, upon the suggestion of Generals Johnston and Beauregard, had been commissioned as a Major-General by the War Department, August, 1861. with General Johnston’s forces, was to advance and menace the Federal front, while General Beauregard, passing southward of the Occoquan, was to turn the Federal left flank and attack it with vigor; an operation resembling that subsequently made by General Jackson with brilliant success, near Richmond, in 1862, though the Confederate forces, at the time of which we write, were in a condition, both moral and material, more favorable to success in such a movement.

General Johnston, however, deemed it better not to hazard a battle at this juncture.

The necessity of organizing the forces into divisions had been a matter of discussion between the two generals.

As the lack of division-generals had been the principal cause of the unfortunate miscarriage of General Beauregard’s orders in the recent battle of Manassas, he had shortly afterwards written to the Adjutant-General on this important matter, and, later, had represented to the President that both armies should be placed under one head, and commanded as the two corps of a single army.

The fact is that, as early as July 24th, only a few days after the battle of Manassas, the division of our forces into two army corps, as suggested by General Beauregard, had been practically effected by the two commanding generals.

From July 24th, all Orders, General or Special, issued by General Beauregard, were dated Headquarters 1st Corps, Army of the Potomac. The War Department had not authorized the change, but had, by its silence, clearly acquiesced in it. This was followed by a recommendation, on the part of the senior generals, of seven officers for appointment as major-generals, and of eight others as brigadiers, two of whom were already in command of brigades.

Towards the latter part of September General Johnston wrote to the Secretary of War, asking that either he or the President should come to Fairfax Court-House, to confer upon the subject of organization, and upon a plan for an offensive movement, which would then be submitted to him.

General Beauregard had conceived a scheme of operations, as distinguished for its breadth of view, and greatness of proposed result, as that which had been ineffectually urged before the battle of Manassas.

It involved the raising of the available forces from forty thousand to sixty thousand, by drawing troops from various parts of the Confederacy; their places, in the meantime, to be filled by State troops, called out for three or six months. This force assembled, a small corps of diversion was to remain in front, while the army should cross the Potomac, under partial cover of night, either at Edwards’s Ferry, or, by means of a pontoon train, at a point nearly north of Fairfax Court-House, which General Beauregard was having reconnoitred for that purpose.

This army was then to march rapidly upon Washington, and seize the Federal supplies in that city.

It seemed almost certain that, even should McClellan reach the threatened point in time — which he might undoubtedly do — he could not withstand our sudden attack and maintain his position.

His forces were undisciplined and demoralized, and Washington had not yet been fortified.

McClellan’s army thus placed at our mercy, and Maryland won, the theatre of war was to be transferred to the Northern States, from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, the entire West being thereby relieved from peril of invasion.

As the Federal government had not yet recovered from the effects of defeat, none of the points from which troops were to be drawn for this movement were seriously threatened; some of them were not menaced at all; and this offensive movement would have forced the Federal government to recall its scattered troops for the protection of those points upon which the Confederate army would have been able to march after the fall of Washington.

The moral effect of such an exhibition of power on the governments of England and France would have been of incalculable benefit to the Confederacy.

Upon the submission of this plan to Generals Johnston and Smith, the latter at once approved it, and the former, though for some time unwilling, finally yielded his assent.

President Davis arrived at Fairfax Court-House on the 30th of September, and remained there two days, at General Beauregard’s headquarters.

In the conferences which followed between him and Generals Johnston, Beauregard, and Smith, he objected to the organization of the army into corps and divisions, and to the appointment of major-generals, as suggested; but yielded so far as to consent to the formation of divisions and the appointment of two division-generals (Van Dorn and Longstreet) to the Army of the Potomac,

Designation of General Beauregard’s forces, as per orders issued by him, on the 20th of June, 1861. and two others (G. W. Smith and Jackson) to the Army of the Shenandoah.

Designation of General Johnston’s forces, before and after his junction with General Beauregard. This matter, which we may call a compromise, being thus settled, the plan of invading Maryland was earnestly supported by the three senior generals. Mr. Davis, however, would not agree to it. He declared that he could draw no troops from the points named, and that there were no arms in the country for new levies, if raised.

This last objection, it is proper here to say, was not an insuperable one.

The President should have remembered that if the Confederacy was thus deficient in armament it was because he had refused to avail himself of the offer by which, as early as May, 1861,

Proposal of John Frazer & Co., set forth in Chapter V. all the arms and equipments needed for our armies could have been procured.

But why should not arms have been imported, even at that time (October, 1861), when no Federal blockading squadron could have interfered with any of our plans to that effect?

It is an historical fact that the blockade, though officially proclaimed in May, was only partially effectual twelve months afterwards.

Was it that the President thought it too late then to make the effort?

He should have known that the plan of campaign submitted to him could not be put into immediate execution; that the massing of the additional troops required to carry it out — some of which were to be drawn from great distances — would necessarily consume some time.

The least display of energy on the part of the administration, the sending of an order by telegraph to the house of John Frazer & Co., of Charleston, would have been more than sufficient to secure for the government all the arms it required for the new levies spoken of, which, though not directly needed for the forward movement and aggressive campaign urged upon Mr. Davis, could have been used to fill the place of the seasoned troops withdrawn to reinforce the Army of Virginia.

In vain was it urged upon the President that the army was now in splendid fighting condition, and eager again to meet its recently defeated foe; while, if left inactive, it was liable to deteriorate during the winter, and lose greatly in numbers by the expiration of the enlistment term of the twelve months men. It was further urged that, with the army raised to sixty thousand men, the movement could be undertaken, with the prospect of success to follow at every other point along the frontier; whereas, should disaster result from the loss of present opportunity, the entire Confederacy might be endangered at a later date, with but inferior hope of recuperation.

Mr. Davis, however, could not be influenced, and declared that the utmost he could do would be to furnish recruits, to be armed with the surplus stands of arms then at Manassas, amounting to about two thousand five hundred.

Thus was abandoned a plan which, had it been carried out, would have borne mighty results to the Confederacy.

That it was a bold one is undoubted.

But boldness in our movements, while the prestige of victory yet animated our troops, was clearly the wisest policy to be adopted.

It was of the utmost importance for us to follow up our victory, and the surest way of doing so was by making an aggressive campaign.

It would have compelled the enemy, demoralized and unprepared as he still was, to put himself on the defensive to repel invasion on his own soil, instead of attempting it on ours.

In lieu of the unaccepted movement favored by the generals in command, Mr. Davis suggested that a column be crossed to the eastern shore of the Potomac, opposite Aquia Creek, to capture a Federal division posted there under General Sickles.

As the river, at that point more than a mile wide, was held by United States war vessels, and there would hardly have been an opportunity for the troops, even if successful, to return to Virginia, this proposition met the approval of none of the three generals, and was therefore courteously discarded.

We shall have to recur to this subject later in the present chapter.

Mr. Davis devotes five pages of his book to the Fairfax Court-House Conference, as it was called, and most unjustifiably arraigns Generals J. E. Johnston, Beauregard, and G. W. Smith, not for having taken a part in it, or expressed their views upon the points at issue between them, but for having, about four months afterwards, prepared a paper wherein was made a record of their conversation; a fact, says Mr. Davis, which was concealed from me, whereas, both for accuracy and frankness, it should have been submitted to me, even if there had been nothing due to our official relations.

Twenty years after the event I learned of this secret report, by one party, without notice having been given to the other, of a conversation said to have lasted two hours.

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 451. And Mr. Davis continues as follows: I have noticed the improbabilities and inconsistencies of the paper, and without remarks I submit to honorable men the concealment from me in which it was prepared, etc.

Ibid. vol. i. p. 452.

This language is all the more unwarrantable, because Mr. Davis fails to show — though he asserts it — that any effort at concealment was ever made by those whom he accuses of it. Knowing the importance of this conference, and desirous of having a true and correct account of it, one that could not be effaced or altered by the lapse of time, the three generals wrote out, while it was still fresh in their memory, all that had passed between them and the President.

As nothing was added and nothing suppressed in the memorandum thus made, what obligation was there on their part to submit it to Mr. Davis?

He knew, as well as they did, what had transpired, and had nothing further to learn about it. He also — in all propriety — could have committed the conversation to writing, had it so pleased his fancy; and, provided it was done correctly, no account whatever of his action in the matter was due to the three generals or any one of them.

What Mr. Davis says, to-day, of that conference, shows how wise and how far-seeing were Generals Johnston, Beauregard, and Smith, in preparing the paper alluded to, which has aroused to such an extent the ire of the ex-President. General Beauregard, for one, had already had occasion to learn what light work could be made with a plan of operations verbally submitted to the Commander-in-Chief of our armies.

We refer to the plan proposed, through Colonel Chestnut, on the 14th of July, 1861, before the battle of Manassas, which Mr. Davis denied having ever had any official cognizance of, because no written communication had been handed to him at the time; and because, no doubt, he was unaware that a full report of the circumstance had been drawn up by Colonel Chestnut, and was in General Beauregard’s possession.

And here, perhaps, the following query may find a fitting place in this review: Did Mr. Davis ever communicate to General Beauregard his official endorsement upon the report of the battle of Manassas?

If he had done so, his charge of concealment, unjust though it is, would come with a better grace than it does; but, as he did not, his imputation of duplicity falls upon himself.

For, as the reader will hereafter learn,

In Chapter XIII. the President’s endorsement, contradicting, with unreserved severity, statements made by General Beauregard in his report, was an official paper, officially forwarded to Congress, but studiously kept from General Beauregard’s knowledge.

The impugned memorandum was altogether an unofficial paper, prepared by the three generals for their own private files, without even a shadow of reproach against the President, and merely intended as a reminder, hereafter, of an important military event.

Hence we say, it was a wise and eminently proper measure to prepare a written memorandum of what occurred at the Fairfax Court-House council.

Verba volant scripta manent: an adage always to be appreciated for the sound, practical teaching it contains.

It is the right, no less than the duty, of leading men, in all countries and in all ages, to see to it that the truth concerning public events is carefully guarded and preserved, in order that it may not be easily tampered with, or made to degenerate into error.

As matters now stand, and thanks to the foresight displayed by Generals Johnston, Beauregard, and Smith, Mr. Davis, no less than those who figured with him in the conference we speak of, must abide by its text, as recorded at the time.

And to show how completely Mr. Davis errs, when he charges that he was kept purposely in ignorance of the secret report he so bitterly denounces, we here state that it was seen of many men during the war — and not as a secret; and that, as early as 1867 or 1868 — in other words, fully fifteen or sixteen years ago — General Beauregard had this identical memorandum published in The Land We Love — a magazine edited, at that time, by General D. H. Hill, of North Carolina.

It was commented on at length, if not republished, in the Jackson (Miss. ) Clarion. No one is responsible for Mr. Davis’s neglect to take cognizance of it. His appeal, therefore, to the honorable men of the country, whose sympathies he desires to enlist in his favor, becomes simply puerile; and, far from resulting in injury to those whom he assails, it only recoils upon himself, and exposes the extreme carelessness with which he writes.

Mr. Davis should have inserted that document in his book.

His criticisms would then have been better appreciated.

Why he abstained from doing so is not, however, hard to understand.

As General Beauregard has no like reasons to refrain from giving full publicity to it (we know that Generals Johnston and Smith think as he does on the subject), we now lay the whole paper before the reader, asking his most careful consideration of it.

On the 26th of September, 1861, General Joseph E. Johnston addressed a letter to the Secretary of War, in regard to the importance of putting this army in condition to assume the offensive; and suggested that his Excellency the President, or the Secretary of War, or some one representing them, should at an early day come to the headquarters of the army, then at or near Fairfax Court-House, for the purpose of deciding whether the army could be reinforced to the extent that the commanding general deemed necessary for an offensive campaign.

His Excellency the President arrived at Fairfax Court-House a few days thereafter, late in the afternoon, and proceeded to the quarters of General Beauregard.

On the same evening General Johnston and I called to pay our respects.

No official subjects of importance were alluded to in that interview.

At eight o’clock the next evening, by appointment of the President, a conference was had between himself, General Johnston, General Beauregard, and myself.

Various matters of detail were introduced by the President, and talked over between himself and the two senior generals.

Having but recently arrived, and not being well acquainted with the special subject referred to, I took little or no part in this conversation.

Finally, with perhaps some abruptness, I said, Mr. President, is it not possible to put this army in condition to assume the active offensive?

adding, that this was a question of vital importance, upon which the success or failure of our cause might depend.

This question brought on discussion.

The precise conversation which followed I do not propose to give: it was not an argument; there seemed to be little difference of opinion between us in regard to general views and principles.

It was clearly stated and agreed to, that the military force of the Confederate States was at the highest point it could attain without arms from abroad; that the portion of this particular army present for duty was in the finest fighting condition; that, if kept inactive, it must retrograde immensely in every respect during the winter, the effect of which was foreseen and dreaded by us all. The enemy were daily increasing in numbers, arms, discipline, and efficiency — we looked forward to a sad state of things at the opening of a spring campaign.

These and other points being agreed upon without argument, it was again asked, Mr. President, is it not possible to increase the effective strength of this army, and put us in condition to cross the Potomac and carry the war into the enemy’s country?

Can you not, by stripping other points to the last they will bear, and even risking defeat at all other places, put us in condition to move forward?

Success here at this time saves everything, defeat here loses all.

In explanation, and as an illustration of this, the unqualified opinion was advanced, that if, for want of adequate strength on our part in Kentucky, the Federal forces should take military possession of that whole State, and even enter and occupy a portion of Tennessee, that a victory gained by this army beyond the Potomac would, by threatening the heart of the Northern States, compel their armies to fall back, free Kentucky, and give us the line of the Ohio within ten days thereafter.

On the other hand, should our forces in Tennessee and Southern Kentucky be strengthened so as to enable us to take and to hold the Ohio River as a boundary, a disastrous defeat of this army would at once be followed by an overwhelming wave of Northern invaders, that would sweep over Kentucky and Tennessee, extending to the northern part of the Cotton States, if not to New Orleans.

Similar views were expressed in regard to ultimate results, in Northwestern Virginia, being dependent upon the success or failure of this army; and various other special illustrations were offered — showing, in short, that success here was success everywhere; defeat here, defeat everywhere; and that this was the point upon which all the available force of the Confederate States should be concentrated.

It seemed to be conceded by all that our force, at that time here, was not sufficient for assuming the offensive beyond the Potomac; and that, even with a much larger force, an attack upon their army, under the guns of their fortifications on this side of the river, was out of the question.

The President asked me what number of men were necessary, in my opinion, to warrant an offensive campaign, to cross the Potomac, cut off the communication of the enemy with their fortified capital, and carry the war into their country.

I answered, Fifty thousand effective seasoned soldiers; explaining that by seasoned soldiers I meant such men as we had here present for duty; and added that they would have to be drawn from the peninsula about Yorktown, Norfolk, from Western Virginia, Pensacola, or wherever might be most expedient.

General Johnston and General Beauregard both said that a force of sixty thousand such men would be necessary; and that this force would require large additional transportation and munitions of war, the supplies here being entirely inadequate for an active campaign in the enemy’s country, even with our present force.

In this connection there was some discussion of the difficulties to be overcome, and the probabilities of success, but no one questioned the disastrous results of remaining inactive throughout the winter.

Notwithstanding the belief that many in the Northern army were opposed on principle to invading the Southern States, and that they would fight better in defending their own homes than in attacking ours, it was believed that the best, if not the only place, to insure success, was to concentrate our forces, and attack the enemy in their own country.

The president, I think, gave no definite opinion in regard to the number of men necessary for that purpose, and I am sure that no one present considered this a question to be finally decided by any other person than the commanding general of this army.

Returning to the question that had been twice asked, the President expressed surprise and regret that the number of surplus arms here was so small; and, I thought, spoke bitterly of this disappointment.

He then stated, that, at that time, no reinforcement could be furnished to this army of the character asked for, and that the most that could be done would be to furnish recruits to take the surplus arms in store here (say twenty-five hundred stand). That the whole country was demanding protection at his hands, and praying for arms and troops for defence.

He had long been expecting arms from abroad, but had been disappointed.

He still hoped to get them, but had no positive assurance that they would be received at all. The manufacture of arms in the Confederate States was as yet undeveloped to any considerable extent.

Want of arms was the great difficulty; he could not take any troops from the points named, and, without arms from abroad, could not reinforce this army.

He expressed regret, and seemed to feel deeply, as did every one present.

When the President had thus clearly and positively stated his inability to put this army in the condition deemed by the general necessary before entering upon an active offensive campaign, it was felt that it might be better to run the risk of almost certain destruction, fighting upon the other side of the Potomac, rather than see the gradual dying-out and deterioration of this army during a winter at the end of which the term of enlistment of half the force would expire.

The prospect of a spring campaign, to be commenced under such discouraging circumstances, was rendered all the more gloomy by the daily increasing strength of an enemy already much superior in numbers.

On the other hand was the hope and expectation that before the end of winter arms would be introduced into the country; and all were confident that we could then not only protect our own country, but successfully invade that of the enemy.

General Johnston said that he did not feel at liberty to express an opinion as to the practicability of reducing the strength of our forces at points not within the limits of his command; and with but few further remarks from any one, the answer of the President was accepted as final; and it was felt that there was no other course left but to take a defensive position and await the enemy.

If they did not advance we had but to await the winter and its results.

After the main question was dropped, the President proposed that, instead of an active offensive campaign, we should attempt certain partial operations — a sudden blow against Sickles or Banks, or to break the bridge over the Monocacy.

This, he thought, besides injuring the enemy, would exert a good influence over our troops, and encourage the people of the Confederate States generally.

In regard to attacking Sickles, it was stated in reply that, as the enemy controlled the river with their ships of war, it would be necessary for us to occupy two points on the river, one above and another below the point of crossing, that we might by our batteries prevent their armed vessels from interfering with the passage of the troops.

In any case the difficulty of crossing large bodies over wide rivers, in the vicinity of an enemy, and then recrossing, made such expeditions hazardous; it was agreed, however, that if any opportunity should occur, offering reasonable chances of success, that the attempt would be made.

During this conference, or council, which lasted, perhaps, two hours, all was earnest, serious, deliberate; the impression made upon me was deep and lasting, and I am convinced that the foregoing statement is not only correct as far as it goes, but, in my opinion, it gives a fair idea of all that occurred at that time in regard to the question of our crossing the Potomac. G. W. Smith, Maj. -Gen. C. S. A. Centreville, Va., January 31st, 1862. Signed in Triplicate.

Our recollections of that conference agree fully with this statement of General G. W. Smith. G. T. Beauregard, Gen. C. S. A., J. E. Johnston, Gen. C. S. A. Centreville, Va., January 31st, 1862. Signed in Triplicate.

This is what took place at the Fairfax Court-House conference.

It confirms what we have already stated at the beginning of the present chapter.

We now resume our review of Mr. Davis’s remarks about it.

In that authoritative tone which ill befits him to-day, and frees from undue courtesy towards him those whom he so cavalierly misrepresents, Mr. Davis, with a view to impugn the veracity of the authors of the foregoing memorandum, writes as follows: It does not agree in some respects with my memory of what occurred, and is not consistent with itself.

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 450. Not consistent, says Mr. Davis, because in one part of the paper it is stated that the reinforcements asked for were to be seasoned soldiers, such as were there present; and in another part, that he could not take any troops from the points named, and, without arms from abroad, could not reinforce that army.

Ibid. vol. i. p. 451.

Thereupon, and after propping up his premises to suit his purpose, Mr. Davis concludes that, clearly, from the answer he is said to have made to the three generals, the proposition had been for such reinforcements as additional arms could enable him to give.

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 451. The italics are ours.

These are sweeping assumptions, and such as only men who think themselves certain of impunity would venture.

Unfortunately for Mr. Davis, this is not the case with him. Can he really believe that because he was President of the Confederate States, his mere allegations, resting, as they do, only upon his memory of what occurred twenty years ago, will counterbalance and even outweigh a document, carefully prepared and signed and vouched for, by three such generals as Johnston, Beauregard, and Smith, his peers in gentlemanly attainments, his superiors — especially two of them — in military merit; men of unstained character, enjoying, now as then, the entire confidence of their people; and who have, to-day, something more tangible than words to fall back upon, in support of their statements?

No unbiassed reader will believe that this document contains aught but the truth.

For, on the one hand, three men of honor certify to its truth, and do so four months after the occurrence it refers to; while, on the other hand, Mr. Davis alone, without note or memorandum to assist him, and after twenty years have elapsed, comes forward and says: My version of the circumstances of the case is not in accord with yours.

You are wrong, though you committed to writing the entire conference; I am right, though my memory, frail and treacherous as it may be, is my only voucher to justify me in controverting the positions you have taken.

With regard to the inconsistencies complained of by Mr. Davis, which he would have his readers believe were so easily detected in the written memorandum now before us, we do not hesitate to say that they exist in his imagination only.

Let the reader carefully examine the paper we have submitted to him, and see if he can discover the inconsistencies, so obvious, according to Mr. Davis, as to make it a downright absurdity.

Ibid. vol. i. p. 450. However strong Mr. Davis’s arguments may appear in the absence of the document which he interprets to suit his fancy, they fall to the ground and burst as bubbles when confronted with the true facts of the case.

The object of the conference, as we know, was to urge upon the President the necessity of an offensive campaign; to accomplish which, the army at or near Fairfax Court-House was to be raised to an effective force of sixty thousand men. Not sixty thousand additional men, but an increase of such a number of seasoned soldiers as would make up a total of sixty thousand.

The Virginia army consisted, at that time, of about forty thousand men. General Smith thought that fifty thousand, that is to say, only ten thousand more than we then had — would be sufficient to undertake the forward movement.

Generals Johnston and Beauregard gave it as their opinion that sixty thousand would be needed; in other words, twenty thousand additional troops.

This being the case — as we have it vouched for by the three generals — where did Mr. Davis discover and how can he assert, that the lowest estimate made by any of them was about twice the number there present for duty

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 449. The italics are ours. which — if this were true, as it is not — would have brought up the force required for the contemplated advance into Maryland to eighty thousand men and no less.

This assertion shows how unsafe and untrustworthy Mr. Davis’s memory is, and it explains, satisfactorily, we think, why it was that he would not give a place in his book to that secret report, as he is pleased to call it.

If, as late as October, 1861, Mr. Davis had no arms to furnish to recruits, he had, unquestionably, at the different points designated by the three generals, troops already armed and equipped, already disciplined and drilled.

These, had he been willing to favor the plan submitted to him, he could, in less than three weeks time, have transported to the borders of Virginia, to reinforce the army said, by those who knew it best, to be in the finest fighting condition.

He was asked for such troops as could then be found in the peninsula around Yorktown, in Western Virginia, at Pensacola, at Mobile, at Charleston, at New Orleans; points from which about twenty-five thousand men — five thousand more than were needed — could have been withdrawn without unnecessarily exposing the positions they occupied.

These were the seasoned soldiers the three generals wanted.

They neither called for nor desired raw recruits, raised to bear the arms Mr. Davis might possibly receive from Europe, and which he was hoping for, barring the dangers of the sea.

Recruits of that kind, however well armed, would have been useless, as they could not have sustained the arduous campaign sought to be inaugurated, which required previous military training and discipline.

But Mr. Davis turned a deaf ear to the suggestions made to him. He would not receive the advice of the generals in the field.

He failed to seize the great opportunity offered him, and, as usual, took upon himself to decide the fortunes of the Confederacy.

No troops, he declared, could be taken from the points named — though none of then were threatened at the time — and no reinforcements, of the character asked for, could, therefore, be furnished to the army.

He did propose twenty-five hundred recruits for that number of small arms which we had in store; but no further mention was made of recruits, either before, during, or after the conference.

What was said of arms, of the expectations of the government about them, and even of Mr. Davis’s disappointment at finding the strength of the army but little increased, are side issues, which should not divert our attention from the true object of the conference and the main question submitted to the President, namely: An aggressive campaign into the energy’s country, conditioned upon reinforcements to be procured from divers points of the Confederacy, then and there specially designated.

Mr. Davis charges Generals Johnston, Beauregard, and Smith with assuming to know more about the positions of our troops at different stations of the country than the War Department itself, whose duty it was to receive all the army returns, and by which questions involving the position and withdrawal of troops, in the field or elsewhere, could best be decided.

If the War Department, or Richmond, as Mr. Davis has it, knew so much about army matters, how is it that the President, or head of the War Department, expressed so much wonder at the relative smallness of our force at Fairfax Court-House?

The returns forwarded to Richmond must certainly have shown him the fact, and the cause of it. If the Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy knew so little about the number and condition of forces then in such close proximity to Richmond, is it not reasonable to suppose that his knowledge of troops stationed at distant points, and in other States, was still more scanty and imperfect?

Knowing the purely patriotic motives actuating Generals Johnston, Beauregard, and Smith, when they suggested the means by which the advance movement urged by them could be effected; and knowing also how far from their thought it was to make any display of superior knowledge, we must deprecate the bitterness of language used and the irritable personality indulged in by Mr. Davis, in the following passage of his book: Very little experience, or a fair amount of modesty, without experience, would serve to prevent one from announcing his conclusion that troops could be withdrawn from a place or places, without knowing how many were there, and what was the necessity for their presence.

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 451.

Whatever may be, to-day, the efforts made by Mr. Davis to shield himself from censure, for the course he then adopted, it remains none the less an incontrovertible fact, that troops, armed and equipped, officered and drilled, could have been brought from the points designated to him, and that he positively refused to allow their transfer to be effected.

That, as Commander-in-Chief, he had the right so to act, is unquestioned; but that he erred in exercising that right is clear to all who followed the history of events, from that time to the end of the war.

Mr. Davis insists, that though the generals he met at Fairfax Court-House were of opinion that it were better to run the risk of almost certain destruction fighting upon the other side of the Potomac, rather than see the gradual dying-out and deterioration of this army during a winter, etc.,

They did make use of such language, but added: At the end of which the term of enlistment of half the force would expire; which made a most significant difference. yet, when it was proposed to them?

by Mr. Davis, to cross into eastern Maryland, on a steamer in our possession, for a partial campaign, difficulties arose like the lion in the path of the sluggard, so that the proposition was postponed and never executed.

In like manner, the other expedition in the valley of Virginia was achieved by an officer not of this council, General T. J. Jackson.

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. pp. 450, 451. The italics are ours.

No similar expedition was ever thought of or executed during the Confederate War. Mr. Davis’s proposition was unique.

The campaign in the valley of Virginia, which, he says, was achieved by another officer not of this council, resembled in nothing the one he had suggested; for, if it had, even with such a commander as Jackson to lead it, overwhelming disaster would have been the result.

Mr. Davis’s plan was, by means of a steamer (a single one), then in our possession, to throw troops across the lower Potomac, for a partial campaign, against a Federal force said to be on the opposite bank, under General Sickles.

Mr. Davis had evidently forgotten that the Potomac, at that point, was more than a mile and a half wide; with a tide rising and falling from five to six feet, twice in twenty-four hours; with shallow mud-flats in many places, along both shores; and, last but not least, with United States war-vessels controlling the river with untiring activity.

He had also forgotten that the Confederate column — not a regiment, nor even a brigade, but, at least, a division — thus to be sent into Maryland, would, of necessity, have had to return to the Virginia shore after the expedition, whether successful or unsuccessful.

Suppose the landing on the other side had been safely effected — we cannot see how, but will suppose it, nevertheless — while the fighting was in progress, the river would have been patrolled with increased vigilance.

The enemy would have put forth every effort to cut off the return of the column.

Reinforcements would have poured in, from all points, to assist the attacked Federals.

What then would have become of the one steamer in our possession?

How could she have brought back our troops, and what troops would have been left to bring back?

We have no hesitation in saying that, had such a movement been attempted, the fate that overtook the Federal column at Ball’s Bluff, on the 21st of October of the same year, would have befallen the Confederates.

Few indeed — if any — of the doomed men sent across the Potomac, on Mr. Davis’s expedition, would have returned to the Virginia shore to tell the story of their defeat.

Had any other but the President and Commander-in-Chief of our armies proposed such a movement to Generals Johnston and Beauregard, he would have been pitilessly and openly derided.

As it was, our commanding generals did what military etiquette and their duty towards their men required; they courteously, but, unhesitatingly, rejected the proposal.

We find it stated in the memorandum we have so often referred to, that, at the end of the Fairfax Court-House conference, Mr. Davis, after crushing the hopes of our generals by rejecting their plan, suggested certain partial operations against the enemy, among which, and most conspicuous of all, as being the most promising, was the one just commented upon.

This is undoubtedly correct.

But as no mention is made of other operations in Mr. Davis’s book, and as General Beauregard’s recollection is not quite clear as to their strategic merit, we refrain from attempting any description of them.

That they were not executed, is, to us, proof sufficient of their manifest impracticability.


Signal rockets and signal telegraph. —General Beauregard advises coast defenses at New Orleans, Mobile, Galveston, and Berwick bay, and calls attention to the exposure of Port Royal. —counsels General Lovell concerning River obstructions between Forts St. Philip and Jackson. —General Johnston orders the troops into winter quarters. —our lines formed at Centreville. —Drainsville and Ball’s Bluff. —General Beauregard proposes to intercept General Stone’s retreat, and also suggests resolute attack against McClellan’s right. —unfriendly correspondence between War Department and General Beauregard. —uncourteous language of Mr. Benjamin. —General Beauregard exposes the ignorance of the acting Secretary of War. —controversy in the press about General Beauregard’s report of battle of Manassas. —his letter to the editors of Richmond Whig. —the President accuses General Beauregard of attempting to exalt himself at his expense. —he upholds Mr. Benjamin and condemns General Beauregard. —dignity and forbearance of the latter.

While the organization of the army into divisions was being effected, General Beauregard, from close scrutiny of the Northern journals, had come to the conclusion that an early attack was meditated against his lines.

To avoid all possibility of surprise, and deceive the enemy about his real strength, he caused rockets to be distributed to his command, with minute instructions as to their use. Very shortly afterwards, as night had just set in, Captain E. P. Alexander, whose zeal and activity were untiring, came to headquarters and reported that rockets were being thrown up, in a very strange manner, from the lines of the forces opposing us. General Beauregard at once ordered the discharge of the appropriate signals; and, in a few moments a counter-blaze of rockets swept the sky along the entire line of the Confederate pickets, which extended about ten miles from the Occoquan, on the right, to the vicinity of the Potomac, north of Falls Church, on the left.

The consequence was a most extraordinary illumination, which produced an excitement in Washington, where charges soon became rife that officers of the War Department had given information of an intended advance by McClellan, in the night, which the Confederates had shown their readiness to meet.

Through the same officer (Captain Alexander), General Beauregard had also succeeded in establishing a signal telegraph between Mason’s and Munson’s Hills and Washington.

A piece of new tin, made to perform certain turns in the sunlight, by a friendly hand, from the window of an elevated mansion in the Federal capital, informed him of McClellan’s movements.

True, the information was only of a general character, and, uncorroborated, could not have been of much assistance.

But it served to arouse his attention, and what with the secret service of his underground railroad and the news culled from Northern journals, which were regularly procured, he arrived at a fairly correct knowledge of the enemy’s intentions.

To render this communication more efficient, an alphabet was afterwards established and messages were sent by moving the shades on the several windows of the mansion alluded to, which, at night, was well lighted up, to make the signs visible.

From Mason’s and Munson’s Hills answers were given by the usual system, that is to say, flags in the daytime, and lanterns as soon as it grew dark.

From Washington, lights were resorted to for night signals, and, for the day, the shifting of window curtains, right and left of an imaginary central line.

As to General Beauregard’s headquarters and his different outposts, they were put in communication by means of wire telegraph.

The inability of the President to aid in the execution of the aggressive campaign so urgently pressed upon him had left no other course open but to take a defensive position and await the winter and its results.

We were to take no initiatory steps, and fight only if attacked.

Believing that a period of enforced inactivity would now ensue, General Beauregard’s thoughts were turned to the dangers which might threaten the Southern ports — especially New Orleans; and on the 5th of October, in a letter addressed to the Secretary of War, he expressed his desire to be sent there during the probable suspension of hostilities in Virginia.

He gave it as his opinion that New Orleans, Mobile, Galveston, and Berwick Bay, along the Gulf of Mexico, would undoubtedly be assailed, and should be protected by field defences proper to withstand attack, until reinforcements could come to the rescue.

He also called attention to the exposure of Port Royal, South Carolina, as a harbor of safety on the Atlantic, for the Federals, and as leading directly to the railroad communication between Charleston and Savannah.

On the 6th, Major-General Mansfield Lovell, who had joined the Southern cause, and had just been commissioned in the Provisional Army, came to Fairfax Court-House, requesting General Beauregard’s counsel with regard to the defense of New Orleans, whither he had been ordered by the War Department.

This counsel General Beauregard gave him with great care and much minuteness.

It is proper here to state, that, during the recent visit of President Davis to Fairfax Court-House, the subject of the unprotected condition of New Orleans having arisen, General Beauregard, expressing his regret that the Military Board of Louisiana had taken no action as to the suggestions he had made to them, in February, 1861, again strongly urged his views about constructing floating booms between Forts Jackson and St. Philip, to obstruct the passage of a Federal fleet, should such be attempted.

The President gave but little weight to these suggestions, and appeared to have no apprehension as to the safety of that city.

In his interview with General Lovell, General Beauregard emphasized, both orally and in writing, the absolute necessity of such an obstruction, and hoped that General Lovell, who had approved of his system, would lose no time in putting it into operation.

Later events showed, however, that the work was not constructed as planned and advised by General Beauregard, both in his conference with General Lovell and in his memoir to the Louisiana Military Board.

See Chapter I., page 17, about obstructions and floating boom between Forts Jackson and St. Philip.

A few days later, General Johnston, apprehending the approaching cold weather, proposed that the forces should now fall back and establish their winter quarters at Manassas.

General Beauregard, whose arrangements for signal communication with Washington had been perfected, was reluctant to retire without a trial of their present opportunity against the enemy.

But there was no way of avoiding the movement.

General Beauregard, fearing the bad effect upon the army and the people of a retreat to the point held by us before our late victory, proposed Centreville instead of Manassas; and, to overcome the objection that the former place was somewhat commanded by a succession of heights too distant to be embraced within the Confederate line, he undertook himself to prepare its defences.

The order to withdraw his army, however, was so abrupt as to be impracticable without giving the movement the appearance of flight, and involving the loss of valuable property; it was not executed, therefore, until the 18th or 19th.

Inwithdrawing from Mason’s and Munson’s Hills, the Confederates took their last view of the Federal capital, and bade farewell to a post where soldierly enjoyment, under the exhilaration of successful daring, had been at its highest during days still pleasantly remembered as the festive period of the army life.

The positions we abandoned were excellent points of observation, from which the tents of General McClellan’s army might be counted; and the fact of our being so near the enemy confused him as to our plan of operations, for our position seemed to promise offensive measures on our part, and denoted both confidence and strength.

Under a bolder direction, the two hills would have been fortified and made central strategic and tactical points.

They were scarcely more than seven miles, in an air line, from Washington, whence the Confederate flag was clearly visible, and acted as a red capa on the impetuous and imprudent politicians, provoking them to insist upon a premature attack.

Had the two hills been fortified and supplied with artillery, and the adjacent ground arranged for a pitched battle, into which the enemy might have been drawn in an attempt to seize them, the result to General McClellan might have been made destructive, as, on his side, the ground was very bad, and unfavorable to the movements of troops.

General McClellan so describes it in his report. Such an attack was intended by him about the time the positions were abandoned.

The Confederate forces now took up a line of triangular shape, with Centreville as the salient, one side running to Union Mills and the other to the stone bridge, with outposts of regiments three or four miles forward in all directions, and cavalry pickets as far in advance as Fairfax Court-House.

The Federals followed with a corresponding advance of their outposts.

Afterwards, upon the closer approach of the enemy, in order to supply the deficiency of cannon, General Beauregard devised a substitute in wooden logs, so shaped and blackened as to present the appearance of guns.

They were covered with a shed of brush and leaves, so as to escape balloon observations, and made quite an imposing array, the peaceful character of which very much surprised the Federal forces when they occupied these works, after their evacuation in the spring.

On the 19th, General McClellan having ordered McCall’s division to Drainsville, about sixteen miles west of Alexandria, to cover reconnoissances in that quarter, and procure supplies, directed Brigadier-General Stone to feign a crossing of the Potomac from Poolsville, Maryland, and threaten Leesburg, held by one of General Beauregard’s brigades, under Colonel Evans.

He hoped by these movements to induce the evacuation of the place.

On the 21st, while General McCall was returning to his camp at Langley, General Stone began crossing his division at Edwards’s Ferry, and one of his subordinates, General Baker, engaged Colonel Evans in the forenoon.

During the day General Stone threw over his entire division, and the battle continued until night, when the Federal forces were completely routed, and many of them, driven over the steep banks at Ball’s Bluff, lost their lives in the river.

From General McClellan’s Report.

Upon receiving from Evans immediate news of the conflict, General Beauregard proposed to General Johnston to march at once, with sufficient force, and cut off General Stone’s retreat, as the Potomac, swollen by rains, was then difficult to cross.

General Johnston did not agree to this, fearing that some occurrence might take place requiring the presence of all our forces with the main army.

While Banks’s division, from Darnestown, Maryland, moved to his support, General Stone intrenched on the Virginia shore, but did not succeed in recrossing until the night of the 23d and 24th.

Just at this time transports had been observed descending the Potomac, laden with a heavy armament, reported to be intended for use against General Magruder, who commanded at Yorktown, on the Peninsula below Richmond, and a heavy force had, meanwhile, gathered north of the Potomac, opposite to Evans.

Seizing the opportunity, General Beauregard proposed a resolute attack against McClellan’s extreme right, exposed by its salience in the quarter of Drainsville, in order to relieve Evans and break through the enemy’s plans; but the proposition was not assented to by General Johnston,

Evans’s loss at Ball’s Bluff was forty men. He captured fourteen officers and seven hundred men. The entire loss of the enemy, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, was between one thousand and twelve hundred.

Among the slain was General Baker, whose body was returned to the Federal lines.

When, at a later date, General Stone was arrested and put on trial for his conduct of that expedition, Colonel Jordan, General Beauregard’s Chief of Staff, noticed in a Northern journal that one of the charges against General Stone was his failure to give certain orders to General Baker.

Written orders, however, had been found on General Baker’s body, which would aid in vindicating General Stone; and Colonel Jordan, having mentioned the fact to General Beauregard, the latter caused the papers to be immediately sent North, under a flag of truce; an act of chivalry to the imperilled honor of a foe.

Until early October, the personal relations of General Beauregard with the government officials — except in the case of Colonel Northrop’s violent eccentricities — had been those of unstudied friendship, although serious obstructions had also been encountered from the Quartermaster’s Department at Richmond.

Having now occasion to recommend the appointment of Mr. T. B. Ferguson, as Chief of Ordnance of the First Corps, in the place of Captain E. P. Alexander, whose services had been transferred to General Johnston, on account of his needs as General-in-Chief, General Beauregard received from a subordinate in the War Department

A. T. Bledsoe, Assistant Secretary of War. the brief reply that the President did not approve the division of the army into two corps, and preferred that there should be but one Chief of Ordnance to the Army of the Potomac.

General Beauregard was more than disappointed at this abrupt, unceremonious way of rejecting his demand.

Though not always successful in his applications, he had been accustomed to more courteous treatment from the War Department.

He thought that, apart from the question of giving him an ordnance officer, of the need of whose services he was no doubt the better judge, the President ought not arbitrarily to interfere with measures of usefulness and efficiency, which generals actually in the field could more accurately appreciate and more wisely manage.

In the antagonism of Mr. Davis to a system of organization which had been working with remarkable success for several weeks, he saw a fixed purpose to thwart not only his own views, but more particularly those of General Johnston, whose relations with Richmond were already growing to be of a delicate and uneasy character.

He therefore expressed his dissatisfaction to the Secretary of War, and went so far as to say, that if he was to understand, by such a letter, that he was no longer in command of an army corps, he requested to be relieved at once from his false position; otherwise, he desired the services of a Chief of Ordnance.

He urged that the more imperfect the elements of an army in the field, the greater should be its subdivisions under competent officers, in order that commanders might spare, for their most important duties, the time and attention unprofitably lost in devotion to minor details; and that Mr. Ferguson’s appointment was to provide a Chief of Ordnance to attend to the duties of that important department.

He also addressed the President on the same subject.

In the month of August, Adjutant-General Cooper had earnestly approved General Beauregard’s proposition to introduce a rocket battery in his command.

The object of such a battery has already been explained.

The Chief of Ordnance, having procured the manufacture of the rockets, General Beauregard intrusted Captain E. P. Alexander with the organization of the battery, and in the latter end of September, upon his recommendation, had authorized Lieutenant Edmund Cummins to enlist a rocket company of fifty volunteers.

Being now in Richmond on this duty, Lieutenant Cummins, on application to the Post Quartermaster and Commissary, found his authority questioned, and no attention given to his requisitions.

Referred ultimately for recognition to the Secretary of War, Mr. Benjamin, the latter told him to wait until the President should decide the matter.

He then finally informed him that his orders were invalid, and remanded him to the army.

There followed a letter from the Secretary of War to General Beauregard, expressing his no small surprise that he should have committed an act without warrant in law, and informing him that he could be excused and go unpunished, only on account of his motive and his defect of judgment.

This uncalled — for and altogether unwarrantable language, on the part of the Secretary of War, staggered General Beauregard, as it seemed improbable that Mr. Benjamin had ventured it on his own responsibility.

Viewed as an extreme expedient to provoke a predetermined quarrel, it corroborated warnings already received from high quarters, warnings too authentic to be wholly disregarded, to which, however, General Beauregard had been unwilling to yield entire credence.

Overlooking Mr. Benjamin, he referred his letter to the President, to whom he exposed the Secretary’s ignorance upon the subject, and protested against his ill-timed obstructions and arguments.

The following is an extract from the letter, written to Mr. Davis, under date of October 20th, 1861.

* * * * * * * * *

I have felt it due to your Excellency and the country, at this juncture, as well as to myself, to invoke your notice of this matter, so that guard may be placed against a recurrence of this character of correspondence. . . . I am utterly at a loss to understand wherein my course, in connection with the subjectmatter of the Secretary’s letter, can be pronounced without warrant in law, and be the source of so much surprise.

The Secretary seems to be unaware, evidently, that a rocket company is but a field artillery company, nothing more, and not, by any means, a special corps or arm of the service, like that, for example, of sappers, miners, or pontoniers — as I apprehend he supposes — requiring congressional enactments for its organization, in addition to existing laws.

An acquaintance with the history of the military establishment and organization of the late United States would have protected the Acting Secretary from this misapprehension, as he would have then known in what way, during the war with Mexico, a rocket battery was organized for the field, with the army under General Scott. . . .

But in this very matter, it so happens I did not act without consultation with all proper authorities.

Assured of the difficulties in getting field guns in any adequate number for the exigency, and convinced of the value of war rockets against such troops as our adversaries have, I despatched an officer of my staff — Captain E. P. Alexander — last August, to Richmond, to consult and arrange measures with the proper departments.

He saw the Adjutant-General of the army on the subject, and received, I am happy to say, the most ample, cordial approval of the plan; and the Chief of Ordnance took immediate steps for manufacturing the rockets with the utmost celerity.

On the return of Captain Alexander from his mission, so satisfactorily concluded in all respects, it became proper to secure men to be ready for the rocket battery, so that no time should be lost.

It so happened that a valuable officer, by circumstances thrown out of employment, was available, and thought to be particularly fitted for the command of a rocket battery; while it was believed that he could readily recruit a company without subtracting from our already too weak army.

Under these circumstances, I need not say to your Excellency, I did not hesitate to direct him to recruit such a company as soon as possible. . . . God knows, in all I do at this time, I have no other end in view than the good and success of our cause and the interests of our country, now sorely pressed; and I can and do confidently deny the allegation of the Acting Secretary, that my conduct has been wanting in judgment in this connection.

I am quite willing, indeed, that you shall decide whose judgment has been most at fault — that of your general, who has simply done what was essential to provide men to handle the rockets as soon as ready for use, and thus materially increase his means of defence and ability to maintain our imperilled cause; or that of the functionary at his desk, who deems it a fit time to weave technical pleas of obstruction, to debate about the prerogative of his office and of your Excellency’s, and to write lectures on law while the enemy is mustering in our front, with at least three times our force in infantry, and four times as much artillery.

In the interest of the country, you have been graciously pleased to delegate to myself and other generals in command of the armies of the Confederate States, ample powers — which could be readily adduced — under which I could show full warrant for what I have done.

Strange, indeed, were it not so; passing strange that a general officer, intrusted with such an army as I command, and the solemn, momentous duties imposed upon him at this time, should be left utterly without power to add to his forces a single company, in the simple manner proposed in Special Orders No. 353; and that the attempt to do so should fill a high public functionary with so much surprise that I can only be excused and go unpunished in view of my motives and defect of judgment.

* * * * * * * * *

Excuse me for the length of this letter, the subject-matter of which I now hope to dismiss, and about which I can have no controversy whatever with the Secretary at this time.

Respectfully, your obedient servant, G. T. Beauregard, Gen. Comdg.

As General Beauregard wrote the foregoing communication, another letter came from the Secretary on the subject of the appointment of a Chief of Ordnance, and the question of treating the armies of the Potomac and of the Shenandoah as two corps of one army, characterized, likewise, by an unjustified and offensive license of expression.

This, also, General Beauregard felt bound to refer to the President, with the request that he might be shielded from a repetition of such personal attacks.

He said:

I am willing that, in the future, my countrymen shall adjudge whether or not I have studied aright the legislation of Congress in relation to army organizations; whether, as the honorable Secretary courteously advises, I have taken the pains to read the laws of Congress, made to provide for the public defence; or whether, in my ignorance of that legislation, I require enlightenment after the manner of the communication enclosed.

Meantime I am here, as the soldier of the cause, ready, to the best of my ability, to execute the orders of the government, either with regard to the organization of this army or its operations, asking only for definite orders from the proper source, and expressed in proper terms.

I am ready to act in any capacity demanded of me.

With this, I shall leave it to your Excellency, an educated soldier, keenly alive to all the sensibilities which our profession and associations engender, to shield me, for the present, from these ill-timed, unaccountable annoyances.

Respectfully, your obedient servant, G. T. Beauregard, Gen. Comdg.

Though, as between General Beauregard and the Secretary of War personally, these letters were well answered by a significant silence on the part of the former, yet they produced on his mind a painful impression.

In close proximity to an enemy far superior in number to our forces, and who, at any moment, might make an attack upon us — every hour of his life, apart from brief rest, being devoted to the hard task before him — he felt keenly this absence of support, and the refusal of such an easy increase to his scant resources; all the more strange, as it had been previously approved of by the heads of two high department bureaus, to whom it had been submitted, and whose sanction had clothed it with all sufficient authority.

Notwithstanding — and immediately following — this correspondence, General Beauregard, ever forgetful of self, and thinking only of the interests of the cause, exchanged views with the President respecting this important point of army organization.

It was done in the same spirit of friendliness and kindness of tone that had hitherto prevailed between them.

The Army of the Potomac (General Beauregard’s) and that of the Shenandoah (General Johnston’s) had never been merged by any order of the War Department, but had been designated by both generals, since the battle of Manassas, the First and Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac, for convenience and abbreviation; and, though separate in administration, had been considered as acting together under the chief command of General Johnston, as senior officer present; General Beauregard retaining command of his own troops, and Major-General G. W. Smith taking charge of General Johnston’s forces proper.

That the War Department, as we have already alleged, was fully cognizant of this fact, is further shown by the very letter informing General Beauregard of the President’s disapproval of such a division.

A. T. Bledsoe, Chief Bureau of War — as he signs himself in that letter dated War Department, Richmond, October 8th, 1861 — says: The letter of Captain E. P. Alexander, recommending T. B. Ferguson for the post of Chief of Ordnance for the First Corps of the Army of the Potomac, with your endorsement, has been referred, etc. Besides, all the official papers sent by Generals Johnston and Beauregard for months past to the War Department, or to the President, had been headed First or Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac.

It is natural to suppose, therefore, that the change in the President’s mind, which induced him to disapprove, at this late hour, of what he had tacitly — if not otherwise — consented to, had been brought about by reasons and influences having very little to do with the real question at issue.

The War Department acted on the theory that General Beauregard was in command of the whole united army; but, that there being another officer present of equal grade and anterior commission, the latter was first in command of the whole, and General Beauregard second in command of the whole.

The General represented to Mr. Davis the evil consequences of this theory, as virtually throwing out of position several officers of the highest grades, upon the junction of their forces for some great object, and at the very time when their services, in command of their proper corps, were most needed; as in the event of General Lee’s army, in Northwestern Virginia, and General Holmes’s, at Aquia Creek, uniting with Generals Johnston’s and Beauregard’s. There would thus be a second and third commander of the whole army, which would result in all the generals, excepting the senior one — General Lee — being out of service.

He brought forward and dwelt upon another reason, which was that, with such an organization, separate inferior commanders would not be so prompt to execute a junction at a critical moment.

This theory of the War Department was without precedent in military administration, and one of its many evils, depending on the possible deductions of the department, was the present withdrawal, from an entire army corps, of the services of a Chief of Ordnance, on the ground that the army of the junior officer was absorbed, and there existed no such legal organization as a corps.

The President also desired that divisions, as well as brigades, should be composed of troops from the same State.

General Beauregard had already thus organized his brigades on the 25th of July, but declared his judgment against extending the rule to divisions, because, in case a division thus organized were cut to pieces or captured in battle, the loss would fall too heavily on a single State; and in this Mr. Davis seemed to agree, as that form of organization was not further urged.

President Davis also wrote strongly, assuring General Beauregard that the Acting Secretary of War had intended no offense, asking him to overlook the language of the technical lawyer, and stating his conviction of the latter’s regard and admiration for the General; though, meanwhile, Mr. Benjamin, certain of impunity, was writing, upon other matters, letters of like impropriety, under cover of the forms of conventional courtesy.

General Beauregard’s attention was now drawn to a controversy, raised in the press, about that portion of a published synopsis of his Manassas report which revealed to the public his plan of campaign, as proposed to the President through Colonel Chestnut, for the occupation of Maryland and the capture of Washington,

Chapter VIII:, page 85. which had been, at that time, the 14th of July, 1861, discarded by Mr. Davis and pronounced impracticable.

This publication, and the discussion arising from it, were subjects of much concern to General Beauregard, who, deploring all division among our leaders, refused to take any part whatever in the controversy.

Finally, however, but only with a view to allay public feeling, he wrote to the Richmond Whig a letter, which called forth the warm praise of his numerous friends, who were anxious, as he was himself, that the cause of public defence should not be embarrassed by personal contests.

We deem it proper to lay this whole letter before the reader.

Centreville, Va. (within hearing of the enemy’s guns), Nov. 3d, 1861. To the Editors of the Richmond Whig:

Gentlemen, — My attention has just been called to an unfortunate controversy now going on, relative to the publication of the synopsis of my report of the battle of Manassas.

None can regret more than I do this publication, which was made without my knowledge or authority.

The President is the sole judge of when and what parts of the report of a commanding officer should be made public.

I, individually, do not object to delaying its publication as long as the War Department shall think it necessary and proper for the success of our cause.

Meanwhile, I entreat my friends not to trouble themselves about refuting the slanders and calumnies aimed at me. Alcibiades, on a certain occasion, resorted to a singular method to occupy the minds of his traducers; let, then.

that synopsis answer the same purpose for me in this instance,

If certain minds cannot understand the difference between patriotism, the highest civic virtue, and office-seeking, the lowest civic occupation, I pity them from the bottom of my heart.

Suffice it to say, that I prefer the respect and esteem of my countrymen to the admiration and envy of the world.

I hope, for the sake of our cause and country, to be able, with the assistance of a kind Providence, to answer my calumniators with new victories over our national enemies; but I have nothing to ask of the country, the government, or my friends, except to afford me all the aid they can, in the great struggle we are now engaged upon.

I am not, and never expect or desire to be, a candidate for any civil office in the gift of the people or of the executive.

The acme of my ambition is, after having cast my mite in the defense of our sacred cause, and assisted, to the best of my ability, in securing our rights and independence as a nation, to retire into private life (my means then permitting never to leave my home, unless to fight again the battles of my country.

Respectfully, your most obedient servant, G. T. Beauregard.

The circumstances attending the publication of this letter are described with graphic precision by Mr. Pollard, in his book entitled Lee and his Lieutenants, pp. 246-248. Our only surprise, after reading what the author there asserts of the causes leading to the unfriendly relations which, from that time, existed between the President and General Beauregard, is that he should have deemed General Beauregard’s letter unnecessary, and its publication ill-advised.

Had he not disclaimed all idea of rivalry with the President and openly declared that he was no aspirant to political honors, the animosity displayed by President Davis would have been still greater against him, to the manifest injury of the public service.

Mr. Pollard says: Whatever the merits of that controversy, it is not to be denied that from this time there commenced to be evident that jealousy or dislike on the part of the administration towards General Beauregard which, through the war, tended to cripple his energies and neutralized his best plans of campaign.

Such being the case, what might not have been the result, had General Beauregard, by his silence, confirmed Mr. Davis in his avowed suppositions concerning him?

The following letter testifies to the feelings which appear to have been suddenly aroused in Mr. Davis’s mind.

It explains the hostile attitude of his administration towards General Beauregard, and fully justifies the latter in his endeavor to set himself right before the country.

The importance and the significant bearing of this letter render necessary its publication entire.

Richmond, Va., Oct. 30th, 1861. General G. T. Beauregard:

Sir, — Yesterday my attention was called to various newspaper publications purporting to have been sent from Manassas, and to a synopsis of your report of the battle of the 21st of July past, and in which it is represented that you had been overruled by me in your plan for a battle with the enemy south of the Potomac, for the capture of Baltimore and Washington, and the liberation of Maryland.

I inquired for your long-expected report, and it has to-day been submitted to my inspection; it appears by official endorsement to have been received by the Adjutant-General on the 15th of October, though it is dated August 26th, 1861.

General Beauregard’s report of the battle of Manassas had been written and was about to be forwarded to the War Department, when the Federal reports began to appear in the Northern papers.

Taking advantage of many facts and incidents thus divulged, and of important admissions on the part of the enemy, General Beauregard determined to transform his report into a full history of the battle — which was accordingly done — thereby considerably adding to its length and value.

The first portion of the report, containing what was termed the strategy of the campaign, remained unchanged, and, by an oversight, the date was left as originally written.

A letter from General Beauregard to General Cooper showed distinctly, however, when the history of the battle was prepared and sent in to Richmond.

With much surprise I found that the newspaper statements were sustained by the text of your report.

I was surprised, because, if we did differ in opinion as to the measures and purposes of contemplated campaigns, such fact could have no appropriate place in the report of a battle; further, because it seemed to be an attempt to exalt yourself at my expense; and especially because no such plan as that described was submitted to me.

The italics are ours. It is true that some time before it was ordered you expressed a desire for the junction of General Johnston’s army with your own. The movement was postponed until the operations of the enemy rendered it necessary, and until it became thereby practicable to make it with safety to the valley of Virginia.

Hence, I believe, was secured the success by which it was attended.

If you have retained a copy of the plan of campaign which you say was submitted to me through Colonel Chestnut, allow me to request that you will furnish me with a duplicate of it.

Very respectfully yours, etc., Jefferson Davis.

The tenor of this letter, the assertions it contains, and the expressions made use of by President Davis are so extraordinary, and denote such a state of mental irritation, that, though reluctant, we are compelled to fix public attention upon it. The pressure of official business may have contributed to weaken the President’s memory of many an event that occurred between the beginning of the war and the period we now write of; but that the proposition of so momentous a campaign, urged and presented to his consideration through the medium of such a man as Colonel Chestnut, could have altogether disappeared from his memory, is an assertion which we regret that Mr. Davis ever made.

Still more to be deplored is the further assertion that the junction of General Johnston’s army with General Beauregard’s was purposely postponed by him (the President) until that junction became opportune and thus secured the success by which it was attended.

While writing these words, Mr. Davis had evidently lost sight of the telegram sent by General Cooper — it is needless to say by whose authority — which is given in full in the Appendix to Chapter VIII.

of this work.

For convenience, we copy it again, as follows:

Richmond, July 19th, 1861. General Beauregard, Manassas, Va. :

We have no intelligence from General Johnston.

If the enemy in front of you has abandoned an immediate attack, and General Johnston has not moved, you had better withdraw the call upon him, so that he may be left to his full discretion.

The italics are ours. All the troops arriving at Lynchburg are ordered to join you. From this place we will send as fast as transportation permits.

The enemy is advised at Washington of the projected movement of Generals Johnston and Holmes, and may vary his plans in conformity thereto. S. Cooper, Adjutant-General.

Had General Beauregard obeyed the instructions there given by the War Department, and withdrawn his call upon General Johnston, need we say that no junction would have taken place at all, and that the success by which it was attended would never have caused Mr. Davis the gratification he expressed?

Here are glaring facts which cannot be gainsaid.

It was only when the War Department had been informed, on the 17th of July, that the enemy, in force, had driven in General Bonham’s pickets, at Fairfax Court-House, not more than twelve miles from Manassas, that General Beauregard was allowed to call upon General Johnston, then at Winchester, more than sixty miles away on his left, and upon General Holmes, then at Aquia Creek, about thirty miles distant on his right, to form a junction with him at Manassas.

And it must be remembered, that General Beauregard’s forces at that moment numbered about eighteen thousand men, while those of General McDowell, at and advancing on Fairfax Court-House, amounted to some forty thousand.

And it was only because General Beauregard’s sagacious strategy forced the enemy to follow General Bonham in his preconcerted retreat to Mitchell’s Ford, the only strong point of General Beauregard’s defensive line, that he was enabled to defeat McDowell on the 18th, and hold him in check until the 20th, when General Holmes joined his forces with General Beauregard’s, and General Johnston arrived with part of his own, the other and larger portion of which only reached the point of concentration about 3 P. M. on the 21st, while the battle was in fierce progress and we were near being overpowered.

Procrastination and hesitation are always fatal to military success.

It is through waiting for the enemy to develop his plans that great battles and great opportunities in war are lost.

Two days after forwarding his letter to the Richmond Whig — to wit, on November the 5th — General Beauregard addressed a communication to the President, accepting his assurance that the Secretary of War had meant no offence by his previous communications, but protesting that the latter should not call his motives into question, and, when seeking to point out errors, should do it in a more becoming tone and style.

Alluding to the reference made by Mr. Davis to the technical lawyer, He expressed his concern lest Mr. Benjamin, following the professional bent of his mind, would view only the legal aspect of things, and insensibly put both the army and himself into the strait jackets of the law.

Mr. Davis, with the tenacity which characterized his whole career as President, would not admit that the Secretary whom he had selected could, under any circumstances, commit an error or impropriety.

And the injudicious support he had given, before, to Colonel Northrop, he now, but more directly, bestowed upon Mr. Benjamin, careless of the wide-spread evils which might result from such an act. If he did not prompt the course of Mr. Benjamin,

The Hon. L. P. Walker, of Alabama, being a civilian, without knowledge of army matters, accepted the position of Secretary of War, with the express understanding that President Davis, who had been Secretary of War under President Pierce, should direct the affairs of the office.

Doubtless, Mr. Benjamin filled the post in the same way. he openly interposed himself to soothe the exaggerated susceptibilities of his Secretary of War, and sacrificed the feelings and pride of a general who enjoyed, as he well knew, the full confidence of both army and people.

We extract the following passages from his answer to General Beauregard:

Richmond, Va., November 10th, 1861. General G. T. Beauregard:

Sir, — When I addressed you in relation to your complaint because of the letters written to you by Mr. Benjamin, Acting Secretary of War, it was hoped that you would see that you had misrepresented his expressions, and would be content.

* * * * * * * * *

I do not feel competent to instruct Mr. Benjamin in the matter of style; there are few whom the public would, probably, believe fit for that task.

But the other point quoted from your letter presents matters for graver consideration, and it is that which induces me to reply.

It cannot be peculiar to Mr. Benjamin to look at every exercise of official power in its legal aspect, and you surely did not intend to inform me that your army and yourself are outside of the limits of the law.

It is my duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed, and I cannot recognize the pretension of any one that their restraint is too narrow for him.

Very respectfully, Jefferson Davis.

It was a polemic turn of words to give such meaning to General Beauregard’s language as applied to the facts and to Mr. Davis’s own suggestion about the technical lawyer.

Mr. Benjamin’s possible merits as to style were, then, of little moment to the public; the graver matter being that it was peculiar to the Administrator of the War Department to be a poor civilian who knows nothing about war, as he had regarded himself until clothed with the pretensions of office;

See letter of Mr. Benjamin to General Beauregard after the fall of Sumter, Chapter V. and to make up for his lack of usefulness in that important seat, he was pleased to indulge in abstract and futile disquisitions.

The least, though still great, harm of this peculiarity was the loss of time it occasioned, the weight it became upon the service, when pushed to the extent of harassing a general in the field, with sensitive personal cares, at a time when his headquarters were within sound of the enemy’s guns.

As soon as he could, General Beauregard replied to the President’s letter respecting the Manassas report, but made it a point to take no notice whatever of its personal imputations.

It was impossible, of course, to comply literally with the request for a duplicate of the copy of the plan said to have been submitted, as the plan was not written, but presented to Mr. Davis himself, through Colonel Chestnut, who carried a written memorandum of its main features, and full verbal instructions.

General Beauregard’s answer read as follows:

Headquarters 1ST corps army of the Potomac, Centreville, Va., Nov. 22d, 1861.

Sir,--In compliance with your request, I have the honor to enclose you herewith, at the earliest moment practicable, a copy of the following papers relating to the strategic part of my report of the battle of Manassas, to wit:


Report of the Hon. James Chestnut of his visit to Richmond, July 14th, 1861, to submit to you my plan of operations for the defeat of the enemy.

The original of this report has just been received from New Orleans, where it had been sent for safe-keeping, with other important papers.

See Colonel Chestnut’s report to General Beauregard, given in full in Chapter VIII.


Abstract of my report, containing only the strategic portion of it.

The abstract alluded to is the first part of the Manassas Report, to be found in Appendix to Chapter IX.


Letter of Brigadier-General Sam. Jones, giving his recollection of the memorandum dictated to him by me, at about 11 o’clock P. M., on the 13th of July last, for the use of Colonel James Chestnut, one of my volunteer aids.

The memorandum was never returned to me, and I kept no copy of it.

Brigadier-General Sam. Jones’s letter appears in full in Appendix to Chapter VIII.

4th. Nine telegrams received or sent by me, from the 15th to the 19th July, 1861.

Most of the telegrams referred to are given in Chapter VIII. One of them appears in full in this Chapter.

I remain, Sir, respectfully, your obedient servant, G. T. Beauregard, General Comdg.

To his Excellency President Jefferson Davis, Richmond, Va.


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 general — Joseph 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 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.

See Chapter V., p. 51. 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.

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. To render it more portable, 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 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. James L. Kemper.

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. G. T. Beauregard.

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 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.

The italics are ours.

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.

The italics are ours.

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 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:

Winchester, Va., July 17th, 1861.

General Beauregard, Manassas:

Is the enemy upon you in force? J. E. Johnston.

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.

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 366. 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 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.

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

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 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.

See, in Appendix to Chapter VIII., General Cooper’s telegram to General Beauregard, to that effect. I Had General Beauregard 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,

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

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.

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

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

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 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.

See Chapter XI., p. 142, and Appendix to the same chapter. 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 causes which prevented the advance of our forces, and prolonged vigorous pursuits of the enemy to and beyond the Potomac. Jefferson Davis.

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, 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,

General J. E. Johnston’s Report bore the same date. 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.

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

i. p. 871.

We quite agree with Mr. Davis in this expression of a general truth.

Is it possible, however, that, while penning the words 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, 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.

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. G. T. Beauregard.

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 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.


The part taken by General Johnston in the battle of Manassas. —he assumes no direct responsibility, and, though superior in rank, desires General Beauregard to exercise full command. —President Davis did not plan the campaign; ordered concentration at the last moment; arrived on the battle-field after the enemy had been routed. —pursuit ordered and begun, but checked in consequence of false alarm. —advance on Washington made impossible by want of transportation and subsistence.

Various are the comments and animadversions that have been made upon the conduct of the Manassas campaign, and the Confederate victory resulting from it. The clearest and most satisfactory evidence exists with regard to what then occurred.

The public, informed of the truth, would have naturally accepted it; but public opinion has been studiously kept in a state of uncertainty by the propounding of many insidious questions which may not here be passed without being set at rest.

What has been said, and is yet persisted in, by those who, through error or otherwise, have drawn false conclusions from the contradictory accounts of these events, may be classified and condensed under three heads:

1. Was it not General Johnston, the superior in rank of General Beauregard, who planned and fought the battle of Manassas?

Did not the latter merely act as one of the former’s subordinates, and in obedience to orders received?

2. Was not President Davis the originator of the concentration of our forces at and around Manassas?

Was it not his timely presence on the battle-field, and his inspiriting influence over the troops, that secured victory to our arms?

3. Why was not the pursuit of the enemy continued after the battle of Manassas?

Admitting the impossibility of doing so on the evening of the 21st of July, why was it not attempted afterwards?

It is due to the distinguished services of General Beauregard, no less than to the truth, that each of the points enumerated above shall be carefully and impartially examined, with the declared object not to argue, but simply to demonstrate.

I. It must be borne in mind that General Johnston arrived at Manassas on the 20th of July, at noon; that is to say, only half a day, and one night, before the battle of the 21st.

He would certainly have arrived too late, had not the result of the action of Bull Run, on the 18th, deterred General McDowell from sooner making his contemplated attack.

And it must also be borne in mind that General Johnston marched to the assistance of General Beauregard, not of his own free will, or to prepare for a battle he had already planned, but in compliance with a tardy telegram from Richmond, issued at the urgent request of General Beauregard, who, from the early part of June until that day, had never ceased to counsel concentration and an aggressive campaign.

Such a junction had at last become an imperative necessity.

General Johnston was forced to acknowledge it. Left free to use his discretion as to the practicability of the movement, he lost no time in putting his troops in motion.

Now, what did General Johnston do upon reaching General Beauregard’s headquarters at Camp Pickens?

Upon assuming command, did he immediately instruct General Beauregard as to what should be done in view of the coming conflict?

Did he draw up a plan of operations?

Did he issue orders for the distribution and location of the forces already at Manassas, and of those that had just arrived, or might come in afterwards?

Not at all. In his own words we have it (Johnston’s Narrative of Military Operations, p. 39) that the position occupied by the Confederate army was too extensive, and the ground, much of it, too broken, thickly wooded, and intricate, to be studied to any purpose in the brief space of time at my disposal; for I had come impressed with the opinion that it was necessary to attack the enemy next morning, to decide the event before the arrival of General Patterson’s forces.

And here we might properly remark, that General Patterson never arrived, nor has it been shown that he ever intended to do so. Long before writing his book, General Johnston, in his official report, had said: I found General Beauregard’s position too extensive, and the ground too densely wooded and intricate, to be learned in the brief time at my disposal, and therefore determined to rely on his knowledge of it and of the enemy’s positions.

This I did readily, from full confidence in his capacity.

And well may General Johnston have been impressed with the opinion that it was necessary to attack the enemy the next morning; for General Beauregard, in several letters to him, in messages delivered by special aids (Colonel Chisolm among them), and by his telegram dated July 17th, had clearly announced his determination, if reinforced, to attack and crush the enemy.

Before proceeding further, we think it our duty to add that General Johnston is certainly mistaken when he asserts that General Beauregard’s telegram asking — we might almost say imploring — him to move on immediately, was only received on the 18th, when his answer to it is dated July 17th, and reads as follows:

Winchester, Va., July 17th, 1861.

General Beauregard, Manassas:

Is the enemy upon you in force? J. E. Johnston.

This shows conclusively how little General Johnston had thought of leaving Winchester, and how utterly improbable it is that he had planned a battle to be fought at Manassas, through a junction of his forces with those of General Beauregard.

Does it not show, besides, how unwilling he was to move at all, unless assured that there was no exaggeration in General Beauregard’s anticipation of a powerful impending attack?

It was necessary to telegraph to him again before he finally agreed to put his troops in motion.

Hence their late arrival, some of them not coming up until the latter part of the battle.

General Johnston had, evidently, no plan of his own when he reached Manassas.

That he drew up no plan after his arrival there is quite as evident.

He had no time in which to do so. The circumstances were too pressing.

He knew nothing of the position of our own forces, and still less of that of the enemy.

He was obliged to rely on the knowledge which General Beauregard had of the whole country at and around Manassas, and, though the superior in rank, he very wisely declined to assume the responsibility of a battle in the preparaations for which he had had no share.

In his report General Beauregard says: Made acquainted with my plan of operations and dispositions to meet the enemy, he (General Johnston) gave them his entire approval, and generously directed their execution under my command.

This passage of General Beauregard’s report corroborates and completes the passage quoted above from General Johnston’s report.

Had not such an understanding existed between the two generals, how can it be supposed, first, that General Beauregard would have asserted it, and, next, that General Johnston would have allowed the assertion to pass uncontradicted, when we consider that the language used in General Beauregard’s report would have virtually deprived General Johnston of his rightful claim to the command of our united forces.

We quote again from General Johnston’s Narrative of Military Operations, pp. 40, 41: General Beauregard pointed out, on his map, five roads converging to Centreville from different points of his front, and proposed an order of march on these roads, by which the army should be concentrated near the Federal camps.

It was accepted without hesitation; and, having had no opportunity to sleep in either of the three nights immediately preceding, I requested him to draw up this order of march, and have the number of copies necessary written by our staff officers and brought to me for distribution that evening, while I was preparing, by rest, for the impending battle.

The order of march — that is, the plan of battle — is proposed by General Beauregard; accepted without hesitation, by General Johnston, and drawn up by the former, while the latter is preparing, by rest, for the impending battle.

General Johnston sleeps quietly, undisturbed by any direct responsibility for what is to ensue in the morning.

He comes to assist General Beauregard, not to interfere with his plans.

This fight is not his own, but General Beauregard’s, and he so expresses himself in declining to direct the operations against the enemy.

And while he thus tranquilly takes his rest, General Beauregard, who has no leisure to do the same, and has hardly had any sleep at all since the 17th, the day preceding the engagement of Bull Run, goes on with the active preparations needed at the hour; issues and distributes the order of march and other orders; locates troops — his own and General Johnston’s — as if reinforcements alone had been sent him, unaccompanied by an officer of superior rank.

We admit, say those critics to whom this chapter is specially addressed, that the idea of concentration was General Beauregard’s; that the first plan of battle was his, likewise; but it was not carried out; the enemy’s movements rendered it unavailing, and another plan was substituted in its stead.

General Johnston, the superior in rank, being then on the field, who suggested it?

Our answer is, that a modification of the original plan had to be resorted to, but was suggested — as had been the plan itself — by General Beauregard, and by no other.

In his Narrative of Military Operations, page 42, General Johnston says: The plan of operations adopted the day before was now, apparently, made impracticable by the enemy’s advance against our left.

It was abandoned, therefore, and another adopted, suggested by General Beauregard. . . . The orders for this, like those preceding them, were distributed by General Beauregard’s staff officers, because they were addressed to his troops, and my staff knew neither the positions of the different brigades nor the paths leading to them.

It matters very little whether the enemy’s advance against our left had necessitated another plan, as General Johnston affirms, or merely a modification of the first, as he expresses it in his report, and as was really the case; the essential fact that it was General Beauregard-and not General Johnston--who again suggested it, remains the same, and is beyond dispute.

And, here, truth compels us to add that the allegation that such orders and those preceding them were distributed by General Beauregard’s staff officers because they were addressed to his troops is altogether erroneous; for almost all orders, from the afternoon of the day previous to that time, had been forwarded through General Beauregard’s staff; the palpable reason being, that the officers of General Johnston’s staff were in complete ignorance of the location of our various troops, as much so of General Johnston’s as of General Beauregard’s. Nor must we forget that General Johnston was preparing, by rest, for the impending battle, while all our forces — those already arrived or arriving — at Manassas, were being placed in position, by General Beauregard’s orders.

Be this as it may, the fact is not the less plain that the new plan, or the modification of the original one, was conceived and offered by General Beauregard, and merely adopted by General Johnston.

This forms an essential feature in our line of evidence, and in no inconsiderable degree adds to its weight.

What we consider ambiguous and incomprehensible are the following words, to be found in General Johnston’s Narrative of Military Operations, at the close of the paragraph we have given above: Want of promptness in the delivery of these orders frustrated this plan — perhaps fortunately.

It is true that circumstances occurred which made necessary a second modification in the details of General Beauregard’s plan, and this, we submit, should surprise no one; but what can be the meaning and intent of the words perhaps fortunately, as applied to the change General Johnston alludes to?

If the plan was unwise, why had he approved it?

If it was judicious — as he must have thought it — why does he afterwards cast a shadow of censure over it?

It may have been because, having declined to assume command, he was unwilling to appear to oppose General Beauregard’s views.

Then, why should he lead the readers of his report and of his book to the erroneous belief that his was the controlling spirit directing each and every incident of the battle?

We can imagine only one set of conditions under which the frustration of the modified plan might have been a fortunate occurrence, and that is, that General Johnston, who was ignorant, as he admits, of the surrounding country, and had but superficially examined that plan, should himself have undertaken to carry it into operation.

Such could not have been the case with General Beauregard, who knew every inch of ground covered by our united forces, and certainly understood what he had himself conceived.

In truth, though it seems idle to speculate upon the possible results of events that never occurred, General Beauregard thinks — and so do many officers of merit, well acquainted with the matter — that, if the plan alluded to by General Johnston had been executed in time, the rout of the enemy would have occurred early in the day, instead of late in the afternoon, and the whole of General McDowell’s army — not a small portion of it only — would have been captured or annihilated.

The use of the phrase perhaps fortunately is, therefore, logically and truthfully speaking, without any justification whatever.

Towards the end of his report, alluding to the fact of his orders having failed to reach the brigade commanders to whom they were forwarded, General Beauregard says: In connection with the miscarriage of the orders sent by courier to Generals Holmes and Ewell, to attack the enemy in flank and reverse at Centreville, through which the triumph of our arms was prevented from being still more decisive, I regard it in place to say, etc. And he here recommends a divisional organization, which, he thinks, would greatly reduce the risk of such mis. haps in the future.

All things considered, we feel justified in saying that the phrase perhaps fortunately, though necessarily void of any effect, would mean more if applied to what might have happened to the enemy, than it does in connection with the modified plan of General Beauregard. Fortunately for General McDowell’s army, not fortunately for ours, the miscarriage occurred.

Referring, in his report, to the movements of the enemy in the early morning of the 21st, and the non-arrival of the expected troops (some five thousand of his own) General Johnston says: General Beauregard afterwards proposed (Beauregard always proposing, Johnston always accepting) a modification of the abandoned plan — to attack with our right, while the left stood on the defensive.

This, too, became impracticable, and a battle ensued, different in place and circumstances from any previous plan on our side.

On the other hand, his Narrative of Military Operations, pp. 47, 48, has the following passage: It was now evident that a battle was to be fought, entirely different, in place and circumstances, from either of the two plans previously adopted. . . . Instead of taking the initiative and operating in front of our line, we were now compelled to fight on the defensive, a mile and a half behind that line, and at right angles to it, on a new and unsurveyed field, with no other plans than those suggested by the changing events of battle.

The conclusion we are to draw from this is, that, as first agreed, we were to fight according to plans prepared and proposed by General Beauregard and accepted by General Johnston; and that now — strange as the assertion may appear — we are about to fight according to no plan at all. We submit that the fact — if fact it were — of our fighting with no other plans than those suggested by the changing events of battle, does not show, in the least, that General Johnston, either at that moment, or before or afterwards, ever assumed the responsibility of planning or directing the operations of the day.

We thus dwell upon General Johnston’s assertions, made in his report and in his book, because we take it that no better evidence than his own can be adduced in matters where he is so directly concerned.

More conclusive still does such evidence become, when corroborated, explained — though at times corrected — by passages of General Beauregard’s report on the same subject-matter.

Before quoting again from General Johnston’s work, let us briefly review the situation, as defined by its author.

We are now fighting with no preconcerted plan whatever.

We know nothing of the ground we stand upon.

This, however, clearly applies to General Johnston alone, for he admits the knowledge General Beauregard had of our own and of the enemy’s positions.

All our forces already on the field are being concentrated, as rapidly as possible, on the ground where the enemy compels us to give him battle.

The weight against us is terrible.

Our troops display the greatest gallantry, but are about to give way. Generals Johnston and Beauregard are among them.

They rally on their colors.

The battle is re-established.

And now, at this critical moment of the day, the aspect of affairs being not encouraging, as General Johnston says, a circumstance occurred, which, better than any other, will serve to define the real position of the two generals, and finally determine to which of them unmistakably belong the success and glory of the battle of Manassas

We quote from the Narrative of Military Operations, p. 48: After assigning General Beauregard to the command of the troops immediately engaged, which he properly suggested belonged to the second in rank, not to the commander of the army, I returned to the whole field.

The language of the report is as follows: Then, in a brief and rapid conference, General Beauregard was assigned to the command of the left, which, as the younger officer, he claimed, while I returned to that of the whole field.

The question naturally occurring to the reader’s mind is, where, at that momentous juncture, was the whole field?

We must not forget what General Johnston tells us, to wit, that the field is a new one; that the battle is being fought according to nobody’s plan; that all our forces are either now engaged on, or being sent to, the ground where the enemy forced us to fight him, and where the aspect of affairs is not encouraging.

To what whole field is General Johnston, the commander of the army, now about to return?

The word return implies the act of going back to a place — in this instance to a field — where one had been before.

Where was the whole field, before Where was it at this time?

The evidence General Johnston furnishes shuts out all other conclusion than this, that by returning to what he terms the whole field, he was actually leaving the immediate field of battle.

For here, on the ground where General Beauregard is now fighting, where all our forces — except reinforcements not yet arrived — are being massed, is unquestionably the field.

With the passages just quoted from General Johnston’s book and from his report, let us now connect what General Beauregard, in his report, says of this period of the day: As soon as we had just rallied and disposed our forces, I urged General Johnston to leave the immediate command of the field to me (the field — not the left ) — while he, repairing to Portici-the Lewis House — should urge reinforcements forward.

At first he was unwilling, but, reminded that one of us must do so, and that, properly, it was his place, he reluctantly, but fortunately, complied; fortunately, because, from that position, by his energy and sagacity, his keen perception, and anticipation of my needs, he so directed the reserves as to insure the success of the day.

This passage of General Beauregard’s report, explaining the part General Johnston took in the battle, is marked by a hightoned courtesy and disinterestedness reflecting honor upon the spirit actuating it. He there speaks of his superior in rank, of one who, in published orders, had ostensibly assumed command of the army, but, wisely declining to exercise his rights as such, had generously permitted the carrying out of his (Beauregard’s) plans.

Feeling sure that if untrammelled in the command, he could achieve a victory, and fully appreciating the opportunity left in his hands by General Johnston’s withdrawal from the field, he finds no words too eulogistic to express his gratification at the assistance General Johnston gives him — how?

by sending forward reinforcements in anticipation of his needs.

General Beauregard’s considerateness of feeling is all the more striking because what he says is in decided contrast with what General Johnston does not say, but clearly insinuates, both in his report and in his book.

The truth is, that the presence of the two generals on the field was worse than useless, under the circumstances.

So long as General Johnston remained there, General Beauregard, in obedience to military etiquette, had to refer to him, before issuing any of his orders.

Hence unavoidable delays must have occurred in their execution, which might have imperilled the result of the day.

General Beauregard had strenously exerted himself to procure the concentration of our forces at Manassas.

He had suggested the plan which was now being carried out, though modified, so as to meet the inevitable changes and chances of a battle-field.

To him, the immediate position of our troops and all the surrounding country were as familiar as a nursery tale, whereas they were wholly unknown to General Johnston.

It was, therefore, both natural and just that General Beauregard should have the actual command of the army, as he certainly had the responsibility for the issue of the contest.

General Beauregard was in command, not of the left only, but of our whole line, including the left, the centre, and the right.

He issued orders to all our united forces then gathered on the field, the new field, which, General Johnson says, had been substituted for the first.

On that field did he command, fight, and win the battle, while General Johnston, at his request, had gone to the rear to assist him by sending forward reinforcements.

Not once during the whole battle did General Johnston give him a single order.

All orders on the evening previous, as well as on that day, were, as we have seen, suggested and issued by General Beauregard, and acquiesced in by General Johnston.

From the moment the latter withdrew from the field, at 11. 30 A. M., or about that time, until 4. 30 P. M., when General Beauregard joined him at the Lewis House, he communicated only once with General Beauregard, and then, only to send him an unimportant message, through Colonel Lay, one of his aids.

So might have done, and so did, Colonel Jordan, General Beauregard’s Chief of Staff, and other subordinate officers, whose duty it was to inform the commanding general of all that occurred in their front, with a view to receiving further instructions from him.

Suppose General Beauregard, yielding to General Johnston’s reluctance to take the position he had indicated for him at the Lewis House, had gone thither himself, would that have put General Beauregard in command of the whole field?

Yet that is the very position General Johnston would have wished General Beauregard to take, had not the latter claimed the command, which, for the reasons so often alluded to, had been given him by General Johnston himself.

If the position taken by General Johnston, at the request of General Beauregard, was the proper one to be taken by the commander of the army, he should have gone thither of his own free will, as soon as order was restored and the battle re-established.

But he insisted upon remaining with the troops immediately engaged, and upon doing what General Beauregard actually did. Was it because he was the commander of the army?

If the Lewis House was not the position for the responsible commander, then such, most undoubtedly, was General Beauregard’s on the field.

Much more could be said.

Letters and documents could be quoted to corroborate the truth of every assertion here made about the point under examination.

But it is deemed unnecessary, as it would only multiply — not strengthen — our evidence.

The reader is referred simply to the two following letters — the first, an official one, from the Secretary of War, and the other from General Lee — which show conclusively to whom the honors of the victory of Manassas were accorded.

C. S. A. War Department, Richmond, July 24th, 1861.

My dear General, — Accept my congratulations for the glorious and most brilliant victory achieved by you.

The country will bless you and honor you for it,

Believe me, dear general, truly your friend, L. P. Walker. General G. T. Beauregard.

Richmond, July 24th, 1861.

My dear General, — I cannot express the joy I feel, at the beautiful victory of the 21st.

The skill, courage, and endurance displayed by yourself excite my highest admiration.

You and your troops have the gratitude of the whole country, and I offer to all my heartfelt congratulations at their success.

The glorious dead are at peace.

I grieve for their loss, and sympathize with the living.

May your subsequent course be attended with like success. R. E. Lee. General Beauregard.

The War Department and General Lee no doubt knew that such letters would have been altogether irrelevant had the hero of Manassas been General Johnston, and not General Beauregard, to whom they were addressed.

Ask the survivors of that first battle of the war — be they Virginians, Carolinians, Georgians, Alabamians, Mississippians, Tennesseeans, or Louisianians — who led them, on the 21st of July, 1861; ask them, when, broken down by exhaustion and overwhelmed by numbers, they wavered and had all but lost the sense of their soldierly duties, who sprang before them, radiant with inspiriting valor, and, ordering their colors planted in their front, rallied them to these sacred emblems of country, honor, and liberty?

We have written and reasoned in vain; we know not what sounds and what echoes move most the hearts of those who wore the gray, if one name — Beauregard’s — is not the name they will one and all couple with that great victory.


A retrospective glance over the preceding chapters will convince the reader that President Davis had nothing whatever to do with the plan according to which was effected the concentration of our forces at Manassas.

General Beauregard’s letter to him, written as early as June 12th, and the President’s answer, are in existence to testify that General Beauregard, ten days after assuming command at Manassas, and as soon as he had familiarized himself with our own and the enemy’s positions, began urging concentration upon the Confederate government, in which he was steadily opposed by Mr. Davis.

Failing in this, General Beauregard asked for a junction of General Holmes’s forces with his own, showing — General Holmes agreeing — the uselessness of that command in the position it then occupied.

This, too, was refused.

Grieved, though not discouraged, at his want of success in securing compliance with suggestions which he knew were not only wise but of the utmost importance, General Beauregard did all he could to prepare himself for the imminent conflict approaching.

On the 8th of July he wrote to Senator Wigfall the letter already placed before the reader (Chapter VII. ), wherein is depicted the critical strait he was in, owing to slowness, want of forethought, and general inefficiency in the management of military affairs at the seat of government.

With fifteen thousand men of all arms, he was threatened and would soon be attacked by forty thousand of the enemy’s forces.

He was determined to give battle, however, no matter what odds there might be against him; for the Federal advance must be checked even at the heaviest cost.

He was evidently anxious that the President should be approached on the subject, so as to put a stop, at once, to the improvidence spoken of.

On the next day he forwarded the following telegram:

Manassas, July 9th, 1861. President Davis:

Enemy’s force increasing and advancing daily this side of Potomac.

He will soon attack with very superior numbers.

No time should be lost in reinforcing me here, with at least ten thousand men, volunteers or militia.

I write to-day. G. T. Beauregard, Brig. -Gen. Comdg.

He did not write on that day, but did so on the 11th of July, setting forth the disparity of numbers between his forces and those of the enemy, and alluding to the apprehension of his left flank being turned and his communication with Richmond eventually destroyed.

In view of the odds against; me — he wrote in that letter — and of the vital importance, at this juncture, of avoiding the hazard of defeat, which would open to the enemy the way to Richmond, I shall act with extreme caution.

If forced to retire before an overwhelming force, . . . my line of retreat can be taken, through Brentsville, to a junction with BrigadierGen-eral Holmes, at or near Fredericksburg, whence we could operate on the line of communication of the enemy, . . . so as to retard him by the way.

He wished it clearly understood, however, that should the enemy offer battle on the line of Bull Run, he would accept it for his command, against whatever odds he (the enemy) might array in his front.

Hardly had this communication been forwarded to Richmond, before he despatched thither Colonel Preston, and, immediately afterwards, Colonel Chestnut, with another and more extensive plan of concentration and aggression.

It is given in full in Colonel Chestnut’s report of his mission, to which we refer the reader.

To be found at the beginning of Chapter VIII. The result was, that, after consultation with Generals Cooper and Lee, the President once more refused to accede to the plan of concentration offered him by General Beauregard.

The enemy were yet too near their cover to allow any reasonable hope of the accomplishment of this proposed scheme, which was declared to be a very brilliant and comprehensive one, but, withal, pronounced impracticable.

Such, in substance, was the decision against the wisest — as it was undoubtedly the boldest — concentrated, aggressive campaign attempted during the war. Before sending to Richmond, General Beauregard, in a letter dated July 13th, had also communicated the outlines of this plan to General Johnston, whose influence in its support he was anxious to secure.

He was as unfortunate there as he was with the President.

An expectant and defensive policy was, at that moment, the one absorbing thought of President Davis and of Generals Cooper, Lee, and Johnston.

At last the crisis came upon us. On the 16th of July General Beauregard was informed, by a secret message from Washington, that General McDowell had been ordered to advance, and would do so that very night.

He forwarded this news to Richmond, and, undaunted by his former fruitless attempts, urged the absolute necessity of ordering Generals Johnston and Holmes to join their forces to his.

Then it was — but only then — that President Davis consented to the long-suggested, long-prayed — for concentration, so repeatedly and vainly demanded.

An order — not an imperative one, however — was sent to General Johnston, to move on to General Beauregard’s assistance, if practicable.

It was dated July 17th, and has already been transcribed in these pages.

Too late, thought General Beauregard, and he so expressed himself in his telegram to General Cooper, advising him that the enemy will attack in force the next morning.

And the enemy did. The engagement of Bull Run was fought and won; and General McDowell, frustrated in this his attempt to carry our lines, fortunately for us, delayed his onward movement towards Richmond.

Our success was announced to the War Department; what answer came back?

The despatch has already been given, but it is necessary to lay it again before the reader.

Richmond, July 19th, 1861. General Beauregard, Manassas, Va. :

We have no intelligence from General Johnston.

If the enemy in front of you has abandoned an immediate attack, and General Johnston has not moved, you had better withdraw the call upon him, so that he may be left to his full discretion.

All the troops arriving at Lynchburg are ordered to join you. From this place we will send as fast as transportation permits.

The enemy is advised at Washington of the projected movement of Generals Johnston and Holmes, and may vary his plans in conformity thereto. S. Cooper, Adjutant-General.

Even at this critical juncture, when no further doubt could exist of the enemy’s intention to rush upon our lines in overwhelming force — the inevitable result of our defeat being the capture of Richmond — President Davis, so far from having projected concentrating our forces at Manassas, was desirous of countermanding his order to General Johnston, on the 19th of July, and so caused General Beauregard to be advised.

No more need be said to show that the concentration of our forces at Manassas was due to the energy and untiring efforts of General Beauregard alone, and in nowise to any prevision or plan of President Davis, who agreed to the proposed movement only at the very last hour, sorely against his wishes, and only when he was forced to realize that an overpowering foe threatened us with annihilation.

All this is written after a careful perusal of Mr. Davis’s book.

Nowhere in it does he assert, in so many words, that it was he, and not General Beauregard, who first thought of and first suggested the junction of our armies at Manassas; but, by using such expressions as, the great question of uniting the two armies had been decided at Richmond, he creates a false impression on the reader’s mind.

That it was Mr. Davis who finally signed the contingent order for the junction, and, to that extent, decided the question of uniting the two armies, is not contended.

He was the Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy, and, as such, it was necessary that his consent should be obtained before a military movement of so great importance could be carried out. It is clear that General Beauregard had no right to order General Johnston to make a junction with him. But that the suggestion came from General Beauregard, and that Mr. Davis, at the last hour only, issued the necessary order, is none the less an undeniable fact.

And now, that many idle rumors of the first period of the war have died out, and plain historical facts have rightfully taken their place, is it possible that even the nearest of President Davis’s friends can still seriously claim that the victory of Manassas was, in any way, due to his presence upon the battle-field?

So contrary to truth is any assertion of the kind, so plainly obvious is the fact that President Davis saw nothing of the battle, and, therefore, took no part whatever in it, that we are at a loss for means of meeting the efforts of some of his admirers, who wish to give him the meed of praise exclusively belonging to another.

That President Davis came to Manassas on the 21st of July, with the probable intention of taking an active part in the battle, should circumstances justify his doing so, none who know anything of the events of that memorable epoch are disposed to doubt or gainsay.

But that, if such were his intention, he was disappointed, is no less historically true.

In Johnston’s Narrative of Military Operations, p. 53, we read as follows: Some half-hour after the termination of the battle, the President rode upon the field, conducted from Manassas Station by Lieutenant-Colonel Jordan.

He had arrived there from Richmond when the struggle had just closed, and had, doubtless, hurried out to take part in it. The crowd of fugitives he had seen from his railway car, before reaching the station, had so strongly impressed upon his mind the idea that we were defeated, that it was not immediately removed by the appearance of the field.

I judged so, at least, from his first words, while we were shaking hands: How has the battle gone?

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

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

General Beauregard, in his report, also alludes to the arrival of Mr. Davis on the battle-field of Manassas, just after the enemy had given way and fled, in wild disorder, in every direction — a scene the President of the Confederacy had the high satisfaction of witnessing, as he arrived upon the field at that exultant moment.

True, President Davis, on his return to Richmond, was serenaded in honor of the great Confederate victory, and was even extolled as the hero of that memorable day. But nowhere has it appeared, so far, that he ever laid claim to this honor, though he is said never to have had sufficient moral courage openly to refuse it. Be this as it may, neither the efforts of his friends, nor the insinuations in his published work, will succeed in altering the facts of the case.

History, in its wonted impartiality, will never accord him the honors of the plan of campaign, or of the concentration of the troops, or of the victory won on the hardfought field of Manassas.

On those points the true verdict of the country has already been rendered.

In a letter to General Beauregard, dated Richmond, August 25th, 1861, Colonel Chestnut, of South Carolina, so aptly and forcibly expresses this opinion, that we feel impelled to transcribe his words.

He wrote:

The country owes you an immense debt of gratitude, and the world has already paid you the tribute of just and unqualified admiration.

The more the consequences of the victory at Manassas are understood, the greater and the more glorious will it seem.

The unbecoming pruriency of some, and the voracious appetite of many for even a fleeting notoriety, which have prompted undue and untimely claims to all the honors of the fight, are to be regretted, but do not amount to any serious grievance.

After a little time truth will assign each his proper place.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

With great respect,

Your friend and obedient servant, Jas. Chestnut, Jr. General Beauregard.


A few words will suffice to explain why our victory was not pushed after the battle of Manassas.

It has already been shown — and a repetition here would be useless — how it happened that the pursuit of the enemy, though ordered and in course of execution, was checked and finally abandoned on the night of the 21st of July; and it has also been shown how an unusually heavy and unintermitting fall of rain, the next day, made an efficient pursuit, at that time, a military impossibility.

See Chapter IX.

See also the latter part of General Beauregard’s report.

The reasons why the pursuit was not taken up later have also been given in detail in Chapter X.

An army deprived of transportation and subsistence is utterly powerless.

This is a self-evident proposition, that needs no argument in its support.

That our army was in that position, despite the unceasing efforts and remonstrances of General Beauregard, is incontrovertibly true; that there was no necessity for such destitution is clear.

At the opening of the war provisions were plentiful all over the land.

The rich agricultural districts of Virginia, in close proximity to the army — not to speak of the entire South, so willing to contribute in every way to the success of a cause dear to all hearts — were stocked with food, wagons, and teams.

It would have required but the most ordinary administrative capacity, and but a small amount of enterprise, to furnish the army with the twenty days rations in advance, so earnestly and repeatedly called for by General Beauregard, and with transportation enough to carry our combined forces into the city of Washington.

We do not say that President Davis was opposed to the advance of our forces on Washington, or that he purposely prevented such an advance, and the investment and consequent capitulation of the Federal capital which must have resulted from it; but we do say that, had he not persistently overlooked the just demands of General Beauregard for transportation and subsistence, not only after but before the battle of Manassas, and had he not as persistently approved the narrowness of views and improvident methods of notoriously incompetent officials, whose shortcomings were so often brought to his knowledge, the Federal capital could have been captured by our victorious forces as early as the 24th of July. General Beauregard stated this as his conviction, in letters to Representative Miles, and to Mr. Davis himself, when the latter called him to account for having been the cause of a congressional investigation on the deplorable condition of our army, and its inability either to advance or retreat.

From New Orleans, March, 1876, in answer to the Hon. John C. Ferriss, of Tennessee, who wished to be informed upon this point, General Beauregard explained how it was that no advance was made on Washington.

We commend to the serious attention of the reader the following passage from his letter: Our only proper operation was to pass the Potomac above, into Maryland, at or about Edwards’s Ferry, and march upon the rear of Washington.

With the hope of undertaking such a movement, I had caused a reconnoisance of the country and shore (south of the Potomac) in that quarter to be made in the month of June; but the necessary transportation even for the ammunition essential to such a movement had not been provided for my forces, notwithstanding my application for it during more than a month beforehand; nor was there twenty-four hours food at Manassas, for the troops brought together for that battle.

The italics are ours. The fact is, that some commands were without food for forty hours after the battle.

It is unnecessary to dwell further upon these events.

The thought of what could have been accomplished, but was not, and of the reasons for our failure, will continue to be for us the subject of lasting regret.

Our army did not follow up the victory of Manassas, and march upon the rear of Washington, as already said, for want of transportation and subsistence.

Transportation and subsistence were lacking because the Commissary and Quartermaster Departments, which could have procured both, and had ample time to see to it, failed to do so through sheer improvidence and incapacity.


Colonel Pryor, of the military committee of Congress, visits General Beauregard at Centreville, to propose his transfer to the West. —General Beauregard finally yields to the wishes of Congress and the executive. —he parts with his army on the 2d of february, and on the 4th arrives at Bowling Green. —interview with General A. S. Johnston. —succinct review of the latter’s situation. —ignorance of the War Department with reference to his forces. —General Beauregard desires to go back to his army in Virginia. —General Johnston urges him to stay and assume command at Columbus. —inspection of the works at Bowling Green. —what General Beauregard thinks of them. —he suggests concentration at Henry and Donelson to force a battle upon Grant. —General Johnston fears the risk of such a movement, and adheres to his own plan of operations. —fall of Fort Henry. —conference at Bowling Green. —memorandum of General Johnston’s plan of the campaign. —his and General Polk’s army to operate on divergent lines. —evacuation of Bowling Green. —General Beauregard asks for specific instructions. —letter to Colonel Pryor. —fall of Fort Donelson. —its effect upon the country. —criticism of General Johnston’s strategy.

Towards the end of January, 1862, General Beauregard received a visit, at his headquarters at Centreville, from Colonel Roger A. Pryor, of Virginia, a member of the Military Committee of the Confederate Congress.

He informed General Beauregard that he had been deputed by his committee, and the Representatives in Congress of the Mississippi Valley States generally, to confer with him upon a plan then under consideration at Richmond, and to urge him to give it his consent.

This plan consisted in the transfer of General Beauregard to the conduct of the defence of the Mississippi Valley, upon which public attention had now centred, and about the security of which great apprehensions were expressed.

President Davis himself — Colonel Pryor said — was desirous of ordering the transfer, should General Beauregard agree to it.

The immediate command thus proposed to General Beauregard included the forces under Major-General Polk, with headquarters at Columbus, Kentucky, within the Department of Kentucky and Tennessee, commanded by General Albert Sidney Johnston.

Colonel Pryor gave many strong reasons for the transfer he had been sent to advocate, and mentioned, among others, the critical condition of affairs in that part of the country, owing, it was believed, to the bad organization and want of discipline of our troops, confronting whom were superior Federal forces known to be amply furnished with all the appliances of war. Well-founded fears of consequent disaster to the cause were very generally entertained, which, Colonel Pryor thought, could only be averted by prompt arid vigorous action on the part of the government.

General Beauregard at first declined to accede to the proposition.

He was loath to separate himself from the Army of the Potomac, more than half of which he had organized and disciplined, and whose conduct in the battle of Manassas, and throughout the minor operations of the fall, gave assurance of still greater successes for the coming spring campaign.

Moreover, he had just undergone a surgical operation of the throat, the result of which might lead to serious consequences, should he be too soon exposed to the inclemencies of the weather.

But Colonel Pryor, notwithstanding the objections raised against the purpose of his mission, represented that General Beauregard’s presence in the West was necessary to revive public confidence, then very much shaken by the defeat of Zollicoffer’s command at Mill Spring, in eastern Kentucky, and that it would impart activity and efficiency to our operations.

He also made a statement — the truth of which, he said, was vouched for by the Acting Secretary of War, Mr. Benjamin — that the effective force in General Johnston’s department numbered fully seventy thousand men — forty thousand under General Johnston, in middle Kentucky, and the remainder under General Polk, in western Tennessee.

Meanwhile, many of General Beauregard’s friends at Centreville and Richmond, aware of the efforts that were being made, sought to dissuade him from relinquishing his position in Virginia, and what was considered the chief field of operations of the Confederate forces.

They argued, furthermore, that, should he consent to leave this army, he would never be allowed to return to it again, no matter upon what terms he might agree to accept the offer so alluringly presented to him. General Beauregard carefully weighed the strength of the arguments used on both sides.

He knew that, owing to bad weather, impracticable roads, and other influences, there would probably be no military operations in northeastern Virginia before the ensuing spring.

He was gratified by the high mark of confidence and consideration conferred upon him by the gentlemen of Congress in whose names Colonel Pryor had spoken.

He was then, as ever, the soldier of the cause and of his country, ready to do duty, cheerfully, wherever placed by the constituted authorities.

So he finally yielded to Colonel Pryor’s pressing representations, and informed him of his acceptance of the proposed transfer, but upon the three following conditions: first, that the Army of the West should consist of the effective force stated by him,

The statement of this effective force at seventy thousand men, by Colonel Pryor, surprised General Beauregard to no small extent, as he could not understand how, with such a force in hand, General Johnston could so long remain inactive. or, if not, should be sufficiently reinforced to enable him to assume the offensive immediately after his arrival in the Mississippi Valley; second, that he should take with him his personal and general staff, and, if he required them, ten or twelve experienced officers from the Army of the Potomac — none above the rank of colonel — some of whom were to be promoted to be brigadier and major generals, the others to receive staff appointments, so as to aid in organizing and disciplining the forces to be placed under him; and, third, that he should return to the command of his own army in Virginia, as soon as his services could be dispensed with in the West, and, if possible, in time for the spring campaign.

Colonel Pryor stated that he was not authorized to agree to the last two conditions, but would telegraph the answer of the War Department from Richmond.

Accordingly, on the 23d, he telegraphed the following assent:

Richmond January 23d, 1862. General Beauregard:

Have not seen Toombs.

Committee extremely anxious you should go. Judge Harris is sure President consents to all your wishes.

I send letter in the morning. Roger A. Pryor.

A letter to the same effect came the next day; and, on the 25th, the War Department was officially notified of General Beauregard’s final acquiescence in the wishes of Congress and of the Executive.

So important to success did he consider it to have experienced officers with him, that he immediately forwarded to the Adjutant-General’s Department the names of six infantry colonels whom he had selected for promotion and transfer to the West, and of the engineers and other staff officers of lower grade, who should accompany him, And, in order to prevent error or unnecessary delay, he sent his Chief of Staff, Colonel Thomas Jordan, to Richmond, to confer directly on the subject with the Secretary of War.

On the 2d of February he parted, with much regret, at Manassas, from the last representatives of that great Army of the Potomac, which, afterwards, under the name of the Army of Northern Virginia, achieved, by innumerable victories, undying renown for itself and its revered commander, General Robert E. Lee.

General Beauregard’s journey from Manassas to Bowling Green, the headquarters of General Johnston, was marked by the most gratifying manifestations of confidence and enthusiasm on the part of the people.

Every railroad station was crowded with men, women, and children, who, anticipating his arrival, had assembled to greet him, and wish Godspeed and continued success to the hero of Sumter and Manassas.

He was detained a day in Nashville, at the request of the State authorities, to be presented to the Legislature and receive its welcome.

He reached Bowling Green on the evening of the 4th, and there met, for the first time, General Albert Sidney Johnston, who gave him, on arrival in his department, a heartfelt greeting.

The manly appearance, the simple, though dignified, bearing of this noble patriot and soldier, made a deep impression upon General Beauregard.

He was drawn towards him by a spontaneous feeling of sympathy, which insured, in the future, complete harmony and effectual co-operation between them.

At General Beauregard’s request, he made a succinct review of the situation in his department, and showed much anxiety when referring to the effects of Zollicoffer’s late disaster at Mill Spring. General Buell had advanced his forces, numbering from seventyfive to eighty thousand men, to within forty miles of Bowling Green, at Bacon Creek, on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad; General Grant was at Cairo and Paducah, with twenty thousand men, pressing an expedition which was to move — General Johnston thought — either up the Tennessee River, against Fort Henry, or up the Cumberland, against Fort Donelson; and General Pope, with at least thirty thousand men, in Missouri, stood confronting Major-General Polk.

The entire Federal forces, under the chief command of General Halleck, with headquarters at St. Louis, amounted to about one hundred and thirty thousand men. To oppose such a host, General Johnston stated that he had, at Bowling Green, some fourteen thousand effectives of all arms; at Forts Henry and Donelson about five thousand five hundred more, under General Lloyd Tilghman; that General Floyd was covering Clarksville with eight thousand men, and that General Polk, in his district of West Tennessee and West Kentucky (but principally at and around Columbus), had some fifteen thousand men, not yet well organized and but poorly armed, including detached forces at Clarksville and Hopkinsville, under Generals Clark and Pillow.

Thus the whole Confederate force in General Johnston’s department numbered not more than forty-five thousand men of all arms and conditions.

General Beauregard has furnished these figures from memory. Tens of thousands of men were anxious to go into the army to defend their homes, but the Confederate government had no arms for them.

This fearful disparity between the actual effectiveness of General Johnston’s command and the fanciful figures which, by authority of the Secretary of War, Colonel Pryor had given him, struck General Beauregard with amazement.

He recounted to General Johnston the statement made of the strength of the Western army, and imparted to him the hopes he had entertained that, by a proper arrangement of the river defences for minimum garrisons, and a rapid concentration by railroad of all our available forces, we might suddenly have taken the offensive against Buell, who, unprepared for such an onslaught, would undoubtedly have been overpowered.

Thus Kentucky would have fallen under our control, and its people would have freely joined the Confederate standard.

No less painfully surprised than General Beauregard was General Johnston, when apprised of the ignorance of the War Department about matters within its peculiar province.

He confirmed General Beauregard’s previously expressed opinion, by declaring at once that he never would have remained on the defensive with such forces under him, and with Buell only a short distance in his front.

He also said that he had little confidence in the defensive works on the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers, to inspect, strengthen, and complete which he had recently ordered his Chief-Engineer, Major J. F. Gilmer, an officer of the old service, whose worth was about to be tested.

When thus made acquainted with the deplorable situation of the Western department, General Beauregard, realizing to what an extent he had been misinformed, and how useless his presence would be to General Johnston, under the existing circumstances, informed the latter that, in his opinion, he had best return at once to Virginia, where an active campaign, in the early spring, was to be expected, and where he could be of more service to the cause than by remaining with a command which it was more than likely would be forced to stand passively on the defensive.

General Johnston strenuously objected to his adopting such a course.

He urged that General Beauregard’s presence was most fortunate, and that his co-operation would be invaluable, not only in western Kentucky and western Tennessee, but in the whole Mississippi Valley.

Those who are well acquainted with General Beauregard have often had occasion to note how largely the trait of selfforgetful-ness enters into his character.

He gave a strong proof of the fact on this occasion.

With much disinterestedness, he immediately offered to General Johnston to waive his rank and, acting as his Chief-Engineer and Inspector-General, visit the various works and defences throughout the department, and make such suggestions for their improvement as his experience might dictate.

But General Johnston was unwilling to accept so great a sacrifice, and insisted that General Beauregard should go to Columbus, there to ascertain, personally, the exact state of affairs, being convinced that, upon doing so, he would no longer hesitate to assume command.

So earnest and pressing was he on this point that General Beauregard acceded to his wishes, and began making preparations to leave by the Louisville and Memphis Railroad.

It was his nearest route, but, unless he used all due diligence, might be closed to him by the destruction of the bridge over the Tennessee River, should Fort Henry fall into the hands of the enemy.

He delayed his departure, however, at General Johnston’s request, and on the 5th of February inspected with him all the works in and around Bowling Green.

He found them to be very strong, and so stated to General Johnston, though he was not sure but that they could be turned a short distance above, on the right.

He inquired whether, in such a case, General Johnston intended to remain and defend them.

The latter replied that there was a ford not many miles above, and that, should the enemy advance by that way, upon his flank, he would be compelled to withdraw, as he was not strong enough to maintain the position with no army of relief to depend upon.

General Beauregard having now asked what was the strength of Forts Henry and Donelson, General Johnston said they were tolerably well fortified, but he was doubtful of their ability long to withstand a determined attack.

In the course of this inspection tour General Beauregard expressed his regret that the works at Bowling Green had not been limited to a tete de pont on the north side of the Barren River, and to a single fort on the south side, to defend the bridge, and enable the garrison of the former work to retire at the proper moment and destroy the bridge.

The time and labor spent upon these extensive works by General Gilmer, he thought, might have been far more judiciously applied in the strengthening of Forts Henry and Donelson — particularly the former — as the command of the Tennessee was next in importance to that of the Mississippi.

Its loss would not only cut off communication between General Johnston’s and General Polk’s forces, but allow the enemy to penetrate to Eastport and Florence, near the Memphis and Charleston Railroad; thus effectually turning all positions in middle Kentucky and middle Tennessee, on one side of the river, and west Kentucky and west Tennessee, on the other side, down to the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

In view of the importance of holding Fort Henry, then seriously threatened by the Federal forces under General Grant, General Beauregard suggested to General Johnston the following views of the situation, as the result of his reflections after their interview of the previous evening.

That our defensive line, extending from Bowling Green on the extreme right to Columbus on the extreme left, with Forts Henry and Donelson at about the middle of the line, formed a reen-tering angle of nearly thirty miles, which was very much weakened by being intersected, nearly at right angles, by the two navigable streams on which those forts were located; that our flanks at Bowling Green and Columbus were so salient that the former could be easily turned and must fall by its own weight, and that the latter would become untenable also, should Grant’s attack on Fort Henry succeed;

At Centreville, Va., and before his transfer, General Beauregard, while examining the military situation in the West, had regarded the position of Forts Henry and Donelson as faulty, the true position for the works to defend these rivers being at an advanced point, where the streams approached each other within three miles; and this opinion he had expressed in a conversation on the subject with his Chief of Staff, Colonel Jordan, at Centreville.

In his interview with General Cooper, some days later, in the Adjutant-General’s office, at Richmond, Colonel Jordan laid before him these radical strategic defects in the Confederate positions at Bowling Green, Forts Henry and Donelson, and Columbus. General Cooper expressed himself as convinced of the truth of these observations, and asked Colonel Jordan to present General Beauregard’s views to the President. that, therefore, he thought it urgently necessary to abandon Bowling Green, except as a point of observation, and concentrate as rapidly as possible all readily available troops upon Henry and Donelson, so as to force Grant into a battle in that quarter, with decisive odds against him, and the disadvantage of isolation from immediate support.

This General Beauregard urged, not only as an essential measure towards regaining control of the Tennessee River, and maintaining that of the Cumberland, but as a means of placing our forces in a better position, with respect to the ultimate defence of Nashville, than that which they held at Bowling Green, which could not be looked upon as safe, on account of its being too salient, and too easily turned.

The development of this plan of operations was also explained to Colonel Jordan by General Beauregard, before his departure for the West.

General Johnston, although admitting the force of these observations, objected, substantially, that we were not in a condition to risk too much; that if we failed to defeat Grant, we might be crushed between his forces and those of Buell; that, even if victorious over Grant, our own forces would be more or less disorganized, and if Buell, crossing the Big Barren River, above Bowling Green, and then the Cumberland above Nashville, should place himself between us and this latter city, and force us back against the Tennessee River (then open to the Federal gunboats), without the means of crossing or of extricating ourselves therefrom, we would be destroyed or captured, Nashville would fall, and the whole Tennessee and Mississippi valleys would be left unprotected, except by the as yet ill-organized forces of General Polk, at Columbus, which were themselves threatened by greatly superior numbers assembling in southeast Missouri.

He further said that, at present, the main object should be to gain time to remove the supplies of ammunition and provisions collected at Bowling Green, and the still larger supplies of pork, grain, and clothing accumulated at Clarksville and Nashville, contrary to his advice, by the Commissary and Quartermaster Departments at Richmond.

In answer, General Beauregard remarked, that even if these depots were to be endangered, it was more important to defeat the enemy than to protect the supplies; that Buell, being without a pontoon train, and unable to cross the Cumberland between Nashville and Donelson, we could have time to escape from between the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, and establish ourselves behind the new defensive line of Duck River, or probably reach Nashville, if required, before the arrival of Buell, who would have to make a much longer march.

That our success must lie in following the cardinal principle of war, the swift concentration of our masses against the enemy’s exposed fractions; and that if we could concentrate our forces for the offensive with greater rapidity, all other things being equal, we had the chances in our favor; and that in war it was Nothing venture, nothing win.

General Johnston admitted this, but said that, owing to the great responsibility which rested on him, and the disaster to be apprehended to the Confederacy, should he meet with defeat, he must adhere to his intended plan of operations.

This was another of those fatal errors, and losses of priceless opportunity, which brought on the final defeat of our cause.

The result was a proof of it.

Fort Henry, being attacked on the 6th, was surrendered on the same day, after a short, but soldierly, defence.

Its commander, Brigadier-General Lloyd Tilghman, as soon as he discovered his inability to resist the overpowering land and naval forces brought against him, detached the supporting force — two thousand six hundred and ten strong — across the neck, to Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River, remaining himself to work the guns with a handful of men — about one hundred — with whom he was captured.

That gallant officer was subsequently killed while defending Port Hudson, on the Mississippi River, shortly after his return from captivity, which he had borne with no less patience than dignity.

It is to be regretted that, since the war, calumny has endeavored to fix upon him the responsibility and odium of the loss of that weak and badly armed work.

See, in Appendix, the report of General Tilghman. This was a conspicuous example of self-sacrifice and gallantry, for General Tilghman would have been justified in retiring with the main body of his command, leaving a subordinate artillery officer to defend the work until compelled to surrender.

The railroad-bridge, only about twelve miles south of Fort Henry, was now burned by the Federal gunboats, and that line of communication between General Johnston and his forces at Columbus, western Kentucky, was cut off, as had been apprehended, leaving, as the shortest route available, the line of railroad by Nashville, Decatur, Corinth, and Jackson.

On the morning of the 7th, while confined to his bed by sickness, General Beauregard was visited by General Hardee, a classmate of his at the Academy at West Point, who afterwards distinguished himself on many a battle-field during the Confederate war. Exposure to the weather had produced upon General Beauregard’s health the effect he had feared when leaving Centreville.

He was then suffering from a severe cold, accompanied by fever, and the violent inflammation of the throat (laryngitis) which resulted therefrom, detained him at Bowling Green until its evacuation, and, for six months afterwards, caused him acute pain and much discomfort.

The fall of Fort Henry had, more than ever, convinced General Beauregard of the necessity of the concentration and aggressive movement he had already counselled.

In his conversation with General Hardee he reiterated this opinion, and it was agreed between them that General Hardee should open the subject anew to General Johnston, and urge him to adopt General Beauregard’s views.

Later in the day a conference was held, at General Beauregard’s room, between Generals Johnston, Hardee, and himself, Colonel Mackall, A. A. G., being present part of the time.

General Beauregard again called the attention of General Johnston to the movement of concentration against General Grant, which he thought still practicable, if immediately carried out, General Hardee concurring, though not with much earnestness.

General Johnston, after some discussion, adhered to the objections he had already made to this plan, and gave his own views as to the future operations of the campaign.

He being Commander-in-Chief, and responsible for all that might ensue, his views necessarily prevailed, and Colonel Mackall having been called out to attend to some pressing matters, relative to the fall of Fort Henry, in his absence Generals Beauregard and Hardee drew up a memorandum of General Johnston’s projected plan, as then explained and insisted upon by him. He had declined to adopt General Beauregard’s proposed concentration for the offensive, and had decided that his own and General Polk’s army should operate on divergent lines.

General Beauregard acquiesced in the details incident to General Johnston’s campaign, as stated in the memorandum.

But this was the extent of his concurrence.

He was the author of none of the movements therein enumerated.

The views he had expressed were diametrically opposite, and favored concentration against Grant at Donelson.

The following is the memorandum referred to:

Bowlin Green, Ky., February 7th, 1862.

At a meeting held to-day at my quarters (Covington House) by Generals Johnston, Hardee, and myself (Colonel Mackall, A. A. G., being present part of the time), it was determined that Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, having fallen yesterday into the hands of the enemy, and Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River, not being tenable, preparations should at once be made for the removal of this army to Nashville, in the rear of the Cumberland River, a strong point some miles below that city being fortified forthwith, to defend the river from the damage of gunboats and transports.

The troops at present at Clarksville shall cross over to the south side of that river, leaving only sufficient force in that town to protect the manufactories and other property, in the saving of which the Confederate government is interested.

From Nashville, should any further retrograde movement become necessary, it will be made to Stevenson, and thence according to circumstances.

It was also determined that the possession of the Tennessee River by the enemy, resulting from the fall of Fort Henry, separates the army at Bowling Green from the one at Columbus, Kentucky, which must henceforth act independently of each other until they can again be brought together.

The first one having for object the defence of the State of Tennessee, along its line of operation, as already stated, and the other one of that part of the State lying between the Tennessee River and the Mississippi.

But as the possession of the former river by the enemy renders the lines of communication of the army at Columbus liable to be cut off at any time from the Tennessee River as a base, by an overwhelming force of the enemy, rapidly concentrated from various points on the Ohio, it becomes necessary, to prevent such a calamity, that the main body of that army should fall back to Humboldt, and thence, if necessary, to Grand Junction, so as to protect Memphis from either point, and still have a line of retreat to the latter place, or to Grenada, Mississippi, and, if necessary, to Jackson, Mississippi.

At Columbus, Kentucky, will be left only a sufficient garrison for the defence of the works there, assisted by Hollins’s gunboats, for the purpose of making a desperate defence of the river at that point.

A sufficient number of transports will be kept near that place for the removal of the garrison therefrom, when no longer tenable, in the opinion of the commanding officer.

Island No. 10 and Fort Pillow will likewise be defended to the last extremity, aided also by Hollins’s gunboats, which will then retire to the vicinity of Memphis, where another bold stand will be made. G. T. Beauregard, Gen. C. S. A., W. J. Hardee, Maj. -Gen.

Orders were accordingly issued on that day (7th), for the evacuation of Bowling Green, which was begun on the 11th and completed on the 13th. General Beauregard left at that date, for Columbus, via Nashville.

But the lapse of time and the hurrying of events since his conference with General Johnston made him desirous of obtaining, before his departure, specific instructions as to the immediate disposition of the force at Columbus.

General Johnston, he thought, might have modified his views; or he might have received now directions from the War Department, it being well known that the authorities at Richmond favored the holding of Columbus.

He therefore wrote the following letter, recapitulating the expressed views of General Johnston as to the military situation, and adding the suggestion that Columbus should be abandoned altogether, as soon as Island No. 10 could be made ready for defence; and that instead of his falling back to Humboldt, and thence to Grand Junction and other points in rear, he should hold the Louisville and Memphis and the Memphis and Charleston railroads, with Jackson as his centre, and Humboldt and Corinth as left and right flanks, with proper detachments at Iuka, Tuscumbia, and even Decatur; thus guarding his communications by the Memphis and Charleston Railroad with the east, as he apprehended incursions in advance of the enemy’s main offensive movement in that direction, by the Tennessee River.

Bowling Green, Ky., February 12th, 1862.

General, — By the fall of Fort Henry, the enemy having possession of the Tennessee River, which is navigable for their gunboats and transports to Florence, it becomes evident that the forces under your immediate command and those under General Polk, separated unfortunately by that river, can no longer act in concert, and will be unable to support each other until the fortune of war shall have restored the Tennessee River to our possession, or combined the movements of the two armies in rear of it.

It also becomes evident that, by the possession of that river, the enemy can concentrate rapidly, by means of his innumerable transports, all his disposable forces on any point along its banks, either to attack Nashville in rear, or cut off the communications of Columbus by the Mississippi River with Memphis, and by the railroads with the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

Should the enemy determine on the former plan of operations, your army, threatened also in front and on the right flank by Buell’s large army, will be in a very critical condition, and may be forced to take refuge on the south side of the Tennessee River.

But should Halleck adopt the second plan re-. ferred to, the position at Columbus will then become no longer tenable for an army inferior in strength to that of the enemy, and must fall back to some central point, where it can guard the main railroads to Memphis, i. e., from Louisville and from Charleston.

Jackson, Tennessee, would probably be the best position for such an object, with strong detachments at Humboldt and Corinth, and with the necessary advance guards.

The Memphis and Charleston Railroad, so important on account of its extension through eastern Tennessee and Virginia, must be properly guarded from Iuka to Tuscumbia, and even to Decatur, if practicable.

Columbus must either be left to be defended to the last extremity by its proper garrison, assisted by Hollins’s fleet of gunboats, and provided with provisions and ammunition for several months,

This alternative recommendation was based on the supposition that Commodore Hollins’s fleet of gunboats would prevent, or at least retard, the complete investment of the place, and that the country around Columbus was favorable to its defence. or abandoned altogether, its armament and garrison being transferred, if practicable, to Fort Pillow, which, I am informed, is naturally and artificially a strong position, about fifty miles above Memphis.

Island No. 10, near New Madrid, could also be held by its garrison, assisted by Hollins’s fleet, until the possession of New Madrid by the enemy would compel that position to be evacuated.

I am clearly of the opinion that to attempt at present to hold so advanced a position as Columbus, with the movable army under General Polk, when its communications can be so readily cut off by a surprise force acting from the Tennessee River as a new base, would be to jeopardize, not only the safety of that army, but, necessarily, of the whole Mississippi valley.

Hence I desire, as far as practicable, specific instructions as to the future movements of the army of which I am about to assume command.

If it be necessary for the safety of the country to make, with all my forces, a desperate stand at Columbus, I am ready to do so.

I regret much that illness has prevented me from being already at my post, but during my stay here I believe I have made myself as well acquainted with your general views and intentions as circumstances have permitted, and which I will always be happy to carry into effect to the best of my abilities.

I am, General, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant, G. T. Beauregard. General A. S. Johnston, Comdg. Western Dept., Bowling Green, Ky.

General Johnston, being then busy with the evacuation of Bowling Green, informed General Beauregard, by messenger, that he would confer with him at Nashville upon his arrival there.

He established his headquarters at Edgefield, opposite Nashville, on the 13th, and the next day the two generals met in conference at the residence of Mr. Stevenson, President of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. General Beauregard was still quite unwell, but, notwithstanding his failing health, always attending, with scrupulous care, to the minutest details of his onerous duties.

In answer to his letter of the 12th, General Johnston said that his views were unchanged as to the plan of operations recorded in the memorandum of the 7th, with the exception that he assented to the entire abandonment of Columbus, should the War Department approve of it. He informed General Beauregard that when compelled to retire, he would do so along the line of the Nashville, Stevenson, and Chattanooga Railroad, to defend the country in that direction, and the crossing of the Tennessee River; and, as it was probable that the Federal forces would soon interpose between them, General Beauregard must take charge of the defence of the Mississippi Valley without instructions or orders, using his own judgment, in the event of that separation, to counteract the movements and designs of the enemy in that quarter.

Before leaving Bowling Green, General Beauregard had telegraphed Colonel Pryor, at Richmond, to meet him at Nashville, that he might see with his own eyes, and make known to the Military Committee and to the government the exact condition of affairs in the Western Department. Colonel Pryor came as far as Lynchburg, Va., but hearing that communications with Nashville were interrupted, and that the enemy was at Florence and Tuscumbia, concluded to go back to Richmond.

The day after his arrival at Nashville, General Beauregard, in reply to a letter from Colonel Pryor, dated February 9th, wrote him the following:

Nashville, Tenn., February 14th, 1862.

Dear Colonel, — Your favor of the 9th inst. has been received.

I regret much you did not come on from Lynchburg, for the rumors you refer to were all unfounded, and the matters General Johnston and myself had to communicate, through you, to the government, were of great importance — being to provide for the very unfortunate contingency now existing here.

Moreover, I desired you to see for yourself and others the exact condition of things here, in justice to my own self; for I am taking the helm when the ship is already on the breakers, and with but few sailors to man it. How it is to be extricated from its present perilous condition Providence alone can determine, and, unless with its aid, I can accomplish but little.

My health, moreover, has failed me completely lately.

I was confined to my room by a wretched cold all the time I was at Bowling Green.

It was the most unfortunate thing that could have happened to me; for the loss of one or two weeks now is, or may be, most fatal to us. However, I am better now, and am hurrying on to my post as fast as possible.

We must defeat the enemy somewhere, to give confidence to our friends.

Large depots of provisions, ammunition, etc., ought to be provided for at Atlanta, Montgomery, and Jackson, Miss., etc., without loss of time, for future contingency.

We must give up some minor points, and concentrate our forces, to save the most important ones, or we will lose all of them in succession.

The loss of Fort Donelson (God grant it may not fall) would be followed by consequences too lamentable to be now alluded to.

General Johnston is doing his best, but what can he do against such tremendous odds?

Come what may, however, we must present a bold front and stout hearts to the invaders of our country.

In haste, yours truly, G. T. Beauregard. Colonel R. A. Pryor, Richmond, Va.

General Beauregard left Nashville on the 15th, and as there was no train from Decatur that afternoon, resumed his journey next morning with the opportunity — which he desired — of observing the character of the country.

At Corinth, on the morning of the 17th, Judge Milton Brown, President of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, arrived with a special train to take him to Columbus; but he felt so extremely unwell that he was compelled to stop at Jackson on the same day. There he became the guest of Judge Brown, from whose family he received the kindest attentions during his illness.

On his arrival at Corinth on the 16th, he found waiting for him two telegrams from Nashville — one from General Johnston, another from Colonel Mackall — informing him of the fall of Fort Donelson at 2 o’clock A. M. on that day. The fort had surrendered, and the whole army was lost, except half of Floyd’s brigade, which had crossed the river; and the head of General Johnston’s columns was about reaching Nashville.

On the 6th of February, after the fall of Fort Henry, Brigadier-General Bushrod R. Johnson had arrived at Fort Donelson and assumed command; but on the 10th was relieved by his senior, Brigadier-General Gideon J. Pillow, who had been a majorgeneral during the Mexican war. On the 11th, BrigadierGen-eral S. B. Buckner came in with orders from General Floyd to withdraw his division to Cumberland City.

These two officers, deeming the fort untenable for a long defence, preferred leaving a small force to hold it as long as possible, and then retire, if practicable, upon Nashville.

General Pillow, who was still in command, insisted upon the retention of Buckner’s division, and the transfer to the fort of Floyd’s scattered forces, which that officer was still endeavoring to concentrate at Cumberland City.

He applied to General Johnston, who ordered the movement on the night of the 12th.

Meanwhile, Floyd, yielding to General Pillow’s views, had entered Donelson on the 13th, before daylight, and assumed command, his whole force being fifteen thousand effectives.

Report of Colonel J. F. Gilmer, Chief Engineer. On the 12th General Grant appeared in front of Donelson, and, early on the 13th, commenced its investment with fifteen thousand men, increased to twenty-five thousand on the evening of the same day. Commodore Foote, with a fleet consisting of two wooden and four ironclad gunboats, made a determined attack on the 14th, but was definitively repulsed.

A brilliant and successful sortie was effected the next day by the Confederates, but, not being properly sustained according to the plan decided upon, it failed of favorable results; so that, during the night between the 15th and 16th — as mentioned in General Johnston’s telegram — the commanding officers, regarding the continuance of the struggle against the united

Federal land and naval forces as likely only to lead to a useless sacrifice of life, concluded to surrender.

This unpleasant duty devolved upon General Buckner.

About ten thousand men were surrendered; some two thousand were killed and wounded; and about two thousand escaped, with Generals Floyd and Pillow, by boats and otherwise; while some five hundred cavalry, with Colonel Forrest, passed out between the enemy’s right and the river.

The fall of Fort Henry and the calamitous capitulation of Fort Donelson, resulting in the loss of Kentucky and Tennessee, were blows that staggered the Confederacy.

A cry of condemnation arose against General Johnston, upon whom, as commander of the Western Department, rested the responsibility of these irreparable disasters.

The disappointment and profound discouragement that became manifest all over the country, but especially in that portion of it lying in close proximity to the scenes of our successive defeats, cannot be described.

The demoralization of the army and the panic of the people were complete; and bitter complaints against the general commanding our forces were heard on all sides.

Pleas of incompetency and lack of generalship were openly urged, and direct demands were made to the President to remove the Commander-in-Chief and thus save the cause from irretrievable loss.

General Johnston, with that elevation of mind and uncomplaining fortitude for which he was conspicuous, bore, unflinchingly, and without explanation, the reproaches and accusations levelled against him, though he was most keenly alive to the withdrawal of public confidence from him.

On the 18th of March, about forty days after the events above related, he wrote to President Davis a long and earnest letter, wherein he described the disastrous results which had followed the aggressive movement of the enemy, and explained what seemed to him to make necessary his plan of campaign as given in the memorandumni we have already mentioned, and his evacuation of Bowling Green, pending the battle that was then being fought at Donelson.

The letter was evidently meant as a justification of his defensive policy, and contained a synopsis of his views and embarrassments at that period.

No one will ever question his sincerity or honesty of purpose as there expressed.

Still, there are passages of this letter, and inconsistencies, almost amounting to contradictions, which it is but fair to point out and correct.

We shall consider these matters at the proper time and place, as we proceed with our narrative.

Without wishing to cast undue blame on that gallant soldier, it may not be amiss to look back to what might have been done even with his small and ill-armed forces, had he followed a different course and adopted General Beauregard’s suggestions, made to him on the 6th of February, after their inspection of the works around Bowling Green.

General Grant, according to his official report, brought to the attack of Fort Henry, on the 6th of February, a force of fifteen thousand men of all arms.

After a delay of a week he appeared before the unfinished defensive works of Fort Donelson with the very same troops, and was there joined, not earlier than the evening of the 13th, by a reinforcement of ten thousand men, including Lew Wallace’s division of Buell’s army.

Buell’s army, meanwhile, was at Bacon Creek (on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, about fifty-five miles northeast of Bowling Green) and in southeast Kentucky, with not less than seventy-three thousand five hundred effectives in all. He would have had to march at least one hundred and twenty-five miles by the shortest distance, and on unmacadamized roads, crossing two streams (the Big Barren and Cumberland), to form a junction with General Grant; which movement, with his many new levies, unused to marching, would have required at least ten days. That junction could not have been made before the 17th: whereas General Johnston had, at Bowling Green, on the 7th, about fourteen thousand men, of whom ten thousand could have been transported by rail — about eighty miles — to Cumberland city, thence, by boat — about twenty miles — to Fort Donelson, or by railroad to the vicinity of the fort, in two days at most; as there was ample rolling-stock available in west and middle Tennessee, and there was also a sufficient number of steamboats at Nashville.

There were, at that time, ten steamboats at Nashville, three of them in very good order.

These three could have towed the others down the stream. General Floyd had, at Russellville, eight thousand men, who, with over three thousand at Clarksville, could have been moved by railroad to Fort Donelson in two days at most from the date of the order.

Fort Donelson already contained a force of five thousand seven hundred and fifty men. Thus, after leaving some troops — chiefly cavalry — at Bowling Green, to keep up appearances of occupation and to delay Buell at the Big Barren River while removing the public property collected there to Nashville, or southward, a force of about twentyseven thousand men could have been thrown suddenly upon General Grant’s forces near Fort Donelson, by the 10th of February at the latest.

Such a force would have had ample time, before the 13th, to work the annihilation of General Grant’s forces of fifteen thousand men, and would have regained Fort Henry and the control of the Tennessee River.

The other ten thousand reinforcements of Buell’s army, who arrived by boats on the evening of the 13th, would have met the same fate, had they landed on the left bank of the Cumberland.

Such a victory over General Grant would certainly have deterred Buell from an offensive movement, while our own success would have given us the power to act immediately against him.

The Tennessee River was next in importance to the Mississippi; and Fort Henry was the position of first strategic value, east of Columbus, in the defensive line then held by General Johnston.

It was, therefore, deeply to be regretted that he spent so much time, from September 18th to October 12th, superintending the fortifying of Columbus, without giving proper and sufficient attention to Fort Henry.

The works at Columbus were made for a garrison of at least thirteen thousand men, armed with one hundred and forty (mostly heavy) guns; while the War Department was short of guns for other defenses and of men to operate with in the field, where the fate of the Confederacy was, after all, to be decided.

The country about Columbus, on the left bank, afterwards proved, on proper examination, to be such as to afford advantages to a land attack; yet stores, for six months, had been accumulated there, although it is a well-known axiom in engineering, that field-works capable of complete investment by a sufficient force, without local advantages, cannot make a long defence, unless there be lack of judgment on the part of the assailant, in the investment and mode of attack.

A well constructed work at Columbus, armed with seventy-five or eighty guns, and with a garrison of at most five thousand men, would have been capable of as long a defence as the extensive works there put up, leaving the remaining troops for operation in the field, and the remaining sixty guns for other works on the Mississippi, or for Fort Henry, on the Tennessee.

The latter was a small and badly located work, commanded and enfiladed by heights within easy range, on both sides of the river.

See reports of General Tilghman, commanding Fort Henry, and of Colonel Gilmer, Chief-Engineer. It was armed with seventeen guns — twelve of them bearing on the river — and was manned by a force of two brigades, amounting to two thousand six hundred and ten men, only one third of whom had been at all disciplined or well armed.

See General Tilghman’s 2d report.

The position of Fort Donelson was no better, and its works were incomplete, until inspected and strengthened by Colonel Gilmer, on the 3d and following days of February.

Colonel Gilmer’s report, see Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 113 et seq. Its armament consisted of thirteen guns, two of them heavy ones.

Had a reasonable portion of the time and labor misspent upon Columbus and Bowling Green been applied to the construction of proper defensive works on the Tennessee and Cumberland, and had the guns not required at the former places been added to those of the two forts and of other works on both rivers, our resistance at Henry and Donelson, if not finally successful, would have certainly afforded us ample time to retire with the whole of our forces, and to preserve, unaffected by too crushing a defeat, the morale of our troops, and the confidence of our people in the cause we were fighting for. It is even likely that, with sufficient energy, a system of works might have been constructed, after General Johnston’s assumption of command, at the narrowest part of the neck of land where the rivers flow less than three miles apart, and nearly on a line with Bowling Green and Columbus.

These would have given us complete command of the two rivers, and might have been defended by a limited force which could have been rapidly reinforced by boats held ready for the purpose, at Cumberland city, on the Cumberland River, or at Benton, where the Memphis and Louisville Railroad crosses the Tennessee River.

Under the circumstances, to prevent the loss of the Tennessee River, by which the whole country (including Columbus) north of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad was turned, and that great line of communication immediately exposed, the only course for General Johnston was to concentrate, at the proper time, at Henry and Donelson, and, for that purpose, to hold his forces and means of transportation well in hand, so as to be ready, at a moment’s notice, to avail himself of his extraordinary advantages of communication by rail and water between his centre and wings.

Thus Grant could have been opportunely met, and certainly crushed with superior numbers.

After the fall of Henry this plan of concentration was again imperative for the regaining of the Tennessee and the saving of the Cumberland, besides the great advantage and prestige of destroying one of the Federal armies.

The means for such concentration were ample.

It could have been effected in two or, at most, three days, and in good season.

After the fall of Henry, on the 6th, General Grant did not move upon Donelson until the 12th, with fifteen thousand men, and was only reinforced to the number of twenty-five thousand on the evening of the 13th; while General Johnston could have been present with twenty-seven thousand men on the 10th, at the latest.

No serious conflict occurred until the garrison itself attacked the Federals, on the 15th, and, in view of the brilliant success of that effort in its first stages, there can be no room for doubt as to what the result would have been if the Confederate forces had been ten thousand stronger.

General Johnston gave disproportionate consequence to the preservation of the depots of reserve supplies at Bowling Green, Clarksville, and Nashville.

Their accumulation at those points was a serious error on the part of the government; and upon the assembling of such large, threatening forces along General Johnston’s front, these supplies should have been speedily removed far to the rear, leaving the country and the army clear and free for action.

But, this having been neglected, the operations of the army and the opportunity to defeat the enemy should not have been subordinated and sacrificed to the immediate effort to save supplies which, after all, were destroyed at Clarksville, and, in great measure, at Nashville.

This concentration should, therefore, have been made, or else Donelson should have been abandoned altogether; thereby saving its garrison, and part, at least, of the prestige of our arms.

General Floyd, however, was left without specific instructions, until, with General Buckner’s advice, he began to withdraw the latter’s division from the fort, but, upon General Pillow’s remonstrance, was ordered by General Johnston, on the night of the 12th, to go into Donelson with all the forces under his control, aggregating within the fort an effective force variously estimated at from thirteen thousand to fifteen thousand men, in the reports, and by other authorities at seventeen thousand.

See General Floyd’s supplemental report in Confederate Reports of Battles, pp. 55-57. See also his letter to General Johnston, of February 12th, advising concentration near Cumberland city. Upon the adoption of this latter course, General Johnston should have left to General Hardee the evacuation of Bowling Green and the conduct of the retreat of its garrison upon Nashville, and should himself have repaired to Donelson, where so critical a struggle was imminent — nay, certain.

Such a step on his part would have harmonized the divided counsels of the commanding officers, and undoubtedly have prevented the demoralization of their troops.

It would have combined the resources of defence under his own inspiriting influence, and history, though not crediting us with a Confederate victory, would have spared us, at least, the humiliation of such an overwhelming defeat.

As it was, on the very day of the attack on Fort Donelson — the 13th — the General-in-Chief, without being pressed by Buell, was retreating from the scene of conflict, and had even reached Nashville before evening.

The Tennessee and Cumberland were lost.

The whole of middle Kentucky and middle Tennessee, including Nashville, were given up. And, as a fatal consequence of this great calamity, west Kentucky and west Tennessee, with Columbus, and with most of the supplies sought to be saved, were also, shortly afterwards, entirely abandoned.

About thirteen thousand men, organized and disciplined, were thereby withdrawn from operations in the field; a force which would have aided us to a complete and easy victory in the battle fought with General Grant two months later, or, rather, which would have enabled us to take the offensive some time earlier; disposing of General Grant’s forces at Pittsburg Landing, recovering the Tennessee River, and then, if made strong enough, meeting and fighting Buell, as soon as the crossing of the river could be accomplished.

These would have been the immediate results in the field, to say nothing of the indirect consequences from the encouragement and readiness of the people, instead of the anxiety and despondency which fell so heavily upon them.


General Beauregard telegraphs for instructions after the fall of Donelson. —General Johnston’s answer. —Colonel Jordan’s report of the situation at Columbus. —General Beauregard calls General Polk to Jackson, Tennessee, for conference. —opinion of the latter as to the strength of Columbus. —he concurs, however, in General Beauregard’s views. —evacuation of Columbus authorized by the War Department. —General Beauregard’s detailed instructions to that effect. —defects in River defences at Columbus. —Governor Harris of Tennessee. —General Johnston retreating towards Stevenson, along the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. —his letter of February 18th to the War Department. —depression of the people. —General Beauregard resolves to replenish the army. —makes use of the discretion given him by General Johnston. —his plan of operations. —Believes success depends upon offensive movement on our part. —calls upon the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee; and also upon Generals Van Dorn, Bragg, and Lovell, for immediate assistance. —sixty and ninety days troops. —the War Department not favorable to the method proposed, but finally gives its assent. —General Johnston requested by General Beauregard to change his line of retreat and turn towards Decatur, so as to co-operate with him. —General Johnston accedes to his request.

After receiving, at Corinth, the despatches announcing the fall of Fort Donelson, with the capture of most of its garrison, General Beauregard telegraphed General Johnston to know whether he had issued any direct orders for the troops in General Polk’s district.

The following answer, forwarded to Columbus, in anticipation of General Beauregard’s arrival there, was received by him on the 17th, at Jackson.

It is given in full:

Nashville, February 16th, 1862. To General Beauregard:

Your despatch of 16th received.

You must do as your judgment dictates.

No orders for your troops have issued from here.

Colonel Chalmers is a brigadier-general. W. W. Mackall, A. A. Genl.

Two days afterwards General Johnston himself forwarded this additional telegram:

Nashville, February 18th, 1862. To General Beauregard, Jackson, Tennessee:

You must now act as seems best to you. The separation of our armies is for the present complete. A. S. Johnston.

The day before receiving this last despatch, General Beauregard’s Adjutant, Colonel Jordan, who, after his visit to the War Department at Richmond, had gone directly to Columbus, rejoined him at Jackson, Tennessee.

His report concerning General Polk’s district was decidedly unfavorable, and confirmed General Beauregard’s apprehensions as to the incomplete state of its defences.

He emphasized the too great development of the lines, and their defective location, characterizing the place as a certain dead fall to its garrison, if attacked.

He also reported the troops to be imperfectly organized, and declared his inability to procure a clear statement of the forces and resources present, for want of proper returns.

General Beauregard, who was still too unwell to assume immediate command, called General Polk at once to Jackson, and also his own Chief-Engineer, Captain D. B. Harris, who had preceded him to Columbus.

They came on the 19th, and Captain Harris’s detailed information as to the position, its works, and the surrounding locality, confirmed Colonel Jordan’s report of its alarming weakness.

Upon this definite statement of the character and condition of the place, General Beauregard considered that immediate preparations should be made for its evacuation, so as to secure its supplies, armament, and garrison, which included nearly all the forces under General Polk.

It was to be apprehended that General Grant, by marching westward from Fort Henry to Union City or Clinton — some sixty or seventy miles — after forming a junction with part of the forces under General Pope, which might have landed in Kentucky, above the fort, could complete its investment within a few days; while batteries placed below it, on both sides of the river, would cut off communication or retreat by water, unless prevented by our gunboat fleet.

Batteries, enfilading its parapets, which were without traverses, would dismount its guns, while mortar batteries would fire its wooden store-houses and destroy its supplies, compelling its surrender in a very few days.

Apart from the river batteries, which were strongly constructed and powerfully armed, the defensive works, besides being badly planned and unfinished, were much too extensive, requiring a garrison of about thirteen thousand men, to resist a combined land and naval attack, while the forces of General Polk, in his whole district, numbered less than fifteen thousand of all arms, badly equipped for the field, commanded by officers who were brave and zealous, but without military training or experience.

Moreover, his troops were not regularly formed into brigades and divisions, and his cavalry was not yet fully organized into regiments.

The capture of Fort Columbus and its garrison would have opened to the Federals the whole Mississippi Valley to New Orleans, as between those two points there was not another organized body of troops capable of offering any resistance to the united forces of Generals Grant and Pope.

Fort Pillow, about fifty miles above Memphis, was not then in as good condition as Fort Columbus; its defences being still incomplete.

It was not yet armed, and required a garrison of about ten thousand men, while, at that time, it only had one regiment to defend it. At the Madrid Bend defences only one or two heavy batteries had been commenced, on Island No. 10, armed with a few guns of small calibre; and at New Madrid only some light field-works had been constructed.

General Polk had unbounded confidence in the strength of Columbus, which he termed the Gibraltar of the West.

With his characteristic gallantry he declared himself capable of holding it against any force, as long as his supplies should last; and these, he alleged, could hold out six months. But his statements, in answer to minute inquiries as to its condition and surroundings, corroborated none the less what had been previously reported by Colonel Jordan and Captain Harris; and upon General Beauregard exposing to him the saliency of the fort and the various features of its weakness, he concurred in the opinion that it could not long withstand a determined attack.

The War Department having, on the 19th, telegraphed its assent to the evacuation of Columbus, General Beauregard directed General Polk to prepare for it without delay.

The safe removal of the supplies and armament was likely to be a difficult operation, should the Federal land and naval forces be handled with judgment and resolution.

Careful and minute instructions were accordingly given to General Polk by General Beauregard.

All reserve supplies and materials were to be sent to Grenada and Columbus, by railroad, including those at Trenton and Jackson, Tennessee; the remaining supplies, to Union City, Humboldt, the positions at Madrid Bend, New Madrid, and Memphis.

The heaviest guns that could be spared were to be taken to Island No. 10, to the batteries at the Bend, on the left bank, and to New Madrid, with some of lighter calibre, for the land defences of the latter place.

The other guns were to be placed as far as possible in condition for ready removal, part of them for transfer to the works at Madrid Bend, and the remainder to Fort Pillow.

The dismantling of the fort and embarkation of material and supplies, by boat and railroad, were to be conducted with secrecy, and, as far as practicable, by night; and as it was necessary to hold Columbus until the works at Island No. 10 and in the Bend should be ready to defend the river, General Polk was to maintain a vigilant watch and repel vigorously all attempts at reconnoissance, by land or by water.

A few days later, he was instructed to open a road across the difficult country opposite Island No. 10, and to establish a telegraph line between the Island and Humboldt, or Union City, via Obionville, as a line of communication.

The cavalry, at Paris, was to watch and report the passage of any gunboats or transports up the Tennessee River, from the direction of Fort Henry, extending its pickets as near as possible to Mayfield, which was then occupied by Federal cavalry, keeping the latter always in sight, and, if compelled to retire, to burn the bridges and thus hinder reconnoissances.

In view of the great importance of New Madrid, General Polk was further instructed to send as strong a garrison thither as he could, including most of the troops at Fort Pillow, if necessary.

He was also to aid in hastening the immediate completion and arming of the batteries there and of those at the head of Island No. 10 and at the Bend, which were intended for temporary occupation, while Fort Pillow was being strongly fortified and completed for permanent maintenance.

The gorges of the works at New Madrid were to be palisaded merely, so that our gunboats might fire into them from the river if taken by the enemy.

The defences, consisting of strong profiles, were composed of three works, two on the river and one a little in advance of the others, and were calculated for about five hundred men each.

The cremaillere lines, ordered on the right and rear of Island No. 10, were to be provided with small redans for a few siege guns, and the navigation of Black Lagoon obstructed, so as to prevent the enemy’s barges from getting into Reelfoot Lake, the shores of which, between the two cremaillere lines, were to be well guarded, and, if necessary, properly defended.

The island opposite Tiptonville was to be examined, to determine whether or not it could be advantageously fortified.

General McCown, of General Polk’s forces, was selected to command those river defences, and General Trudeau,

At that time a Vol. A. D. C. to General Polk. of Louisiana, to take charge of the heavy batteries at Island No. 10 and in the Bend.

Both of these officers were to report to General Beauregard at Jackson, for special instructions.

The troops at Columbus, apart from those to be sent to protect the construction of and occupy the river defences at New Madrid, Island No. 10, and the Bend, were to be withdrawn to Union City and Humboldt, for the protection of the right flank and rear of those important defences, against any movement from the Tennessee River, the cavalry to be thrown out well in advance.

It was understood, from General Polk, that the earth-works at Island No. 10 and the Bend were already prepared for a sufficient number of heavy guns to make an effective defence, and that a large force of negro laborers was there with the necessary tools; which, however, proved to be an error.

General Beauregard gave specific instructions to Captain Harris (the only engineer who had accompanied him from Virginia, and whose great ability was not then matured by sufficient experience) as to the planning, layingout, and construction of these batteries, including the details of their parapets, embrasures, traverses, and magazines; after the completion of this duty he repaired to Fort Pillow, to reduce that work and adapt it to a garrison of about three thousand men. The work, at that point, had been planned upon so extensive a scale as to require a garrison of nearly ten thousand men.

The grave defect in these river defences, at Columbus and Fort Pillow, was in their extended lines, requiring a whole army to hold them, leaving no forces for operations in the field.

This was one of the great mistakes in engineering on both sides during the war. A garrison of from three to five thousand men, in properly constructed forts, with an ample supply of ammunition and provisions, would have been sufficient for the defence of our principal rivers until reinforcements, in an emergency, could have been sent to their relief.

From Memphis, on the 18th, Governor Harris, of Tennessee, telegraphed General Beauregard to know his plans, saying that he had made similar inquiries of the President and Generals Johnston and Pillow, so as to enable him to rally at once all possible forces in Tennessee, and issue orders to them accordingly.

He was requested to meet General Beauregard, with General Polk, at Jackson, on the 19th.

His reply was that he had ordered out every man in the State who could be armed, but that he himself was compelled to go to Nashville.

General Beauregard, thereupon, repeated his request, through General Polk, urging the advantage of the governor’s visiting Jackson, where he arrived, accordingly, on the 20th.

It was agreed between them that the State troops called out in west Tennessee should be directed to Jackson and Corinth, from which latter place General Ruggles’s brigade was liable to be called, at any moment, to support General Polk, at or about Columbus.

General Ruggles’s brigade had been first ordered from New Orleans, by the Secretary of War, on February 8th, to report to General Beauregard at Columbus; but his communication of that date to General Johnston, having been referred to the former, and the evacuation of Columbus being then contemplated, General Beauregard, who had not yet directly assumed command, requested General Johnston, in accordance with his letter of the 12th, to order that brigade to Corinth; the immediate object being to protect that point and be within supporting distance of General Polk.

Meanwhile, General Johnston, followed by Buell’s forces, had resolved to abandon Nashville.

He began his retreat towards Stevenson, along the line of the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad, as in that event previously determined upon, and fully set forth in the memorandum of his plan of campaign, given in the preceding chapter, at page 220.

The following is General Johnston’s letter to the War Department, in explanation of his future operations:

Headquarters Western Department, Nashville, February 18th, 1862.

Sir, — In conformity with the intention announced to the department, the corps under the command of Major-General Hardee completed the evacuation of Bowling Green on the 14th instant, and the rear guard passed the Cumberland at this point yesterday morning in good order.

I have ordered the army to encamp to-night midway between this place and Murfreesboroa.

My purpose is, to place the force in such a position that the enemy cannot concentrate his superior strength against the command, and to enable me to assemble as rapidly as possible such other troops in addition as it may be in my power to collect.

The complete command which their gunboats and transports give them upon the Tennessee and Cumberland, renders it necessary for me to retire my line between the rivers.

I entertain the hope that this disposition will enable me to hold the enemy in check; and, when my forces are sufficiently increased, to drive him back . . .

* * * * * * * A. S. Johnston. Hon. J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.

The military situation was now of a desperate character.

While General Johnston’s crippled army was retreating towards northeast Alabama and Georgia before Buell’s overwhelming forces, the Federal army, under General Grant, with or without the cooperation of Pope’s command, might move from Fort Henry, upon the rear of Columbus, or execute a still more dreaded movement by ascending the Tennessee River to Hamburg or Eastport, seizing the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, thus definitively separating Generals Johnston and Polk, turning completely west Kentucky and west Tennessee to Memphis, and compelling the fall of the latter city, Fort Pillow, New Madrid, Island No. 10, and Columbus.

The capture of General Polk’s forces would thus be insured, and the entire Mississippi Valley would be thrown open as far as New Orleans.

There was no army to oppose such a movement, and there were no fortified positions on the Mississippi River, to check the Federal gunboats and transports in carrying the supplies of the invading forces, should the line of railroads be rendered unavailable.

The panic, followed by despondency, which had seized the people after the successive disasters of the campaign, left little hope of raising an army; and the situation was such that, even with the utmost enthusiasm to aid such an undertaking, there was no expectation of its achievement in time to meet the emergency, unless favored by our adversary’s failure to embrace the opportunity offered.

General Johnston had informed General Beauregard, at Bowling Green, that he had exhausted all means of procuring more armed troops from the Confederate and State governments, and his official correspondence shows that he had done his utmost in that respect.

General Beauregard resolved, nevertheless, to invoke at once every possible resource, and, if he saw any expectation of raising an army, to use every effort to that end, while continuing to give general direction to affairs until his physical condition should permit him to assume the cares of formal command.

His physicians had assured him that they could keep the illness from which he was suffering under control, and the forlorn condition of the entire West, mingled now with fears for his own home, determined him to make the effort, however doubtful the result might be.

The only forces he could dispose of were some fourteen thousand five hundred men, under General Polk, holding the Mississippi River defences, imperfectly organized and, as yet, poorly equipped for the field; about two thousand, under General Chalmers, at Iuka and its vicinity; and three thousand, under General Ruggles, at Corinth.

But the energetic efforts of Governor Harris now gave him the hope of soon being able to increase his strength.

Instead, therefore, of operating, with his movable forces, on the defensive line laid down by General Johnston, as shown by the memorandum of the 7th, that is, from Columbus via Jackson to Grand Junction, fifty miles west of Corinth, with Memphis or Grenada, and Jackson, Mississippi, as ultimate points of retreat, General Beauregard determined to take up a new defensive lineconfronting the enemy from that part of the Tennessee Rivera line extending from the river defences at Island No. 10 to Corinth, via Union City, Humboldt, and Jackson; throwing his forces across the Louisville and Memphis and Memphis and Charleston Railroads; thus covering Memphis and the important railroad centre of Corinth, with strong advanced forces at Iuka, and a small force at Tuscumbia, to protect his railroad communication with the East.

With the Mobile and Ohio Railroad along his line, he would thus be enabled to concentrate quickly, either to oppose any advance of the enemy along the Louisville and Memphis Railroad, or, if ready and strong enough for such an operation, to attack him suddenly should he attempt or effect a landing at any point along the bend of the Tennessee River, between Coffee Landing and Eastport.

General Beauregard decided on this new disposition of his forces, in the exercise of that full discretion given him by General Johnston’s telegrams of February 16th and 18th, the full texts of which have already been laid before the reader.

An additional despatch of the 21st was, in substance, as follows:

As you have had time sufficiently to study the field, even should you be too unwell to assume command, I hope you will advise General Polk of your judgment as to the proper disposition of his army, in accordance with the views expressed in your memorandum, unless you have deemed it necessary to change them.

I cannot issue any orders to him, for fear that mine might conflict with yours.

Here was an entirely different plan of operations, based upon entirely different views, which circumstances now brought forth, and to which no reference, however remote, had been or could have been made in the memorandum of General Johnston’s strategic movements, so often alluded to before.

In reflecting upon the situation, as shaped by our recent disasters, General Beauregard became convinced that our substantial success required the abandonment at once, on our part, of the passive-defensive through which, defeated at every successive point in the West, we had gradually been driven to our present state of distress; and it was his conviction that necessity now compelled us boldly to assume the offensive.

To this end, and while reviewing thoroughly the sources from which additional troops might be levied or spared, he resolved to call upon the governors of Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Tennessee, for whatever number of men they could collect, if only for sixty or ninety days, with whatever arms they could procure, to enable him to make or meet the last encounter, which, he thought, would decide the fate of the Mississippi Valley.

The following is the confidential circular he sent on that occasion.

Its admirable conception and characteristic vigor will, no doubt, be appreciated by the reader:

Jackson, Tenn., February 21st, 1862. To his Excellency Thos. O. Moore, Governor of Louisiana, etc. :

Dear Sir, — As you are aware, heavy disasters have recently befallen our arms on the Kentucky border.

The Tennessee River is in possession of the enemy since the capture of Fort Henry.

The evacuation of Bowling Green, and subsequent fall of Fort Donelson, with large loss of officers, men, arms, and munitions, have so weakened us on that line, that Nashville can only be held by superhuman energy, determination, and courage.

At the same time, the direct communications of the forces at Columbus with those under General A. S. Johnston are broken, and the two armies effectually isolated from each other.

With the enemy in command of the Tennessee River, the position at Columbus is so endangered from a land approach from that river by a greatly superior force, that its fall must be regarded as certain, unless some extraordinary efforts are made to reinforce its present small army of occupation.

I need not dwell upon the consequences of such a disaster.

Suffice it to say, it would involve the immediate loss to the Confederate States of the Mississippi River and Valley.

In view of the palpable situation, I am instructed to evacuate Columbus and take up less vulnerable positions on and in the vicinity of Island No. 10, and at New Madrid.

In the execution of this measure, however, much will depend on the energy with which our enemy may follow up his late successes, and whether he will give us time to withdraw and receive his onset elsewhere.

Coming to the command at such a crisis, I have been filled with profound anxiety and sense of the necessity for a prompt, resolute encounter with the exigency, in time to prevent an irrevocable defeat.

Columbus is now occupied by but about twelve thousand men of all arms.

At Island No. 10 and New Madrid are some four thousand men, to which add Ruggles’s brigade and one under General Chalmers at Iuka, say five thousand more; thus you will perceive I have a force at my disposition of but twenty-one thousand.

If we remain supine and unaroused to the dangers accumulating day by day, awaiting the advance of the enemy, he will assemble such a force as to insure his success and a repetition of the late disasters, only with more desolating consequences.

Hence, I have thought I would submit, for the consideration of the governors of the Mississippi Valley States,

This confidential circular was sent by special messengers to the governors of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana — the rendezvous of the troops furnished to be as follows: those from Tennessee, at Jackson, Tenn. ; from Alabama, at Corinth; from Mississippi, at Grand Junction; from Louisiana, at Jackson, Tenn., if by railroad, and at Columbus, Ky., if by water. a plan which I deem most practicable for the recovery of our losses and the defence of this river, and call upon them for the means of execution.

I propose that the governors of the States of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama, and your Excellency, shall each furnish me with from five thousand to ten thousand men, armed and equipped, with the utmost possible celerity; for time is precious, and despatch essential to success.

I shall call on General Van Dorn to unite his forces with mine, and, leaving a suitable garrison at Columbus, with troops to guard and hold my rear at Island No. 10, I would then take the field with at least forty thousand men, march on Paducah, seize and close the mouths of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers; aided by gun-boats, I would also successfully assail Cairo, and threaten, if not, indeed, take, St. Louis itself.

In this way, be assured, we may most certainly and speedily recover our losses and insure the defence of the Valley of the Mississippi, and every man you may send me will really be placed in the best possible position for the defence of his own home and hearthstone.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, G. T. Beauregard, General C. S. A.

He also called upon General Bragg for what forces he could spare from Pensacola and Mobile, inviting him to come in person, if he could.

A similar demand for troops he addressed to General Lovell, at New Orleans; and General Van Dorn was requested to join him at once, with ten thousand of his forces, from Arkansas, across the Mississippi.

The following is the letter despatched to General Van Dorn.

Its importance and historical value justify us in transcribing it here:

Jackson, Tenn., February 21st, 1862.

My dear General, — By the fall of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, the forces under General Polk (now to be under me) are entirely cut off from those under General A. S. Johnston, and must henceforth depend upon themselves alone for the defence of the Mississippi River and contiguous States; the fall of Columbus, and of Island No. 10, must necessarily be followed by the loss of the whole Mississippi Valley, to the mouth of the Mississippi River.

The fate of Missouri necessarily depends on the successful defence of Columbus, and of Island No. 10; hence, we must, if possible, combine our operations not only to defend those positions, but also to take the offensive, as soon as practicable, to recover some of our lost ground.

I have just called on the governors of Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi, for five thousand men from each State.

I have fifteen thousand disposable for the field; if you could certainly join me, via New Madrid or Columbus, with ten thousand more, we could thus take the field with forty thousand men, take Cairo, Paducah, the mouth of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, and, most probably, be able to take also St. Louis, by the river.

What say you to this brilliant programme which I know is fully practicable, if we can get the forces?

At all events, we must do something or die in the attempt, otherwise, all will be shortly lost.

Yours truly and sincerely, G. T. Beauregard, General C. S. A. Earl Van Dorn, Commanding, etc., Pocahontas, Arkansas.

P. S. — I expect also the co-operation of twelve gunboats from New Orleans.

I will inform you of the governors’ answers, as soon as received. G. T. Beauregard.

General Beauregard was of the opinion, and so expressed it, at the time, that the usefulness of Van Dorn’s command would be greater east of the Mississippi than in the position it then occupied, and that New Orleans itself would be better defended by the concentration he was endeavoring to effect, than by any effort made at its own gates, when all outside barriers should have been destroyed and swept away.

He asked that all troops sent him should be provided, upon starting, with three days cooked rations, and forty rounds of ammunition per man. And in order to secure additional strength, and increase his chances of success, he also sent to General Johnston, then at Murfreesboroa, urging him to abandon his line of retreat, along the Stevenson and Chattanooga Railroad, which was taking him farther and farther away, and, unless the enemy should anticipate, or intercept him, to turn towards Decatur, from which quarter he would then be within easy distance to co-operate with or join him. Thus was he making all possible preparation, in case he should succeed in levying and assembling the troops he had called for, from so many different points.

On the 20th he sent despatches to each of the governors of the above-mentioned States, notifying them that special messengers would go to them, from him, on important public business.

And the next morning (the 22d) the following members of his staff left his headquarters, at Jackson, Tennessee, upon their several missions: Lieutenant (afterwards General) S. W. Ferguson went to General Johnston and Governor Harris, at Murfreesboroa; Lieutenant A. R. Chisolm, to Governor Shorter, of Alabama, and Major-General Bragg, at Mobile; Dr. Samuel Choppin, to Governor Moore, of Louisiana, and Major-General Lovell, at New Orleans; Lieutenant A. N. T. Beauregard, to Governor Pettus, of Mississippi; and Major B. B. Waddell, who was well acquainted with the country in the Trans-Mississippi, was sent to General Van Dorn, the location of whose headquarters had not yet been ascertained.

General Beauregard also wrote to General Cooper, at Richmond, asking for any instructions the War Department might think proper to give him, with regard to this calling out of State troops, and as to the movement he had requested General Van Dorn to make out of the limits of his department, in order to join him in his contemplated operations.

He represented that all operations in States bordering on the Mississippi River should be made subordinate to the secure possession of that river, which, if lost, would involve the complete isolation and destruction of any army west of it.

The War Department did not approve of this call on the governors of the States, for sixty or ninety days troops, objecting that there was no law authorizing such a levy, and that it interfered with the War Department’s own recruiting operations.

General Beauregard answered that the call was to be made by each governor, in the name of his own State, and that after the expected battle, the troops thus levied might, on their return home, enlist under the general government.

These reasons appear to have been satisfactory, as no further opposition was offered.

General Johnston, who was then at Murfreesboroa, reorganizing his troops, on his way towards Stevenson, acceded to General Beauregard’s request, and, some days later, upon completing his reorganization, changed his line of march towards Decatur, via Shelbyville, Fayetteville, and Huntsville.

General Bragg referred the question of compliance with General Beauregard’s request to the War Department, which, as he informed General Beauregard, left it to his own discretion.

He decided to go at once, and furnish about ten thousand men, including three regiments that he had already sent to Chattanooga, to reinforce General Johnston, and some other regiments on their way to that point, which he recalled.

General Lovell also cheerfully responded — so did the four governors — promising to do their utmost in furtherance of the plan, and to rendezvous their troops as requested, with the rations, and forty rounds of ammunition called for. It was not until later, however, that any news could be had from General Van Dorn, he being then engaged in a movement which resulted in the battle of Elkhorn, with the Federals, under General Lyon.


Evacuation of Columbus. —how the enemy discovered it. —loss of ordnance stores, anchors, and torpedoes. —Island no. 10. —difficulty in placing guns in position. —Federal gunboats might have passed unhindered. —small garrison under Colonel Gantt reinforced by General McCown with part of the garrison of Columbus. —defences at New Madrid to be held until the completion of the works at Fort Pillow. —remainder of General Polk’s forces assembled upon Humboldt. —preparations for an offensive movement by the enemy. —danger of isolation for General Johnston. —General Beauregard’s letter to him. —the great battle of the controversy to be fought at or near Corinth. —General Johnston accedes to General Beauregard’s request, and begins a movement to join him. —General Beauregard assumes command. —arrival of General Bragg’s forces at Corinth. —Corinth the chief point of concentration, as originally decided upon. —General Beauregard appeals to the War Department for the General officers promised him. —their services greatly needed. —unwillingness and apathy of the War Department.

It will be remembered that one of the conditions of General Beauregard’s departure for the Mississippi Valley was, that he should be furnished with a certain number of officers from the Army of the Potomac, should their services be needed, some of them to be promoted to be brigadier-generals and others to be major-generals.

Early in February a list of their names was left with the War Department by Colonel Thomas Jordan, General Beauregard’s Adjutant and Chief of Staff.

On the 20th of that month General Beauregard called for Captains Wampler and Fremeaux, as Assistant Engineers, to aid in constructing the several defences on the Mississippi River; and for Major G. W. Brent, as Inspector and Judge-Advocate-General, whose immediate services were much needed at the time.

After considerable delay, the two engineers only were sent: Captain Fremeaux arriving a few days previous to the impending battle, and Captain Wampler not until it had been fought.

Closely following this first demand upon the War Department, General Beauregard, with a view properly to organize the forces under General Polk, and the new levies daily expected, formally applied for the general officers so greatly needed for the efficiency of his command; carefully explaining that no suitable subdivision of the troops had yet been made, or could be practicable, without their assistance.

His request, however, remained unheeded, or, rather, after much controversy, was only partly complied with at the last hour, and not according to his desires, nor in the manner promised.

We shall again refer to this subject as we proceed with the present chapter.

Meanwhile, General Polk was making preparations for the evacuation of Columbus, which began on the 25th of February.

The next day he requested General Beauregard to join him there, but this the latter was unable to do, being yet too unwell to undertake the journey.

He continued, however, to send directions to General Polk, as the necessity arose respecting certain main points of the evacuation, and particularly as to the occupation of New Madrid.

So imminent was the danger of an attack upon that place, that he had telegraphed General Johnston for a brigade to be sent there, as soon as possible, by railroad; a request which, it seems, could not be complied with.

On the 28th, his Adjutant-General was sent to Columbus, to suggest the establishment of a telegraphic line between Humboldt or Union City and Island No. 10, by means of which that now important position — the left of his new defensive line — should be brought into immediate communication with his headquarters.

Colonel Jordan was also commissioned to advise General Polk in person as to the evacuation then in process of execution, which he did. He then returned without delay to Jackson.

The evacuation of Columbus was completed on the 2d of March, owing, in no small degree, to a lack of watchfulness and daring on the part of the enemy.

So cautious in their reconnoitring had the Federal gunboats been, that the fact that Columbus was unoccupied was only discovered by them on the 4th, and then by mere accident.

While slowly advancing down the river, they were much surprised at the sight of a United States’ flag flying over the place.

It had been hoisted there on the afternoon of the 3d, by a troop of Federal cavalry, who, attracted by a cloud of smoke rising from the quarters and storehouses, and prudently creeping up to the works, had thus discovered the real state of the case.

These buildings had been set on fire by injudicious orders, the day before the appearance of the reconnoitring party.

In the hurry of final departure, some ordnance and a quantity of ordnance stores, torpedoes, and anchors — the latter much needed for river obstructions at New Orleans — were left behind and fell into the hands of the enemy.

At Island No. 10 and the batteries in the Bend, the difficulty of placing the guns in position from the spot where they had been landed was such that for at least two days neither of those defences could have successfully resisted the passage — if attempted — of any of the Federal gunboats.

Had Commodore Foote then displayed the boldness which he afterwards showed at the same place, and which so characterized Admirals Farragut and Buchanan, and Captain Brown, of the Arkansas, he might have passed without much resistance and captured New Orleans from the rear.

Instead of this, he merely left a gunboat and two mortar-boats to protect Columbus from the river, and, with the remainder, quietly returned to Cairo.

See Record of the Rebellion, vol.

IV. p. 226.

A part of the heavy armament and ammunition from Columbus was sent to the unfinished batteries on the upper end of Island No. 10, a naturally good and defensible position in New Madrid Bend, and to those on the main Tennessee shore.

The small garrison under Colonel Gantt, at New Madrid, a little town on the Missouri bank of the river, about sixty miles below Columbus, and ten, more or less, from Island No. 10, was reinforced by General McCown, with part of the garrison of Columbus, and was hastily fortified with field-works.

General McCown, with about seven thousand men, was placed in command of all the defenses at Madrid Bend, intended to be held only long enough to permit the completion of the stronger and more important works designed for Fort Pillow, to which the remainder of the heavy armament and ammunition from Columbus had already been sent.

This position (Fort Pillow), about fifty-nine miles above Memphis, which, as yet, was but partly fortified, General Beauregard had determined to strengthen and hold, with a garrison not to exceed four thousand men, as the left of his new defensive line, already referred to, covering Memphis, and the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

What was left of General Polk’s forces (about seven thousand men) was then assembled, mainly upon Humboldt, at the intersection of the Memphis and Louisville and Mobile and Ohio Railroads — a point having central relation and railroad communication with the principal towns in west Tennessee and north Mississippi.

A strong line of infantry outposts was established from Union City, on the left, to Lexington, on the right, by the way of Dresden and Huntington, protected by a line of cavalry pickets thrown well out in advance, from Hickman, on the Mississippi, to Paris, near the Tennessee River.

Mounted parties, supplied with light artillery, patrolled the west bank of the latter stream, and kept General Beauregard well informed of the movements of the enemy’s boats.

During the evacuation of Columbus, reports of great preparations for an offensive movement had reached General Beauregard from the Federal rendezvous at Cairo, Paducah, and Fort Henry.

Pope’s forces were then moving upon New Madrid, the left of our river defences, and it seemed evident that the abandonment of Columbus must necessarily stimulate active hostile operations in the valley.

Convinced that there was early danger to be apprehended from the direction of the Tennessee River, which might result in completely isolating General Johnston’s forces, General Beauregard, who now had the assurance of being soon joined by General Bragg and the reinforcements promised him by the governors to whom he had applied, on the 2d of March despatched Captain Otey, of his staff, to General Johnston, with written evidence of the enemy’s threatening intentions, and with a short but impressive letter, urging him to hurry forward his troops by railroad to Corinth.

This letter read as follows:

Jackson, Tenn., March 2d, 1862.

Dear General, — I send you herewith enclosed a slip showing the intended movements of the enemy, no doubt against the troops in western Tennessee.

I think you ought to hurry up your troops to Corinth by railroad, as soon as practicable, for there or thereabouts will soon be fought the great battle of this controversy.

General Bragg is with me; we are trying to organize everything as rapidly as possible.

Yours truly, G. T. Beauregard. General A. S. Johnston, Stevenson, Ala.

On the same day, and to the same effect, he also telegraphed General Johnston, reaffirming the urgency of a junction at Corinth, and asking specially for the 9th and 10th Mississippi and 5th Georgia regiments, under Brigadier-General J. R. Jackson, they having been sent to Chattanooga, by order of the War Department, to reinforce General Johnston, then moving upon Stevenson, and about the disposition of whose troops, and projected plans, Mr. Benjamin wrote that he was still without any satisfactory information.

See Mr. Benjamin’s letter to General Bragg, dated Richmond, Va., February 18th, 1862. General Beauregard was most anxious that these troops should at once reach Corinth — now become the important strategic point — in anticipation of the arrival there of the reinforcements coming from the adjacent States.

On the 3d, General Johnston, through Colonel Mackall, A. A. G., replied, from Shelbyville, that the 10th Mississippi would be forwarded from Chattanooga, and that his own army would move as rapidly as it could march.

He then answered General Beauregard’s letter, from Fayetteville, on the 5th, stating that his army was advancing; that it had already reached that place; would move on to join him, as fast as possible; and that, upon his arrival at Decatur, he would decide upon the promptest mode of effecting the desired junction.

General Beauregard, by most strenuous efforts, and in the face of almost insurmountable obstacles, was thus enabled to hope that all our available forces would be assembled in the quarter designated, ready to meet the enemy as soon as he should venture upon the west bank of the Tennessee River, and before he could be fully prepared for our attack.

Hitherto, in order to avoid the burden of the irksome details incident to the organization of an army, General Beauregard had not assumed command, but had directed matters through General Polk; but as the new levies and reinforcements were now gathering, and as there was a prospect of an early encounter with the enemy, he determined formally to assume command, and, on the 5th of March, issued the following order to the forces under him:

Headquarters, army of the Mississippi, Jackson, Tenn., March 5th, 1862.

Soldiers, — I assume this day command of the Army of the Mississippi, for the defence of our homes and liberties, and to resist the subjugation, spoliation, and dishonor of our people.

Our mothers and wives, our sisters and children, expect us to do our duty, even to the sacrifice of our lives.

Our losses, since the commencement of the war, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, are now about the same as those of the enemy.

He must be made to atone for the reverses we have lately experienced.

Those reverses, far from disheartening, must nerve us to new deeds of valor and patriotism, and should inspire us with an unconquerable determination to drive back our invaders.

Should any one in this army be unequal to the task before us, let him transfer his arms and equipments at once to braver, firmer hands, and return to his home.

Our cause is as just and sacred as ever animated men to take up arms, and if we are true to it and to ourselves, with the continued protection of the Almighty, we must and shall triumph. G. T. Beauregard, General Comdg.

Recent information had led General Beauregard to look upon Pittsburg, on the Tennessee, as one of the places likely to be selected by the enemy for a landing; and on the 1st he had ordered General Ruggles to occupy it, and make it, as well as Hamburg, a point of observation.

This required the substitution of Bethel Station, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, for McNairy’s, as one of the places appointed for the assembling of the Tennessee troops.

The order concerning Pittsburg was executed by General Ruggles, who sent thither the 18th Louisiana, one of the finest regiments from that State, supported by Captain Gibson’s battery of light artillery.

On the day following, General Beauregard’s foresight was shown to have been accurate by the enemy attempting to make a landing at that point.

The 18th Louisiana, armed with rifles and smooth-bore muskets, and firing from the steep bluffs overhanging the river, forced the landing party to take to their boats, and even drove back the two gunboats — the Lexington and Tyler — inflicting severe loss upon them.

This dashing and curious encounter caused the regiment

The 18th Louisiana was, at that time, under Colonels Mouton and Roman and Major Bush.

Later it acquired additional fame under the heroic Armant, killed at Mansfield.

Colonel Jos. Collins, of New Orleans, was its last commander. to be highly complimented in general orders.

Had the supporting battery stood its ground and exhibited equal intrepidity, not only would the whole landing party have been captured, but probably the foremost of the two gunboats would also have fallen into our hands.

General Bragg’s forces began to arrive at Corinth, from Mobile and Pensacola, on the 6th.

He had reported in person to General Beauregard, at Jackson, on the evening of the 2d, and was placed at once in charge of that portion of the forces assembling at Corinth, with definite instructions as to their organization into brigades and divisions, and as to supplying them with equipments, transportation, ammunition, and tents, according to our limited means.

General Beauregard now directed General Bragg to examine critically the position of Monterey, about half-way from Corinth to Pittsburg or Hamburg; for though he had selected Corinth as the chief point of concentration for his reinforcements, yet, from examination of the map, the advanced position of Monterey seemed to offer such advantages for a sudden offensive movement, in case the enemy should land at either of those places, that he was inclined to substitute Monterey for Corinth, as he could move from either with equal facility, to the defensive position of Yellow Creek, in advance of Burnsville, should the enemy decide upon effecting a landing at Eastport.

General Bragg, however, having reported in favor of Corinth, on account of the character of the roads and the deficiency of transportation among the reinforcements arriving there, Corinth remained, as originally determined upon by General Beauregard, the grand central point for the rallying and concentration of all the Confederate forces.

The services of the officers General Beauregard had called for now became indispensable, in view of the great diligence and energy displayed in the assembling of his forces.

Though required for the proper organization of the troops under General Polk, these officers were even more needed to assist General Bragg in preparing for the field the large number of raw Confederate and State forces just concentrated at the three points designated, Corinth, Grand Junction, and Bethel.

Every moment was precious, and rapid and determined action imperative.

On the 4th of March, General Beauregard, therefore, again urgently asked for two major-generals and five brigadiers — one of the latter to serve with the cavalry — and all to be ordered to report immediately to him. To his great surprise — and greater disappointment — the War Department replied that these officers could not be spared.

General Beauregard’s perplexity was extreme.

He could not account for the procrastination and evident unwillingness shown by the War Department.

Here was an incongruous army, concentrated under the greatest difficulties imaginable, ready for any sacrifice, eager to meet the enemy, but whose organization and effectiveness were fearfully impaired by the absolute want of general officers, to enforce discipline and establish harmony between its several parts.

General Beauregard could not quietly acquiesce in such supineness.

He appealed to the War Department, for the sake of our cause and country, to send, at once, Colonel Mackall as major-general, and three officers recommended by him for brigadiers, with Colonel Ransom to take charge of the cavalry.

He was informed that Colonel Mackall had been nominated for brigadier, and that all officers designed for promotion must be selected from among those of his own present army.

As General Beauregard had then with him very few graduates of West Point, or of other military schools, or officers of any experience, he answered, on the 7th, that he knew of none to recommend; but he forwarded, for immediate action, a list containing the names of two major-generals and six brigadiers, suggested by Generals Bragg and Polk; and, as there was still no cavalry colonel to recommend, he repeated his application for Colonel Ransom.

On the 8th he also asked that either Colonel R. B. Lee or Major Williams, of his former Army of Virginia, be sent him, for the important duties of Chief Commissary, as he had, in his present command, no officers of equal experience to select from; and he earnestly inquired whether Major G. W. Brent would be sent him for inspector, as he needed the services of such an officer almost hourly.

The reply came, that the promotions as general officers could not be made until he recommended them from his own personal experience of their merits.

The existing state of affairs had become all the more embarrassing for the reason that General Beauregard’s scouts reported large forces of the enemy moving, in transports, up the Tennessee River, with the probability of an early landing, at any moment.

He, therefore, overlooking the discourtesy shown and the annoyance occasioned him by the War Department, asked that permission be given him to appoint acting brigadiers and major-generals, to supply the immediate wants of his army.

He again received an unfavorable reply.

His request, said the War Department, was irregular and unauthorized by law. Not knowing what further step to take, he telegraphed General Cooper, unofficially, that if the officers he had applied for the day before were denied him (so disastrous might be the consequences, from the fact that part of his forces were in a state of chaos, and his health too greatly affected to allow him, if unaided, to establish order around him), he would forthwith request to be relieved from his present command.

The obstructive policy of the government so palpably thwarted his efforts and endangered the success of his plans, that he had even resolved, should it be longer persevered in, to tender his resignation.

By telegram of the 9th, received on the 11th, he was notified that the following officers were nominated for his command: J. L. Bowen, as major-general; J. M. Hawes, J. E. Slaughter, and S. M. Walker, as brigadiers; Hawes for the cavalry.

He was also notified that Ransom was appointed a brigadier, but must be sent to North Carolina, as his presence there was of the first importance; and that Samuel Jones had been promoted to be majorgen-eral, but could not be spared from Mobile.

We must here state that Bowen was not confirmed as major-general, and did not report; nor did Hawes, until about a month later, and just before the battle of Shiloh. General Beauregard at once replied that he had called for ten generals, as absolutely indispensable to the efficiency of his forces; that out of the four granted him, two only were present for duty; and that, as the enemy was already engaged with his left at New Madrid, he would not hold himself responsible for the consequences that might ensue.

He appealed, at the same time, to some leading members of Congress, urging them to use their influence with the government, so as to change its unaccountable policy in matters of such vital importance to the Confederacy; but this was of no effect.

The course of the War Department resulted disastrously, as General Beauregard had apprehended; for it contributed towards delaying, by several days, our subsequent offensive movement from Corinth, against the enemy at Pittsburg Landing.


General Beauregard orders the collection of grain and provisions, and establishes depots of supplies. —his appeal to the people to procure metal for the casting of cannon. —warning preparations of the enemy. —arrival of federal divisions at Savannah. —General Sherman’s attempted raid to destroy the railroad. —burning of small bridge near Bethel Station. -General Pope before New Madrid. —the place abandoned. —General Beauregard’s instructions to General McCown. —General MacKALLall relieves him. —bombardment of Island no. 10. —what might have been the result had the enemy disembarked at once at Pittsburg Landing. —the troops we had to oppose them. —what General Johnston thought of Bolivar as a base of operation. —recommends it as more advantageous than Corinth. —why General Beauregard preferred Corinth. —he presses concentration there, as soon as the intentions of the enemy become sufficiently developed. —success of his plan. —Co-operation of the governors of adjacent states. —troops poorly armed and equipped. —the enemy begins Landing at Pittsburg. —arrival of Hurlbut’s, Prentiss’s, McClernand’s, and the two Wallaces’ divisions. —force of the army opposing us. —General Buell. —his slow advance on Nashville. —is at last aroused by order to unite his forces with those of General Grant. —aggregate of Buell’s forces in Tennessee and Kentucky. —our only hope for success was to strike a sudden blow before the junction of Buell and Grant.

Looking to the evacuation of Columbus and the concentration of troops at and around Corinth, General Beauregard had ordered, early in March, the immediate collection of the requisite quantity of grain and provisions, at Union City, Humboldt, Jackson, and Henderson, in West Tennessee, and at Corinth, Grand Junction, and Iuka, in Mississippi, with the establishment of chief depots of supplies of all kinds, at Columbus, Mississippi, and Grenada.

At this latter place he had endeavored to establish a percussion-cap manufactory, which he looked upon as very important, because the difficulty of procuring a proper supply of this essential part of our ammunition had become great; but he failed in his efforts to accomplish the purpose.

Foreseeing also that the demand for powder would soon increase in the Mississippi Valley, he made a second — but likewise fruitless — effort to start a powder factory at Meridian, a point he considered, and rightly so, safe from Federal intrusion, and one which, in fact, was held by the Confederates until the end of the war.

The need of metal for the casting of field-guns was already a subject of most serious consideration for our leaders.

The guns the Confederacy had, in the field and elsewhere, were inadequate, and that more were required was evident to all. So lacking in enterprise and forethought, in that respect, had the government shown itself, that no reliance could be placed upon it to improve the situation.

The people, not the government, were the source from which alone assistance could be had. Deeply convinced of this truth, General Beauregard issued an appeal to the good citizens of the Mississippi Valley, asking them to yield up their plantation bells, that more cannon might be made for the defence of their homes.

They responded with alacrity to his call; and, so great was the enthusiasm pervading all classes of the population, that even religious congregations gave up their church-bells, while women offered their brass candlesticks and andirons.

By the 8th of March, the busy preparations of the enemy at Fort Henry, up the Tennessee River, indicated an early offensive movement, to meet which the greatest activity on our part was necessary.

On the 13th, five Federal divisions arrived at Savannah, twelve miles below Pittsburg Landing, and on the opposite side of the river, followed, a few days later, by a reinforcement of some five thousand men. These troops, numbering now about forty thousand infantry, and three thousand artillery and cavalry, were commanded by Major-General C. F. Smith, a gallant and accomplished officer.

He had been Commandant at the United States Military Academy, while General Beauregard was a cadet there; and had at a later period served with distinction in the Mexican War. General Grant, who, for a time after the capture of Fort Donelson, had been virtually suspended by General Halleck, for an alleged disobedience of orders, arrived on the 17th, and resumed command.

Meanwhile, on the 14th, General Sherman’s division, which had not been landed at Savannah, was detached up the river, under the protection of two gunboats, to destroy the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, near Eastport and Chickasaw Bluff, but evinced such extreme caution that he was deterred from landing by two companies of infantry, acting as artillery, with two 24-pounders.

These companies belonged to a regiment of General Chalmers’s brigade.

The brigade proper, composed of about two thousand five hundred men, was stationed at the time at or near Iuka, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and five or six miles back from the river.

Sherman’s force then retired a few miles, to the mouth of Yellow River, intending to move thence to destroy the railroad company’s shops at Beirnsville, a small village eight miles west of Iuka.

After landing and making an abortive attempt to reach Beirnsville, with nothing to oppose him but high water, General Sherman hurriedly reem-barked his troops and dropped down to Pittsburg Landing, on the night of the 14th, having made a useless demonstration, but one which confirmed General Beauregard in the opinion that Corinth would be the final objective point of the Federal movement.

On the 13th, General McClernand’s division of C. F. Smith’s forces was crossed over to Crump’s (or McWilliams’s) Landing, on the west bank of the river, five or six miles above Savannah, to destroy the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, between Corinth and Jackson.

But no more was effected than the burning of a small bridge near Bethel Station, twenty-four miles north of Corinth.

After this the division fell back to the landing and re-embarked, showing the same degree of nervousness that characterized the Sherman expedition.

General Pope, in co-operation with these movements on the Tennessee, had appeared before New Madrid, about the end of February, and attacked that place with artillery.

Not being defended with the tenacity which afterwards distinguished the defence of Island No. 10 and its neighboring batteries, that important position was abandoned during the night of the 14th.

Its garrison was transferred to the opposite bank of the river, and a portion of it sent to reinforce the troops supporting the batteries at and about Island No. 10.

The guns left in position at New Madrid, not having been properly spiked, were immediately put in condition to cut off, from escape down the river, eight transports and the gunboat used by General McCown in the evacuation.

General Beauregard’s instructions to that officer had been to hold those defences to the very last extremity, in order to give time for completing the works at Fort Pillow; to sink some of his transports in the Missouri-shore channel, so as to narrow it still more, or render it impassable; and to anchor a fire-raft in the middle of the wider Tennessee-shore channel, so as to prevent the enemy’s gunboats from passing, under cover of night, the batteries protecting it. He was cautioned not to allow his remaining transports and gunboats to fall into the hands of the enemy under any circumstances.

Finally, he was informed that no reinforcements could possibly be sent him until after the impending battle in the vicinity of Corinth.

Somewhat later General Beauregard relieved General McCown from his duties, and General Mackall, the gallant and efficient Assistant Adjutant-General of General Johnston’s army, was selected to command at Madrid Bend.

The following note was his answer when first informed of General Beauregard’s wish to that effect:

Decatur, Ala., MMarch 10th, 1862.

Dear General, — I thank you for my promotion.

You are entitled to my services and shall always command them.

But now this army is in trouble, and I cannot leave it, with honor, until it joins you.

Yours sincerely, W. W. Mackall, A. A. G.

The junction having been effected, he left for his new post; and held the works under him until after the battle of Shiloh, several days longer than would have been done otherwise.

It was too late, however, to accomplish the main object General Beauregard had had in view, in assigning him to that important position.

On the 16th, the Federal fleet of gun and mortar boats, under Commodore Foote, appeared, and began the prolonged attack and bombardment which rendered the defence of Island No. 10 memorable in the history of the war.

Until the 10th of March, a large Federal army was intended to operate against Florence, about seventy miles farther south than Savannah, but on the 13th it landed at the latter place.

Had that army been at once disembarked at Pittsburg Landing, twenty-two miles from Corinth, or, better still, at Hamburg, eight miles south of Pittsburg and two or three miles nearer to Corinth, it would have met with no serious opposition; for, at the time of the landing, General Beauregard had only one regiment of cavalry in observation, supported, at Monterey, about half-way to Corinth, by one or two regiments of infantry and a battery of field artillery; while at Hamburg he had only a strong picket of cavalry.

At Corinth he had, then collected, not more than fifteen thousand men, who could have offered no great resistance, as they were in a state of confusion, gathered, as they had been, from many different quarters, as fast as they could be brought by rail, and were in large part poorly armed and equipped.

Some of the regiments were not yet formed into brigades, and only one or two divisions had been organized.

General Beauregard is clearly of the opinion that, had the Federal forces been handled with confidence and offensively pressed forward, they must have dispersed the troops he had then assembled there, especially as more than half of the Federal army consisted of seasoned troops, fresh from the successes of Forts Henry and Donelson, with supports at convenient distances, and abundantly supplied with munitions for offensive operations.

In fact, General Johnston, regarding Corinth as too close to the Tennessee River, as a point of concentration on our side, had telegraphed General Beauregard, recommending the south bank of the Hatchee River, near Bolivar, as offering greater security.

His telegram read as follows:

(ciphered Telegram. ) Decatur, March 15th, 1862. To General G. T. Beauregard:

Have you had the south bank of the Hatchee examined, near Bolivar.

I recommend it to your attention.

It has, besides other advantages, that of being further from enemy’s base. A. S. Johnston.

This is very much in contrast with the assertions of some of General Johnston’s panegyrists, that, as early as January, 1862 (others have it on the 1st and 4th of February), he had designated Shiloh Church — some say Corinth — as the spot where the great battle of the southwest would be fought.

This erroneous statement merits — and will receive — attention before that part of our narrative referring to the campaign of the West is closed.

General Beauregard differed with General Johnston on that allimportant subject, because, while willing to admit that the south bank of the Hatchee River was, possibly, a good defensive line, it was by no means, in his opinion, a proper one for the offensive he proposed to take, and in view of which he would have even preferred Monterey to Corinth, owing to its still greater proximity to the anticipated landing-point of the enemy.

Events, however, justified his selection of Corinth, favored as he was by the hesitancy and lack of enterprise of the opposing forces, which enabled him to proceed, unmolested, with the measures of concentration he had so much at heart.

General Beauregard’s apparent temerity in selecting for his base of operations a point so near the ground chosen for the landing of a powerful enemy, was the result, not of rashness, but of close and sagacious observation.

With the eye and daring of a true general — noting the timidity of the Federal forces in their attempts at incursions on the western bank of the Tennessee, and their disjointed manner of disembarking — he knew that the nearer he was to his opponents the better it would be for the handling of his troops and the success of his plan.

From a point near his foe he could attack fractions instead of concentrated masses of the enemy, with the chances of success in his favor.

As soon as the movements of the enemy, on the Tennessee, had sufficiently developed his intentions, General Beauregard ordered an immediate concentration, by railroad, of all troops then available in West Tennessee and North Mississippi.

Those at Grand Junction and Iuka he massed upon Corinth; those at Fort Pillow, and General Polk’s forces at Humboldt and Lexington, he assembled at Bethel and Corinth, leaving detachments at Union City and Humboldt, to keep open the communications established, with great difficulty, between Island No. 10 and Jackson.

A line of cavalry pickets was left in place of the infantry outposts at Union City, Dresden, Huntington, and Lexington; their fronts and intermediate spaces being well patrolled by scouting parties, to give timely notice of any hostile advance; in case of which, the cavalry, if compelled to fall back, had orders to retire gradually on Bolivar, on the Mississippi Central Railroad, thirty-eight miles northwest of Corinth, keeping up constant communication with the forces at Bethel and Corinth.

By the middle of March, less than one month after General Beauregard’s arrival at Jackson, Tennessee, he had succeeded in assembling, within easy concentrating distances of Corinth, some twenty-three thousand men of all arms, independently of the fourteen thousand, more or less, he had found in the district under General Polk, on the 17th of February.

He hoped to be joined, before the end of March, by General Johnston’s command, of about thirteen thousand men — exclusive of cavalry — then arriving at Decatur; and General Van Dorn, at Van Buren, Arkansas, had promised, at that time, his co-operation with an army of nearly twenty thousand. General Beauregard had sent Van Dorn all the water transportation he could collect on the Mississippi River, with which to effect the junction.

These movements of concentration were approved by General Johnston, but had received no encouragement from the War Department or the Chief Executive.

They were brought about through the untiring efforts and perseverance of General Beauregard; through the cheerful and patriotic assistance of the governors of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana; through General Bragg, at Pensacola, and General Lovell, at New Orleans.

Without their hearty and powerful aid it would have been impossible to collect, in time, a force of sufficient strength successfully to oppose the enemy, who, had he used his resources with ordinary vigor, must soon have obtained undisputed possession of the Mississippi River, and, consequently, of the entire valley, including New Orleans.

The State troops thus hastily assembled were, as we have said, poorly equipped, without drill, and badly armed, some of them only with the discarded flint-lock musket of former days; and great difficulty was experienced in procuring the proper quality of flints.

Not a third of the cavalry had fire-arms, and those who had were ill-armed, with a medley of pistols, carbines, muskets, and shot-guns, chiefly the latter.

Few of them had sabres.

The personnel of this new levy, however, could not have been better.

It was composed of the best young men, from the city and country, who had rushed to arms at the call of their States.

Animated by a feeling of patriotism and high martial spirit, they gave fair promise of great efficiency, if well officered.

As soon as their regiments arrived at the rendezvous assigned them they were brigaded, equipped for the field as well as our restricted means permitted, and, owing to the lack of time for better instruction, were exercised only — and but slightly — in company and battalion drills, while awaiting orders to march to the battle-field.

On the 16th of March, General Sherman, by order of General C. F. Smith, at Savannah, disembarked with his division at Pittsburg Landing, to make a reconnaissance in the direction of Monterey, twelve miles from the Landing and ten miles from Corinth.

He marched a few miles into the interior, encountering only the regiment stationed there, which retired as he advanced.

He, nevertheless, returned to the Landing and re-embarked with his division.

On the 18th, Hurlbut’s division landed and took position about a mile and a half from the river, near the fork of the roads, leading, the one to Corinth, the other to Hamburg, five or six miles up the river.

On the 19th, General Sherman again disembarked his division, taking post about three miles in the interior, with three of his brigades, at or near a little log meeting-house, covering the roads to Purdy, in a northwesterly, and to Corinth, in a southwesterly, direction.

His fourth brigade was detached to a point more than two miles to his left rear, at the crossing of the Pittsburg and Hamburg road, over Lick Creek. Within a few days, says General Sherman, in his memoirs, Prentiss’s division arrived, and was camped on his left, filling the space between his third and fourth brigades, but some distance in advance of the latter; afterwards McClernand’s and W. H. L. Wallace’s divisions were landed, the first placing itself within supporting distance of Sherman, and the second on the right of Hurlbut, forming a third line, about a mile and a half from the Landing.

Thus it will be seen that if we had been able to carry out General Beauregard’s original intention of concentrating his forces at Monterey, only nine miles from Sherman’s position, we should have had several days during which to attack the isolated divisions of Sherman and Hurlbut, numbering about seven thousand men, according to Federal accounts, and with a large and rapid river in their rear.

Such an opportunity for annihilating in detail the fractional part of a powerful enemy is seldom offered in a campaign.

Another division, under Lew. Wallace, about seven thousand strong, with twelve guns, had also landed, and occupied a position, five or six miles from Sherman’s right, on the north side of Snake Creek, on a road leading from Crump’s (McWilliams’s) landing to Purdy, a small village half-way to the railroad station of Bethel, on the Mobile and Ohio road.

The five divisions in front of Pittsburg Landing were accompanied by twelve batteries of field artillery, of six pieces each, and four or five battalions of cavalry, distributed among the several commands, which then numbered, together, at least thirty-nine thousand infantry and artillery, with some fifteen hundred cavalry, forming a well-organized and fully equipped force of over forty-seven thousand men, including Lew. Wallace’s division, which was watching and threatening in the direction of Purdy.

This army, of which at least forty per cent. were flushed with recent victories, was soon to be reinforced by General Buell, already on the march from Nashville to Savannah, with five divisions of the best organized, disciplined, and equipped troops in the Federal service, numbering fully thirty-seven thousand effectives.

Buell himself, with five divisions, numbering nearly forty thousand men, was ordered from Nashville, to the support of Grant. — Badeau’s Military History of U. S. Grant, vol.

i. p. 68.

General Buell

He was a contemporary of General Beauregard’s at the United States Military Academy, and had done good service as a young officer in Mexico.

He was on the staff of General A. S. Johnston, as Adjutant-General in the Utah expedition, shortly before the late war between the States.

He was brave and intelligent, but was generally considered too much of a disciplinarian to effect great results with irregular troops. had entered Bowling Green on the 15th of February, the day after it was evacuated by the Confederates, and one day before the surrender of Fort Donelson.

He had then advanced leisurely on Nashville, about seventy-five miles distant, arriving opposite that city, on the Cumberland River, on the 23d.

It was surrendered to him on the 25th, by the civil authorities, and he occupied it the next day. The rear guard of the Confederate forces, under General Floyd, had left Nashville for Murfreesboroa, thirty-two miles distant in a southerly direction, on the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, when the enemy appeared on the south side of the river.

General Buell remained at Nashville, a passive spectator of General Johnston’s slow and quiet retreat, first to Murfreesboroa, thence to Fayetteville, Huntsville, and Decatur, making no apparent effort to harass him or prevent his junction with the forces collected, meanwhile, by General Beauregard, about Corinth.

The Federal general’s torpor does not seem to have been disturbed until about the middle of March, when he was instructed by General Halleck — who had been assigned, on the 11th, to the command in chief — to unite his forces with those of General Grant, at Savannah, on the Tennessee River.

This point of concentration was afterwards changed to Pittsburg Landing, twelve miles higher up, on the opposite side of the river; but no immediate communication to that effect was made to General Buell.

While on the march, however, he decided to move to Hamburg, about six miles above Pittsburg, and thence to the place of concentration, wherever it might be.

While at Nashville, Buell’s whole force in Tennessee and Kentucky consisted of seven divisions, with detached troops for guarding his communications, maintaining order, and otherwise providing for his safety, and amounted, in the aggregate, to 94,783 men of all arms.

The army presented an effective force for the field of 73,472 men, of which 60,882 were infantry, 9237 cavalry, and 3368 artillery, with twenty-eight field and two siege batteries of six guns each.

See Van Horne’s Army of the Cumberland, vol.

i. p. 99.

On the 15th Buell commenced his march, with five divisions, as already stated, to effect leisurely the junction ordered by General Halleck; while one division, the 7th, under General G. W. Morgan, went to East Tennessee, and another, the 3d, under General O. M. Mitchell, to pursue General Johnston and destroy the Memphis and Charleston Railroad south of Fayetteville.

Neither of these last-named operations was performed with much celerity.

On arriving at Columbia, forty miles south of Nashville, General Buell found the bridge across Duck River destroyed, and the water too high to ford.

He was delayed there until the morning of the 29th, when, the bridge having been rebuilt, he again started for Savannah, thence to Pittsburg Landing, a distance of about one hundred miles, which he accomplished in nine days, marching slightly more than eleven miles a day. His head of column, Nelson’s division, arrived at Pittsburg Landing at 3 o’clock P. M. on the 6th of April, the march from Savannah having been hurried in order to reach the field of Shiloh, from which the sound of the battle was plainly heard.

The united armies of Grant and Buell (his five divisions) would have presented a well-disciplined and fully equipped force of about 84,000 men. Against this we could not possibly bring more than 38,500 infantry and artillery, 4300 cavalry, and fifty field guns.

This estimate excludes 7000 men at Island No. 10 and vicinity, who were indispensable to hold at bay Pope’s army of over 20,000 men, and to keep control of the Mississippi River at that point.

Moreover, the forces General Beauregard had hastily collected (about 25,000 strong) were imperfectly armed, insufficiently drilled, and only partly disciplined.

They had but recently been organized into two corps, under Generals Polk and Bragg, composed of two divisions each.

General Beauregard believed that, under such circumstances, our only hope of success lay in striking a sudden, heavy blow before the enemy should concentrate all his forces.

He therefore urged General Johnston to join him at Corinth at the earliest moment practicable, and he again telegraphed the War Department (as late as the 28th) to send him at once some of the field-officers he had so often called for. Those most needed then were a chief of artillery, a commander of cavalry, and a chief commissary, without whom his organization could not be completed.

But, notwithstanding the persistence of his calls, only the last two were sent; and they arrived when our army was marching from Corinth, to fight the battle which proved to be one of the greatest and bloodiest of the war.


Arrival of General Johnston at Corinth. —position of his troops on the 27th of March. —offers to turn over command of the army to General Beauregard, who declines. —General Beauregard urges an early offensive movement against the enemy, and gives his views as to plan of organizing the forces. —General Johnston authorizes him to complete the organization already begun. —General orders of March 29th. —reasons why the army was formed into small corps. —General Beauregard desirous of moving against the enemy on the 1st of April. —why it was not done. —on the 2d, General Cheatham reports a strong Federal force threatening his front. —General Beauregard advises an immediate advance. —General Johnston yields. —General Jordan’s statement of his interview with General Johnston on that occasion. —special orders no. 8, otherwise called order of March and battle. —by whom suggested and by whom written. —General Beauregard explains the order to corps commanders. —tardiness of the first corps in marching from Corinth. —our forces in position for battle on the afternoon of the 5th; too late to commence action on that day. —Generals Hardee and Bragg request General Beauregard to ride in front of their lines. —General Johnston calls General Beauregard and the corps commanders in an informal council. —General Beauregard believes the object of the movement foiled by the tardiness of troops in arriving on the battle-field. —alludes to noisy demonstrations on the March, and to the probability of Buell’s Junction, and advises to change aggressive movement into a reconnoissance in force. —General Johnston decides otherwise, and orders preparations for an attack at dawn next day. —description of the field of Shiloh. —strength of the Federal forces. —what General Sherman testified to. —we form into three lines of battle. —our effective strength. —carelessness and oversight of the Federal commanders. —they are not aroused by the many sounds in their front, and are taken by surprise.

General Johnston reached Corinth on the night of the 22d of March, in advance of his army, which followed closely after him, portions arriving daily up to the 27th. General Hardee took position in the vicinity, with a body of about eight thousand men; while the remainder, under General Crittenden — some five thousand strong, exclusive of cavalry — were halted at Beirnsville and Iuka, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.

A shade of sadness, if not of despondency, rested upon General Johnston’s brow.

The keen anxiety and still-increasing gloom overspreading the country weighed heavily upon him. He suffered deeply, both as a patriot and as a soldier; but men of his courage and character are uncomplaining.

The test of merit, in my profession, with the people, he wrote to Mr. Davis, on the 18th of March, is success.

It is a hard rule, but I think it right.

The concluding lines of his letter show what were his feelings, when complying with General Beauregard’s urgent request for a junction of their armies: If I join this corps to the forces of Beauregard (I confess, a hazardous experiment), then, those who are now declaiming against me will be without an argument.

Soon after General Johnston’s arrival, and in the course of his first conference with General Beauregard, he expressed, with evident emotion, his purpose to turn over to the latter the direct command of our united forces, and to confine his own functions to those of Department Commander, with headquarters at Memphis or Holly Springs.

He alleged, as his reason for wishing to do so, that such a course would be best for the success of our cause; that he had lost, in no small degree, the confidence of the people, and somewhat, he feared, of the army itself, in consequence of recent disasters; while he felt sure that General Beauregard, who held the confidence of both, was better fitted to cope with present difficulties and dangers, and fulfil, successfully, public expectation.

General Beauregard, in a spirit of disinterestedness and generosity which equalled that of General Johnston, refused to accept his offer.

He had left the Army of the Potomac and come to the West, he said, to assist General Johnston, not to supersede him. That it was due to the country and to General Johnston himself that he should remain at the head of the army, now concentrated for a decisive blow before the enemy was fully prepared, and pledged him his cordial support, as second in command.

Upon this, General Johnston, who, no doubt, understood General Beauregard’s motives, rose from his seat, advanced towards him, and, shaking him warmly by the hand, said, Well, be it so, General!

We two together will do our best to secure success.

It was an affecting scene, and one worthy of being recorded.

For, if General Johnston was loath to reap the benefit of the great preparations made by General Beauregard, the latter was no less reluctant that the victory which he hoped would resuit from his efforts at concentration should be exclusively attributed to himself, thus depriving General Johnston of the chance of changing the tide of popular favor in his behalf, and of regaining the affection and confidence of the people and army, which he feared he had lost.

Thus was finally settled the delicate question of precedence and command between these two Confederate leaders, whose single object was, not personal advancement or glory, but the success of the cause they were engaged in. General Beauregard now explained the situation of affairs in the Mississippi Valley and immediately around him; urged the necessity of the earliest possible offensive movement against the enemy, and gave his views, already fully matured, as to the best plan of organizing our forces.

General Johnston readily agreed to what General Beauregard proposed, and authorized him to complete all necessary orders to that effect.

Accordingly, a few days later, General Beauregard drew up a plan for the reorganization of the Army of the Mississippi, which, upon submission to General Johnston, was signed by the latter, without the slightest change or alteration, and published to the troops, in a general order, as follows:

Headquarters of the forces, Corinth, Miss., March 29th, 1862.

General orders, No. — .

I. The undersigned assumes the command and immediate direction of the armies of Kentucky and of the Mississippi, now united, and which, in military operations, will be known as the Army of the Mississippi.

II. General G. T. Beauregard will be second in command to the Commander of the Forces.


The Army of their Mississippi will be subdivided into three army corps, and reserves of cavalry, artillery, and infantry, as follows: 1.

The First Corps, under the command of Major-General L. Polk, to consist of the Grand Division now under his command, as originally organized, less the artillery and cavalry hereinafter limited, and detached as reserves, and the garrison of Fort Pillow and the works for the defence of Madrid Bend, already detached from that command.

2. The Second Corps, under Major-General Braxton Bragg, to consist of the Second Grand Division of the Army of the Mississippi, less the artillery and cavalry, hereinafter limited, and detached as reserves.

3. The Third Corps, under Major-General W. J. Hardee, to consist of the Army of Kentucky, less the cavalry, artillery, and infantry hereinafter limited, and detached as reserves.

4. The infantry reserves, under command of Major-General G. B. Crittenden, shall be formed of a division of not less than two brigades.

These infantry reserves, at Beirnsville, were under Brigadier-General Breckinridge, who had succeeded General Crittenden.


The brigades of each army corps and of the reserve will be so formed as to consist severally of about two thousand five hundred total infantry, and one light battery of six pieces, if practicable.

V. Divisions shall consist of not less than two brigades and one regiment of cavalry.


All cavalry and artillery not hereinbefore assigned to divisions and brigades will be held in reserve: the cavalry under Brigadier-General Hawes, the artillery under an officer to be subsequently announced.


All general orders touching matters of organization, discipline, and conduct of the troops, published by General G. T. Beauregard to the Army of the Mississippi, will continue in force in the whole army until otherwise directed, and copies thereof will be furnished to the Third Army Corps and the reserve.

VIII. Major-General Braxton Bragg, in addition to his duties as commander of the Second Army Corps, is announced as Chief of staff to the Commander of the Forces. A. S. Johnston, General C. S. A.

note. — The above organization of the forces at Corinth was submitted by General G. T. Beauregard, second in command, and adopted by General A. S. Johnston, first in command, without any alteration whatever. Thomas Jordan, A. A. G.

Our forces had thus been formed into small corps for two reasons: first, to enable our inexperienced senior commanders to handle their raw troops with more facility; second, to induce the enemy to believe that our army was much stronger than it really was — it being natural to suppose that each corps would number at least twenty thousand men, with a general reserve of about half as many.

This second purpose was apparently accomplished, for, during the battle of Shiloh, General Grant telegraphed General Buell, who was then at Savannah, that he was heavily attacked by one hundred thousand men, and that he needed his immediate assistance.

In the general orders given above, General Beauregard was announced as second in command, and General Bragg was appointed, nominally, Chief of the General Staff, a position borrowed from Continental European armies, though there was no provision for such an arrangement made by law in the Confederate military service; it was, however, an irregularity not considered important, inasmuch as General Bragg was not to be detached or diverted from the command of his corps.

In fact, his designation to that position was simply to enable him, in a contingency on the field, to give orders in the name of the General-in-Chief, or of the second in command; an arrangement which both Generals Johnston and Beauregard thought could inure only to the benefit of the service.

Colonel Thomas Jordan, General Beauregard’s Adjutant-General, was named Adjutant-General of the united forces; but remained at General Beauregard’s headquarters, receiving instructions from the latter, and issuing them in the form of orders, by command of the General-in-Chief.

General Mackall was not made Adjutant-General of the united armies, because of his having been previously assigned, by General Beauregard, to the command of Madrid Bend, on the Mississippi, his services at that important point being considered indispensable.

See Chapter XVIII., p. 257.

General Beauregard, notwithstanding his impaired health, devoted himself assiduously to preparing the army for an immediate offensive movement, which he hoped would take place, at latest, on the 1st of April, as our spies and friends in middle Tennessee had informed us that General Buell was at Franklin, on his way to form a junction with General Grant, at Savannah, where he might be expected early in April.

It was known, however, that the bridges on his line of march — especially the large one across Duck River, at Columbia — had been destroyed, and that he might thereby be delayed several days.

General Johnston had left the organization and preparation of the forces for offensive operations to General Beauregard.

Corps commanders made their reports directly to him, or through his office; the General-in-Chief being kept well advised of all information of an important nature that reached army headquarters.

The hope of being able to move from Corinth on the 1st of April could not, however, be realized.

As that day approached, our deficiencies in arms, ammunition, and the most essential equipments were more and more felt, as was also the want of the general officers promised, but not sent, as agreed upon, by the War Department.

Their inexperienced substitutes, though zealous and indefatigable, were unacquainted with the needs of their new commands, or did not know how best to supply them.

They had to be instructed amid the hurry of the moment, as to many details, which, to persons who are not conversant with military organization, appear insignificant, but which are really very important in the preparation of an army.

The lack of competent engineers was also a source of great annoyance, as without them it became next to impossible to make necessary reconnoissances, and map off the country lying between the two opposing armies.

The sketches prepared by staff officers, untrained and inexperienced in such matters, were very imperfect, but some accurate knowledge of the future field of battle had been obtained, by conferring with officers of the troops who had been on picket duty at and about Pittsburg Landing, before the appearance of the enemy at that point.

From inhabitants who had been compelled to leave their homes, after the landing of the hostile forces, General Beauregard also gained useful information, relative to the positions occupied by the several Federal commands.

Such was the situation, as night fell on the 2d of April, when General Cheatham, who commanded a division posted at Bethel Station,

Twenty-four miles north of Corinth. telegraphed to his corps commander, General Polk, that a strong body of the enemy, believed to be General Lew. Wallace’s division, was seriously threatening his front.

General Polk at once (about 10 P. M. ) transmitted the despatch to General Beauregard, who, believing that the Federal forces were divided by the reported movement, immediately sent in the news to General Johnston, by the Adjutant-General of the Army, in person, with this brief but significant endorsement: Now is the moment to advance, and strike the enemy at Pittsburg Landing.

General (then Colonel) Thomas Jordan, the Adjutant-General above alluded to, reports his mission on that occasion, as follows:

I found General Johnston in the room of some of his personal staff, where I handed him the despatch with your endorsement.

He then repaired with me to the neighboring quarters of General Bragg, whom we found in bed. This officer at once declared in favor of your proposition.

General Johnston, expressing several objections with much clearness and force, questioned the readiness of the army for so grave an offensive movement.

His views shook the opinion of General Bragg.

Having discussed the subject almost daily with you during the past ten days, and knowing the reasons which made you regard the immediate offensive our true course in the exigency, I stated them with as much vigor and urgency as I could, dwelling particularly upon the fact that we were now as strong as we could reasonably hope to be at any early period, while our adversary would be gaining strength, by reinforcements, almost daily, until he would be so strong as to be able to take the offensive with irresistible numbers.

That our adversary’s position at Pittsburg Landing, with his back against a deep, broad river, in a cul-de-sac formed by the two creeks (Owl and Lick), would make his defeat decisively disastrous, while the character of the country made it altogether practicable for us to steal upon and surprise him; and that your proposition was based on the practicability of such a surprise, with the conviction that we should find the Federal army unprotected by intrenchments.

These views seemed to satisfy General Johnston, and he authorized me to give the preparatory orders for the movement, which orders I wrote at a table in General Bragg’s room, being a circular letter to Generals Bragg, Polk, and Hardee, directing them to hold their several corps in condition to move, at a moment’s notice, having forty rounds of ammunition in their cartridge-boxes, and three days cooked rations in their haversacks; also, sixty rounds of ammunition, and uncooked rations in wagons, for, I think, three days, together with certain other details, affecting reserve supplies, and their transportation.

These orders were immediately despatched by couriers, from General Bragg’s headquarters, to Generals Polk and Hardee, who received them, as well as now remembered, at 1. 40 A. M., as stated in the receipts signed by those officers, respectively, at the time.

General Breckinridge, commanding a detached division at Beirnsville, received his orders from the telegraph-office.

After having despatched the orders in question, I repaired directly to your headquarters, roused Captain A. R. Chisolm, of your personal staff, and told him to awake you at 5 A. M.

About 7 A. M. of (next day) the 3d April, you sent for me, and I found that you had drawn up the notes of a general order, prescribing the order and method of the movement from Corinth upon Pittsburg, with peculiar minuteness, as, from the wooded and broken nature of the country to be traversed, it would be a most difficult matter to move so large a body of men with the requisite celerity for the contemplated attack.

These notes you gave me as the basis for the proper general order to be issued, directing and regulating the march, coupled with the order in which the enemy was to be attacked, and from them I drew up the order of march and battle, which, issued in the name of General Johnston, was signed by me as Adjutant-General of the Army, in the course of that day, without any modification, but, of course, made fuller with details in connection with the staff service, which details you left habitually to me, holding me responsible that they should be clear and comprehensive, so as to insure the execution of your general plan of operation.

But before I was able to shape the order in question, General Johnston and, soon thereafter, General Bragg, came to your room, at your headquarters, where I had gone also, to consult you upon some details.

You were explaining your plan of movement, and of the attack, to General Johnston, when I entered your apartment; and, to make the subject clearer, you drew a sketch of the country, in pencil, upon your table,

The table bearing the diagram here referred to went, as office furniture, to Charleston, S. C., where the pencil sketch on the board was visible two years afterwards. as I had taken to my office the sketch supplied by the engineers, to enable me to write the order with the necessary precision.

General Johnston weighed all that was said with much deliberation, and not until every detail had been very thoroughly discussed did he decide to make the movement, as you proposed it. By this time, Major-Generals Polk and Hardee had likewise arrived.

I then remarked that, as the preparation of the order, with all the necessary copies for general and staff officers, would take some hours, its details might be verbally explained to the corps commanders, all present, so that the movement could be made without delay at the prescribed moment, by the several corps, without waiting for the written orders, so much of which concerned the second day’s march, and the tactics of the attack.

This was assented to by General Johnston, as best, and I left you explaining to Generals Polk and Hardee that which they particularly were to do, jointly and severally, on that day and the next morning; that is to say, the order and manner in which they should begin, and make, the advance, with their respective corps, to the vicinity of the enemy’s position, as will be found set forth in the written order, which was afterwards printed as follows:

Headquarters army of the Mississippi, Corinth, Miss., April 3d, 1862.

Special orders, no. 8.

I. In the impending movement, the corps of this army will march, assemble, and take order of battle, in the following manner, it being assumed that the enemy is in position about a mile in advance of Shiloh Church, with his right resting on Owl Creek, and his left on Lick Creek.

1. The Third Corps, under Major-General Hardee, will advance, as soon as practicable, on the Ridge road from Corinth, to what is known as the Bark road, passing about half a mile northward of the workhouse.

The head of this column will bivouac, if possible, to-night, at Mickey’s house, at the intersection of the road from Monterey to Savannah.

The cavalry, thrown well forward during the march, to reconnoitre and prevent surprise, will halt in front of the Mickey house, on the Bark road.

2. Major Waddell, A. D. C. to General Beauregard, with two good guides, will report for service to General Hardee.

3. At 3 o’clock A. M., to-morrow, the Third Corps, with the left in front, will continue to advance by the Bark road until within sight of the enemy’s outposts or advanced position, when it will be deployed in line of battle, according to the nature of the ground, its left resting on Owl Creek, its right towards Lick Creek, supported on that flank by half its cavalry, the left flank being supported by the other half.

The interval between the extreme right of this corps and Lick Creek will be filled by a brigade or division — according to the extent of the ground — from the Second Corps.

These troops, during the battle, will also be under the command of Major-General Hardee.

He will make the proper distribution of the artillery along the line of battle, remembering that the rifled guns are of long range, and should be placed in commanding positions, in rear of his infantry, to fire mainly on reserves and second line of the enemy, but occasionally will be directed on his batteries and heads of columns.


The Second Corps, under Major-General Braxton Bragg, will assemble on Monterey and move thence as early as practicable, the right wing, with left in front, by the road from Monterey to Savannah, the head of column to reach the immediate vicinity of Mickey’s house, at the intersection with the Bark road, before sunset.

The cavalry with this wing will take position on the road to Savannah, beyond Mickey’s, as far as Owl Creek, having advanced guards and pickets well to the front.

The left wing of this corps will advance at the same time, also left in front, by the road from Monterey to Purdy; the head of the column to reach, by night, the intersection of that road with the Bark road.

This wing will continue the movement in the morning, as soon as the rear of the Third Corps shall have passed the Purdy road, and which it will then follow.

The Second Corps will form the second line of battle, about one thousand yards in the rear of the first line.

It will be formed, if practicable, with regiments in double columns, at half distance, disposed as advantageously as the nature of the ground will admit.

The artillery placed as may seem best to Major-General Bragg.


The First Corps, under Major-General Polk, with the exception of the detached division at Bethel, will take up its line of march by the Ridge road, hence to Pittsburg, half an hour after the rear of the Third Corps shall have passed Corinth, and will bivouac to-night in rear of that corps, and on tomorrow will follow the movements of said corps, with the same interval of time as to-day.

When its head of column shall reach the vicinity of the Mickey house it will be halted in column or massed on the line of the Bark road, according to the nature of the ground, as a reserve.

Meanwhile one regiment of its cavalry will be placed in observation on the road from Johnston’s house to Stantonville, with advanced guards and pickets thrown out well in advance towards Stantonville.

Another regiment or battalion of cavalry will be posted, in the same manner, on the road from Monterey to Purdy, with its rear resting on or about the intersection of that road with the Bark road, having advanced guards and pickets in the direction of Purdy.

The forces at Bethel and Purdy will defend their positions, as already instructed, if attacked; otherwise they will assemble on Purdy and thence advance, with advanced guards, flankers, and all other military precautions, forming a junction with the rest of the First Corps, at the intersection of that road with the Bark road leading from Corinth.


The reserve of the forces will be concentrated, by the shortest and best routes, at Monterey, as soon as the rear of the Second Corps shall have moved out of that place.

Its commander will take up the best position, whence to advance either in the direction of Mickey’s or of Pratt’s house, on the direct road to Pittsburg, if that road is found practicable, or in the direction of the Ridge road to Hamburg, throwing all its cavalry on the latter road, as far as its intersection with the one to Pittsburg, passing through Griersford, on Lick Creek.

The cavalry will throw well forward advanced guards and videttes towards Griersford and in the direction of Hamburg, and during the impending battle, when called to the field of combat, will move by the Griersford road.

A regiment of the infantry reserve will be thrown forward to the intersection of the Gravel Hill road with the Ridge road to Hamburg, as a support to the cavalry.

The reserve will be formed of Breckinridge’s, Bowen’s, and Statham’s brigades, as now organized, the whole under command of Brigadier-General Breckinridge.

V. General Bragg will detail the 51st and 52d regiments Tennessee Volunteers, Blount’s Alabama and Desha’s Arkansas battalion, and Bairn’s battery, from his corps, which, with two of Carroll’s regiments, now en route for these headquarters, will form a garrison for the post and depot of Corinth.


Strong guards will be left at the railway bridge between Iuka and Corinth, to be furnished in due proportion from the commands at Iuka, Beirnsville, and Corinth.


Proper guards will be left at the camps of the several regiments of the forces in the field.

Corps commanders will determine the strength of these guards.


Wharton’s regiment of Texas cavalry will be ordered forward, at once, to scout on the road from Monterey to Savannah, between Mickey’s and its intersection with the Pittsburg-Purdy road.

It will annoy and harass any force of the enemy moving, by the latter way, to assail Cheatham’s division at Purdy.


The Chief-Engineers of the forces will take due measures and precautions, and give all requisite orders, for the repair of the bridges, causeways, and roads, on which our troops may move, in the execution of these orders.

X. The troops, individually so intelligent and with such great interest in the issue, are urgently enjoined to be observant of the orders of their superiors, in the hour of battle.

Their officers must constantly endeavor to hold them in hand, and prevent the waste of ammunition by heedless, aimless firing; the fire should be slow, always at a distinct mark.

It is expected that much and effective work will be done by the bayonet.

By command of General A. S. Johnston, Thomas Jordan, A. Adjt. -Gen.

Corinth, Miss., April 18th, 1862.

The foregoing plan of operations and orders of engagement were drawn up and submitted by General Beauregard, on the morning of the 3d of April, 1862, to General A. S. Johnston, who accepted the same without modification in a single particular. Thomas Jordan, Brig. -Gen. and A. A. G.

The following passage is taken from a statement of Colonel D. Urquhart, of General Bragg’s staff, addressed to General Jordan.

It confirms, as the reader will see, all that precedes:

Narragansett, R. I., August 25th, 1880.

My dear General, — I am in receipt of your letter of — , and in reply have to say, that I remember the visit of General A. S. Johnston, accompanied by yourself, the night of the 2d of April, 1862, to the headquarters or apartments of General Bragg, at Corinth, Mississippi.

On that occasion, I was not present through the whole interview, but while the interview lasted I was in and out of the room repeatedly, and know that that interview was had for the consideration of a proposition on the part of General Beauregard, conveyed through you, that the Confederate army should, the very next day, advance to attack the Federal forces at or about Pittsburg Landing.

And I know, also, that the result of the conference was the order to make that advance, an order written by you that night in the quarters of General Bragg, in the shape of a circular letter, addressed to Generals Bragg, Polk, and Hardee, severally corps commanders.

As for the order of march and battle issued the following day, I was furnished with a copy from your office, and can state that it was well understood at the time throughout that army, that the whole plan of operations was General Beauregard’s, and, in fact, that all which concerned the army, from the time of its collection at Corinth, was arranged at and proceeded from General Beauregard’s headquarters.

Further, that, essentially, he exercised the command of the army.

In this connection it is proper for me to state that I learned at that time from General Bragg himself, that General Johnston had said, soon after his arrival at Corinth, that he had lost the confidence of his army, and therefore had insisted that General Beauregard must undertake the work of organization; also, that with General Bragg as Chief of Staff, he should issue all orders without the formula of being submitted and approved by General Johnston, except, of course, such an order as that of directing the offensive.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Yours truly, David Urquhart. To General Thomas Jordan, New York.

At the hour prescribed in the preparatory circular to the corps commanders, which had been sent out that morning — viz., about ten o’clock — the troops were all under arms in Corinth, apparently ready for the march.

Meanwhile, owing to the many more urgent occupations of the Adjutant-General’s office, copies of the preceding general orders had not been prepared for distribution that day, as the corps commanders were to begin the march pursuant to the verbal order and instructions which General Beauregard, in the presence of General Johnston, had given them, individually, as to the initial movements from Corinth.

The march, nevertheless, did not begin at the time directed, chiefly through the misapprehension of the commander of the First Corps, who, instead of moving forward upon the full verbal instructions he had received, held his corps under arms and, with its trains, blocked the way of the other troops.

As soon as this most unfortunate delay was brought to General Beauregard’s knowledge, he despatched an order to the First Corps to clear the way at once, which was done; but it was already dark before the rear of its column filed out of Corinth.

Had it not been for this deplorable loss of the afternoon of the 3d, the Confederate army must have made the march to the immediate vicinity of the enemy by the evening of the 4th.

The attack would then have been made on the morning of the 5th, as had been planned, or twenty-four hours earlier than it actually occurred, in which event Buell must have reached the theatre of action entirely too late to retrieve the disaster inflicted upon Grant, and must himself have been forced to retire from middle Tennessee.

The delay which had marked the outset was followed by unwarrantable tardiness in the general conduct of the march, so much so that, by the evening of the 4th, the forces bivouacked at and slightly in advance of Monterey, only ten miles from Corinth; and it was not until two o’clock P. M., on the 5th, that they approached the Federal position, near the Shiloh meeting-house.

The whole distance traversed was not more than about seventeen and a half miles. True, there were heavy rain-falls during the night of the 4th, and the early part of the next day, which made the roads somewhat difficult, not to speak of their narrowness and of the fact of their crossing a densely wooded country.

But these causes account only in part for the slowness of the march, which was mainly attributable to the rawness of the troops and the inexperience of the officers, including some of superior rank.

During the advance of the 4th of April a reconnaissance in force was injudiciously made by a part of the cavalry of the Second Corps, with such audacity — capturing an officer and thirteen men of the enemy — that it ought to have warned the Federal commander of our meditated attack.

Our forces could not get into position for battle until late on the afternoon of the 5th — too late to commence the action on that day. Soon after General Hardee’s line of battle (the front one) had been formed, he sent a messenger with an urgent request that General Beauregard should ride along in front of his troops.

This General Beauregard, through motives of prudence, at first refused, and only agreed to do at the instance of General Johnston himself, but he prohibited any cheering whatever, lest it should attract the attention of the opposing forces, which were known to be not more than two miles from us.

See statements of Colonel Jacob Thompson and Major B. B. Waddell in Appendix to Chapter XX. Afterwards, at the request of General Bragg, General Beauregard also rode along the front of the Second Corps, where it was difficult to enforce the order prohibiting cheering, so enthusiastic were the troops — especially those from Louisiana — when he appeared before them.

As soon as it had become evident that the day was too far advanced for a decisive engagement, General Johnston called the corps and reserve commanders together in an informal council, in the roadway, near his temporary headquarters, within less than two miles of those of General Sherman, at the Shiloh meetinghouse.

He was then informed, by Major-General Polk, that his troops had already exhausted their rations and that he had brought none in reserve.

General Bragg thereupon stated that his men had been so provident of their food that he could supply General Polk with what he needed.

This promise, however, he never executed, because of the hurry and confusion of events, which engrossed his own attention as well as that of his subordinate officers; and because, though his troops might have been somewhat less improvident than those of General Polk, they were, at best, scantily provided with what was necessary for themselves, and had, certainly, no surplus rations to spare.

The transportation wagons, containing the five days uncooked reserved rations for all the corps, were miles away in the rear, not having been able, on account of the heavy roads, to keep up with the march.

The fact that the army was threatened with a total lack of food, and that, by the loss of a whole day, the offensive movement he had so carefully prepared was seriously imperilled, produced great disappointment and distress in General Beauregard’s mind.

Impressed with the gravity of the situation and the responsibility which rested on him, as having proposed and organized this entire campaign, he stated to General Johnston and to the corps commanders present at the conference, that, in his opinion, our plan of operations had been foiled by the tardiness of our troops in starting from Corinth, followed by such delays and noisy demonstrations on the march, that a surprise, which was the basis of his plan, was now scarcely to be hoped for; that ample notice of our proximity for an aggressive movement must have been given through the conflict of our cavalry, on the preceding day, with the enemy’s reconnoitring force, and the prolongation of our presence in front of their positions before the hour for battle, next morning; that the Federal army would, no doubt, be found intrenched to the eyes, and ready for our attack; that it was unwise to push, against breastworks, troops so raw and undisciplined as ours, badly armed and worse equipped, while their antagonists, besides the advantage of number, position, discipline, and superiority of arms, were largely composed of men lately victorious at Forts Henry and Donelson; that, from his experience in the war with Mexico and, more recently, at Manassas and Centreville, he considered volunteers, when well commanded and occupying strong defensive positions, equal to regulars, if attacked in front, as the Federals would be by us;

General Sherman, in his Memoirs, says of the Federal position: The position was naturally strong, with Snake Creek on our right, a deep, bold stream, with a confluent (Owl Creek) to our right front, and Lick Creek, with a similar confluent, on our left, thus narrowing the space over which we could be attacked to one and a half or two miles. At a later period of the war we could have rendered this position impregnable in one night, but at this time we did not do it.

The fact is, that the position was not strong, except that it could not be flanked, but might have been readily made impregnable in one night to the assault of so raw a force as ours.

We knew, from the careful examination of Colonel Crocket, the Federal officer captured on the 4th, that, up to the evening of that day, there were no breastworks; but the several warnings given by the conflict in which he was captured, the noisy incidents of the next day’s march and reconnoissance, and our presence in full force on the field for fifteen hours before the attack, were facts which forced General Beauregard to believe the Federals would surely use the ample time they had, during that night, to throw up intrenchments sufficient for the repulse of our raw troops. that, under these circumstances, and for the further reason that the enemy, being on the alert, Buell’s junction would no doubt be hastened, he was no longer in favor of making the attack, but favored inviting one by turning this offensive movement into a reconnoissance in force, to draw the enemy after us nearer to our base — Corinth — and thereby detach him further from his own, at Pittsburg Landing.

Somewhat similar strategy had been resorted to by Wellington in 1810, when, advancing to attack Massena at Santarem, he unexpectedly found that able officer on his guard, ready for battle, on ground of his own choosing, and much stronger than he had anticipated.

After making some demonstrations in front of his wily adversary, to draw him away from his stronghold, Wellington did not hesitate to retire without giving battle.

General Beauregard’s views produced a visible effect on all present.

General Johnston, although shaken, after some reflection said that he admitted the weight and force of General Beauregard’s remarks, but still hoped we could find the enemy unprepared for an attack; that as our army had been put in motion for battle and was now on the field, it would be better to make the venture.

He therefore ordered that preparations should be made for an attack at dawn, next day. Thus ended this memorable conference; the officers who had been present at it repairing to their respective headquarters, in good spirits and hopeful for the morrow.

A description of the field of Shiloh may be appropriate, to enable the reader more readily to understand an account of that battle.

The sketch of the country furnished by General Jordan, Adjutant-General of the Confederate forces, in his Campaigns of General Forrest, is so correct that we shall transcribe it here, with only slight alteration:

Two streams, Lick and Owl Creeks — the latter a confluent of Snake Creek, which empties into the Tennessee — take their rise very near each other, just westward of Monterey (in a ridge which parts the waters that fall into the Mississippi from those which are affluents of the Tennessee), flowing sinuously with a general direction, the latter to the northeast and the former south of east, and they finally empty into the Tennessee, about four miles asunder.

Between these watercourses is embraced an area of undulating table-land, some five miles in depth from the river bank, from three to five miles broad, and about one hundred feet above the low-water level of the river.

Intersected by a labyrinth of ravines, the drainage is principally into Owl Creek, as the land rises highest and ridgelike near Lick Creek.

Adjoining the river these ravines, deep and steep, have a water-shed in that direction.

Recent heavy rains had filled them all with springs and small streams, making the soil boggy, and hence difficult for artillery, over much of their extent.

A primeval forest combined with a great deal of undergrowth covered the region, except a few small farms of fifty or seventy acres, scattered occasionally here and there.

Pittsburg Landing — a warehouse and a house or two by the water’s side — lay three miles below the mouth of Lick Creek. Two roads leading from Corinth, crossing that creek about a mile apart, converge together about two miles from the Landing and one mile in rear of the Shiloh meeting-house.

Other roads also approach from all directions; one, passing Owl Creek by a bridge before its junction with Snake Creek, branches, the one way tending westwardly towards Purdy, the other northwardly towards Crump’s Landing, six miles below Pittsburg.

Another, near the river bank, crossing Snake Creek by a bridge, also connects the two points.

The Federal forces — five divisions of infantry, four or five squadrons of cavalry, and sixteen light batteries of six pieces each, amounting in all to at least forty-three thousand men, occupied the ground between the Shiloh meeting-house and the river, in three lines of encampments, as already stated.

General Sherman, in his sworn testimony before a courtmar-tial which, in August, 1862, tried Colonel Thomas Worthington of the 46th Ohio Volunteers, for severely criticising his management before the battle of Shiloh, said, of the position occupied by the Federals: But even as we were on the 6th of April, 1862, you might search the world over and not find a more advantageous field of battle; flanks well-protected, and never threatened; troops in easy support; timber and broken ground giving good points to rally; and the proof is, that forty-three thousand men, of whom at least ten thousand ran away, held their ground against sixty thousand chosen troops of the South with their best leaders.

On Friday, the 4th, no officers nor soldiers, not even Colonel Worthington, looked for an attack, as I can prove.

It is somewhat strange that General Sherman, in his Memoirs, should maintain that the Federal forces engaged in the battle of Shiloh numbered only thirty-two thousand men of all arms, when, four months after that event, he stated, under oath, at the trial of Colonel Worthington, that they amounted to fortythree thousand men, exclusive, be it remembered, of Lew. Wallace’s division of about eight thousand men, on the northwest side of Owl Creek.

He then supposed our force was sixty thousand strong, instead of its actual number — forty thousand three hundred and thirty-five men of all arms and conditions.

But it may be fair to infer that he judged of their number by the effect they produced.

Thus it was that Mr. Lincoln was sorely puzzled during the war at his commanding generals reporting constantly that they had fought the Rebels with inferior numbers.

In the instance of the battle of Shiloh, this phenomenon might, however, possibly have happened; for in about thirty days, with our defective means of transportation, we had collected at Corinth, from Murfreesboroa, Pensacola, Mobile, New Orleans, and other distant points, an effective force of over forty thousand men of all arms, while the Federals had failed to bring together, in time, at Pittsburg Landing, notwithstanding their ample means of land and water transportation, the armies of Buell, from Nashville, Tennessee, and of Pope, from southeast Missouri.

Yet the Confederate army had advanced and was then assembled at Monterey and vicinity, less than nine miles in his front.

Our forces, as they had arrived in the afternoon of the 5th, at the intersection of the Griersford (Lick Creek) and Ridge roads, from Corinth to Pittsburg, less than two miles from the Shiloh meeting-house, were formed into three lines of battle; the first, under General Hardee, extended from near Owl Creek, on the left, to near Lick Creek, on the right, a distance of less than three miles, and somewhat oblique to the Federal front line of encampments, being separated from it, on the right, by about one and a half miles, and on the left, by about two miles. General Hardee’s command not being sufficiently strong to occupy the whole front, it was extended on the right by Gladden’s brigade, of General Bragg’s corps, and his artillery was formed immediately in his rear, on the main Pittsburg road. His cavalry protected and supported his flanks.

The second line, about five hundred yards in rear of the first, was composed of the rest of General Bragg’s troops, arranged in the same order.

General Polk’s corps, formed in column of brigades, deployed on the left of the Pittsburg road, between the latter and Owl Creek.

The front of the column was about eight hundred yards in rear of the centre of General Bragg’s left wing, and each brigade was followed immediately by its battery.

General Polk’s cavalry supported and protected his left flank.

Breckinridge’s command occupied a corresponding position behind General Bragg’s right wing, between the Pittsburg road and Lick Creek.

His cavalry protected and supported his right flank.

The two latter commands constituted the reserve, and were to support the front lines of battle by being deployed when required on the right and left of the Pittsburg road, or otherwise, according to exigencies.

General Hardee’s effective force of infantry and artillery was, then, nine thousand and twenty-four men; General Bragg’s, ten thousand seven hundred and thirty-one; General Polk’s, nine thousand one hundred and thirty-six; and General Breckinridge’s, seven thousand and sixty-two; presenting a total of thirty-five thousand nine hundred and fifty-three, infantry and artillery,

It is proper to remark here, that, through the want of experienced commanding officers of artillery and cavalry, and because of the wooded nature of the battle-field, it became necessary to subdivide and distribute those two arms of the service among the different corps, to enable us to obtain even a partial benefit from their presence on the field.

The strict rules of military organization for battle, in that and other respects, had to be departed from, under stress of circumstances. to which must be added four thousand three hundred and eighty-two cavalry, so imperfectly armed and so recently organized that all but one third of it was useless, except for outpost service that did not involve skirmishing.

Our pickets had been thrown out well in advance of our first line of battle, not far from the enemy’s position, without seeing or discovering any of his pickets or outposts.

Such an oversight on the part of the Federal commanders is really unaccountable, unless they chose to overlook that important maxim of war: Never despise an enemy, however weak and insignificant he may appear.

So near to each other were the opposing forces, that, hearing a loud beating of drums about the hour of tattoo, and believing it proceeded from our lines, General Beauregard immediately despatched a staff officer with orders to suppress such thoughtless and imprudent sounds.

The staff officer returned shortly afterwards and reported that the noise General Beauregard had heard, and was desirous of quieting, came, not from our troops, but from the enemy’s encampments in our front.

Later in the evening, a Federal assistant surgeon and his orderly, riding out on some night excursion, crossed our picket lines and were captured.

They were speechless with astonishment when brought to Generals Johnston and Beauregard, at beholding so large a force within striking distance of their own camps, where all was now silence and repose, and where none suspected the approaching storm.

From them we learned that General Grant had returned for the night to Savannah, and that General Sherman commanded the advanced forces.

No other information of importance was obtained from the two prisoners.

Such was the lack of discipline in the largest part of the Confederate forces, that, despite the strict orders given to enforce perfect quiet among our troops, drums were beaten, bugles blown, fires kindled, here and there, by many regiments, and firearms discharged, at different points in our rear, during that eventful night.

These and other bivouac noises should have betrayed to the Federal generals on the first line the close proximity of their foe. That such was not the case is due, no doubt, to the fact that they fell into an error similar to that which General Beauregard and others of our officers had made, and attributed these untimely sounds to their own troops.


Battle of Shiloh. —varied incidents and events of the first day. —enemy taken by surprise. —his lines driven in. —entire forces engaged on both sides. —triumphant advance of our troops. —General Johnston in command of the right and centre. —General Beauregard of the left and reserves. —Allurements of the enemy’s camps. —straggling begins among our troops. —death of the Commander-in-chief. —General Beauregard assumes command and renews the attack all along the line. —enemy again forced to fall back and abandon other camps. —evidence of exhaustion among the troops. —straggling increasing. —General Beauregard’s efforts to check it. —Collects stragglers and pushes them forward. —battle still raging. —capture of General Prentiss and of his command. —our troops reach the Tennessee river. —Colonel Webster’s batteries. —arrival of Ammen’s brigade, Nelson’s division, of Buell’s army. —its inspiriting effect upon the enemy. —the gunboats. —intrepidity of our troops. —their brilliant but ineffectual charges. —firing gradually slackens, as the day declines. —at dusk General Beauregard orders arrest of conflict. —troops ordered to bivouac for the night, and be in readiness for offensive movement next day. —storm during the night. —arrival of the whole of Buell’s army. —gunboats keep up an incessant shelling.

As the Federal troops lay encamped, Sherman’s and Prentiss’s divisions stretched from the Owl Creek bridge, on the Purdy road, to the ford of Lick Creek, on the Shore road, from Pittsburg to Hamburg.

Sherman’s 1st brigade, under Colonel McDowell, was on the extreme right; his 4th, under Colonel Buckland, west of and resting on the Shiloh meeting-house; his 3d, under Colonel Hildebrand, east of and resting also on the Shiloh meetinghouse.

Next came Prentiss’s division, and, at a very wide interval — by a loose arrangement — was Sherman’s 2d brigade, under Colonel Stuart, near Lick Creek.

About half a mile in rear of this line, and between Sherman and Prentiss, lay McClernand’s division; and two miles in rear, towards the Tennessee River, C. F. Smith’s division, now under General W. H. L. Wallace; while on Wallace’s left was Hurlbut’s division, on the Hamburg road, about a mile and a half in rear of Stuart.

Before five o’clock A. M., on the 6th of April, General Hardee’s pickets, driving in those of General Prentiss, encountered some companies of the Federal advanced guard, and a desultory firing began.

The order to advance was now given, and at five o’clock General Hardee’s entire line moved forward.

Overhead was the promise of a bright day, but the after mists of the recent storm yet hung in the valleys and woods, veiling still more thickly the forest-screened positions of the enemy, upon which the lines of battle were directed only by conjecture.

General Prentiss having hurried a reinforcement to the guard and informed Generals Wallace and Hurlbut of the attack, threw forward three regiments well to the front.

In his Report, General Prentiss says: . . . This information received, I at once ordered the entire force into line, and the remaining regiments of the 1st brigade, commanded by Colonel Everett Peabody, consisting of the 25th Missouri, 16th Wisconsin, and 12th Michigan infantry, were advanced well to the front.

I forthwith, at this juncture, communicated the fact of the attack in force to Major-General Smith and Brigadier-General S. A. Hurlbut. His position was a prolongation of the elevated ground where stood the Shiloh meeting-house, held by General Sherman; the whole bounded in front by a ravine and watercourse which, rising near the left of Prentiss, fell into Owl Creek, near the Purdy road bridge, occupied by Sherman’s right.

The Confederate lines of attack soon appeared, driving before them the skirmish line formed of the troops of the guard.

Prentiss’s whole force was now thrown forward and became the first engaged, as his position was slightly in advance of General Sherman’s, and the difficulties of the ground in front of the latter caused our line to oblique still more to the right.

Shortly after six o’clock General Prentiss’s command was falling under fire, and the assailing wave soon struck General Sherman’s pickets, sweeping them back in the direction of his camps.

General Sherman called upon General McClernand for assistance and gave notice of the attack to Generals Prentiss and Hurlbut, the latter of whom despatched Veatch’s brigade of four regiments to the support of General Sherman’s left.

General Hurlbut’s Report. Before seven o’clock the musketry fire, which had gradually swelled, slackened and almost ceased, while the Federal skirmishers were leaving the field, and the wooded interval separating the enemy’s encampments from our advancing lines was lessening more and more.

It was the momentary lull before the full outburst of the storm.

Shortly before this General Johnston, meeting General Beauregard near the former’s headquarters, expressed his satisfaction at the manner in which the battle had been opened, and after an interchange of views concerning the operations of the day, left him and rode to the front.

They parted here for the last time.

At seven o’clock the thunder of artillery announced the serious opening of the conflict, and was followed by the sharp, increasing volleys of musketry.

Generals Polk and Breckinridge were now hastened forward, and, reporting to General Beauregard, at halfpast seven, were by him deployed in column of brigades, General Breckinridge on the right, General Polk on the left.

They received from General Beauregard brief general instructions to keep at a proper distance in rear of General Bragg’s line and apart from each other, until called on for assistance, when they should move promptly with concentrated forces wherever needed, and, if in doubt from the hidden and broken character of the country, to move upon the sound of the heaviest firing.

By this time the attack had become general along the entire front of Generals Prentiss and Sherman, though stronger as yet on the former, who received the full shock of Gladden’s, Hindman’s, and Wood’s brigades of General Hardee’s line, and was driven back upon his camps, calling upon Generals Wallace and Hurlbut for assistance.

General Prentiss, in his Report, says he was assailed by the entire force of the enemy, advancing in three columns simultaneously upon our left, centre, and right. General Beauregard now despatched members of his staff to several quarters of the field, to ascertain and report its precise condition, and sent forward Adjutant-General Jordan, charging him to maintain a careful inspection of the lines of battle, so as to secure the massing of the troops for unity of attack and prompt reinforcement to weakened points; also with impressive directions to the corps and division commanders to mass their batteries in action, and fight them twelve guns on a point.

Notwithstanding the bold movements of the Confederate cavalry on the previous evening and the noise of the conflict since dawn, General Sherman remained under the belief that no more than a strong demonstration was intended, until nearly eight o’clock, when, seeing the Confederate bayonets moving in the woods beyond his front, he became satisfied, for the first time, that the enemy designed a determined attack on the entire Federal camp.

General Sherman’s Report, see Record of the Rebellion, p. 407. The regiments of his division, all then under arms, were thrown into line of battle.

Taylor’s and Waterhouse’s batteries were posted, the former at the Shiloh meeting-house, and the latter on a ridge to the left, with a front fire over open ground between Mungen’s and Appler’s regiments of his left (Hildebrand’s)brigade.

General McClernand, responding promptly to General Sherman’s call, had sent forward three Illinois regiments, which were posted in rear of Waterhouse’s battery and of Appler, upon whom General Sherman impressed the necessity of holding his ground at all hazards.

Veatch’s brigade, of General Hurlbut’s division, took position on General Sherman’s left.

General Hurlbut’s Report, Record of the Rebellion, p. 400.

As the heavy roll of musketry soon extended to the left, General Beauregard ordered General Polk to move two of his brigades to the left rear of General Bragg’s line and to keep in personal communication with the latter, who was also informed of the movement.

General Bragg reported that his infantry was not yet engaged, but ready to support General Hardee when required, and that his artillery was shelling the Federal camp.

Colonel Jacob Thompson, of General Beauregard’s staff, now came in with a message from General Johnston, informing him that General Hardee’s line was within half a mile of the enemy’s camps, and advising the sending forward of strong reinforcements to the left, as he had just learned that the enemy was there in great force.

Three brigades of General Breckinridge were accordingly set in motion as an additional reinforcement for that quarter.

But later a courier came in from General Johnston, with information that the enemy was not strong on the left, and had fallen back; while Colonel Augustin and Major Brent, of General Beauregard’s staff, returning about half-past 8 from a reconnoissance of the extreme right, reported an active engagement in that quarter, the right of General Hardee’s line under a severe fire, and requiring extension, as it was uncovered for the space of a mile in the direction of Lick Creek, and the enemy was occupying the country beyond the right.

General Beauregard thereupon ordered General Breckinridge to send but one (Trabue’s) brigade to the left, and lead his remaining two brigades to the right of Gladden, so as to share in the forward movement of the first line, and extend his own right as far as possible towards Lick Creek. Colonel Augustin was sent to conduct him into position.

It was now half-past 8 o’clock. The attack was being pushed with great vigor, the Confederate lines of battle following quickly in the wake of the shells that were bursting in the enemy’s camps.

Fortunately for the Federals, on that day, from an unavoidable ignorance of their exact positions, the left of the Confederate first line of battle fell short of General McDowell’s brigade, on General Sherman’s right, which thus had ample time for deliberate preparation before it was struck by the second line, under General Bragg.

The Confederate line while advancing was somewhat oblique to the Federals, being nearest to General Prentiss’s left and farthest from General Sherman’s right. Thus, while the brigades of Generals Gladden, Hindman, and Wood were striking an unbroken series of blows on General Prentiss’s division and on General Sherman’s left and left centre, it happened that Cleburne’s brigade, the left of General Hardee’s line, was moving single-handed against General Sherman’s right centre and was being overlapped by his right.

Its order was broken in crossing the difficult morass which here covered the Federal front, and, as it charged up the hill, deadly volleys were poured upon it from behind bales of hay and other convenient defenses, till, after repeated efforts against a front and flank fire, it was repulsed with heavy loss; the 6th Mississippi regiment losing in these charges more than three hundred killed and wounded, out of an effective force of four hundred and twentyfive men.

The diverging course of Lick Creek had left an ever-widening space between it and the right of General Hardee’s line, as the latter advanced.

To fill this space Chalmers’s brigade,

See General Withers’s Report of the battle of Shiloh, in Confederate Official Reports of Battles, p. 235. See also, in same work, General Chalmers’s Report, at page 256. with Gage’s battery, was thrown forward from the second line and deployed on the right of General Gladden, in conformity with directions contained in the order of march and battle.

The gallant Gladden, at that time vigorously urging his troops against Prentiss, fell mortally wounded, and was carried from the field.

His brigade was now wavering before the severe artillery and musketry fire brought to bear against it, when Colonel Daniel W. Adams, its new commander, seizing a battle-flag, called upon his men to follow him, which they did with great alacrity;

See Colonel D. W. Adams’s Report, in Confederate Official Reports of Battles, p. 242. and such was the impetus, as Chalmers’s brigade charged on the right, that Prentiss’s entire line gave way in confusion and disorder.

It was pursued through its camps and about half a mile across a ravine, to the ridge beyond, by Chalmers’s brigade, till the latter was halted by order of General Johnston,

See General Chalmers’s Report, in Confederate Official Reports of Battles, p. 257. then in that quarter, and withdrawn to a position on the rear and right of General Gladden.

At the same time, Mungen’s and Appler’s regiments of Hildebrand’s brigade, of Sherman’s division, broke and fled, leaving Waterhouse’s battery entirely exposed.

General Sherman’s Report, Rebellion Record, vol.

IV. p. 407. Here the supporting regiments from McClernand’s and Hurlbut’s divisions pressed forward, and, together with Hildebrand’s own regiment, still held their ground, while another brigade of McClernand’s came to their support.

Meantime McArthur’s brigade, of Wallace’s division, while moving to the assistance of Stuart’s brigade, on the Federal extreme left, had mistaken its way, and come opportunely into the void left by the routed General Prentiss.

Agate, Rebellion Record, vol.

IV. p. 389. For a while it stood firmly, but was forced back and formed farther to the rear, with the remaining forces of its own division, hurried forward to its relief.

General Hurlbut also was bringing up his two remaining brigades for the support of Prentiss’s left, when he met the fleeing troops of that division, who straggled through his lines.

He formed his brigades on two sides of an open field with woods in rear, and his three batteries (Meyer’s, Mann’s, and Ross’s) respectively on the right, the centre, and the left — their fire converging over the open ground in front;

Hurlbut’s Report, Rebellion Record, vol.

IV. p. 400. while General Prentiss, rallying what he could of his troops, led them, together with the 23d Missouri (just landed from a transport), into position on Hurlbut’s right, and on the left of Wallace’s division.

Prentiss’s Report. But here, after the capture of Prentiss’s camps, further advance on the right was suspended for about half an hour, as the enemy’s movements were concealed.

Chalmers’s Report, Confederate Official Reports of Battles, p. 257. This proved a valuable respite to the Federals, pending which, report coming to that quarter that the enemy was forming in line of battle some distance off, on the right flank, General Johnston led Chalmers’s and Jackson’s brigades back across the ravine and southeast three quarters of a mile to the right, until the right of Chalmers rested on Lick Creek bottom, Jackson forming on his left.

Here they were halted for about half an hour, while the position of the enemy (Stuart’s brigade) was being ascertained.

Generals Withers’s, Chalmers’s, and Jackson’s Reports, Confederate Reports of Battles, pp. 235, 257, 265.

After General Breckinridge’s two brigades had passed headquarters in their movement to the right, General Beauregard sent Johnson’s brigade, of General Polk’s corps, as a further reinforcement to the right; and, thereupon, at about 9. 20 A. M., moved with his staff to a more advanced position, on the road to Pittsburg, now giving more particular attention to the conflict on the left.

Reports of General Beauregard’s Staff, in Appendix. Here General Ruggles’s division, of General Bragg’s corps, the second line of attack, had come into position on General Hardee’s left, and was ready to grapple with General Sherman, who, supported now by all of McClernand’s division and Wright’s regiment of Wallace’s second brigade,

Colonel Wright’s Report, Rebellion Record, p. 370. was endeavoring to cling to the position of Shiloh.

The severity of the contest, thus far, was attested by the large number of wounded found on the way. A great many stragglers were also met, whom General Beauregard’s staff

Reports of General Beauregard’s Staff, in Appendix. and escort present were at once employed in reorganizing and leading forward to their regiments.

As General Ruggles’s division, the left of General Bragg’s line, was inclining to the right before making its direct movement forward, an interval occurred between the leading brigade, Gibson’s, and its two other brigades, Anderson’s and Pond’s.

General Bragg’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 227. A brigade of General Polk’s division, believed to be Russell’s,

Major Clack’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 317. which had been ordered forward by General Beauregard, opportunely filled this vacant space, thus completing the second line in that quarter, and supporting the assault of Hindman’s division upon McClernand and Veatch, who were then striving to hold the position from which Sherman’s left brigade had been mostly routed, and was now wholly slipping away.

Still farther to the left, Anderson’s brigade formed the second line along the ridge, with Hodgson’s battery, which went at once into vigorous action.

Across the ravine, and on the opposite dominating ridge, were General Sherman’s remaining brigades, supporting their batteries, with an infantry advance thrown out to the edge of the boggy ravine which here divided the two lines of battle.

It was a swamp so overgrown with shrubs, saplings, and vines thickly interwoven, as to require, in many places, the use of the knife to force a passage.

General Patton Anderson’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 301. As Anderson’s regiments went down the slope and forced their way through the swamp thicket, they encountered a severe fire from the enemy’s artillery and musketry, and, as they charged up the opposite hill, they were partially broken by some scattering forces from the first line and from the right.

All, however, were rallied together and held for a time, under cover of the brow of the hill occupied by General Sherman, while Hodgson’s guns threw a destructive fire upon the opposite Federal battery; and the neighboring forces on the right, supported by another battery, moving around the swamp and thicket, poured a flank fire upon General Sherman’s left.

This was one of the batteries which had been placed in position by General Trudeau, volunteer aide-de-camp of General Polk, acting under instructions of General Beauregard, who was present at the time. What remained of Hildebrand’s brigade now wholly gave way, throwing disorder into McClernand’s forces, who were driven back, abandoning Waterhouse’s six guns; and as Taylor’s battery now slackened under Hodgson’s fire, Anderson’s brigade again ascended the slope with three regiments of Pond’s brigade, on the left, supported by two sections of Ketchum’s battery.

By this front and flank charge, General Sherman was forced to fall back with McDowell’s and Buckland’s brigades to the Purdy and Hamburg roads; thus, by ten o’clock, abandoning his entire line of camps.

Colonel Buckland’s Report, Rebellion Record, vol.

IV. p. 372. As the attacking lines vigorously followed, Buckland’s brigade began rapidly to dissolve; Behr’s battery was abandoned without firing a shot

General Sherman’s Report, Record of the Rebellion, vol.

IV. p. 407. from its new position, and the remains of Sherman’s division fell farther back on the right of McClernand’s, which had been well rallied, and formed on the line of its camps, with Veatch’s cleft brigade allotted on its right and left.

In taking his new position, General Sherman was enabled somewhat to relieve McClernand,

Ibid. who was under a severe attack, by delivering his retreating fire upon the flank of the assailing force in that quarter.

About the hour that General Sherman’s last camps were carried, and his troops were being driven back upon the line of the Purdy road, the battle broke along the front formed by Generals W. II. L. Wallace and Hurlbut, who had selected strong defensive positions.

Here, after the line of battle had been formed beyond General Prentiss’s camps, a fortunate shell, from Robertson’s battery, striking amid one of Hurlbut’s, stampeded the entire battery, horses and caissons, as well as guns, being abandoned, though the latter were spiked by other artillerists.

General Hurlbut’s Report, Record of the Rebellion, vol.

IV. p. 400. By direction of General Hardee, then on his way towards the left, Colonel Adams made a skirmishing reconnoissance to feel the enemy’s strength.

He was then ordered by General Bragg to advance, but found his men short of ammunition.

At this moment General Breckinridge’s division was led into position by Colonel Augustin, of General Beauregard’s staff,

See Colonel Augustin’s Report, in Appendix. on Colonel Adams’s right, while Cheatham’s division (Bushrod Johnson’s and Stevens’s brigades), sent to the same quarter by General Beauregard, came up on its left.

General Cheatham’s Report. These two divisions now joined their lines and engaged the enemy, while Adams’s (Gladden’s) brigade fell to the rear.

Johnson’s two right regiments, which had become temporarily detached by reason of the features of the ground, were ordered separately into action by General Bragg, and unfortunately remained separated from the rest of the brigade and their commander during the day.

General Bushrod Johnson’s Report.

Wallace’s and Hurlbut’s divisions, deliberately posted and handied with skill, maintained a stubborn resistance to the attack.

Consisting mostly of troops who had served at Donelson, they gallantly formed their lines, notwithstanding the surprise and disorder through which they had been ushered into the conflict.

Shortly after ten o’clock, the enemy being reported very strong in the centre — that is, along Wallace’s front — General Beauregard reinforced that point by Trabue’s brigade,

See Major Brent’s Report, in Appendix. of General Breckinridge’s division, which he had held near his headquarters.

A little before that time Stuart’s forces had also been reached.

Agate, Record of the Rebellion, vol.

IV. Doc. p. 391. This officer, when warned, at half-past 7, by General Prentiss, of the presence of the Confederates, had formed his three regiments in line of battle on a ridge faced by a ravine and watercourse emptying into Lick Creek, and awaited developments, until, seeing the Confederates penetrating on Prentiss’s rear, he called for support from Hurlbut, who despatched him an Illinois regiment and a battery, which took position on his right.

It was scarcely ten o’clock when his skirmish line, thrown out on another ridge, in front, was driven in by the attacking forces, who planted a battery there and shelled his lines, Jackson’s brigade opening the conflict under General Johnston’s personal order.

Report of Colonel Joseph Wheeler, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 275. Stuart, upon going to the right, found that the 71st Ohio regiment, together with Hurlbut’s Illinois battalion and battery, had taken flight.

Stuart’s Report. A similar fate had overtaken the 52d Tennessee, of Chalmers’s brigade, when, shortly before, it had received the fire of Stuart’s skirmishers; and, excepting two companies of soldierly behavior, it was ordered out of the lines.

Chalmers’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 257. Stuart’s other two regiments, after being forced back some distance, were still farther withdrawn, and formed along the brow of a hill, numbering now a force of eight hundred men. His position was protected by a fence and thick undergrowth, with an open field in front and a ravine on the left; and here, without artillery, he maintained a creditable resistance against greatly superior numbers.

Stuart’s Report mentions no artillery but the battery sent him by Hurlbut, which went away; as to infantry, he was greatly outnumbered.

All the forces on each side were now in action.

The Confederate front line, as, according to the conformation of the ground, it developed the positions of the enemy and the needs of reinforcements, had been extended on its right and left and filled, at intervening points, by the troops of the second and third, or reserve lines.

With a general direction from northwest to southeast, oblique to the Tennessee River, and its right thrown back, the order of the Federal forces was, from right to left, as follows: Sherman’s remaining troops; McClernand’s division, with a portion of Veatch’s brigade, of Hurlbut’s division; and, beyond a wide interval, Stuart’s isolated brigade, on the extreme left.

The Confederate forces in opposing order, left to right, were: Two brigades (Pond’s and Anderson’s) of Ruggles’s division, of Bragg’s corps; one brigade (Russell’s) of Polk’s corps; Hardee’s three brigades (Cleburne’s, Wood’s, and Hindman’s), with Gibson’s brigade, of Ruggles’s division, and Trabue’s, of Breckinridge’s division, in support or filling up the line; Cheatham’s division, of Polk’s corps, and Breckinridge’s division, with Gladden in rear; and on the extreme right, at the distance of about three quarters of a mile, Withers’s division (Jackson’s and Chalmers’s brigades), of Bragg’s corps, carrying on the attack against Stuart under General Johnston.

The contest now went on in all parts of the field, without any important incident or change, during the remainder of the morning and the early afternoon.

About eleven o’clock, General Johnston, leaving Withers’s division, passed over to the rear of General Breckinridge’s, and remained directing its movements.

Previously to this General Bragg had, by understanding with General Polk, taken position near the right centre and General Polk near the left centre, while General Hardee remained at the extreme left.

General Beauregard, following the general movement, maintained a central position in rear.

In the succession of ravines, ridges, and woods, the Federals had, everywhere, natural defensive positions more or less strong, which their opponents were compelled to carry by assault.

These were attacked with great bravery and heavy loss of life, but not with that concert and massing of forces essential to decisive effects, though this fact was, in some measure, due to the concealed character of the country, which, in most parts, admitted of no continuous view of any large body of troops.

General officers in immediate direction of their commands were too intent upon the efforts of brigades, and even regiments, thus losing sight of the disjointed remainder, and neglecting to combine efficiently the service of the artillery and infantry.

Brigades and regiments, as well as batteries, were often, for this reason, at a stand-still without orders; and sometimes, from the same lack of cohesion, bodies of our own troops were mistaken for the enemy and even fired into on the flank or rear, and thrown into some confusion.

Other commands, after casualties, remained without leadership from a ranking officer, until so reported to General Beauregard, and by him supplied through his staff.

Straggling also began early in the day, a great many men being engaged in the plunder of the captured camps, while numbers made their way to the rear.

General Beauregard used part of the cavalry, under his staff and escort, to drive them out of the camps, and when collected, they were formed into battalions, officered as well as could be done under the circumstances, and again sent forward.

Thus all loose or halting commands were attached to the readiest lines of movement, or to those needing reinforcement.

At about half-past 12, part of Pond’s brigade and two regiments of Cleburne’s brigade, united under Colonel Pond, with a battery and squadron of cavalry, were ordered to assail the Federal right.

Here, between twelve and one o’clock, Sherman’s and McClernand’s forces began to fall back,

Reports of Colonels Hare and Crocker, Rebellion Record, vol.

IV. pp. 376-378. and, at half-past 1, General Beauregard ordered General Hardee to throw the cavalry

See Staff Reports in Appendix. upon the retreating regiments, sending a force by a circuitous way, and under screen of the woods, against the right rear, so as to cut them off. The movement was vigorously executed, though a part of the force, carried too far by its ardor, and coming upon an unseen body of the enemy in a wood, was repulsed; but the remainder, under Morgan, charged and drove back the retreating battalions, capturing a number of guns.

At two o’clock, General Beauregard again sent orders to General Hardee

Ibid. to push the enemy’s right with vigor, and Sherman’s and McClernand’s troops now rapidly gave way, the larger part of them retiring towards Snake Creek, where they remained aside from the scene of conflict; another part retreating upon Wallace’s camps, while Veatch’s brigade fell back towards the landing, where, later, it reunited with Hurlbut’s division.

The way was now open for an advance of the Confederate left against Wallace’s division, which was, at that time, the advanced Federal right.

Posted on a ridge under cover of a thicket, and supported by artillery, this division had unflinchingly held its ground, repelling with slaughter every attack made upon it. Under the orders of General Bragg, who was directing the movements against its left, between eleven and three o’clock, Hindman’s division was led to the assault, but repulsed under a murderous fire,

General Bragg’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 228. its gallant commander falling severely wounded.

It was rallied and led to a second charge, but with no better success.

Gibson’s brigade was then sent up, without artillery support, in four bloody, detached, and unavailing assaults,

General Gibson’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 286. its flank raked by a battery, and its front covered by the fire of the infantry posted in the thicket on the ridge.

After these repulses, General Bragg abandoned the task and passed farther to the right, in the direction of Breckinridge’s division.

General Bragg’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 228.

Meanwhile Withers’s division (Chalmers’s and Jackson’s brigades) had been gradually forcing back Stuart’s two regiments, sweeping with its right the edge of the Tennessee bottom, until, about three o’clock, Chalmers’s brigade was struck by the shells of the Federal gunboat Tyler, and moved away from the river.

General Chalmers’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 258, and General Jackson’s Report, p. 266. As Stuart’s force, winding its way through ravines to Pittsburg Landing, went out of view, and no other enemy appeared in that quarter, the division, wheeling on its left, by order of Withers, in accordance with the general plan of battle,

General Withers’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 236. advanced upon the sound of the neighboring conflict, where Breckinridge’s and Cheatham’s forces were warmly engaged with those of Hurlbut and Prentiss.

General Johnston had been some three quarters of an hour in rear of Breckinridge’s division

Governor Harris’s letter to General Beauregard, see Appendix. (the right of the main line of battle), while, under a galling fire and at great cost, it had steadily held its position, until he decided to lead it to the charge.

The enemy’s force was driven to the next ridge beyond, and Breckinridge’s line was re-formed under a severe fire, when Governor Harris,

Governor Harris’s letter to General Beauregard, see Appendix. volunteer aid, returning from the delivery of an order to Colonel Statham, to charge a battery on their immediate left, found General Johnston wounded.

This was between two and halfpast two o’clock. Sustaining him in the saddle, Governor Harris withdrew him to a ravine, about one hundred yards in the rear, where, within half an hour, that patriotic and noble soldier breathed his last.

Meanwhile, General Hurlbut, informed by Stuart that his left flank was uncovered by the latter’s forced retreat,

General Hurlbut’s Report, Rebellion Record, vol.

IV. p. 401. shifted his right (Lanman’s) brigade to his left, and ordered Williams’s brigade and Prentiss’s command to fall back steadily, thus endeavoring to meet the flanking movement of Withers’s division.

Adjutant-General Jordan had come upon this quarter of the field at half-past 2, shortly after General Johnston’s withdrawal, and finding Breckinridge’s division at rest, ordered it to charge the enemy in front,

General Cheatham’s Report. posted behind a fence in the border of a wood.

He gave the order in the name of General Johnston, not knowing at the time of his whereabouts or mortal wound.

General Breckinridge advanced steadily, forcing the enemy back from their position.

While this was going on, and after the Federal right had been broken and driven back, General Beauregard, having ordered General Hardee to reorganize his forces for another onslaught, turned his attention to that quarter of the field, in the centre, where the enemy’s obstinate resistance had baffled General Bragg’s previous efforts.

He advanced in that direction portions of Anderson’s and Gibson’s brigades, two detached batteries, and several battalions just formed from stragglers and scattered commands.

At this moment Colonel Marshall J. Smith’s Crescent regiment, of New Orleans, came up from the extreme left, with Colonel Looney’s 38th Tennessee, and, seeing General Beauregard, raised a gallant cheer, which immediately drew upon the spot the concentrated fire of the enemy.

General Beau regard, bidding them go forward and drive the enemy into the Tennessee,

Colonel Marshall J. Smith’s Report, Confederate Official Reports of Battles, p. 343. attached to them another battalion formed of stragglers, and sent them in the same direction, to support two batteries (Hodgson’s and another) which he had just ordered ahead.

Here a vigorous artillery fire was now combined with the efforts of the infantry, under Generals Polk and Ruggles, and the stubborn enemy began to relax his hold.

See, in Confederate Reports of Battles, Ruggles’s Report, p. 282, Anderson’s Report, p. 304, and Hoge’s Report, p. 291.

But, farther down on the right, Generals Prentiss and Hurlbut were still contending so strongly that Generals Breckinridge and Crittenden called earnestly on Jackson and Chalmers for assistance.

Report of General Jackson, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 265. The flanking march of these two latter brigades was met by Lanman’s brigade, supported by powerful artillery, and there a fierce, exhausting contest ensued.

As General Beauregard, in advance of the Shiloh meeting-house, was directing the movement beyond McClernand’s camps, Governor Harris reached him, shortly after three o’clock, and informed him of General Johnston’s death.

This was a great; shock to General Beauregard, who had not anticipated the possibility of such a loss, and who knew what effect it would produce upon the troops, especially those who had formed part of General Johnston’s original command.

He sent immediate intelligence of the sad event to the corps commanders, enjoining silence concerning it, and, at the same time, gave orders to push the attack vigorously in all quarters of the field.

Wallace’s right was now attacked by Looney’s and Marshall J. Smith’s regiments, of Anderson’s brigade, and by a portion of Gibson’s, under General Polk.

The remains of Hindman’s division and Gladden’s brigade, with Cheatham’s and Breckinridge’s forces, were pressed against his left; and Prentiss’s command, with a portion of Hurlbut’s, was attacked with great determination by General Bragg; while Jackson and Chalmers were assailing Hurlbut in front and on the left flank.

The latter, as he withdrew, attempted to make a stand on the line of his camps, but, to avoid being cut off, fell back, at about four o’clock, upon Pittsburg Landing, thus allowing Chalmers and Jackson to move upon the flank of the line formed by Prentiss and Wallace.

While all these forces were closing upon Wallace and Prentiss, General Hardee was engaged on the left with McClernand’s regiments and the remnants of Sherman’s command.

Hearing from a staff officer

Colonel Ferguson’s Report, see Appendix. that a brigade was inactive in that quarter, and, apparently, without a commander, General Beauregard sent Colonel Ferguson, of his staff, to lead it into action, under the direction of General Hardee.

This was part of the brigade of Colonel Pond, who, far from being inactive, was, in fact, reconnoitring so as to ascertain his position more accurately and act understandingly against the battery in his front.

By orders, said to have been from General Hardee, a brilliant but ineffective charge was then and there made by the 18th Louisiana,

Colonel Pond’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 329. under Colonel Mouton, and immediately afterwards by the Orleans Guard battalion, under Major Querouze; the 16th Louisiana followed in the rear of the column, but was only partially engaged.

Alone and unsupported the 18th Louisiana charged gallantly up the hill, closely upon the battery, which had already begun to abandon its ground, when a murderous fire from three regiments of McClernand’s force compelled the regiment to retire, after a loss of two hundred and seven officers and men, killed and wounded, who could not be removed from the field.

Colonel Mouton’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 333. The Orleans Guard battalion lost about eighty men while making a similar charge, immediately afterwards.

The enemy at this point, however, was now falling back, in accordance with the retrograde movement of the other Federal forces, when General Wallace fell, mortally wounded, after having, by his skill and tenacity, contributed much towards the salvation of the Federal army.

But General Prentiss, unaware of the movement executed by Wallace’s division, still clung to his position, together with the 8th, 12th, and 14th Iowa and the 58th Illinois, of Wallace’s division, who were endeavoring to save their artillery.

After they were cut off they made several ineffectual charges in an effort to break through to the Landing, and at about half-past 5 o’clock P. M., surrounded and hemmed in by our troops, they finally abandoned the struggle, and surrendered, amid the loud cheers of the victors.

The prisoners there captured numbered some twenty-five hundred men, and among them was General Prentiss himself.

General Prentiss, in his report of the battle, written after his return from captivity, thus alludes to this memorable incident: . . . I determined to assail the enemy, which had passed between me and the river, charging upon him with my entire force.

I found him advancing in mass, completely encircling my command, and nothing was left but to harass him and retard his progress so long as might be possible.

This I did until 5. 30 P. M., when finding that further resistance must result in the slaughter of every man in the command, I had to yield the fight.

The enemy succeeded in capturing myself and twenty-two hundred rank and file, many of them wounded. They were sent to the rear under escort of cavalry and a detachment from Wood’s brigade.

General Hardee’s Report.

This closing in of the Confederate lines had brought the extreme right and the left centre of the line of battle unexpectedly face to face, as the last wooded ridge was crossed which had sepaated them as they pressed on both flanks of the Federal divisions.

Much confusion ensued, as well as delay for the replenishment of ammunition, before the commands were extricated and directed anew against the enemy.

Meanwhile, since four o’clock, Colonel J. D. Webster, an able officer of General Grant’s staff, had been collecting the reserve artillery and other batteries, till he had massed about sixty guns (some of them 24-pounder siege guns) along a ridge covering Pittsburg Landing, and reaching out to the camps of Wallace, a portion of which was still held by the remainder of that division, with some of McClernand’s regiments, and fragments of Sherman’s, on their right.

In rear of Webster’s guns was also Hurlbut’s division,

General Hurlbut’s Report, Record of the Rebellion, vol.

IV. p. 401. with Veatch’s brigade now reattached, and two of Stuart’s regiments, all of these reinforced by numbers rallied from the broken commands.

General Grant having arrived on the field at one o’clock P. M.,

General Badeau says, eight o’clock A. M. or about that time, had been busy at this work since three o’clock. The line of bluffs masked all view of the river; but, in fact, General Buell’s Army of the Ohio was also now arriving from Savannah, on the opposite bank, below Pittsburg Landing, and Ammen’s brigade, of Nelson’s advance division, had been thrown across and placed in support of Webster’s battery, at five o’clock. Generals Buell and Nelson were both present on the field.

General Nelson’s Report, Record of the Rebellion, vol.

IV. p. 413. Behind these forces and below the bluff was the remainder of Grant’s army, its flight arrested by the river, and its masses tossing in uncontrollable panic and disorder.

Agate, Record of the Rebellion, vol.

IV. p. 393. See also General Buell’s Report, vol.

IV. p. 410.

But in rear of the victorious Confederate line was a scene of straggling and pillage which, for a time, defied all remonstrance and all efforts at coercion.

The disorder and plunder that had followed the capture of Prentiss’s, Sherman’s, and Mc-Clernand’s camps were now all the greater, as the troops, fasting since dawn — and some of them since the previous evening — were exhausted from incessant fighting and marching.

The commands were broken and mixed; and among many the idea prevailed that the battle had been won and was virtually ended.

One cheering feature, however, in the scene of spoil, was the strewing of old flint-locks and double-barrelled shot-guns, exchanged for the Enfield and Minie rifles abandoned by the enemy.

In view of this change of armament and the general scarcity of ammunition, General Beauregard ordered the collection of the enemy’s ordnance stores, as well as all available provisions, to be sent to the rear for greater security.

The forces were deployed again into line from the point around which they had centred in the capture of Prentiss’s and Wallace’s advanced regiments.

Those under General Bragg’s direction moved to the right, Chalmers’s brigade leading, after a halt for re-distribution of ammunition;

See Chalmers’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 258. and, extending to the Tennessee bottom, Jackson’s brigade followed, without ammunition, the bayonet being their only weapon.

General Jackson’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 266. The remainder of the line was continued from right to left, with the same brigades that had been previously engaged.

Those on the right of the Ridge road were practically under the direction of General Bragg, and those on the left of it, under Generals Polk and Hardee.

This road, as well as all approaches to the Landing, was swept by the enemy’s artillery.

The Federal position, on the bluffs, was fronted by a deep ravine and creek, running into the Tennessee, with branches falling into it from the line of the Confederate advance, all filled with back water from the river, on account of the late heavy rains; and the main ravine, which protected the Federal front, was enfiladed by the fire of the gunboats lying in its mouth.

Over this ground, divided and thickly wooded, a continuous line of battle was impracticable.

General Beauregard, seeing that nothing but a concerted and well-supported attack, in heavy mass, could, that evening, strike the finishing blow by which the enemy would be crushed, ordered the corps commanders, on the right and left, to make a hasty reorganization of the troops under their control, for a combined onslaught, while he, at the centre, should organize reinforcements for the line of attack in his immediate front.

He caused all fragmentary bodies and stragglers, in his vicinity, to be brought up from the rear, and formed into such organizations as the emergency allowed, and they were thus carried forward to swell the line of battle.

The troops, however, were not pressed to the front in combined attack, as ordered, but in a series of disjointed assaults, with but little support from the batteries, many of which were allowed to remain inactive in the rear.

In his Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 324, Captain Hodgson, writing of the charge made by the 18th Louisiana, and, subsequently, by the Orleans Guard battalion, at four o’clock P. M., or about that; time, says: This was about the last firing of my battery, on the 6th instant.

Captain Ketchum, in his Report (ibid.

pp. 340, 341), says: Colonel Pond’s fine brigade was badly cut up in a charge on a battery, in one of these camps, which, I have always thought, might have been avoided, had my battery not been withdrawn from the advance I was making on this camp.

General Chalmers, in his Report, p. 260, says: During this engagement, Gage’s battery was brought up to our assistance, but suffered so severely that it was soon compelled to retire.

See also Pond’s and Mouton’s Reports, as to the separate and isolated action of their commands. These assaults were easily broken, and with slaughter, by the formidable weight of metal which girded the Federal position, supported by a still heavy force of infantry, reinforced by some of General Buell’s troops, while the shells of the gunboats swept the long ravine which our different commands had to cross in assailing the bluff, and which formed their only rallying cover from the fire in front.

The troops, moreover, were greatly disorganized; the commands were cut up and intermingled, and regimental organization was greatly confused.

The corps commanders, then as throughout the day, continued to give examples of personal courage, but exhaustion and hunger nullified all attempts to create enthusiasm on the part of the men. General Hardee, in command on the left, to whom General Beauregard had sent Lieutenant Chisolm, of his staff, to ascertain how he was faring, answered: We are getting along very well, but tell the General they (meaning the enemy) are putting it to us very severely.

Chisolm, though ordered to return, and report before dark, remained as aide-de-camp to General Hardee, who had none of his staff with him, and was bringing up two regiments into position, from the rear, when one of them broke in disorder, under the artillery fire from the field-pieces and gunboats, and fell back out of the fight.

Colonel Chisolm’s Report, in Appendix. Here, also, part of Pond’s brigade, when about to make a last forward movement, received a fatal volley from the 27th Tennessee, of Cleburne’s brigade, which compelled it to face about, and their artillery support to take a new position against a supposed hostile attack from the rear — an untoward event, which ended the share of this brigade in the conflict of that day.

Colonel Pond’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 329.

The remaining troops, under General Hardee — that is to say, Wood’s brigade, greatly diminished by detachment and casualties, and a small portion of Cleburne’s — did not succeed in making any impression on the force of artillery and infantry defending the position of Wallace’s camps, still held by fragments of Wallace’s, McClernand’s, and Sherman’s divisions.

The forces on the right of General Hardee, under General Polk’s direction, were engaged in the same desultory and indecisive contest, Gibson’s and Anderson’s brigades not being actively employed by him.

General Anderson’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 305. So was it with General Breckinridge’s division.

Colonel Trabue, commanding the first Kentucky brigade of that division, in his report of the battle, speaking of the events of the day, following the surrender and capture of General Prentiss’s command, says:

Finding the troops who had come in from my right halting one or two hundred yards in my front, I allowed the 6th and 9th Kentucky regiments hastily to change their guns for Enfield rifles, which the enemy had surrendered, and I then moved up and rejoined General Breckinridge, who, with Statham’s and Bowen’s brigades, was occupying the front line, being on the crest of the hill (or highland) overlooking the narrow valley of the Tennessee River, on which, and near by, was Pittsburg Landing.

Having been halted here for more than an hour, we endured a most terrific cannonading and shelling from the enemy’s gunboats.

My command, however, had seen too much hard fighting to be alarmed, and the 4th Kentucky stood firm, while some of our troops to the front fell back through their lines in confusion. . . . From this position, when it was nearly dark, we were ordered to the rear to encamp, which movement was effected in good order.

I followed, in the darkness of the night, the Purdy road, after having re-united to my command Byrne’s battery and the others of my troops who had been detached to the right, not including, however, Cobb’s battery.

Among the forces of General Bragg, on the right, where that officer was directing movements, Gladden’s brigade had become dissevered

Colonel Deas’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 245. in the confusion following the capture of General Prentiss, and took no part in the assaults upon the last Federal position, though the portion remaining under its commanding officer, Colonel Deas, was formed on the left of Jackson’s brigade.

This latter brigade was led, under a heavy fire from the light batteries, siege-pieces, and gunboats,

General Jackson’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 266. across the ravine, and with its only weapon, the bayonet, ascended the ridge nearly to the crest, bristling with guns; but, without support, it could be urged no farther.

It remained for some time sheltering itself against the precipitous sides of the ravine, till Jackson, seeing his men uselessly under a raking fire, and that a farther advance was impracticable, without support and a simultaneous movement along the whole line, sought for orders from his division commander, General Withers; but darkness closed the conflict before he could reach him. Of this eventful part of the day, after which hostilities entirely ceased on both sides, Colonel Joseph Wheeler, commanding the 19th Alabama regiment, in his report says: But after passing through the deep ravine below the lowest camps, we were halted within about four hundred yards of the river, and remained ready to move forward for about half an hour, when night came on, and we were ordered to the rear, and were assigned to bivouac, by General Withers.

Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 276. Chalmers’s brigade, the extreme right, vainly attempted to mount the ridge against the fire from the line of batteries and infantry, assisted by the flank fire of the gunboats, though it made repeated charges, till night closed in.

General Chalmers’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 260.

Meanwhile, General Beauregard had been weighing attentively, and no doubt anxiously, the premonitory signs visible during the later hours of the battle.

The strength of the Federal batteries was apparent, by their extent and sound, and by the effect produced on the Confederate lines; while the steady and heavy rolls of musketry, proceeding from the same quarter, indicated the presence either of fresh troops, the arrival of which General Beauregard had feared and predicted the evening before, or of forces reorganized from the stragglers on the field, as had been done with our own stragglers several times that day. As General Beauregard rode in rear of the disjointed lines, the futility of these fitful, detailed attacks became more and more evident to him. Most of the commands were disorganized and fragmentary, sundered by the deep, wooded ravines, and numbers of stragglers could be seen in all directions.

He felt not only that it was impracticable to gather up all his forces for a general and simultaneous onslaught, which alone might have been effective, but also that the brief space of time now remaining to him before nightfall must be used to collect the troops into position, or the morning, and its threatened possibilities, would find him with but a nominal army.

He knew that Lew. Wallace’s division, of some eight thousand men, was near by, observing the road from Purdy; that it had not, as yet, been engaged in the conflict, and might, at any moment, fall upon us in flank, left, or rear.

He therefore resolved, without further delay, to withdraw the troops gradually from the front, and reorganize them, as well as possible, to resume the offensive on the 7th, and complete his victory over Grant.

Accordingly, at dusk, he sent to the different corps commanders the order, to arrest the conflict, and fall back to the enemy’s abandoned camps for the night.

Colonel Augustin’s and Captain C. II.

Smith’s Reports, in Appendix.

General Bragg had also concluded that the troops were incapable of any further offensive efforts in his quarter of the field, and had already resolved to withdraw.

Dr. Nott’s letter, in Appendix. He gave orders to that effect, which were anticipated, as to some of the commands, by the orders sent by General Beauregard.

The order to General Bragg was borne by Captain Clifton Smith, acting aide-de-camp.

In a few cases it was communicated directly to brigade commanders by Colonel Augustin, another aide-de-camp to General Beauregard. Chalmers had fought, as already stated, till night had closed in upon him; and as he and Jackson fell back in the darkness, the latter’s regiments became separated from each other,

Jackson’s Report, Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 266. and he from them, and so remained during the night and the following day. The withdrawal of the troops, as a general thing, was attended with disorder, by reason of the dark woods and broken character of the country.

It was eight o’clock at night, says General Anderson, in his report, before we had reached a bivouac, near General Bragg’s headquarters, and in the darkness of the night the 20th Louisiana, and portions of the 17th Louisiana, and Confederate Guards, got separated from that portion of the command in which I was, and encamped on other ground.

Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 305.

Colonel Forrest’s cavalry was picketed along Wallace’s and Hurlbut’s camps, while another regiment of cavalry was posted to protect the left flank, and guard the approaches from the Snake Creek bridge, exposed to Lew. Wallace’s fresh force of eight thousand men. General Hardee’s corps and General Breckinridge’s division withdrew to McClernand’s camps, and General Bragg’s corps, with one (Clark’s) division of General Polk’s corps, rested in those of Sherman.

Through a misunderstanding of orders, on the part of General Polk, his other (Cheatham’s) division was sent back about three miles and a half, to its bivouac of the previous night.

General Cheatham says, in his Report: At the close of the day, a part of my command remained on the field, and a portion returned to our encampment of the night previous.

In a letter to General Beauregard, dated Nashville, Tenn., November 27th, 1876, General Cheatham uses the following language: At dusk, on the evening of the 6th, I was on the extreme left of our army, near the river.

I recollect that General Cleburne’s division was on my right.

The second brigade of my division (Stephens’s), with a portion of Johnson’s (my first), retired to our camp of the night previous — Saturday night. This camp was near General Polk’s headquarters, where the enemy’s cavalry horses were killed by our artillery, on Friday, and several miles — at least three — in front of Mickey’s.

General Bragg and, later in the evening, the other corps commanders visited General Beauregard’s headquarters, in General Sherran’s camps, and reported orally their operations of the day. All were elated and congratulatory over the success of the day, and the expectations of the morrow.

Colonel Jacob Thompson’s letter, in Appendix. The results, indeed, were great and encouraging.

A half-disciplined army, poorly equipped and appointed, had assailed an opposing army larger in numbers, nearly half of which was composed of seasoned troops, provided with the best and most abundant armament and supplies, arrayed, besides, on familiar ground, chosen by its own leaders.

That army had steadily been driven back to its last stronghold, a great part of it routed and demoralized; its tents, baggage, subsistence, and hospital stores captured, together with thirty stands of colors, fully sixty field-pieces, many thousand small arms and accoutrements, and ammunition enough for another day’s battle.

General Beauregard’s promise, that the Confederate army should sleep in the enemy’s camps, was fulfilled; and, reorganized for the next day, it would undoubtedly have given the finishing stroke to the entire Federal forces, had Buell marched towards Florence,

Colonel Helm had telegraphed to General Beauregard that Buell’s army was marching on Florence; it proved to be Mitchell’s division, and not Buell’s army. as it had just been reported that he had done, instead of effecting his junction with Grant, on the evening and night of the 6th, as was actually the case.

A despatch was sent to Richmond, announcing the day’s victory and the hope of its completion on the morrow, and the corps commanders were dismissed with instructions to reorganize their respective forces as thoroughly as possible, and hold them in readiness to take the offensive at break of day.

The night had closed with heavy clouds, and, about midnight, a cold, drenching rain set in, which made it the more difficult to collect and re-form the broken commands and numerous stragglers, who were moving about for pillage, through the alluring camps of the enemy.

The storm also interfered with the care of the wounded, who were unavoidedly neglected, but the little that could be done for them was done alike for friend and foe.

The gunboats, all through the night, at the suggestion, it was said, of General Nelson, threw shells into the Confederate bivouacs, the dim light of the camp-fires guiding them in their aim. Thus were slumber and rest chased away from our exhausted men.

Indefatigable and daring as usual, Colonel Forrest, under cover of the storm and darkness, sent scouts, clothed in Federal overcoats, within the enemy’s lines.

They reported that large bodies of troops were crossing the river to Pittsburg Landing and that much confusion existed among them.

Colonel Forrest so advised Generals Hardee and Breckinridge, suggesting that an attack should be made at once, or that the army should withdraw next morning.

He was referred to General Beauregard, but, unfortunately, was unable to find his headquarters.

See Campaigns of Lieutenant-General Forrest, by General Thomas Jordan. At a later hour he again sent in his scouts, who returned at two o’clock in the morning, stating that Federal troops were still arriving.

General Hardee, being informed of the fact for the second time, instructed Colonel Forrest to go back to his regiment, and, keeping a vigilant picket line, to notify him of all hostile movements, should any be attempted.

But General Hardee failed to communicate this important information to General Beauregard.


Difficulty of collecting and organizing commands during night of the 6th. —firing resumed early next morning. —Nelson’s brigades cross the Tennessee. —positions taken by the federals. —Chalmers’s brigade and a mixed command force back Nelson’s advance. —at 8 A. M. The Confederates are driven back with the loss of a battery. —they regain the position and battery at 9. —critical situation of Ammen’s brigade. —New position assumed by the Confederates. —Crittenden’s division engaged. —absence of General Polk from the field. —his timely arrival at 10. 30. —his charge with Cheatham’s brigade. —organization of Federal army during the night of the 6th. —inaction of General Sherman on the morning of the 7th. —General Breckinridge ordered forward. —enemy driven back on our whole line. —advance of Federal right wing. —its repulse. —at 1 P. M. Enemy on our left reinforced. —General Bragg calls for assistance. —General Beauregard in person leads the 18th Louisiana and other troops to his aid. —Predetermination of General Beauregard to withdraw from the battle-field. —couriers sent to Corinth to inquire about General Van Dorn. —preparations for retreat. —guns and colors captured by Confederates on the 6th. —slow and orderly withdrawal of Confederate forces. —inability of the enemy to follow. —reconnoissance of General Sherman on the morning of the 8th. —Confederates not disorganized. —their loss during the battle. —computation of numbers engaged on both sides. —Federal loss.

The night of the 6th of April, as has been already stated, was so dark and stormy that it was found impossible properly to collect and organize all the commands.

The fighting, moreover, had been protracted even after dusk, on certain parts of the field, before General Beauregard’s orders to arrest the conflict could be communicated and carried out.

At about half-past 5 o’clock, on the morning of the 7th, the skirmish-firing on our right, in an easterly direction, towards the Tennessee River, indicated that the enemy was about to assume the offensive.

Generals Hardee, Breckinridge, and Bragg repaired at once to their respective commands, and availed themselves of such forces as they had immediately at hand, with which to oppose this onset.

General Hardee had, under his orders, on his extreme right, two of General Bragg’s brigades, namely — Chalmers’s and Jackson’s, of Withers’s division.

General Bragg had, on the left of our line, the remainder of his corps, increased by one division (Clark’s) of General Polk’s corps, which was subsequently reinforced by Trabue’s brigade.

On the left of General Hardee came General Breckinridge; and between him and General Bragg was the position which had been assigned to General Polk.

General Jordan, in his Campaigns of Lieutenant-General Forrest, page 137, thus correctly gives the positions and forces of the enemy:

By seven o’clock P. M., on the 6th, Nelson’s (two) brigades had crossed the Tennessee, and, with the one that so materially helped — with Webster’s opportunely posted battery — to save the Federal army from utter overthrow, were at once thrown forward by General Buell, as a shield between General Grant’s army and the Confederates.

Crittenden’s division likewise came up from Savannah by water not long after, and was promptly established in the same manner, on Nelson’s right.

Moreover, Lew. Wallace, strangely unable to find the road battleward, amid the thunder peals of more than a hundred cannon within six miles of him, as soon as the dusky shadows and the quiet of night had supervened, found a way to the south bank of Snake Creek and to a position then commanding the bridge, and by chance, too, in the neighborhood of Sherman, with the shreds, or odds and ends, of his own and other divisions that had rallied around him. One of McCook’s brigades (Rousseau’s) also reached the scene about sunrise, and the other two were near at hand.

Thus were marshalled there, or near at hand, ready to take the offensive against the victors of the day before, twenty-five thousand fresh Federal troops,

General Sherman estimates at eighteen thousand men those that had fought the day before.

See his Memoirs, p. 245. three battalions of which were Regulars.

On the Confederate side, to meet such an onset, there was not a man who had not fought steadfastly for the greater part of Sunday.

In addition to the many stragglers incident to all battles, the casualties did not fall short of six thousand five hundred officers and men, so that not more than twenty thousand Confederate infantry (and artillery) could have been found to answer to their names that morning.

Scattered widely, the regiments of the brigades of Bragg’s and Hardee’s corps had slept here and there, among the captured encampments, wheresoever they could find subsistence.

Polk’s corps had been embodied, to some degree, and led during the night by their general, rearward, at least a mile and a half beyond Shiloh, towards Corinth.

Only one of his divisions (Cheatham’s) had been collected together and taken back, through a misunderstanding of orders, to its bivouac of the night of the 5th, about three and a half miles from the Shiloh meeting-house.

The positions occupied by the Federal forces on the morning of the 7th are still more definitely given in Van Horne’s History of the Army of the Cumberland, vol.

i. pp. 109, 111, as follows:

General Buell first formed General Nelson’s division next to the river as the left of the battle front, and General Grant assigned Wallace’s division to the right flank, near Snake Creek, below the mouth of Owl Creek.

Between these extremes the remaining forces were formed — Crittenden’s division on the right of Nelson’s, with a space for McCook’s on his right, when it should arrive, and on the right of the position of this division the troops engaged the day previous, somewhat refreshed, extended the line to Wallace’s left.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

At the time that the recession of Nelson’s line was arrested, McCook’s foremost brigade, Rousseau’s, moved into position on the right of Crittenden.

This brigade extended the line, but Rousseau’s flank was for a time as much exposed as Crittenden’s had been, as there was still a wide space between the two armies.

Before, however, the enemy could take advantage of this exposure Kirk’s brigade reached the field, and was placed in reserve on the right flank.

Each brigade of Buell’s army was now required to furnish its reserves, while Boyle’s brigade of Crittenden’s division was designated as a general reserve, and was so placed as to be facile of movement whenever there should be need of support.

General Buell also availed himself of the fragmentary forces of the Army of the Tennessee, found in his rear.

The Army of the Ohio (Cumberland) now offered a battle front one mile and a half long, about half the distance between Nelson’s left and Wallace’s right.

The left flank was covered with skirmishers, and was in some degree protected by the roughness of the ground near the river.

The right had no assured connection with the Army of the Tennessee, but rested in a wood.

To strengthen the right, thus exposed to an enfilading or reverse fire, Gibson’s brigade of McCook’s division, on coming to the field, was placed in reserve in proximity.

In front of Nelson was an open field, partially screened by woods, which extended beyond the enemy’s line.

Crittenden’s left brigade and McCook’s right were covered by a dense undergrowth, while in front of their right and left brigades, respectively, the ground was open.

The ground, mainly level in front of Nelson, formed a hollow before Crittenden, which fell into a small creek, passing in front of McCook.

The Hamburg road penetrated the line near Nelson’s left.

When Van Horne states that the Hamburg road passed perpendicularly through the Federal line near Nelson’s left, he means the Hamburg and Purdy road, not the Hamburg and Pittsburg road. The enemy was in heavy force beyond the open ground in Buell’s front, in a line slightly oblique to his line, having one battery so posted as to command Nelson’s left, another to sweep his front and the woods before Crittenden’s left, a third bearing upon the junction of Crittenden’s right and McCook’s left, and a fourth in the immediate front of the latter.

Beauregard had massed his forces on his right the evening previous, under General Bragg, to grasp the Landing, and in consequence this flank was strong for defense in the morning.

The Confederate pickets and skirmishers encountered by the advanced line of Nelson’s division were those of Forrest’s cavalry regiment.

They gradually fell back in the direction of Hardee’s line, then being formed near and beyond McClernand’s old encampments, to the rear of which they retired soon afterwards, to take position on Hardee’s right flank.

Nelson’s advancing line soon encountered Chalmers’s brigade and Moore’s regiment, added to which was an extemporized command, consisting of the 19th Alabama, of Jackson’s brigade; the 21st Alabama, of Gladden’s brigade; and, says General Chalmers, in his report,

Confederate Reports of Battles, p. 261. the Crescent (Louisiana) regiment; also a Tennessee regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Venable; and another Alabama regiment (the 26th), under Lieutenant-Colonel Chadwick, supported by batteries.

They not only checked Nelson’s force, but compelled it to fall back some distance, when, being supported by the advance of Crittenden’s division, it again resumed the offensive, at about eight o’clock A. M. ; and Hazen’s brigade, on Nelson’s right, being now pushed forward with great gallantry, forced the Confederates back, with the temporary loss of a battery.

They soon rallied, and, aided by their batteries and other small reinforcements which General Beauregard very opportunely sent them, resumed the offensive at nine o’clock A. M., recovering their former position and their lost battery, inflicting a severe loss on Hazen’s brigade, and compelling that officer to call earnestly for aid. Meanwhile, Nelson’s left brigade, under Ammen, was sorely pressed, and was in serious danger of being turned on its left.

This brigade [says Van Horne] fought gallantly to maintain a position second to none on the field, but at length began to give ground, and a decided advantage to the enemy seemed inevitable, as Nelson had neither artillery nor infantry to direct to his support, Hazen’s brigade having been shattered, and Buell’s being needed in its own position.

But the impending disaster was averted by Terrell’s regular battery of McCook’s division, which, having just arrived from Savannah, dashed into position, and, by its rapid and accurate firing, silenced the enemy’s first battery, which was aiding the infantry force pressing Ammen.

Subsequently, the enemy repeated the attack, and endangered both the brigade and Terrell’s battery, the latter having lost very many gunners, and being without adequate support. . . . Then, by a flank attack by Nelson, and a direct one by Crittenden, aided by a concentric fire from the batteries of Mendenhall, Terrell, and Bartlett, he was driven beyond the position of his second and third batteries.

History of the Army of the Cumberland, vol.

i. pp. 112, 113.

The Confederates soon assumed a new position.

It was maintained, despite all the efforts of the Federals, until General Beauregard determined to retire his troops, at about 2. 30 P. M., when some guns had to be abandoned for want of horses to carry them off the field.

Crittenden’s division had also been hotly engaged, shortly after Nelson’s, with the rest of Hardee’s and part of Breckinridge’s commands, and, after a severe contest of several hours, in which it had to be supported on the right, at about ten o’clock A. M., by several thousands of General Grant’s troops, under McClernand and Hurlbut, it was held at bay until two brigades, Gibson’s and Kirk’s, of McCook’s division, joined in the struggle.

His other brigade, Rousseau’s, containing three battalions of Regulars, had reached the field early in the morning and taken a position near General Sherman’s left.

Van Horne says:

Thus, McCook followed Crittenden in attacking the enemy.

This division met the same stubborn resistance, and made frequent charges.

Rousseau’s brigade, having taken an advanced position early in the day, repulsed a charge as its introduction to battle.

It then gave a counter-blow, drove the opposing force some distance, and captured a battery.

The direction of Rousseau’s advance left an opening between McCook and Crittenden, which the enemy perceived, and began to mass troops to occupy.

To prevent this, General McCook ordered Colonel Willich, commanding the 32d Indiana, to drive back the enemy, and, by the bayonet and bullet, this was gallantly accomplished.

The remainder of Gibson’s brigade followed Willich, and soon both brigades, Rousseau’s and Gibson’s, were in hottest conflict.

Willich’s regiment at one time became wedged between other forces, and, receiving their fire, was compelled to withdraw.

This led to confusion, but order was soon restored.

Kirk’s brigade reached the field just as Rousseau had exhausted his ammunition, and took his position, that he might replenish.

While Rousseau was absent Gibson was severely pressed, as the enemy continued his movements to separate Crittenden and McCook.

His left regiment, the 49th Ohio, was involved in imminent danger, and was compelled to change front twice under fire to prevent the turning of the position.

Upon the return of Rousseau, his brigade, and two regiments of Hurlbut’s division hitherto in reserve, went into line, when General McCook’s whole division, thus supported, advanced and drove the enemy beyond General Sherman’s camps.

History of the Army of the Cumberland, vol.

i. pp. 113, 114.

This was not done, however, until General Beauregard had determined to withdraw from the field, in order not to prolong a then useless contest.

Just about the time (10. 30 A. M. ) when General McCook was assuming the offensive with his whole division, and was near pushing through the gap between General Breckinridge’s left and General Bragg’s right, caused by the absence of General Polk with one of his divisions, the latter arrived on the field.

It was relief, indeed, to General Beauregard, whose anxiety concerning Polk had been intense.

Unable, since morning, to hear anything of General Polk’s whereabouts, the thought had even crossed his mind that the commander of his First Corps had been captured.

But, at half-past 9 o’clock, he at last ascertained that, through a misunderstanding of the orders given the previous evening, General Polk had retired, with Cheatham’s division, to his bivouac of the 5th, for the purpose of recruiting and re-supplying that command with provision and ammunition.

A message — and rather an imperative one — was instantly sent him, to hurry back to the front — and hurry back he did. Dashing forward, with drawn sword, at the head of Cheatham’s fine division, he soon formed his line of battle at the point where his presence was so much needed, and, with unsurpassed vigor, moved on, against a force at least double his own, making one of the most brilliant charges of infantry made on either day of the battle.

He drove back the opposing column in confusion, and thus compensated for the tardiness of his appearance on the field.

Shortly before this, General Beauregard had placed a battery in position, on a slight elevation some distance in advance of the Shiloh meeting-house, thereby holding the enemy in check through the gap referred to, and materially assisting the gallant charge of Cheatham’s division.

During the night of the 6th and early morning of the 7th, General Grant’s shattered forces, of a mixed character, had been partially collected and formed into three divisions, under Generals Sherman, McClernand, and Hurlbut, in advance of the bivouacs of the first two commands, not far from the bridge across Snake Creek. General Lew. Wallace’s fresh division, with two batteries of six pieces each, from near Crump’s landing, was formed on Sherman’s right, and constituted the extreme right of General Grant’s extensive line.

General Sherman, in his report of the battle, says of the operations on this part of the field:

At daylight, on Monday, I received General Grant’s orders to advance and recapture our original camps.

I despatched several members of my staff to bring up all the men they could find, especially the brigade of Colonel Stuart, which had been separated from the division all the day before; and at the appointed time the division, or, rather, what remained of it, with the 13th Missouri and other fragments, moved forward and reoccupied the ground on the extreme right of General McClernand’s camp, where we attracted the fire of a battery located near Colonel McDowell’s former headquarters.

Here I remained, patiently waiting for the sound of General Buell’s advance upon the main Corinth road. About ten o’clock A. M., the heavy firing in that direction, and its steady approach, satisfied me; and General Wallace being on our right flank, with his well-conducted division, I led the head of my column to General McClernand’s right, formed line of battle facing south, with Buckland’s brigade directly across the ridge, and Stuart’s brigade on its right in the woods; and thus advanced, steadily and slowly, under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery.

Thus General Sherman remained several hours patiently waiting for the sound of General Buell’s advance upon the main Corinth road.

But the attack of General Nelson had fairly commenced at eight o’clock A. M., and that of Crittenden and McCook about an hour later.

This inaction, on the part of General Sherman, enabled General Beauregard to reinforce his centre from his left.

Had General Sherman boldly advanced, before Cheatham’s division so gallantly took its position in line, he would have been able to penetrate our line between General Bragg’s right and General Breckinridge’s left, as we have already intimated, and would have cut the Confederate line in two, for General Beauregard had then no reserves, and could not have opposed General Sherman’s advance.

When General Breckinridge, in the centre, was ordered to take the offensive and relieve the right of our line, his left flank was still unprotected, and the fear of its being turned prevented him from executing the movement; seeing this, General Beauregard sent back to him one of his brigades — Trabue’s — then on General Bragg’s left; and, shortly afterwards, also gave orders that Russell’s brigade, of Clark’s (now Stewart’s) division, of General Polk’s corps — which, for the time being, was on General Bragg’s right — should be at once extended towards General Breckinridge’s left, so as to afford some protection to his threatened flank, and enable him to engage the enemy in his front.

This he did with no less vigor than success, having Hodgson’s (Slocomb’s) Louisiana battery, and two sections of other batteries, to support him. But, at about eleven o’clock A. M., McCook’s fresh division, with a part of Crittenden’s and some of General Grant’s reorganized forces, pressed him so hard that he was driven back some distance and compelled to abandon one of his batteries.

Then there was sent to his assistance a small brigade, under Colonel Reichart, of New Orleans — a most efficient Bavarian officer, commanding the 20th Louisiana regiment.

This brigade was temporarily composed of Colonel Reichart’s own regiment, Colonel Hill’s Tennessee regiment, and a battalion of stragglers, which General Beauregard had very opportunely placed under command of Captain Lockett, of the C. S. Engineers.

These stragglers, from every arm of the service, were brought to General Beauregard, with no one to take command of them.

As he was looking around in search of a temporary leader to march them off to the front, his eye fell on a young officer just then passing near him, whose soldierly bearing at once attracted his attention.

The young officer was halted, and found himself in the presence of General Beauregard. Could you command a battalion?

said the General to him. If ordered to do so, I think I can, was the modest and, at the same time, firm reply.

General Beauregard, having now ascertained his name, took him to the battalion of stragglers near by, and, introducing him to the men, said, Here is Colonel Lockett, whom I now place in charge of you. He will lead you to victory, if you only follow him.

In a loud and earnest cheer they each and all promised to do it, and gallantly redeemed their promise half an hour later. These troops, who had just been brought to General Beauregard from the woods on our right rear, marched forward with great alacrity and spirit, and by twelve o’clock General Breckinridge had retaken both his position and his battery, and the enemy was being driven back on our whole front.

This renewal of hostilities, first originating on our extreme left, then gradually extending towards General Bragg’s right, brought out, most conspicuously, that soldierly valor and surprising spirit of endurance which signalized the Confederate troops on many a battle-field, but never more so than upon these two days of unparalleled hard fighting.

The battle now raged fiercely on our whole front, except over the interval between Generals Bragg and Breckinridge, where skirmishing only appeared to be going on.

During the fierce struggle in front, General Beauregard noticed, through the woods, some troops apparently uniformed in white.

He at first took them to be Federals, but observing that they were fighting on our side, he sent an aid to ascertain where they came from, hoping they might be part of Van Dorn’s army.

They proved to be the 18th Louisiana and the Orleans Guard battalion, temporarily merged into one command.

Their coats being blue, they had been fired into, on the day before, by some of our own troops; and, in order to avoid a repetition of the mistake, had turned their coats inside out.

When General Beauregard had resigned his commission in the United States army, in February, 1861, he had joined, as a private, the Orleans Guard battalion, then just organized in the city of New Orleans.

When he was made brigadier-general in the Confederate service and sent to Charleston, his name was preserved on the rolls of that battalion, and, whenever called, the colorsergeant, stepping forward, would answer: Absent on duty.

This custom was kept up as long as the battalion remained in service, and even on the battle-field of Shiloh.

Their flagstaff was made of a piece of the Sumter flagstaff, which General Beauregard had sent to their commander, after the surrender of that celebrated fort, in April, 1861.

The Federal right wing advanced steadily at first, under a light fire from the Confederates, but when it had come within fair range of Bragg’s line (consisting of the remnant of Ruggles’s division, his own corps, part of Polk’s second division — Clark’s, now commanded by Stewart — and one brigade of Breckinridge’s command), it was greeted with such a terrible fire of musketry and artillery, that —

The Federals reeled and rushed rearward, followed nearly a mile by the Confederates; but here, reinforced by McCook, Sherman attempted to resume the advance.

Now the fight waxed obstinate, and the firing, says Sherman, was the severest musketry fire he had ever heard.

Rousseau’s Federal brigade here was pitted against Trabue’s Kentuckians.

Both fought with uncommon determination to win, but the Federals were repulsed, and Wallace was so pressed that his situation became extremely critical.

This is General Wallace’s own statement.

See Rebellion Record, vol.

IV. p. 359. McCook’s other brigade had joined in the action meanwhile; and in that part of the field, including Grant’s forces under Sherman and McClernand, there were fully twenty thousand Federals opposed by not half that number of battle-battered Confederates.

The impetus of the Confederate attack was, therefore, slackened in the face of such odds.

Yet several brilliant charges were made, one of which, to the left of Shiloh, General Beauregard himself led in person, carrying the battle-flag of a Louisiana regiment.

Campaigns of Lieutenant-General Forrest, p. 142.

At about one o’clock P. M., the enemy, on our left, being reinforced, had resumed the offensive.

General Bragg — whose forces had been weakened by the withdrawal of three brigades (Anderson’s, Trabue’s, and Russell’s), which, in the course of the morning, had been sent to strengthen our centre and right — was gradually driven back, towards the Shiloh meeting-house.

He then sent to General Beauregard for assistance.

Fortunately, in the small ravine passing immediately south of the meeting-house were the 18th Louisiana and the Orleans Guard battalion, together with two Tennessee regiments, which had been collected there in obedience to orders.

General Beauregard rode down to them, addressed a few words of encouragement to the first two, and ordered them to move promptly to the support of General Bragg.

As they passed by, with a tired, heavy gait, they endeavored to cheer their own favorite commander, but were so hoarse from fatigue and over-exertion that they could only utter a husky sound, which grated painfully on General Beauregard’s ear. They had not proceeded far, when another staff officer came to him, in great haste, and informed him, on the part of General Bragg, that unless the latter was reinforced at once, he would certainly be overpowered.

Looking in his direction, General Beauregard saw the commander of the Second Corps gallantly rallying his troops under a heavy fire from a much superior force of the enemy.

He rode, with his staff, to the leading regiment of Pond’s brigade, the 18th Louisiana (Lieutenant-Colonel Roman commanding, Colonel Mouton having been wounded), and, seizing its colors, ordered his Louisianians to follow him. They started with an elasticity of step surprising in troops that, a moment before, appeared so jaded and broken down.

They were soon at the side of General Bragg.

Then it was that General Beauregard, being almost reproved by Colonel Augustin, one of his aids, for thus exposing himself, said: The order must now be follow, not go!

Colonel Augustin had taken the flag, however, and for a few moments led the 18th Louisiana and the Orleans Guard battalion, the latter of which he himself had organized, some eight months before, in New Orleans. Leaving them in his charge, General Beauregard returned to one of the rear regiments of Tennesseeans, which he led in a similar manner, but being too weak, from illness, to carry its flag, a large and heavy one, he transferred it to one of his volunteer aids, Colonel H. E. Peyton, of Virginia, who carried it until the regiment got into position.

General Bragg resumed the offensive, and, despite the broken and disjointed condition of the forces under him, drove the enemy back, out of sight from the Shiloh meetinghouse, and kept him at that distance until about 2. 30 P. M., when General Beauregard gave him orders to retire slowly and join the retreat.

At an early hour in the morning General Beauregard had established his headquarters on a small knoll, to the right (eastward) of the Shiloh meeting-house, which appeared to be the most eligible and central point, and one from which he could, with greatest facility, communicate with his corps commanders and they with him.

Long before the charge we have just described, the enemy’s boldness, his active and steady movements, and the heavy roll of musketry on our right, and, shortly afterwards, in our front, had confirmed General Beauregard in his belief that General Buell had, at last, formed a junction of the remainder of his forces with those of General Grant.

He knew that his depleted and exhausted forces were now facing at least twenty thousand fresh troops, in addition to Lew. Wallace’s command, in addition also to Ammen’s brigade of Nelson’s division, whose timely crossing, the day before, had saved the Federals from annihilation.

To indulge a hope of success with these fearful odds against him would have been to show a lack of judgment impossible to such a soldier as Beauregard.

The die, however, was cast.

There was no means of avoiding the issue.

The only plan left, General Beauregard thought, was, in appearance, to fight ? outrance, so as to deceive the enemy as to his real intentions, and, so deceiving him, to effect, at the proper time, an orderly, safe, and honorable retreat.

The victorious army of the day before could leave the battle-field in no other way. He carefully kept his own counsel, and, from about noon, issued all his orders accordingly.

To show a bold front all along his line; to offer as strong a resistance as the nature of the ground and the condition of his forces would permit; and, if possible, to cross to the south side of the ravines, in front of the Shiloh meeting-house, which had so effectually protected Sherman’s and Prentiss’s commands, on the preceding morning — such were the objects he now strained every nerve to secure.

And the task before him was difficult, because the least symptom of weakness or hesitancy on his part would necessarily increase the boldness of his opponent, and correspondingly depress his new, hardly organized, and worn-out forces.

Meanwhile, with feelings of anxiety easily understood, he despatched couriers to Corinth, to hurry forward General Van Dorn’s army of about twenty thousand men, daily expected there from Van Buren, Arkansas, from which point he had promised to form a junction with General Beauregard, at the earliest practicable moment.

But the high waters, and want of means of transportation, had greatly delayed Van Dorn’s movement.

Had he arrived in time on the field, General Beauregard’s intention was to have kept about five or six thousand men of that command with himself, as a reserve, and to have sent Van Dorn with the rest to attack Lew. Wallace’s extreme right and rear, while he, Beauregard, would have attacked both Lew. Wallace and Sherman in front, with his own left.

The fight there could not have lasted long.

He would then have attacked successively, in flank, rear, and front, McClernand’s and McCook’s divisions; and afterwards, the other divisions towards their left.

Had it been possible to execute that programme, there can be little doubt that the victory, on this second day of the battle, would have been more complete than on the first; and that it would have been ended before Wood’s division, of Buell’s army, could have come to the enemy’s relief; for it was nearly dark when that division arrived.

While his couriers were hurrying on their way to Corinth, in search of news from Van Dorn’s army, General Beauregard, still biding his time, and unwilling, yet, to hasten the moment of his predetermined retreat, went on supplying reinforcements to his front, with stragglers and stray commands collected from the woods and ravines in his rear.

History, we think, furnishes no other example of a great battle, against such odds, being prolonged over four hours, with reserves thus brought together and organized.

During the late war, General Beauregard’s experience of Southern volunteers convinced him that they furnish the best material for soldiers.

Active, intelligent, brave, self-reliant, and persevering, their powers of endurance are simply wonderful.

After being three months under arms, they become as trustworthy on the field of battle as veterans; and no more than six months drilling is required to make them as proficient as regulars of two and three years service.

But they soon consider themselves capable of passing judgment on their commanders; and, should these forfeit their confidence, they grow dissatisfied and intractable, and lose some of their best soldierly qualities. At last, however, the drain made upon his feeble resources had exhausted them.

Stragglers and stray commands could no longer be found.

And just then his couriers arrived from Corinth.

They reported that Van Dorn was not there, and that his whereabouts was unknown.

The time had evidently come when it was imperative to put the plan of retreat into execution.

A remarkable instance of bravery was shown by a mere boy, about this time, when matters were looking gloomy, and the stoutest hearts were beginning to fail.

The meeting-house of Shiloh had been turned into a hospital, and many of our wounded were collected there to be operated on. General Beauregard sent one of his aids to have them transferred to the rear, preparatory to a retrograde movement.

Upon his return the aid reported that while there, a private (a boy scarcely over fourteen years of age), had come to have a wound in his hand attended to. While the surgeon was dressing it — the fighting still going on near by — the boy said: Make haste, please, doctor, I want to go back and take another shot at the Yankees.

General Beauregard told his aid to return immediately and ascertain the name of the young hero, so as to have it published in general orders.

It was too late.

He had, no doubt, gone back to take another shot at the Yankees. General Beauregard’s hope of Van Dorn’s junction on that day had been but a fleeting one; he had regarded it as a thing possible, but hardly probable.

He ordered Colonel Chisolm, one of his aids, to go immediately to the rear with a company of cavalry, and clear and repair the roads for any emergency.

About an hour later, he instructed Colonel Jordan, the Adjutant-General of the army, to select at once a position across the ravine in the rear, for such troops and batteries as were available to protect the retreat.

He then ordered the corps commanders to be prepared to retire slowly and leisurely, but, before doing so, to take the offensive again with vigor, and drive back the enemy as far as possible, while he established batteries and posted troops to protect his retiring forces.

After placing a battery in front of the Shiloh meetinghouse, and another on the Ridge road, towards the right, he went in person across the ravine, to examine the location of the troops intrusted to Colonel Jordan, and he there posted two additional batteries, the better to cover the retrograde movement, which had then fairly begun, and was being executed in a very orderly manner.

General Breckinridge, occupying the centre of the line of battle, retired first (the adjacent divisions closing up the void space) and took up his position in rear of the troops and batteries established across the Shiloh meeting-house ravine, so as to form the rear guard.

Then came the commands of Generals Polk, Hardee, and Bragg, which gradually withdrew from the field, behind General Breckinridge’s position, and continued their retreat in the direction of Corinth, to the points designated to be occupied by them that night.

General Jordan thus correctly speaks of that retreat in the Campaigns of Lieutenant-General Forrest, pages 143 and 144:

The battle kindled soon after daylight, and raged furiously from right to left for more than five hours. And, notwithstanding the odds of fresh troops brought up against them, despite their long-continued engagement, the Confederates had not receded from the ground upon which they had been concentrated, as soon as it was apparent that the battle was in their hands.

But they were being fearfully depleted meanwhile.

Beginning the combat with not more than twenty thousand men, exclusive of cavalry, less than fifteen thousand were now in the Confederate ranks.

General Beauregard, seeing the unprofitable nature of the struggle, determined not to prolong it. Directing his Adjutant-General to select a position, and post such troops as were available to cover the retreat, he despatched other staff officers to the corps commanders, with the order to retire simultaneously from their several positions, ready, however, to turn and fight should it become necessary.

And accordingly, about two o’clock (2. 30), the retrograde movement of the Confederates was inaugurated and carried out with a steadiness never exceeded by veterans of a hundred fields.

During the various stages of the conflict General Beauregard had tried to use his cavalry, but so dense and broad-spread were the woods that they proved altogether fruitless of results. . . .

The retreat had now commenced in earnest, but so stunned and crippled was the enemy that no effort or pretence to pursue was made.

The line established to cover the movement commanded the ground of Shiloh church, and some open fields in the neighborhood; thence keeping up a vigorous play of artillery on the woods beyond; there was no reply, nor did any enemy become visible.

That line was then withdrawn about three fourths of a mile, to another favorable position.

Meanwhile, the retreat had been effected in admirable order, all stragglers falling in the ranks, and that line was abandoned with no enemy in sight. . . .

Of trophies the Confederates carried from the field some twenty-six stands of flags and colors, and about thirty of the guns captured on the 6th.

The guns which figure in Federal subordinate reports as captured from the Confederates, with few exceptions, were those lost on Sunday by the Federals, which, for want of horses to draw them from the field, had been left by the Confederates where they had been taken.

General Grant says, in his report:

Before the close of the action the advance of General T. J. Wood’s division (two brigades of Buell’s corps) arrived in time to take part in the action.

My force was too much fatigued from two days hard fighting and exposure in the open air to a drenching rain during the intervening night, to pursue immediately.

Night closed in cloudy and with a heavy rain, making the roads impracticable for artillery by the next morning.

General Sherman, however, followed the enemy, finding that the main part of the army had retreated in good order.

But General Sherman, in his report, uses the following language:

At the time of recovering our camps (about four o’clock P. M. ) our men were so fatigued that we could not follow the retreating masses of the enemy.

And General Buell says, in his report:

Two brigades of General Wood’s division arrived just at the close of the battle; but only one, that of Colonel Wagner, in time to participate actively in the pursuit, which it continued for about a mile, and until halted by my order.

If any pursuit beyond the Shiloh meeting-house was made by the Federals on the afternoon of the 7th, it must have been made very cautiously, for the Confederates were not at all disturbed in their slow and quiet retreat.

General Breckinridge, commanding the reserve, bivouacked for the night near the former headquarters of Generals Johnston and Beauregard, on the night of the 5th, at about one and a half miles from the battle-field.

The next morning (on the 8th) he fell back to a position only three miles farther to the rear, where he remained undisturbed for several days, with the cavalry thrown out well to the front, in close proximity to the Federal lines.

On the morning of the 8th, General Sherman, with two brigades and some cavalry, advanced to reconnoitre, on the lower Corinth road, while General Wood, with two brigades, reconnoitred on the upper road.

On arriving at General Breckinridge’s bivouac of the preceding night they found our cavalry pickets in position, and pursued them for about half a mile with a regiment of cavalry and one of infantry.

At that point Colonel Forrest appeared, and charged the enemy with a part of his forces, a company of Wirt Adams’s regiment, a squadron of the 8th Texas, and some Kentuckians, under Captain John Morgan, amounting in all to about three hundred and fifty troopers.

The Federals were thrown into great confusion, and routed; althoughh, says General Sherman, in his report, the ground was admirably adapted for a defence of infantry against cavalry, being miry, and covered with fallen timber.

Their loss amounted to fifteen killed, about twenty-five wounded, and some seventy prisoners. The Confederates pursuing too vigorously, and coming suddenly on the brigades of Federal infantry, were repulsed, after the brave and dashing Forrest had been severely wounded in the side.

His command then retired, followed a short distance by some of the enemy’s cavalry, towards General Breckinridge’s encampment, at Mickey’s farm, only about two and a half miles from the point of collision.

General Sherman concludes his report, dated on the day of this encounter, as follows: The check sustained by us at the fallen timber delayed our advance, so that night came upon us before the wounded were provided for and the dead buried; and our troops being fagged out

They could not have been more faggedd out than their adversaries were. by two days hard fighting, exposure, and privation, I ordered them back to their camps, where they now are.

We discover here two oversights on General Sherman’s part.

The short conflict referred to occurred early in the morning, and there was certainly ample time in which to bury fifteen dead and remove twenty-five wounded. And the two brigades of Woods division, of Buell’s army, which accompanied his command, had taken but little part in the battle of the preceding day, having arrived on the field about the time the battle terminated.

The remainder of the Confederate forces, sorely disappointed, but not without heart, returned from Shiloh to their former positions at and about Corinth, to recruit and reorganize, and to await a favorable opportunity of striking another blow at their antagonists.

The loss on the Confederate side was unusually heavy, but this was due to the fact that it had been the assailant all day on the 6th, and very often on the 7th.

The army under Generals Johnston and Beauregard had gone into the battle with thirty-nine thousand six hundred and thirty men of all arms and condition, and it received no reinforcements during the two days fight, except Colonel Hill’s Tennessee regiment, which reached the front unarmed on the morning of the 6th, and was furnished with arms and equipments picked up on the field.

This regiment swelled the Confederate numbers to about forty thousand men. Our loss was 1728 killed, 8012 wounded, and 959 missing; presenting an aggregate of 10,699, or, in killed and wounded, twenty-four and one third per cent.

of those present on the field.

This is a very remarkable proportion, in view of the rawness of most of the troops, and the nature of the ground upon which the battle was fought.

It is about the greatest average ever attained in any single contest between veteran armies,

Those losses generally vary from one twentieth, or five per cent., to one fourth, or twenty-five per cent., of the troops engaged.

The British, at Waterloo, lost not quite one sixth, or only sixteen per cent. The Austrians, at Magenta, lost only one thirteenth, that is, not quite eight per cent. ; and the Prussian loss at Sadowa was remarkably small, being only one twentieth, or five per cent. and in most instances the defeated army is either completely routed or unfit for another campaign until largely reinforced.

The Federals commenced the battle, on the 6th, with over forty thousand men of all arms, and were reinforced that day by the timely arrival of Ammen’s brigade, of General Buell’s army.

During the night of the 6th and the next morning they were reinforced again, by Lew. Wallace’s division of General Grant’s army; by three divisions (Crittenden’s, McCook’s, and Nelson’s two other brigades) of General Buell’s army; and, towards the end of the second day’s battle, by two brigades of Wood’s division of the same army,

See Generals Grant’s and Buell’s Reports. which brought up the number of fresh Federal troops, on the 7th, to over thirty-two thousand men of all arms.

Our computation is based on the fact that these divisions contained no less than seven thousand men each, as is established by General Van Horne, in his History of the Army of the Cumberland, vol.

i. p. 99, where the following passage is found:

The 1st, 2d, 4th, 5th, and 6th divisions, commanded respectively by Brigadier-Generals Thomas, McCook, Nelson, Crittenden, and Wood, with a contingent force of cavalry, in all thirty-seven thousand effective men, constituted the main army, which, under the personal command of General Buell, was to join General Halleck in the projected movement against the enemy at Corinth, Mississippi.

The total force of the Federals on both days amounted, therefore, to about seventy-two thousand men of all arms, and their losses were, according to official reports — in General Grant’s army, 1437 killed, 5679 wounded, and 2934 prisoners; in General Buell’s army, 236 killed, 1816 wounded, and 88 prisoners; making 1673 killed, 7495 wounded, and 3022 prisoners, or a grand total of 12,190.

Thus the proportion of killed and wounded, on the Federal side, as compared to the number of troops present on the field, was nearly thirteen per cent., which is about the ordinary proportion in modern warfare.


Commentaries on the battle of Shiloh: —I. Why Generals Johnston and Beauregard did not sooner move the army from Corinth. —II. their reasons for forming their lines of battle as they did. —III. why the Confederate attack was made chiefly on the enemy’s right, and not on his entire front. —IV. demonstration of the fact that the Confederate attack took the enemy completely by surprise. —V. General Beauregard’s opinion and criticism of General Sherman’s tactics during the battle. —VI. Refutation of the charge that the Confederate troops were withdrawn too soon from the battle-field on the evening of the 6th. comparison drawn by Mr. Davis between General A. S. Johnston and Marshal Turenne. —VII. General Beauregard’s opinion as to the fighting of the Confederates during the battle of the 7th. —VIII. correction of the absurd story that General Beauregard did not leave his ambulance during the first day of the battle, and, when informed of General Johnston’s death, quietly remained where he was, waiting the issue of events.


Generals Johnston and Beauregard have both been censured for not moving sooner and more rapidly from Corinth, to attack the Federals at Pittsburg Landing, so as to anticipate General Buell’s junction with General Grant.

The causes of this delay, as already given in the preceding chapters, sufficiently absolve the two Confederate commanders from any just blame.

The reader will pardon us for briefly reverting to them.

General Beauregard, it will be remembered, only arrived at Jackson, Tennessee, on the 17th of February. General Polk, with about fourteen thousand five hundred men of all arms, was in command in that military district.

Four days after General Beauregard’s arrival, and before he had yet formally assumed command, he despatched five officers of his staff to the governors of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, to ascertain whether they could send him, at Corinth, the State troops they had available at that time; and he also requested General Johnston, who was then at Murfreesboroa, retiring, with some fifteen thousand men, from Bowling Green and Nashville, to Stevenson, to change the direction of his retreat to Decatur, Alabama, that he might more readily form a junction with the forces at Corinth, at the proper time.

To this request, General Johnston willingly acceded.

By the 27th of March, with our defective means of transportation, and restricted supplies of all kinds, General Beauregard had assembled, at and about Corinth, an army of over forty thousand men, exclusive of some nine thousand occupying the Mississippi River defences, at New Madrid, Island No. 10, and Fort Pillow.

And General Van Dorn, at General Beauregard’s request, was moving rapidly from Van Buren, Arkansas, with an army of nearly twenty thousand men, to unite also with our forces at Corinth.

He would have arrived in time to take a part in the battle of Shiloh, had he not been delayed by high waters, which prevented his marching to Memphis, when he could not immediately procure sufficient river transportation.

Even with these obstacles to overcome, General Van Dorn’s troops commenced arriving at Memphis on the 10th of April, only three days after the battle of Shiloh.

How different might have been the result, had he arrived in time!

Great difficulties were encountered in organizing and supplying so many troops, hastily gathered up from such remote points.

These difficulties were increased by the want of experienced officers, to take charge of the brigades and divisions as soon as formed.

A delay of one or two days may be attributed to that cause alone.

The War Department had promised General Beauregard a certain number of officers, below the rank of brigadier-generals, designated by him, from his army of the Potomac, so as to assist in organizing the troops of his new command, if needed; but that promise was only partly complied with, and much too late.

Generals Johnston and Beauregard intended to move from Corinth, on or about the 1st of April, with the hope of beginning their attack against the Federals on the morning of the 3d, at latest; whereas they were not able to leave until the latter day, and did not get into position before the afternoon of the 5th, at too advanced an hour to open the attack immediately.

With better disciplined troops, the march of less than eighteen miles could have been made in one day; but two of our corps, Generals Polk’s and Bragg’s, which had been recently organized, were mostly composed of commands not yet used to marching.

General Polk’s corps was, besides, rather slow in starting; and we were two days in passing over that short distance.


It has pleased some hypercritical military writers, also, to criticise severely the order of battle adopted at Shiloh.

They think that a great mistake was made, in deploying the different corps, in successive lines,

Only two corps, Generals Hardee’s and Bragg’s, were thus deployed; the other two, Generals Polk’s and Breckinridge’s, were in columns of brigades, supporting each wing. along the whole front of battle, instead of intrusting a part of that front to each corps, itself formed on several lines.

The first merit of a commander is, to be able to adapt the means at his disposal to the circumstances in which he is placed, and to apply them, in the simplest manner possible, to the accomplishment of the object in view.

Our corps were thus designated, not only for the purpose of deceiving the enemy as to the number of our troops, which we wished to exaggerate, but also to inspire our own men with greater confidence.

The truth is, that these corps were properly divisions, at least in size, and were composed only of from four to five brigades, averaging each about two thousand infantry, so that the first line, General Hardee’s, consisting of four brigades, contained some eight thousand five hundred bayonets, and the second line — five hundred yards in rear of the first — consisting of five brigades, under General Bragg, had about fifteen hundred more bayonets, or nearly ten thousand in all. General Polk’s corps and General Breckinridge’s division composed the first of four brigades, numbering not over eight thousand five hundred men, and the second, of about six thousand, gave a total of less than thirty-five thousand infantry.

The forces of Generals Polk and Breckinridge were formed in columns of brigades, at proper intervals, in rear of the second line of battle.

Our front was therefore of limited extent for one command, compared to many other fronts of battle subsequently used during the war, especially in Virginia, with the corps of Generals Jackson and Longstreet.

General Hardee’s command, used to marching and moving as an organized body, under that cool and gallant officer, constituted the front line of battle, to secure unity of action, during what was expected to be a surprise.

General Bragg’s troops were equally well disciplined as regiments, but were unused to marching by brigades, and many of his regiments had never before been under his orders.

It was supposed that, in a broken and wooded country, they might very well follow and support General Hardee’s lines, but might not do so well if deployed to form the immediate front.

General Polk’s command, recently organized, was even less prepared to occupy such a position.

Breckinridge’s division was composed of excellent material, and could march well, having lately retreated from Kentucky and middle Tennessee, with General Hardee’s corps; hence, it was thought advisable, at first, to hold it in reserve for any emergency which might happen on any distant part of the field.

That the commands got very much broken and mixed up during the battle was not surprising, and was due less to the order of battle than to the rawness of the troops, including officers, the broken and wooded nature of the field, and the severity of the contest.

General Beauregard is of opinion that any other order of battle would have resulted similarly, under like circumstances.

The Federals were also in the same mixed — up condition, according to their own reports, when the battle had lasted only a few hours.

At the close of the first battle of Manassas, the Confederates, who had fought on the defensive, in a single line of battle, owing to the want of troops, were nearly as badly disorganized as the army at Shiloh was. General Beauregard says that he has often seen new troops when attempting to manoeuvre, even on level ground, get so thoroughly mixed up in a few moments that a long time was required to disentangle them.

It may be true that our reserves were engaged somewhat too early in the action; but this was done to save time, as success depended on the rapid execution of the offensive, and to prevent the enemy from reorganizing and concentrating for the defensive.


Another objection raised against the attack at Shiloh is, that it was made to bear too much on the Federal left, which brought the Confederates in too close proximity to the Tennessee River, where their right flank became exposed to the fire of the enemy’s two gunboats.

The attack was made oblique on the right, as has been already stated in the narrative of the battle, in order to get on better ground, towards the ridge separating the waters which flow into Lick Creek from those which empty into Owl Creek.

This arrangement enabled us, besides, to take the Federal encampments more in flank than would have been possible by a direct attack.

The country was too much broken and too heavily wooded to justify much fear of the gunboats in the river.

They could not have distinguished friends from foes, except at a short distance, and they would have had to fire at random.

We expected to back the Federals against Owl and Snake Creeks — the two narrow and rickety bridges of which could not have stood heavy pressure — early in the day, without incurring much risk from the gunboats.

It was only late on the afternoon of the 6th, when attacking Pittsburg Landing itself, that our right flank became really exposed to their fire, and our attack was checked, principally, by the water in the creeks and ravines which empty into the Tennessee River.

It must be remembered that the Confederates had no accurate knowledge of the ground occupied by the Federals, and they had no proper staff officers to make the necessary reconnoissances, if practicable.

The expedition was intended to be a surprise, and they feared to arouse the suspicions of the enemy by a forced reconnoissance: hence, they preferred to take the risk attending an imperfect knowledge of the ground over which they had to operate, rather than incur the danger of giving timely warning of the attack to the enemy.

War is usually a contest of chances, and he who fears to incur any risk seldom accomplishes great results.

It is possible that, if we had had an army of veterans and had possessed a thorough knowledge of the Federal positions, we might have attacked in a different manner.

At any rate, we would have so extended our left as to engage Sherman’s troops shortly after we attacked Prentiss’s, which would have given the former less time to prepare for the onslaught.

There is no doubt that, at early dawn, Sherman was no better prepared than Prentiss to receive an attack.

But General Beauregard had been assured, while collecting information at Corinth for the movement, that the distance between Owl and Lick Creeks, near the Shiloh meeting-house, was about two miles, whereas it was more nearly three: hence our front was not sufficiently extended to attack, in rapid succession, the whole Federal front, a circumstance which gave Sherman time hastily to form his division to oppose us; and on this fact he bases his denial of having been surprised by the Confederates.


Our narrative of the movement from Corinth to Shiloh has clearly established the surprise of the Federals on that occasion.

When an army of nearly forty thousand men advances to within a mile and a half of an enemy’s encampments; establishes lines of battle in the woods in his front, during a whole afternoon; bivouacs all night in that position without being disturbed, and the next morning advances at leisure, in line of battle, to within sight of those encampments, without meeting any serious opposition, it is absurd to deny that a surprise is effected; otherwise, there is evidently no attack in war that can be thus designated.

If the attack was not a surprise, how can General Sherman account for the success achieved against Prentiss, in about one hour, and against himself in about two hours, by a force not well organized, badly armed, and worse equipped?

He says, in his Memoirs, p. 233, of the general position at Pittsburg Landing:

The ground itself admits of easy defence by a small command, and yet affords admirable camping ground for a hundred thousand men.

Again, on page 229:

We did not fortify our camps against an attack, because we had no orders to do so, and because such a course would have made our raw men timid.

The position was naturally strong, with Snake Creek on our right, a deep, bold stream, with a confluent (Owl Creek) to our right front; and Lick Creek, with a similar confluent, on our left; thus narrowing the space over which we could be attacked to about a mile and a half or two miles.

In his report of the battle, he says of his own position near the Shiloh meeting-house:

The fire came from the bushes which line a small stream that rises in the field in front of Appler’s camp, and flows to the north along my whole front.

This valley afforded the enemy partial cover; but our men were so posted as to have a good fire at them as they crossed the valley and ascended the rising ground on our side.

In his testimony at the trial of Colonel Worthington, an officer of his command, in August, 1862, he said:

And here I mention, for future history, that our right flank was well guarded by Owl and Snake Creeks, our left by Lick Creek, leaving us simply to guard our front.

No stronger position was ever held by an army. . . . But even as we were on the 6th of April, you might search the world over and not find a more advantageous field of battle — flanks well protected, and never threatened, troops in easy support, timber and broken ground giving good points to rally; and the proof is that forty-three thousand men, of whom at least ten thousand ran away, held their ground against sixty thousand chosen troops

The Confederates numbered not quite forty thousand men, and about one third of this force was composed of newly formed regiments, very recently armed. of the South with their best leaders.

On Friday the 4th, nor officer, nor soldier, not even Colonel Worthington, looked for an attack, as I can prove.

Now, what forces had he and General Prentiss with which to hold and defend their impregnable positions?

Sherman had three of his brigades of infantry, three batteries of six pieces each, and some cavalry, and was reinforced by one brigade of McClernand’s division, making in all over nine thousand men; and General Prentiss had three brigades of infantry and two batteries, or about six thousand men — together they had over fifteen thousand men.

Their positions were carried in from one to two hours by Hardee’s corps of four brigades, numbering nine thousand and twentyfour infantry and artillery, assisted by Bragg’s five brigades, ten thousand seven hundred and thirty-one infantry and artillery, and by two brigades of Polk’s corps, about four thousand five hundred men, or, in all, less than twenty-five thousand.

Polk’s other two brigades and Breckinridge’s division of three brigades took no part in this first attack.

Is it probable that the Federals, who fought so gallantly during the rest of that day, would have been driven so soon from such a stronghold as is described by General Sherman, if they had not been surprised?

But the reports of several of General Sherman’s own brigade commanders show conclusively that the Confederate attack, on the morning of the 6th, came upon them quite unexpectedly.

A remarkable circumstance is, that General Sherman had then no cavalry pickets in advance of his encampments, having forgotten, apparently, that cavalry is the eye of an army.

His infantry pickets and guards were so few and close to his first line of sentinels as not to be able to delay our advance, or give timely notice of our approach.

General Sherman says also, in his report:

On Saturday (5th) the enemy’s cavalry was again very bold, coming well down to our front, yet I did not believe they designed anything but a strong demonstration.

And further on he adds:

About 8 A. M. (Sunday) I saw the glistening bayonets of heavy masses of infantry, to our left front, in the woods beyond the small stream alluded to, and became satisfied for the first time that the enemy designed a determined attack on our whole camp.

Major Ricker says that, after reporting to General Sherman a reconnoissance he had made on the day preceding the battle:

I told him I had met and fought the advance of Beauregard’s army, and that he was advancing on us. General Sherman remarked, It could not be possible; Beauregard was not such a fool as to leave his base of operations to attack us in ours — mere reconnoissance in force.

See Boynton’s Sherman’s Historical Raid, pp. 33, 84, for further extracts from official records.

But Generals Sherman and Prentiss were not the only commanding officers surprised by Beauregard’s foolish attack.

Generals Halleck, Grant, and Buell seem to have been equally unprepared for his sudden onslaught.

General Buell, with five divisions of his army, well organized and fully equipped, numbering at least thirty-seven thousand men of all arms, had left Nashville from the 15th to the 20th of March, to form a junction at his leisure with Grant at Savannah, via Columbia, Mount Pleasant, and Waynesboro.

He was delayed several days at Columbia by high water in Duck River, the bridge having been destroyed by the Confederates.

While there he first heard, on or about the 29th of March, that Grant’s army had moved to Pittsburg Landing, on the left bank of the Tennessee River. General Buell resumed his march on the 31st, intending — having obtained the approval of General Halleck — to stop for cleaning up and rest at Waynesboro; he had not yet received any intimation that General Grant was in danger, or that he (Buell) should hurry up with his forces.

But in order that we may not be suspected of a disposition to be unfair towards the distinguished generals referred to, we quote from Van Horne’s History of the Army of the Cumberland, vol.

i. pp. 102 et seq., as follows:

General Buell had not yet

On the 31st of March. received an intimation that General Grant was in any danger, or that there was need of haste in the movement of his army, and, desiring to have his forces in good shape to meet a comrade army, obtained permission from General Halleck to stop for rest at Waynesboro.

The army commander had also under consideration the propriety of moving to Hamburg, above Pittsburg Landing, and thence to the place of conjunction.

Stronger evidence could not be adduced than this project of stopping at Waynesboro, that neither General Halleck nor General Buell, at this time, thought that there was anything actual, probable, or possible, in the situation at Pittsburg Landing, to demand the hurried advance of the army of the Ohio.

But General Nelson [commanding the leading division], ignorant of this proposal to halt at Waynesboro, and alive to the probability of an early attack upon General Grant, hurried through the place for rest and trimming up for a handsome introduction to the Army of the Tennessee, and, by sweeping impetuously on the road to Savannah, he both defeated the deflection towards Hamburg and the halt at Waynesboro; for before General Buell thought it necessary to give orders to Nelson, other divisions, to which the speed of the first had been communicated, were also beyond Waynesboro, and could not then be recalled.

That General Grant felt secure at this time is equally manifest.

Telegraphic communications between him and Nelson were established on the 3d of April.

The latter telegraphed that he could be at Savannah with his division on the 5th.

On the 4th, General Grant replied that he need not hasten his march, as transports to convey him to Pittsburg Landing would not be ready before the 8th.

Nevertheless, Nelson hastened on, and it was well he did, for he gave motion to the whole army behind him, and General Johnston was even then on the march from Corinth, with his entire army, to crush General Grant before General Buell could give him assistance. . . .

A variety of facts support the assumption that neither General Halleck, General Grant, nor the division commanders on the field beyond Pittsburg Landing, had the remotest expectation that the enemy would advance in offence from Corinth with full strength.

General Halleck proposed to command the united armies in their advance upon Corinth, and yet he was not to leave his headquarters at St. Louis, Missouri, until the 7th.

On the 5th, General Sherman, though not the senior division commander, yet virtually so, from the confidence reposed in him by General Grant, telegraphed to the latter: All is quiet along my lines now; the enemy has cavalry in our front, and I think there are two regiments and one battery six miles out.

The Confederates were then within that distance with their whole army of nearly forty thousand men, and they formed their lines of battle that afternoon about a mile and a half in his front.

They had passed the night of the 4th at Monterey, only nine miles from his headquarters. Again: I have no doubt that nothing will occur to-day more than some picket firing.

The enemy is saucy, but got the worst of it yesterday, and will not press our pickets far. I will not be drawn out far, unless with a certainty of advantage, and I do not apprehend anything like an attack upon our position.

General Grant telegraphed the same day as follows: The main force of the enemy is at Corinth, with troops at different points east. . . . The number of men at Corinth, and within supporting distance of it, cannot be far from eighty thousand men. Some skirmishing took place between our outguards and the enemy’s yesterday and the day before. . . . I have scarcely the faintest idea of an attack (general one) being made upon us, but will be prepared, should such a thing take place. . . . It is my present intention to send them (Buell’s three foremost divisions) to Hamburg, some four miles above Pittsburg, when they all get here. . . .

They [the Federal divisions at Pittsburg Landing] were widely separated, and did not sustain such relations to each other that it was possible to form quickly a connected defensive line. . . . They had no defences and no designated line for defence in the event of a sudden attack, and there was no general on the field to take, by special authority, the command of the whole force in an emergency.

While the national army was unprepared for battle and unexpectant of such an event, and was passing the night of the 5th in fancied security, Johnston’s army of forty thousand men was in close proximity, and ready for the bloody revelation of its presence and purpose on the following morning. . . . Early on the morning of the 6th of April, a Sabbath day of unusual brightness, cannonading in the direction of Pittsburg Landing was distinctly heard at Savannah.

General Grant supposed that it indicated an attack upon his most advanced positions, and, not waiting to meet General Buell, as he had appointed, and not leaving any instructions or suggestions for his guidance in moving his army to the field, or even expressing a desire that he should give him support, he gave an order to General Nelson to march his division up to Pittsburg Landing, and, taking a steamer, hastened towards the noise of battle.

He did, however, advise General Buell, by note, that an attack had been made, whose occurrence he had not anticipated before Monday or Tuesday; apologized for not meeting him, as he had contemplated, and mentioned the fact that he had ordered General Nelson to move with his division to opposite Pittsburg Landing.

The omission to request him to take any other divisions to the field, or even to hasten their march to Savannah, must be accepted as conclusive that General Grant did not at the time anticipate such a battle as would require the assistance of other portions of the Army of the Ohio. . . . He [General Buell] subsequently received a note from General Grant, addressed to the commanding officer, advanced forces, near Pittsburg, Tennessee, advising him that his forces had been engaged since early morning, contending against an army estimated at a hundred thousand men, and that the introduction of fresh troops upon the field would inspire his men and dishearten the enemy.

General Sherman’s vain effort to show that he was ready for the Confederate attack on the morning of the 6th contradicts his former statements.

It certainly weakens in nothing the preponderance of evidence offered by us, nor does it, in any way, impair the force of what is said in Van Horne’s History of the Army of the Cumberland.

The discussion of this point has made it clear that not only Sherman’s division, but the entire Federal army, was taken by surprise.

That General Sherman should deny it to-day, with such bitterness of feeling towards those who prefer the testimony of facts to his unsubstantiated assertions, seems the result of an after-thought, which involves him in inconsistency.

In Badeau’s Military History of U. S. Grant we read as follows:

Vol. i. pp. 71, 72.

. . . On the 4th (April) the enemy felt Sherman’s front in force, but nothing serious came of it, and the opinion of that commander was decided that no probability of an immediate engagement existed.

Grant rode out on the day after (the 5th) to Sherman’s lines, and concurred with him in this judgment.

They were both mistaken, for the skirmish was the reconnoissance of the enemy, preliminary to the battle of Shiloh.

This affair, however, awoke attention, and put both officers and men on the alert.

These are conflicting statements.

How could both officers and men be on the alert — that is to say, ready for an attack on that morning — when the commanding general himself did not anticipate any such attack; and when he and General Sherman believed that no immediate engagement was likely to take place?

Were the officers and men of the Federal army better informed than their commanding generals?

A few of them were, and even ventured to suggest their fears to some of their commanders, but they were rebuked for their presumption.

The Federal army could not have been on the alert and ready, at that time, to meet the onset of the Confederate army, for the simple and additional reason that, when our troops swept into the enemy’s encampments, most of the men off duty were found at their morning meal, some loitering about their regimental grounds, some lying in their tents, while others were busily attending to the nearly cooked bread which then filled their well-lit ovens.

This utter absence of preparation, obvious to all the first assaulting Confederate columns, shows how secure the enemy thought himself, and how little generals, officers, and men dreamed of an attack on that day.

General Grant was evidently much mistaken as to the number of the Confederates; but, in war, one is very apt to judge of the strength of an adversary by the severity of the blows he inflicts.

If General Grant really believed that his enemy was as strong as his despatches of that period state, was he not at fault in having landed his army on the exposed side of a wide and deep river, when that enemy lay at so short a distance — only twenty-two miles? Was he not to blame for leaving his entire front unprotected by field-works, and for neglecting to throw out all the cavalry at his disposal, as far in his front and on his flanks as possible?

But in his letter

See Boynton, Sherman’s Historical Raid, p. 30. to General Halleck, sent from Savannah, April 5th, he said:

General Nelson’s division has arrived.

The other two of General Buell’s column will arrive to-morrow or next day. It is my present intention to send them to Hamburg, some four or five miles above Pittsburg, when they all get here.

From that point to Corinth the road is good, and a junction can be formed with the troops from Pittsburg at almost any point.

He proposed thus to violate two important maxims of war: first, by dividing his forces and isolating a part of them — with a broad and deep stream behind them, and a small one (Lick Creek) separating the two bodies from each other — at a still shorter distance than that which lay between Pittsburg Landing and the enemy at Corinth, supposed to be eighty thousand strong; secondly, by proposing to form the junction of his forces at a point even nearer to the enemy than Pittsburg Landing.

In such a case the temptation to seize the opportunity for their separate destruction would have been too great for even a non-aggressive adversary to resist.

If General Grant had had time to carry out his intention, Generals Johnston and Beauregard — guarding well the crossings of Lick Creek, on its south side — would have concentrated all their available forces against General Buell’s first three divisions, which would have been destroyed before they could have been reinforced, either by his other two divisions or by troops from Pittsburg Landing.

Then the Confederate commanders would have attacked General Grant himself, with all the chances of success in their favor, especially if, meanwhile, Van Dorn could have joined them (as already instructed) with his forces from Arkansas.


General Beauregard is of opinion that General Sherman committed a grave error by protracting, as he did, the defence of the position he held at the Shiloh meeting-house.

When, at 8 A. M., he became satisfied, for the first time, that the enemy designed a determined attack on his whole camp — knowing his unprepared condition to offer a long resistance — he should have made a virtue of necessity, and, instead of calling on McClernand, in his rear, to come to his assistance, he should have ordered or requested him, Wallace, and Hurlbut, to select at once a strong defensive position near the former’s camps (and there were many such), on which Prentiss and himself could retire at the proper moment.

And when, at about 9 A. M., he judged that Prentiss was falling back, which exposed the left flank of his own two remaining brigades to the concentrated attack of the Confederates, he should have retired, fighting, on the right of the defensive position occupied by the three divisions of McClernand, Wallace, and Hurlbut, behind which his and Prentiss’s shattered troops could have rallied as a reserve, increased by his fourth brigade — Stewart’s — which, on his first arrival at the Landing, he had imprudently detached, over two miles to his left rear, to guard a bridge across Lick Creek.

That bridge might very well have been protected by a small force of cavalry and a section of artillery.

The Federals would thus have presented a united front, in a strong position, as an effective barrier to the headlong and disjointed attacks of the Confederates, who would necessarily have been in some confusion from their march through the woods and across the ravines, and their assault on the first line of Federal encampments.

As it was, in their pursuit of Sherman’s and Prentiss’s commands, they caught, on the wing and in succession, the divisions of McClernand, Wallace, and Hurlbut, who offered a gallant but ineffectual resistance to the persistent and determined attacks of the elated Confederates.

This error of General Sherman is, however, one that is often committed in an active campaign.

Two memorable examples occurred in the late Franco-Prussian war, which cost France, besides her high military renown, the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, and one billion of dollars.

On the 4th of August, 1870, three Prussian divisions, of the Crown Prince’s army, surprised and crushed, at Wissembourg, on the Sarre River, one division of McMahon’s corps (the 1st) of thirty-six thousand men, which formed the right wing of the French army, composed of the ?lite of the French troops.

Two days afterwards the Crown Prince attacked again, suddenly, the remainder of the French corps, at Woerth, a few miles back from Wissembourg.

The other two corps, 5th and 7th of McMahon’s army, were not quite within supporting distance, and instead of opposing his overpowering adversary in such a manner only as to give time to those two corps to concentrate on a good defensive position in his rear, he made a determined stand at Woerth, calling on them to hurry up to his assistance.

Only two divisions of the 5th corps (De Failly’s) reached him in time to take part in the desperate struggle then going on. But his gallant troops were nearly annihilated, and he was compelled to retire to the fortified and distant camp of Chalons, to recruit and reorganize another army, which was lost shortly afterwards at Sedan.

The left wing of the French army met with nearly the same fate.

It consisted of five corps, scattered along the frontier in advance of Metz, all under the immediate direction of the French Emperor, Napoleon III., whose headquarters were established in that fortified city.

Three Prussian corps, under General Von Steinmetz, suddenly appeared at Sarrebruck, on the Sarre River, which they crossed rapidly, and, on the 6th, surprised the 2d French corps (Frossard’s) at Speicheren, where another desperate engagement ensued while awaiting the support of the other four French corps.

These arrived, however, in the vicinity only in time to be caught on the wing, and had to fall back in great haste towards Metz — in a divergent direction from McMahon’s line of retreat — where they were finally surrounded, and compelled to surrender, with Marshal Bazaine, October 29th, 1870, after an heroic but useless defense, so far as regarded the safety of France.

General Beauregard is of opinion that, had the Confederates been in better fighting condition, the corresponding error of Sherman would have ended the battle of Shiloh long before Buell could have come to the assistance of the Federals, and a decisive victory would then have enabled the Confederates to take the offensive in middle Tennessee and Kentucky, with far greater results than those obtained, at first, by General Bragg, a few months later.


The blame for having withdrawn the Confederate troops too soon from the fight, on the evening of the 6th, just as — it is alleged — a last concentrated effort was about to be made by some of the subordinate commanders, has, we think, been conclusively refuted in the narrative of the battle.

That charge is entirely disproved by the reports of brigade and regimental commanders.

The cessation of hostilities was not ordered until a last concentrated effort had been made shortly after 4 P. M., under General Beauregard’s own eyes, and not until he was satisfied, from the condition of his troops, that no further attack on our part would meet with success, especially after the opening of Webster’s reserved Federal batteries, supported by reinforcements, as the rolls of infantry fire clearly indicated.

It was not until then, about 6 P. M., shortly before sunset, that the order was given to cease the contest, and collect and reorganize the various commands, before it should be too dark to carry out the order effectually.

But before these instructions could be generally distributed, the fighting had, in reality, ceased on the greater part of the field.

As an additional proof that the order was not given too soon, it is a positive fact that the brigades and divisions of the different commands, especially Bragg’s and Hardee’s, were not collected and reorganized in time to meet the Federal attack, on the next morning.

The true reason, besides the rawness of our officers and men, why we were not able to complete our victory on the 6th, is correctly given, by the Adjutant-General of the Confederate army at Shiloh, in his Campaigns of Lieutenant-General Forrest, p. 151, as follows:

After the combat was at its height, about meridian, those superior officers who should have been occupied with the concentration and continuous projection of their troops in heavy masses upon the shattered Federal divisions, were at the very front and perilous edge of the battle, leading forward regiments, perchance brigades, into action, with great individual intrepidity, and doing a great deal, no doubt, by their personal example, to impel small bodies forward.

But, meanwhile, to their rear were left the masses of their respective commands, without direction, and thus precious time was lost.

The Confederates were not kept continuously massed and employed, either in corps or divisions; mere piecemeal onsets were the general method of fighting after 12 o’clock (on the 6th), with this consequence: Sherman was enabled to make several obstinate, powerful stands, by which he protracted the battle some hours.

Had the corps been held well in hand, massed and pressed continuously upon the tottering, demoralized foe; had general officers attended to the swing and direction of the great war-engine at their disposition, rather than, as it were, becoming so many heads or battering-rams of that machine, the battle assuredly would have closed at latest by mid-day.

By that hour, at most, the whole Federal force might have been urged back and penned up, utterly helpless, in the angle formed between the river and Lick (or Snake) Creek, or dispersed along the river bank, between the two creeks; we repeat, that had the Confederate corps been kept in continuity, closely pressed en masse upon the enemy, after the front line had been broken and swept back, the Federal fragments must have been kept in a downward movement, like the loose stones in the bed of a mountain torrent.

Before leaving this part of our subject it is proper, we think, to direct attention to the comparison, drawn by Mr. Davis, between General Albert Sidney Johnston and Marshal Turenne, with reference to the battle of Shiloh.

Says Mr. Davis:

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

II. p. 68.

To take an example far from us, in time and place, when Turenne had, after months of successful manoeuvring, finally forced his enemy into a position which gave assurance of victory, and had marshalled his forces for a decisive battle, he was, when making a preliminary reconnoissance, killed by a chance shot; then his successor, instead of attacking, retreated, and all which the one had gained for France the other lost.

The falsity of the comparison is too flagrant to need more than a passing notice.

First, it was at the suggestion of General Beauregard that General Johnston had marched his small army to Corinth, in order to form a junction there, and fight the battle of Shiloh, not after months of successful manoeuvring, as was the case with Marshal Turenne, but, on the contrary, after months of irreparable disasters, which had brought the country to the brink of despair, and led General Johnston to believe that he had lost the confidence of both the people and the army.

Second, it was General Beauregard — not General Johnston — who had marshalled our forces for a decisive battle at Pittsburg Landing, as has been already fully and clearly established.

Third, when the commanding general fell, the battle had been in progress fully eight hours. His successor continued the attack, with all the vigor and energy possible, as long as daylight and the physical condition of his men allowed him to do so. He renewed the attack the next day; and only began his masterly retreat because the enemy in his front had been reinforced with overwhelming numbers.

Fourth, the victory was by no means assured at the hour of General Johnston’s death.

All that can be said is, that our right was then in the act of driving back the enemy’s left; but there still remained his right and centre, which, though hard pressed, had not yet been routed, and only began to give way in confusion after General Beauregard had assumed command.

It was after 6 P. M. he says, when the enemy’s last position was carried, and his force finally broke and sought refuge behind a commanding eminence covering Pittsburg Landing.

See General Beauregard’s Report.

To a careless or superficial reader, this comparison, coming from such a source, might have a certain weight, but when sifted and closely analyzed, it is seen to be the far-fetched and idle fancy of prejudice.


General Beauregard says that the hardest fighting the Confederates encountered on the 7th was with Buell’s splendidly organized and well-disciplined divisions, numbering at least twenty thousand

History of the Army of the Cumberland, vol.

i. p. 115. before the arrival of Wood’s two brigades in the afternoon of that day. According to Sherman’s Memoirs,

Page 245. General Grant’s own forces, on the 7th, amounted to nearly twenty-five thousand men (including Lew. Wallace’s division of fresh troops), but they did not fight with the animation and spirit of the preceding day. Until about 10. 30 A. M., General Beauregard had, in the centre and on the right, as stated in the narrative of the battle, only about ten thousand infantry and artillery, under Generals Breckinridge and Hardee, to oppose Buell’s three fresh divisions, supported by a part of General Grant’s forces of the preceding day, under Hurlbut, while General Bragg had only about seven thousand five hundred infantry and artillery, on the left, with which to oppose General Grant’s force of more than twenty thousand men. By 11. 30 A. M., General Beauregard had withdrawn from General Bragg two brigades and a regiment, to reinforce the centre and right, and he had made him extend another brigade (Russell’s) to his right, to cover the space between him and Breckinridge, left open by the unfortunate absence of Cheatham’s division, of General Polk’s corps.

General Bragg had, therefore, at that time (11. 30 A. M. ), only about five thousand men with whom to confront General Grant’s forces, and he was reinforced during the day by only two straggling regiments under General J. K. Jackson, and by a small disjointed brigade under Colonel Pond, at about 1 P. M. With those forces General Bragg not only held at bay those opposed to him, but took the offensive several times, and, on the arrival of Cheatham’s division in its proper place, compelled Wallace, Sherman, and McClernand to call earnestly on McCook, of Buell’s army, for support.

General Beauregard, therefore, felt not much concerned about his left; and he directed all his attention and most of his available troops to holding in check or driving back, at times, Buell’s forces, which showed considerable boldness, and seemed to be well handled.

The result of that day’s battle shows conclusively what would have been the consequences had General Grant carried out his intention — according to a statement to that effect in General Sherman’s Memoirs — of attacking the Confederates on the morning of the 7th, without awaiting the assistance of General Buell’s forces.

His disaster would undoubtedly have been irreparable.

With regard to the claim of victory raised by both sides, after the battle of Shiloh, it is thus clearly and, we believe, fairly stated by General Jordan:

Campaigns of Lieutenant-General Forrest, p. 150.

The Confederates found their pretension upon the facts of the heavy captures of men, artillery, and colors which they carried from the field, the complete rout inflicted on the Federals on Sunday, and their ability, on Monday, to hold the ground upon which they had concentrated and made the battle until 2 P. M.,

It was after two o’clock P. M. when General Beauregard withdrew from an unprofitable combat — withdrew in admitted good order, taking with him all the captured guns for which there was transportation.

Moreover, his enemy was left so completely battered and stunned as to be unable to pursue.

The Federals claimed the victory upon the grounds that, on Monday evening, they had recovered their encampments and possession of the field of battle, from which the Confederates had retired, leaving behind their dead and a number of wounded.

In this discussion it should be remembered that after the Confederates concentrated on Monday, or from at least as late as 9 A. M. up to the time of their retreat, they uniformly took the offensive and were the assailants.

All substantially claimed in reports of Federal subordinate generals is that, after having been worsted between 9 A. M. and 2 P. M., they were then able to hold their own and check their antagonists.

See Reports of Generals Wallace, Nelson, Crittenden, etc., and Correspondence of Agate, in Record of the Rebellion, vol.

IV. Doc. 114. After that, manifestly; there was a complete lull in the battle until about 4 P. M., when, and no sooner, do the Federals appear to have advanced.

General Beauregard has been blamed, unjustly, for withdrawing his troops just as they were being launched, on Sunday evening, against the last Federal position, with such numbers and impetus, by generals on the spot, as must have insured complete success.

The reports of brigade and regimental commanders entirely disprove this allegation.

See Appendix. His order, really, was not distributed before the greater part of the Confederate troops had already given up the attempt, for that day, to carry the ridge at the Landing.

For further particulars as to the hour when General Beauregard’s order to cease firing was given and received, we refer the reader to the Appendices to the present and the two preceding chapters.


When error and falsehood have taken hold of public credulity, their eradication is an arduous and unpleasant task.

The experience of life teaches this lesson to most men. And it often happens that even the fair-minded are slow to discard a conviction which has grown upon them and is strengthened by the assertions of those who are, or have been, high in authority.

There seems to be a fatal attraction about the propagation of evil reports, which the preponderance of truth itself but tardily counterbalances and destroys.

Listeners, says Hare, do seldom refrain from evil hearing.

This applies to the unaccountable and malicious story, to which additional notoriety has recently been given, that General Beauregard, during the first day of the battle of Shiloh, up to the time when he was informed of General Johnston’s death, was lying in his ambulance, taking no part whatever in the fight, and, that even after the fall of the commanding general, he quietly remained where he was, waiting the issue of events.

To listen to such a statement, and see credence given to it, must have been pleasing to those — fortunately few in number — whose object has always been to misrepresent General Beauregard, to ignore his merit as a commander, and rob him of the renown he acquired despite their jealous efforts.

On page 67 of the second volume of Mr. Davis’s Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, the following passage will be found:

General Beauregard had told General Johnston that morning, as he rode off, that if it should be necessary to communicate with him or for him to do anything, he would be found in his ambulance in bed. Governor Harris, knowing this, and how feeble General Beauregard’s health was, went first to his headquarters, just in the rear of where the army had deployed into line the evening before.

Beauregard and his staff were gone on horseback in the direction of Shiloh church.

He found them there.

The Governor told General Beauregard that General Johnston had been killed.

Beauregard expressed regret, and then remarked, Everything else seems to be going on well on the right.

Governor Harris assented. Then, said Beauregard, the battle may as well go on.

The Governor replied that he certainly thought it ought.

He offered his services to Beauregard, and they were courteously accepted.

General Beauregard then remained where he was, waiting the issue of events.

It is to be regretted, on Mr. Davis’s own account, that he has given to the world as history so baseless a fiction.

A passage similar to this appears in Colonel W. P. Johnston’s Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston, but it had been determined, after due reflection, to pass it by in silence in this work.

General Beauregard, it was thought, could afford to overlook a charge so palpably absurd.

But Mr. Davis having thought proper to reproduce the statement, with the evident purpose of giving it the additional weight of his name and authority, we now feel impelled, though reluctantly, to refute the statement and set the matter finally at rest.

That General Beauregard’s health was not good at the time of the battle is an admitted fact; but that, nevertheless, he displayed the most untiring activity and energy, and, within less than two months after his arrival in the West, mastered the minutest details of the military situation, and changed its whole aspect, by inspiring new hope and confidence in the public mind, then so much depressed, is no less certain, and has been proved beyond dispute, by the facts and documents already given to the reader in the preceding chapters.

With the clear perception resulting from his remarkable strategic powers, his ill-health had not prevented him from advising and effecting the evacuation of Columbus, until then erroneously considered the Gibraltar of the West; fortifying and strengthening Fort Pillow, New Madrid Bend, and Island No. 10; urging General Johnston to abandon his retreat towards Stevenson, and march to Decatur, so as to facilitate a junction of the two armies; and, finally, despatching most of his staff, with special messages, to the governors of four States, and to Generals Van Dorn, Bragg, and Lovell, in one earnest and almost desperate effort to obtain and concentrate an army of about forty thousand men at or near Corinth, and thus prepare the way for the great battle which was fought on the 6th and 7th of April.

Nor had his ill-health prevented him from organizing and disciplining, as well as could be done, the heterogeneous army he had thus collected, to the concentration of which the government had merely given a silent, not to say unwilling, assent.

For the reader must not forget that General Beauregard’s letter to General Cooper, dated February 23d,

See Appendix to Chapter XVI. detailing his course as to the temporary enlistment of State troops, had met with no response; and that, to his question addressed to General Johnston as to whether the War Department sanctioned his action in the matter, the answer, dated February 26th, was: Government neither sanctioned nor disapproved.


The War Department had adopted the same irresponsible policy with regard to the troops at Pensacola, asked for by General Beauregard of General Bragg; the bald truth of the matter being, that General Bragg, having referred General Beauregard’s call upon him to the government at Richmond, was left to his own discretion as to his compliance with it. He was never ordered at all, despite Mr. Davis’s assertions to that effect;

Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, vol.

II. p. 54. but came of his own accord, thereby assuming the full responsibility of the movement.

That the government did not prevent the transfer demanded is all that can be claimed for it.

Not only had General Beauregard suggested and brought about the concentration of our forces at Corinth, but, after declining the command-in-chief, which was offered him by General Johnston, he had also, at the request of the latter, drawn up the General Orders, the seventh clause of which read as follows: All general orders touching matters of organization, discipline, and conduct of the troops, published by General G. T. Beauregard to the Army of the Mississippi, will continue in force in the whole army until otherwise directed, and copies thereof will be furnished to the 3d Army Corps and the reserve.

In other words, copies of orders already issued by General Beauregard to his troops were to be sent to General Johnston’s army.

When, at the suggestion of General Beauregard, it was determined that we should advance on the 3d of April, to strike the enemy at Pittsburg Landing, it was he again who, despite his illhealth, prepared and delivered to the Adjutant-General of our united forces all the notes from which was written General Order No. 8, directing and regulating the march of the army from Corinth, and the order in which the enemy should be attacked.

General Beauregard left Corinth with the army, and reached, simultaneously with General Johnston, the ground whereon was formed the Confederate line of battle.

He was then on horseback, as was General Johnston himself.

To bring before the reader some of the incidents which occurred on the afternoon of the 5th, the following passage is taken from Major Waddell’s statement of facts relative to the battle of Shiloh:

Major Waddell was one of General Beauregard’s volunteer aids.

For the whole of his statement, see Appendix to Chapter XX.

St. Louis, November 8th, 1878. General G. T. Beauregard:

* * * * * * * * *

I joined you on the morning of the 5th, at Monterey, and rode with you to Headquarters No. 1.

Judging of time by what I had done that morning, I am of opinion that it was afternoon before you and General Johnston reached the ridge where the front line was formed and Headquarters No. 1 was established.

After a conference of the general officers was held at a point in the road, at which I witnessed a very marked deference on the part of General A. S. Johnston for your opinions and plans of conducting the battle, it was suggested by General Hardee that you should ride in front of his line of battle to show yourself to his men, giving them the encouragement which nothing but your presence could do. I well remember your modest hesitation at the proposition; your plea of sickness was urged (a more delicate reason existed, no doubt — your esteem of the chief in command), but when the request was made unanimous, General Johnston urging, you consented, on condition that the men should not cheer as you passed, as cheering might discover our position to the enemy.

An order was sent quickly along the lines, informing the men that you should ride in front of them and that no cheering should be indulged in. You passed in front of the lines, and never was an order so reluctantly obeyed as was this order, No cheering, men!

which had to be repeated at every breath, and enforced by continuous gesture.

General Johnston’s prestige was great, but the hearts of the soldiers were with you, and your presence awakened an enthusiasm and confidence magical in its effect.

In corroboration of this we now give an extract from Colonel Jacob Thompson’s report of the battle.

Colonel Thompson was also one of General Beauregard’s volunteer aids.

Colonel Jacob Thompson, of Mississippi, had been Secretary of the Interior under President Buchanan.

Headquarters army of the Mississippi, Corinth, April 14th, 1862. To General G. T. Beauregard:

* * * * * * * *

Soon after this, General Hardee, accompanied by his staff, came forward and pressed you to ride along his line and show yourself to his men. He believed it would revive and cheer their spirits to know that you were actually in the field with them.

You accepted the invitation, though then complaining of feebleness, on condition there should be no cheering.

See Appendix to Chapter XX.

These are high testimonials of the estimation in which General Beauregard was held by the corps commanders and by General Johnston himself.

They illustrate and explain the power and influence he exercised over the troops.

Neither officers nor men, to whom his very presence was encouragement and comfort, supposed, for an instant, as he rode slowly down their lines, that he was of too feeble health to lead them on to victory the next day.

In the hurry and absorption of the occasion, General Beauregard had not given orders for the establishment of his night quarters: he therefore slept in his ambulance.

Then — that is to say, between eleven o’clock P. M., on the 5th of April, and half-past 4 o’clock A. M., on the 6th — had any officer of General Johnston’s staff been sent to General Beauregard, the latter would have been found in his ambulance in bed; then, but only then; for, the next morning, about dawn of day, according to a statement prepared by General Bragg for Colonel W. P. Johnston’s book, General Beauregard was present at the camp-fire of the general in chief.

Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston, p. 569. He had arrived there on horseback.

From the time when he left his ambulance that morning he did not see it again until his return to Corinth, after the battle of Shiloh.

In support of this statement the reader is referred to General Beauregard’s letter to Governor Harris, dated March 9th, 1880, written after the appearance of Colonel W. P. Johnston’s book.

See Appendix to Chapter XXII. The following is an extract from that letter:

You will observe this text imputes to you a knowledge, and also implies that it is upon your authority, that Colonel W. P. Johnston asserts my having said that I would be found in bed in my ambulance; whereas the fact is, that I had ridden with General Johnston from Monterey, on the preceding day, to the field.

I only slept in my ambulance that night, as I had no tent, and did not see it again until my return to Corinth.

I was again on horseback shortly after daybreak on the 6th — earlier, for that matter, than General Johnston, whom I found at his headquarters taking his coffee.

We parted in advance of his headquarters, when he went to the front, with the understanding that I was to follow the movements of the field and direct the reserves; in which connection I call your attention to Colonel Jacob Thompson’s statement, at page 570 of W. P. Johnston’s book: General Johnston determined to lead the attack in person, and leave General Beauregard to direct the movements of troops in the rear.

I may add, that I was on horseback all that day, with very few intervals, until you rejoined me at my headquarters, near Shiloh meeting-house, about sundown, after my return from the front; and I was again on horseback all the next day from about seven o’clock, with few intervals, until my arrival at Corinth, late that night.

This is clear and unambiguous.

It utterly disproves and reduces to naught the groundless story chronicled by Mr. Davis.

In reply to that letter (April 13th, 1880) Governor Harris wrote:

. . . But my recollection is, and I have so stated upon several occasions, that the last words you spoke to General Johnston, as he was starting to the front on Sunday morning of the battle of Shiloh, were, General, if you wish to communicate with me, send to my ambulance, etc.

The whole letter is in Appendix to Chapter XXII.

Here the words in bed are entirely omitted.

They are in Colonel Johnston’s and Mr. Davis’s books, but not in Governor Harris’s letter to General Beauregard.

We know that Governor Harris is sincere in his belief that these were General Beauregard’s words, but his impression about them, however strong it may be, is none the less erroneous.

Where that ambulance was, or would be a few hours later, General Beauregard knew no more than Governor Harris, or any other member of General Johnston’s staff: how, then, could he have directed any one to it?

This, however, is of small importance.

Whatever may be the recollection of Governor Harris, and even admitting its correctness, it still remains an incontrovertible fact that no one saw, or professed to have seen, General Beauregard in his ambulance on either day of the battle; for the very simple reason that he was not near it himself, and hardly knew what had become of it.

As early as half-past 6 o’clock A. M., on the 6th, he was busily engaged issuing orders, first, to General Breckinridge, then to General Polk, then to General Bragg; and at twenty minutes after nine, when the last reserves passed Headquarters No. 1, where he had been left by General Johnston, he again mounted his horse and followed them to the front, where he remained as long as the battle raged, devoting his whole energy to the movements of our left and centre, while General Johnston was directing the attack on our right.

This is conclusively established by the report of General Beauregard himself, and by those of Colonels Thompson, Augustin, Brent, Major Waddell, and Captains Ferguson, Chisolm, and Smith, who were General Beauregard’s aids, or acting aids, at the time.

See their reports, in Appendix to Chapter XX.

Reverting now to what Mr. Davis insinuates was General Beauregard’s attitude when informed of General Johnston’s death, we have only to say, that the very source whence Colonel Johnston and Mr. Davis seem to have derived their information — namely, Governor Harris, in his letter of April 13th, 1880, already referred to — in nowise confirms what is said to have been his language on that occasion.

Questioned by General Beauregard to that effect, he says:

I reported to you the death of General Johnston, when you expressed regret, inquired as to the circumstances under which he fell, and inquired also of me if the battle was going on well on the right.

I answered, it was; when you said, We will push on the attack, or continue to press forward; the exact words employed I cannot with confidence repeat; but this is the substance and meaning of what was said.

Mr. Davis’s account of the matter would lead the public to believe that General Beauregard was indifferent as to whether the battle should continue or not; nay, more, that he would have ordered a cessation of hostilities had not Governor Harris suggested that the fight had better go on. Who could give credence to this, even if Governor Harris had not given the counter-statement already submitted to the reader?

But Mr. Davis reaches the culminating-point when, speaking through Colonel Johnston’s book, he describes General Beauregard as a sickly, broken-down, indifferent commander, who was disposed to trust to chance for a favorable turn of events, and who listlessly remained where he was, unable, if not unwilling, to take the helm and conduct the movements of the army.

This is trifling with public credulity.

Mr. Davis certainly trusts too presumptuously to the consideration accorded to him on account of his former high position.

The entire country knows that General Beauregard, the trained soldier, is a man of quick temperament, who, without being rash, has never flinched under responsibility; that the salient traits of his character are boldness and energy.

To assert that such a man remained quiet and inactive, when the chief command of the army devolved upon him — when the boom of the cannon was in his ear, and the clash and fury of the battle were around him; when news from the right told that victory on that part of the line was almost within our grasp — is to put too great a strain upon the credulity of even the simple.

Words are not necessary to refute this slander, or to establish the fact that General Beauregard acted, under the circumstances, as his education, his nature, his duty, and his will prompted him. The preceding chapters have sufficiently shown the difficult and masterly work he accomplished, after the sad event which left in his hands the command of the army.

Here, again, truth forces the statement that Mr. Davis, in his effort to detract from the merits of one against whom he has not scrupled to exhibit his persistent animosity, has overreached his aim, and, far from accomplishing his purpose, has only succeeded in impairing the historical value of his own book.


General Beauregard’s insistance on the evacuation of Columbus. —documents relating to the matter. —General McCown to be put in command of Madrid Bend. —he is called by General Beauregard to Jackson for instructions. —he repairs to Madrid Bend. —dispositions made for its defence. —Commodore Hollins to co-operate with land forces. —number of troops under General McCown. —arrival of General Pope on the 28th of February in front of New Madrid. —Colonel Plummer establishes a battery on the river. —apprehensions of General McCown. —General Beauregard’s despatch to General Cooper. —General McCown exhibits still greater anxiety. —General Beauregard doubts General McCown’s capacity. —successful evacuation of Columbus. —attack commenced on New Madrid March 12th. —conference of General McCown with Commodore Hollins on the 13th, and evacuation of Forts. —General Beauregard applies for General MacKALLall. —garrison of New Madrid transferred to opposite bank of river and Island no. 10. —General Beauregard orders all surplus guns, supplies, and boats to Fort Pillow. —fall of Island no. 10 on the 7th of April. —General Pope’s forces transported to vicinity of Fort Pillow. —General Pope ordered to Pittsburg Landing. —want of capacity of Commodore Hollins. —General Beauregard’s various telegrams and orders. —he detains General Villepigue in command of Fort Pillow. —instructions to Captain Harris. —surrender of New Orleans. —bombardment of Fort Pillow. —the Montgomery rams. —General Beauregard has steam ram Arkansas completed, equipped, and manned. —history of the Arkansas. —tribute to Captain Isaac Brown and crew. —prisoners with smallpox sent to Fort Pillow. —what became of them. —letter to General Villepigue, May 28th. —he is directed by General Beauregard to prepare for withdrawing his troops from Fort Pillow. —Fort evacuated 1st of June. —responsibility of various movements left to General Beauregard.

It must not be forgotten that General Beauregard, in his conference with General Polk, a few days after his arrival at Jackson, Tennessee, suggested and even urged the evacuation of Columbus at the earliest moment practicable; that is to say, as soon as Madrid Bend, Island No. 10, and New Madrid could be fortified and sufficiently prepared for temporary occupation; the object being to give time for the completion of the work of armament then going on at Fort Pillow, fifty-nine miles above Memphis, which was represented to be a strong natural position, but in a more unfinished state than any other around Madrid Bend.

Some fieldworks were also in process of construction at the points above named, though little progress had yet been made upon them, as was represented to General Beauregard by his Chief-Engineer, Captain Harris.

The reader is referred to the several chapters preceding the account of the battle of Shiloh,

Chapters XV. -XVIII. wherein many of the arrangements made by General Beauregard with regard to Columbus, and for the defence of New Madrid, Island No. 10, and Madrid Bend, including the incidents connected therewith, are mentioned at length, and carefully reviewed in the order of their actual occurrence.

We allude to the memorandum of February 7th, prepared at Bowling Green by General Beauregard, exhibiting the general plans of operations adopted by General A. S. Johnston at that time;

Chapter XV: p. 220. to General Beauregard’s letter to General Johnston, dated February 12th, 1862;

Ibid. p. 221. to the telegram of the Secretary of War, dated February 19th, authorizing the evacuation of Columbus, as suggested by General Beauregard;

Appendix to Chapter XVI. to the latter’s communication of February 21st to General Cooper;

Ibid. to his circular of same date to the governors of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana;

Chapter XVI: p. 240. and also to his letter of February 23d to Lieutenant-General Polk.

Appendix to Chapter XVI. These papers, documents, and outside details give an outline of the dispositions General Beauregard considered it judicious to make for the security of the defensive works on the Mississippi River.

They show that although his attention was engrossed by the movements of concentration which he was then preparing, he could, nevertheless, spare time and thought for distant points, foreseeing what the probable plans of the enemy would be, and suggesting the means necessary to defeat them.

It had been agreed between Generals Beauregard and Polk that Brigadier-General McCown, with some seven thousand men, should be sent to the positions about Madrid Bend as soon as the works in process of construction there should have reached a sufficient state of completion to be properly armed and manned.

The surplus ammunition removed from Columbus was to be sent to Fort Pillow, and also the surplus guns, which were to be mounted with the greatest possible celerity.

General McCown, according to a telegram forwarded to that effect, repaired to Jackson, Tennessee, to receive personal instructions from General Beauregard.

He was accompanied by General Trudeau, of Louisiana, acting Chief of Artillery on General Polk’s staff.

The line of conduct to be adopted and the mode and manner of defence were minutely traced out for him. He was told by General Beauregard that he must not count upon reinforcements, for all available troops were now being collected in or about western Tennessee, to oppose the Federals, should they attempt to cross the Tennessee River; that he must therefore make up his mind to do his utmost with the troops he would take with him; that he would find two regiments at New Madrid, under Colonel Gantt, and possibly two others, under Colonel L. M. Walker, at Fort Pillow.

As an additional assistance, Captain Harris, Chief-Engineer, was to be put in charge of the construction of all the field-works required, under specific verbal and written instructions from General Beauregard.

This was a system adopted and invariably followed by him throughout the course of the war. He knew that subordinate commanders, however able in other respects, could not, with justice, be expected to possess a thorough knowledge of engineering.

General McCown inspected the river defences at and about Madrid Bend on the 25th of February, when, on his application, Colonel L. M. Walker, with his two regiments from Fort Pillow, was ordered to reinforce Colonel Gantt, at New Madrid.

Shortly afterwards General McCown’s own troops arrived from Columbus, at Island No. 10, and at Madrid Bend, where he established his headquarters.

He was followed, on the 1st of March, by Stewart’s brigade, which was sent to reinforce the troops at New Madrid, where General Stewart, being the senior officer at that point, assumed command of the post under General McCown, who ranked him. Commodore Hollins, C. S. N., with eight river gunboats, which General Beauregard had obtained from New Orleans, soon came up with his fleet to assist in the defence of the upper Mississippi, until Fort Pillow, with the obstructions then in process of construction somewhat higher up, could be made strong enough to prevent the Federal gunboats and transports from passing down the river.

Thus, in the early part of March, General McCown’s forces at New Madrid were increased to six regiments of infantry, and a few companies of heavy artillery, in two fieldworks, one of which — Fort Thompson, a bastioned redoubt, south of the town — had fourteen heavy guns, while the other — Fort Bankhead, a battery north of the town — was armed with seven heavy guns.

He also had a field battery, originally of six guns, afterwards of seven.

The two works were more or less connected by rifle-pits.

The river was high at that season of the year, and the eight Confederate gunboats, under Commodore Hollins, could easily rake the approaches to the above-named forts.

General Force, From Fort Henry to Corinth, pp. 68, 69.

On or about the 12th of March, General McCown’s forces, exclusive of the gunboats — which were not under his orders, but had come to co-operate with him — consisted of twelve regiments and one battalion of infantry, five field-batteries of six pieces each, and three companies of cavalry; added to which was the equivalent of one regiment of heavy (foot) artillery, making an aggregate of about eight thousand five hundred men of all arms.

His opponent, Major-General Pope, who had left Commerce, on the Mississippi, above Columbus, Kentucky, on the 28th of February, arrived in front of New Madrid on the morning of the 3d of March.

His force numbered five small infantry divisions, with one light battery to each, besides nine companies organized into a division of light artillery; about three regiments of cavalry, and two of infantry acting as engineer troops — in all, some twenty-five thousand men.

General Pope had no sooner ascertained the nature and armament of the Confederate works in his front than he sent for and obtained, from Cairo, with great labor and difficulty, three rifled 24-pounders and one 8-inch howitzer, which were all the siegeguns he could bring to his assistance.

On March 5th he detached Colonel Plummer, from near New Madrid, with three regiments of infantry, four light rifled pieces of artillery, two companies of cavalry, and one of engineer troops, to act as an outpost at Point Pleasant, some ten miles below New Madrid, and to attempt, with their rifled field-pieces, to stop the passage of transports up and down the river.

By morning of the 7th the enemy’s four guns were in position, in separate sunken batteries, along the river bank, connected together by rifle-pits; and so accurate was the fire of the sharpshooters there stationed that the gunners on the Confederate gunboats could no longer keep their posts.

This compelled the fleet to retire, and the transports to stop at Tiptonville, some eight miles farther down the river.

General McCown must have considered himself in a critical condition from the very outset, for on the 6th General Beauregard received from him the following telegram:

New Madrid, March 5th, 1862, Via Memphis, March 6th. General Beauregard:

The force in my front is, say fifteen thousand; between here and Sykeston fifteen thousand, and large number of guns.

Sigel is marching on Point Pleasant with ten thousand.

My position is eminently dangerous. J. P. Mccown, Comdg. New Madrid.

This somewhat alarmed General Beauregard, although he could not well believe that the forces under General Pope amounted to more than twenty or twenty-five thousand men; and he had good reason to know that General Sigel was then operating in southwestern Missouri, against Van Dorn’s army.

It was clear to him, however, that he could not place much reliance in a subordinate commander who was thus timorous under responsibility, and who apparently gave way to nervous apprehension as to the strength of his adversary.

This was another and still stronger proof of the absolute need of trustworthy commanders in General Beauregard’s military district.

Acting under that impression, he, on the same day, telegraphed General Cooper as follows:

Jackson, Tenn., March 6th, 1862.

For the sake of our cause and country, send at once Mackall as Major-General, and three brigadier-generals recommended by me. Colonel Ransom to command cavalry.

Organization here much needed.

On the 9th came another despatch from General McCown, dated the day previous.

In it he said that he had not yet placed the salient ordered by General Beauregard, in advance of the works, as the position it was to occupy would be raked by our gunboats, and that he had no force to place there; that he would erect it as soon as possible.

[This, however, he never did. ] In the same telegram, which was a long one, he also said:

The least estimate of the force of the enemy on Madrid plain is thirty thousand, with sixty guns. . . . How long can I hold New Madrid with my small force against such odds, is a question.

I believe the enemy will soon be fifty thousand strong. . . . I am determined to hold my position at every hazard.

Shall engage in no field risks; I see my danger; my men are confident and in good spirit.

This communication aroused the greatest apprehension in General Beauregard’s mind, as it confirmed his belief in General Mc-Cown’s exaggerated fears of the dangers threatening his position.

Clearly, Napoleon’s axiom — Confidence is half the battle — was not known to the commander at Madrid Bend. General Beauregard began to think it would be necessary to send a steadier officer to relieve him. Having but recently arrived in that military district, however, the direct command of which he had assumed only four days previously,

March 5th.

See order to that effect, as given in Chapter XVII. p. 249. and being, as yet, unacquainted with the subordinate commanders serving there, General Beauregard, who, on the other hand, was still awaiting the arrival of the officers so urgently asked

See General Beauregard’s letter of February 24th, to General Cooper, in Chapter XVI.

See all his telegrams to same purpose. of the War Department, concluded to await further developments before taking final action in the matter.

He did not doubt the personal bravery of General McCown, though his timorousness as a commander and fear of responsibility were most apparent.

He therefore wrote him an earnest letter of encouragement, of which the closing words were: The country expects us all to do our duty with a fearless heart, and we must do it or die in the attempt.

The letter appears in the Appendix to the present chapter.

Columbus had been successfully evacuated.

Part of its troops and most of its guns and other armament had been transferred to the different defences about Madrid Bend, the enemy offering no interference to delay the movement.

There was additional cause of gratification in the fact that the governors of the southwestern States had all favorably answered General Beauregard’s call on them, through his circular of February 21st.

We need not repeat what we have already written about his efforts to organize and concentrate an army under the most trying circumstances, and the noteworthy manner in which it was effected.

See Chapters XVI. ?XVIII.

The real attack on New Madrid commenced March 12th, but the four siege-guns of the Federals were not in position, nor were their batteries completed, until 3 A. M. on the 13th.

The firing opened at daybreak and ended at dusk, with very little injury on either side; yet, that very evening, after a defence of less than twelve hours, General McCown, although the vital importance of holding his post to the last extremity had been repeatedly impressed upon him by General Beauregard, held an informal conference with Commodore Hollins, on board the latter’s flagship, at which General Stewart only was present, and it was agreed that the forts must be immediately evacuated.

This was done during the night of the 13th, in a heavy rain storm, and in a manner far from creditable to the general commanding.

The evacuation was conducted with so much confusion indeed as almost to amount to a stampede.

The Confederate forces there engaged numbered some three thousand five hundred men of all arms, with twentyone heavy guns, and two light batteries of six pieces, opposed to which were only four siege-guns, as we have already stated.

All our artillery, except the guns of one of the two light batteries, together with ammunition, animals, and stores, were left in the hands of the enemy.

Not one of General Beauregard’s important instructions had been carried out. This was the poorest defence made of any fortified post during the whole course of the war; and the responsibility for the disasters it entailed must necessarily rest on the immediate commander and not on the troops; for they were formed of the same material as those who manned and made glorious the defences of Island No. 10, Fort Pillow, Vicksburg, Charleston Harbor, Petersburg, Fort Fisher, and Spanish Fort.

The hasty and unnecessary evacuation of New Madrid destroyed the little confidence General Beauregard had felt in the commander of that sub-district.

It is but fair to add that the enemy had displayed activity, enterprise, and determination in his attack upon the Confederate works, though, as appears from the Federal reports, no such easy victory had been anticipated.

General Beauregard now concluded to apply at once for Brigadier-General W. W. Mackall, then Chief of Staff to General A. S. Johnston, whose promotion he had long been urging, and who, he knew, would have fulfilled all his expectations, had it been possible sooner to secure his services.

General Johnston sustained the application, but could not spare Brigadier-General Mackall, until his own and General Beauregard’s forces were united at Corinth, which only occurred on March 27th.

The hurried course of events and consequent dangerous outlook on the Mississippi, from and after the 14th of March, rendered it doubtful whether it was not too late, on the 31st, when General Mackall assumed command, to accomplish any good result, or provide for the emergencies of the situation.

At his last interview with General Beauregard before entering upon his new duties, and in answer to the remark that he would probably command only a forlorn hope, but that the fate of the Mississippi Valley depended, just then, on the possession of Island No. 10 and the surrounding works, if only for twelve days more, he, true soldier as he was, said: The post of danger is the post of honor.

I will do my duty to the best of my ability, and, I hope, to the satisfaction of the country and of yourself.

It has already been shown, in Chapter XVIII., how the garrison of New Madrid was transferred to the opposite bank of the river, and how a portion of it was sent to reinforce the troops supporting the works at and about Island No. 10.

General McCown, having succeeded in reaching Fort Pillow with a portion of his forces, was authorized by General Polk to assume command there; but General Beauregard, though approving the main dispositions taken for the defence of Madrid Bend and Island No. 10, insisted upon General McCown’s return to his former headquarters, to resume the direction of operations; which he did, on the 21st, leaving General A. P. Stewart, a good artillery officer, in charge of the fort and its immediate surroundings.

The abandonment of New Madrid insured the fall, ere long, of Island No. 10, and, therefore, of Madrid Bend.

Hence General Beauregard’s immediate order to send at once all unmounted guns, surplus supplies, and boats to Fort Pillow — thus reducing to a minimum the forces necessary to hold those two now much endangered posts.

General Beauregard’s letter to General Bragg, of March 15th, see Appendix. His order was first delayed on account of an earnest appeal made to him by General McCown, but was renewed and carried out on the 18th, the need being absolute for a garrison at Fort Pillow, and no other troops being then available.

The force thus transferred thither consisted of five regiments of infantry, two light batteries of six guns each, and Captain Neely’s squadron of cavalry, which was soon to follow; leaving, under General Walker, for the defence of Island No. 10 and Madrid Bend, some companies of heavy artillery, forming about the equivalent of a regiment; seven regiments and one battalion of infantry; one company of Stewart’s light battery, with six guns; and two companies of Mississippi cavalry — an aggregate of about four thousand four hundred men.

General McCown’s telegrams to General Beauregard now again exhibited the same anxiety and discouragement so discernible in those previously forwarded; and such continued to be his course, until he was finally relieved by General Mackall, on the 31st, as already explained.

He was sent to Memphis, out of command, and ordered to write the report of his operations, especially such as referred to the evacuation of New Madrid.

After a stout and soldierly resistance at Island No. 10, our troops displaying the unflinching spirit that distinguished them during the war, the work at last succumbed on the 7th of April, and surrendered to the Federal fleet, under Commodore A. H2. Foote, two or three hours after the retreat of the Confederate forces from Shiloh had been ordered.

The shattered condition of the works proved to what extremity their defenders had been reduced.

A Federal writer says: The earth is ploughed and furrowed as with an earthquake.

Small caverns were excavated by the tremendous explosions,

Record of the Rebellion (Documents), 1862, vol.

IV. p. 440. etc. And General Force, a fair narrator of this period of the war, speaking of the first or second day of the bombardment (what must it not have been on the last!), uses this language: Thirteen-inch shells exploding in the ground made caverns in the soil.

Water stood on the ground within, and the artillerists waded in mud and water.

From Fort Henry to Corinth, p. 80. Lieutenant-Colonel Cook, of the 12th Arkansas, had been placed in command of the Island on the morning of the 7th, by order of General Mackall.

Having had news, on the evening of that day, that General Pope’s forces had effected a landing on the east bank of the river, and that the Confederate troops had already fallen back, he ordered and effected the evacuation of the work, leaving it in charge of Captain Hawes, of the artillery.

Colonel Cook, that night, retreated with his regiment (about four hundred men) along the western shore of Reelfoot Lake, until he reached a ferry landing, near Tiptonville, where General Beauregard had had collected, through the activity and energy of Colonel Pickett, commanding at Union City, quite a number of canoes, skiffs, and other small boats, for such an emergency.

With these Colonel Cook succeeded in saving, not only his own command, but several hundred stragglers who had gathered there during the night.

Meanwhile, towards midnight on the 7th, General Pope’s entire army had crossed the river and was advancing on Tiptonville, General Paine’s division leading the march.

With such overwhelming odds against him, General Mackall was compelled to surrender with his small force, aggregating about three thousand men. It follows, as a matter of course, that General Pope’s official report of the number of Confederate prisoners taken on that occasion, namely, six thousand seven hundred, was a greatly exaggerated statement.

The enemy had now full control of the river as far down as Fort Pillow, one hundred and ten miles below Island No. 10.

That fort, contrary to the general opinion about it, was not so strong as its natural position indicated, nor as it had been represented to be to General Beauregard.

It was situated on the east bank of the river, near the mouth of Coal Creek, and some ten miles above the Hatchie River.

A little over three miles east of it, the two streams just mentioned, with their banks partially overflowed and, therefore, almost impracticable, came within a mile and a half of each other.

Yet the engineers who planned the works before General Beauregard’s arrival in the West had not availed themselves of this natural advantage, and, strangely enough, instead of erecting the land defenses at the point mentioned, had placed them nearer the fort, thereby lengthening their lines more than three miles, and necessitating a garrison of nearly ten thousand men. A similar error, as we have already pointed out, had been committed at Columbus.

General Beauregard, upon assuming command of his new military district, and, in fact, before he had done so, used every endeavor to introduce a new and entirely different system, in the defensive works of the Mississippi River.

He caused them to be almost entirely reconstructed for minimum garrisons, which he knew would be amply adequate, under efficient commanders, to resist a siege of several weeks, or until assistance could be afforded them, thus increasing, to a maximum, the troops available for operations in the field.

So far as circumstances would permit, this plan had been carried out in regard to all the river defences.

But, in order the sooner to complete the works at New Madrid, Island No. 10, and Madrid Bend, which had first to be prepared against attack, only the surplus guns of Columbus had been sent to Fort Pillow.

The recent loss of so much armament and ammunition had increased the gravity of the situation, not to speak of the additional loss of General Mackall’s forces at Island No. 10.

We were in one of those unfortunate positions in war where it becomes necessary to sacrifice a fractional command to save the other and larger portion.

Here the sacrifice had become all the more imperative, by reason of the fact that Fort Pillow was now our only reliance, for the safety of the Mississippi Valley; except, perhaps, Randolph, fifteen miles farther down, where some light works had been thrown up, with as little regard to a minimum garrison as at Forts Pillow and Columbus.

Less than a week after the surrender of Island No. 10, transports were filled with General Pope’s forces, and, thus loaded, descended the stream, reaching the vicinity of Fort Pillow on or about the 14th of April.

And here began a new phase of the stirring drama of this period of the war; for, before any active operations were undertaken by General Pope against Fort Pillow, he was suddenly ordered to Pittsburg Landing by General Halleck, who had arrived there on the 11th, and had officially assumed command.

This order was carried out; and on the 21st, General Pope’s army was encamped at Hamburg, on the Tennessee River, some twelve miles below the celebrated Landing; thus increasing the Federal forces at and around the battle-field of Shiloh, to an aggregate of at least one hundred and twenty thousand men.

General Halleck puts the number at one hundred and twenty-five thousand. General Force, in his book, often quoted by us, says one hundred thousand. General Sherman, in his Memoirs, vol.

i. p. 251, says that the army must have numbered nearly one hundred thousand men. This was an error on the part of General Halleck; for he certainly had no need of reinforcements at that time, his army being in a state of complete inactivity.

General Pope should have been allowed to continue his operations against Fort Pillow, as he had already successfully done against New Madrid, Island No. 10, and Madrid Bend.

The probabilities are that, with their immense resources in men and materials, and in view of the unfinished condition of the works at Fort Pillow, the Federals would, in a short time, have succeeded in forcing its evacuation, when the whole Mississippi River would have been opened to them down to New Orleans.

A respite of many months was thus unintentionally given, by the commander of the Federal forces, to the Confederacy, then hard pressed in the Southwest.

During the operations thus recorded, and judging from the different telegrams he had received from Commodore Hollins, and Generals Polk and McCown, General Beauregard was under the impression that our gunboats had done all that could have been expected of them.

A careful reading of other telegrams, letters, and reports, Confederate as well as Federal, have, since that time, compelled him to modify his opinion.

He now thinks that the Confederate flotilla, under Commodore Hollins, did not display the energy, resoluteness, and daring afterwards evinced by many an officer in the Confederate States navy, most conspicuous among whom were the heroic Admiral Semmes, Commodore Maffitt, and Captain Brown of the Arkansas.

Among the gunboats brought from New Orleans by Commodore Hollins, or sent to him after he had left, was the celebrated ram Manassas, which, however, could not then be used to any advantage, for the reason, as it appears, that there was no Federal craft of any description south of Island No. 10, against which her ramming qualities might be brought into play.

Later, and just as she could have been of much use, General Lovell insisted upon her being sent back to him, which, after several remonstrances from General Beauregard and from Commodore Hollins, was reluctantly done.

Had the Manassas been with the flotilla, on the 5th of April, when the Federal transports passed through the recently excavated canal at New Madrid, and two of the enemy’s gunboats ran the gauntlet before Island No. 10 and the Madrid Bend batteries, it is more than probable that they would have been destroyed by the Confederate ram; and that no other Federal transport or gunboat would have made a like attempt.

In that case General Pope would not have been able to cross his troops to the Tennessee shore, and could not have taken in rear the forces holding the works at Madrid Bend.

Had a signal repulse been met with by the first Federal boats entering that part of the Mississippi River, it is to be presumed that General Pope’s operations around New Madrid would have been abandoned; for twice, already, had General Halleck been on the point of recalling his expedition.

Far as he was from the scene of action, General Beauregard’s telegrams and instructions to Generals Polk, Withers, Stewart, Rust, and Villepigue, to Captains Harris and Lynch, to Lieutenant Meriwether, and other officers of the engineer corps, show how extreme was his vigilance, and what minute precision marked his different orders.

We submit the following examples:

Other telegrams of equal importance are given in the Appendix.

1. Jackson, Tenn., March 8th, 1862. Captain M. Lynch, Corps Engineers, Fort Pillow:

Your traverses would do against field-guns, but not against heavy ones.

Dismount every third gun when sufficient force arrives.

Surmount present parapet in rifle-battery with sand-bags. G. T. Beauregard.

2. Jackson, Tenn., March 11th, 1862. Brigadier-General Withers, Fort Pillow, Tenn. :

Select shortest line; construct detached works first, then connect with cremaillere. Get all negroes possible.

Reconnoitre opposite shore also. G. T. Beauregard.

3. Jackson, Tenn., March 17th, 1862. Major-General L. Polk, Humboldt:

What does McCown mean by his doubt?

Would it not be well to leave to his judgment when to execute the movement decided upon?

Have you given orders to provision Fort Pillow for two or three months for five thousand men? G. T. Beauregard.

4. Jackson, Tenn., March 21st, 1862. Captain D. B. Harris, Engineers, Fort Pillow:

Look as soon as practicable to land defences of fort.

Construct detached works first, then cremaillere. Total garrison about three thousand men; defensive lines must not be too extensive. G. T. Beauregard.

5. Jackson, Tenn., March 21st, 1862. Brigadier-General A. P. Stewart, Commanding Fort Pillow:

Is water battery unserviceable from high water?

If so, remove guns immediately to better position.

Put all river batteries in immediate serviceable condition.

How many negroes have you?

If not enough, call on Captain Adams, Memphis, for more forthwith, also for tools.

How are batteries off for ammunition?

Look to this. Thomas Jordan, Acting Adjutant-General.

6. Jackson, Tenn., March 22d, 1862. Captain J. Adams, Comdg. Memphis:

Send Captain Owen’s Arkansas company to Fort Pillow, to report for heavy artillery service. G. T. Beauregard.

7. Jackson, Tenn., March 24th, 1862. Brigadier-General A. P. Stewart, Comdg. Fort Pillow:

The General wishes his instructions to engineers and commanding officers at Fort Pillow collected and copied in a book, for information of commanding officer of that post.

The land front defences must be shortened, for a total garrison of but three thousand men, as he has repeatedly stated before. Thos. Jordan, A. Adj-Gen.

8. Jackson, Tenn., March 31st, 1862. Brigadier-General J. B. Villepigue, Comdg. Fort Pillow:

Furnish Mississippi defence expedition all requisite armament and ammunition for immediate service, and report. G. T. Beauregard.

9. Corinth, April 14th, 1862. Brigadier-General Rust, Fort Pillow:

No arms here, or available at present.

Employ unarmed men to construct bridge over Hatchie on roads to Covington and Randolph, and repair roads.

Impress negroes also for same purpose.

Show to General.

Villepigue. Ample additional forces ordered to our assistance. G. T. Beauregard.

10. Corinth, April 14th, 1862. General Sam. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va. :

Cannot a more active and efficient officer be put in command of gunboats at Fort Pillow?

It is important to do so at once.

I am informed garrison at Madrid Bend capitulated; part got off. No official report yet. I am reinforcing garrison of Fort Pillow for a strong and long defence.

When will Memphis gunboats be ready?

Are much needed. G. T. Beauregard.

On the 13th of April, General Rust, of General Price’s division of Van Dorn’s Trans-Mississippi Department, was sent to Fort Pillow with three regiments and a battalion of infantry, most of them badly armed and equipped.

On the following day he informed General Beauregard of his arrival; spoke of the imminence of an attack by the enemy’s land forces; and called for additional arms for his men.

General Villepigue had asked for reinforcements as soon as he no longer doubted the truth of the report of the fall of Island No. 10; but, though expecting troops from Memphis, he had not been apprised of the name or rank of the officer who was to accompany them.

He soon learned, however, that General Rust ranked him, and wrote for instructions to army headquarters.

General Beauregard authorized him to retain the immediate command of the Works until the arrival of Major-General Samuel Jones, spoken of as the next commander of the fort, but who never came, his services being required at Mobile.

On the 24th, the whole of General Rust’s command — less one regiment left at Randolph — was ordered to Corinth via Memphis.

The object was to counteract, as much as possible, by additional forces, whatever movement was planned by the enemy, in consequence of the withdrawal of General Pope’s forces from the Mississippi River.

A few days before, General Beauregard being of opinion that the services of Captain Harris could then be dispensed with at Fort Pillow, and appreciating the necessity of defending the river at some other point farther down, telegraphed General Villepigue as follows:

Corinth, April 20th, 1862. Brigadier-General J. B. Villepigue, Comdg. works at Fort Pillow:

Release Captain D. B. Harris, and instruct him to repair to Vicksburg, where he will find orders in post-office.

By command of General Beauregard. Thomas Jordan, A. Adj. -Gen.

These orders ran thus:

Headquarters army of the Mississippi, Corinth, Miss., April 21st, 1862. Captain D. B. Harris, Chief-Engineer, Vicksburg, Miss. :

Captain, — Understanding that there are no points sufficiently high on the river, between Memphis and Vicksburg, which could be fortified for the defence of the Mississippi, I have concluded to construct some defensive works on the bluffs at or about Vicksburg, for which purpose you will make a careful reconnoissance of that locality.

From what I am told, I should think the bluffs immediately above that city, not far from where a small stream empties into the river, would be a proper point for said works, provided it is not commanded by surrounding heights within two miles. A lower battery, with four or five guns, might be so located as to defend the entrance of the Yazoo River and the small stream above mentioned, provided said battery can be protected by the guns of the upper works; otherwise the entrances into these two branches of the Mississippi must be obstructed by rafts, piling, or otherwise.

Another important consideration is, that the peninsula opposite Vicksburg should not be susceptible of being canalled across, from the river above to the river below, for the passage of the enemy’s boats beyond the reach of the guns of the fort.

Should the locality admit of such a canal, beyond the range of said guns, another enclosed battery, of four or five guns, will have to be constructed below Vicksburg, to command the ground over which said canal might be made.

The plans and profiles of these works must be left to your own judgment, and to the nature of the ground on which they are to be located.

Their armament will consist of ten or twelve 8-inch and 10-inch guns, fifteen 42pound-ers, three 24-pounders, and several mortars, with a dozen field rifled guns, and half a dozen 24-pounder howitzers; those being all the guns we can spare at present for the defence of the river at that point.

The total garrison will consist of about three thousand men. There should be ample space in those works for magazines-traverses in every direction, field bomb-proofs, and a few storehouses and cisterns.

Acting Captains John M. Reid and Pattison, also Acting Lieutenant John H. Reid, have been ordered to report to you for the construction of these works.

The two Reids (father and son) I am well acquainted with; they were for years employed by me in the construction of my forts in Louisiana.

They are very reliable, practical men, and will be of much assistance to you; the other gentleman I am not personally acquainted with.

Colonel Aubrey, military commander of Vicksburg, has been ordered to afford you all the assistance in his power, in the collection of men and materials for the construction of said works.

About one thousand negroes have been ordered to report to you with their tools, etc., immediately; but, should you not be able to procure them otherwise, you will impress them at once.

You must put forth all your energy to complete those works as soon as practicable, and report their progress every week.

Respectfully, your obedient servant, G. T. Beauregard, Gen. Comdg.

Nor was General Beauregard unmindful of the importance of strengthening and increasing the armament of Randolph, as appears by his letter to Commodore Pinckney, under date of April 24th, 1862.

See letter in Appendix.

On the 27th Captain Harris answered that no batteries could be placed on the Mississippi banks to command the mouth of the Yazoo River, which is twelve miles above Vicksburg.

He said it was proposed to pass into the Yazoo much valuable property, and obstruct the passage of the enemy’s boats by booms, rafts, piling, and batteries, at a point eighteen miles above its mouth, and twelve miles from Vicksburg, where the highlands reach that stream; and he added, Shall I order this work?

I am now constructing batteries below this city.

His object was, in the event of New Orleans falling into the hands of the Federals, to prevent their passage up the river.

General Beauregard approved at once his proposed plans, and notified him to that effect.

He had previously written to Dr. E. K. Marshall, a very influential citizen of Vicksburg, asking him to give Captain Harris all the aid in his power, and to arouse his people to a sense of their duty to furnish the necessary labor in such measure that the work will go on with proper celerity.

On the very day upon which Captain Harris’s answer was penned New Orleans surrendered to the Federal fleet under Admiral Farragut, after a short and inglorious resistance on the part of Forts Jackson and St. Philip.

There had been no adequate assistance from the Confederate gunboats and rams ordered to cooperate with them; nor did the armed vessels known as the Montgomery fleet, with one or two exceptions, show any efficiency whatever.

Such a disaster, resulting from so weak a defence, took the whole country by surprise — the North as well as the South; and it is grievous to make even a passing mention of it. Want of foresight and discipline caused this irreparable calamity.

It affords us some consolation, however, to be able to state that the Hon. J. T. Monroe, mayor of the unfortunate city, evinced more than ordinary firmness and patriotism in his refusal to comply with the demand made upon him, to strike the Confederate flag floating over the city hall.

On the 28th the bombardment of Fort Pillow was fairly begun.

No mutineers were there, as there were in Fort Jackson, to force a surrender upon the officers.

The whole command, men and officers, vied with each other in a determined and resolute resistance, and troops were even withdrawn from the fort to reinforce other points needing assistance, without a sign of despondency, still less of mutiny, among the men. Troops act differently in different forts.

Their conduct depends on the conduct of their officers.

As these prove themselves to be, so, invariably, are the men under them.

We were now in May, and no material change had been noticed at General Villepigue’s post.

The bombardment was continued day after day, and frequently throughout the nights, but with no visible result.

Now and then a man was killed, and one or two wounded. The commander’s spirit, however, and the spirit of his troops, remained the same.

A diversion occurred on the 10th of May.

The Montgomery Rams, of which four out of eight were fully armed and equipped, were induced by General Jeff. Thompson and his jay-hawkers — as the enemy called his men — to run into the Federal fleet, then besieging Fort Pillow. General Thompson took personal command of the movement — a decided and bold one — which would have resulted in the dispersion of the Federal fleet, had Commodore Pinckney, who now commanded the Confederate gunboats, co-operated in the attack, as it was his plain duty to do. Two of the enemy’s gunboats, the Mound City and the Carondelet, were seriously crippled, and compelled to seek safety in shoal water.

The mortar-boats — of which one was reported sunk — were towed out of range.

This is proof of what could be accomplished by our fleet, such as it was, when managed with determination and energy; and caused General Beauregard to regret still more the supineness of the naval commanders charged with the protection of that part of the Mississippi River.

Small hope, however, could be entertained of a change for the better in these matters.

For, on May 13th, and despite strenuous efforts on the part of General Beauregard, the two iron-clads on the stocks at Memphis were far from being finished.

On that day (13th) he was informed by General Villepigue that Mr. Ellerson, of Memphis, offered to complete at once either of the two gunboats, if officially authorized, and properly assisted in doing so. General Beauregard immediately forwarded instructions to that effect, as is shown by the following telegrams:

1. Corinth, May 13th, 1862. Brigadier-General J. B. Villepigue, Fort Pillow, Tenn. :

Yes, let him work day and night until finished. G. T. Beauregard.

2. Corinth, May 14th, 1862. General S. Cooper, A. and I. G., Richmond, Va. :

I have ordered the Memphis ram to the Yazoo for safe-keeping until finished.

Have ordered every exertion made to finish it forthwith.

It will be done in one week.

May I request proper officers, crew, armament, and ammunition to be provided for it at once? G. T. Beauregard.

3. Corinth, May 14th, 1862. Brigadier-General M. L. Smith, Comdg. Vicksburg:

See that steam-ram be properly guarded, and use every exertion to finish it forthwith. G. T. Beauregard.

On the following day, with a view to protect the river near Vicksburg until the works in process of construction there could be sufficiently completed, he ordered the heaviest steam-rains down from Fort Pillow.

His telegram to General Villepigue to that effect speaks for itself:

Corinth, May 15th, 1802. Brigadier-General J. B. Villepigue, Comdg. Fort Pillow:

Have those heaviest steam-rams been sent to Vicksburg?

If not, send them forthwith.

Otherwise, may lose the river from below.

We want a few days longer to finish the Arkansas. G. T. Beauregard.

On the 19th he asks General Smith, at Vicksburg, if it is true that more iron is needed for the Arkansas, and if no work is being done on her, and on the 21st he telegraphs Hon. S. R. Mallory, as follows:

I want a general order to get what rope is necessary for this army.

Steamram Arkansas reported, cannot be got ready for one month.

Is it not, possible to expedite its construction?

Safety of the river depends on it now.

These despatches invite us to give here the after-history of the Confederate iron-clad whose name has just been mentioned.

The manner in which she was saved from destruction, completed, and officered has already been described.

The feats she performed under her dauntless commander, Captain Isaac N. Brown, who, upon General Beauregard’s demand for an able officer, was judiciously selected by the Hon. Mr. Mallory, Secretary of the Navy, are deserving of enthusiastic praise; the more so, since Commodore Lynch, after inspection, said of her, she is very inferior to the Merrimac in every particular; the iron with which she is covered is worn and indifferent, taken from a railroad track, and is poorly secured to the vessel; boiler iron on stern and counter; her smoke-stack of sheet iron.

See Captain C. W. Reid’s Reminiscences of the Confederate States Navy, vol.

i. No. 5 of the Southern Historical Society Papers, for May, 1876. Captain Reid was one of the officers of the Arkansas, and it was he who, by order of Commodore Lynch, forwarded to the Secretary of War the despatch above, pronouncing the vessel inadequate for the service required of her.

Nevertheless, on the morning of the 15th of July, 1862, that Confederate iron-clad, the Arkansas, mounting ten guns, with a crew of two hundred men, descended the Yazoo River to attack, not one or two Federal gunboats, but the fleets of Admirals Farragut and Davis, then near Vicksburg.

She was met at sunrise, in Old River, ten miles from the Federal anchorage, by the United States iron-clad Carondelet, the gunboat Tyler, and the ram Monarch.

The Carondelet alone was superior in guns, armor, and speed to the Arkansas. Captain Brown promptly assailed this advance squadron, and, after an hour of close combat, disabled and silenced the iron-clad and drove the other two vessels to the shelter of the fleets, in the main river.

Losing no time with the disabled Carondelet, the Confederate iron-clad proceeded down stream, and attacked the combined fleet of more than twenty men-of-war.

She pushed through their double line of heavy ships, rams, mortar-boats, and six iron-clads, each one of which last, like her late antagonist, in Old River, was of greater force than herself.

She received the fire of three hundred guns, which, at half cable’s length, the lone Confederate ship returned with destructive effect, from bow, stern, and both broadside batteries.

For more than an hour the combat of one to thirty lasted, until the Arkansas, cutting her way through the enemy’s line of massive ships, destroying some and disabling others, passed, shattered, but unconquered, on her way to Vicksburg, virtually raising the siege of that hitherto closely blockaded city.

This combat, in its odds and results without a parallel in naval warfare, was attended with great loss to the Confederates in killed and wounded.

The commander of the Arkansas, exposed on the shield deck, was three times wounded: once by a Minie-ball, touching him over the left temple; then by a contusion on the head and slight wound in the hand and shoulder; then, struck from the deck insensible, he was, for the moment, supposed to be killed, but he regained consciousness, and, dauntless as ever, resumed his place and command till the end of the battle.

Among the wounded was Lieutenant G. W. Gift, who, with Grimball of South Carolina, the second lieutenant, ably commanded the bow-guns.

Lieutenant Stevens, the executive officer, discharged with honor, both in preparation for and during the action, every duty of his responsible position.

Barbot, Charles Reid, Wharton, and Dabney Scales, lieutenants who, like their commander, were recently from the United States navy, were alike distinguished for the bravery and precision with which they served their guns.

Captains Harris and McDonald, of a Missouri regiment, with sixty of their men, volunteered for the naval service, and though they went on board only forty-eight hours before the battle, and were entirely unused to the exercise of great guns, formed an effective portion of the Arkansas’s crew.

It is but a just tribute to the brave men who figured in this engagement to add, that they did so, knowing the odds against them, and with the resolution, inspired by a short address of their commander, as the fight was about to begin, to succeed in their work or perish.

The conflict here so briefly sketched took place in close proximity to the Federal army encamped on the west bank of the river, but not in view of the city of Vicksburg.

The solitary Confederate ship was thus within hearing, but not within reach of aid from her friends.

The subsequent history of the Arkansas may be given in a few words.

On the evening of the 15th (July), the day of the double battle above Vicksburg, she engaged the fleet of Admiral Farragut, passing Vicksburg, and, in the latter action, had both her armor and machinery further damaged, suffering also severely in killed and wounded among men and officers.

A week later, when the crew of the Arkansas had been reduced to twenty-eight men, by sickness and the detachment of the Missouri volunteers, the ironclad Essex, aided by the strongest ram of the Federal fleet, attacked her. Both assailing vessels, though running into the Arkansas, were repulsed, but with a loss to the latter of half her crew, killed by the cannon-shot of the Essex. Not daring to make another attack, the Union forces abandoned the blockade, some going down and others up the river.

Unfortunately the damaged condition of the Arkansas would not allow pursuit.

Of admirals and naval commanders who have achieved exalted fame, none accomplished a more fearless feat, with a better result, than the commander of the Confederate iron-clad Arkansas. His name, and, coupled with it, the names of his brave officers, merit lasting honor at the hands of the South.

Nor are the men who formed that matchless crew, because their names are unchronicled, entitled to less applause.

On the 20th and 22d of May, General Villepigue informed General Beauregard that the enemy had sent to Fort Pillow two hundred prisoners, most of whom were sick with smallpox, and who had been received, without his authority, by the second officer in command.

Believing, as did also General Villepigue, that this would result in communicating that terrible disease to the garrison, and thereby destroy its effectiveness, General Beauregard at once telegraphed, return them forthwith.

But Commodore Davis, of the United States navy, peremptorily refused to take them back.

They were then cared for by General Villepigue, and placed, with great difficulty, in separate quarters, under the intelligent and devoted supervision of Doctor C. H. Tebault, of Louisiana, then a surgeon in the Confederate army.

He wrote an interesting paper on the subject, detailing all its circumstances; but this document, to our regret, is not in our possession.

Foreseeing the necessity of withdrawing his forces from Corinth, and having, in fact, resolved to adopt that course within a short time, General Beauregard began to prepare General Villepigue for the event; not that Fort Pillow was then in any immediate danger, for the enemy had no land forces to spare for operations against it, but because a retrograde movement from Corinth necessarily involved the evacuation of the fort.

He, therefore, on the 25th, telegraphed to General Villepigue that whenever the place, in his judgment, should become untenable, he must destroy the works and armaments, and evacuate it, as already instructed; repairing to Grenada, by the shortest route, for the protection of the depot; giving timely notice of the same to Fort Randolph and to Memphis.

Three days afterwards, and when the precise moment of the retreat from Corinth had been decided upon (as will be, hereafter, more fully developed), General Beauregard forwarded the following instructions to General Villepigue:

Headquarters Western Department, Corinth, May 28th, 1862. Brigadier-General J. B. Villepigue, Comdg. at Fort Pillow, Tenn. :

General, — Wishing to take the enemy further into the interior, where I hope to be able to strike him a severe blow, which cannot be done here, where he is so close to his supplies, I have concluded to withdraw on the 30th instant from this place for the present, before he compels me to do so by his superiority of numbers.

The evacuation of this place necessarily involves that of your present position, which you have so long and gallantly defended.

Hence, I have this day telegraphed you that, whenever the enemy shall have crossed the Hatchie River, at Pocahontas or elsewhere, on his way westward, you will immediately evacuate Fort Pillow for Grenada, by the best and shortest route.

Should you, however, consider it necessary for the safety of your command to evacuate Fort Pillow before the enemy shall have crossed the Hatchie, you are left at liberty to do so, having entire confidence in your judgment and ability, not being able to judge from here of your facilities for reaching Grenada.

I am of opinion, however, that he will venture slowly and cautiously westward, so long as I shall remain within striking distance of him, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, at or about Baldwin.

It may be well for you to know that the telegraph communication from there to Memphis will be completed before a week or ten days.

Whenever you shall be about to abandon the fort, you will telegraph the commanding officer at Memphis to burn all the cotton, sugar, etc., in the vicinity of that city, as per my instructions already communicated to him.

You will necessarily destroy all government property, arms, guns, etc., that you will not be able to carry off with you; and on arriving at Grenada, you will assume immediate command of all troops there assembled, to organize and discipline them.

You might also throw up some light works (batteries and rifle-pits), for the defence of that important position against a small force of the enemy.

I have thought it advisable to give you the above instructions in view of the probability that I may not be able shortly to communicate with you.

Hoping you may continue to meet with success in the defence of our cause and country,

I remain, respectfully, your obedient servant, G. T. Beauregard, Gen. Comdg.

The telegram referred to above, as being forwarded on the same date, read thus:

Headquarters Western Department, Corinth, May 28th, 1862. Brigadier-General J. B. Villepigue, Comdg. Fort Pillow:

We are to retire from here south.

Make preparations to abandon Fort Pillow when forces at Grand Junction retire from there, which commandant is ordered to communicate to you and to execute when the enemy crosses Hatchic River from here, at Pocahontas or elsewhere. G. T. Beauregard.

To complete the record of this episode of the southwestern campaign — although by so doing the course of this narrative is anticipated — it must be stated here that Fort Pillow was successfully evacuated about the 1st of June, and that its gallant commander, after complying, so far as he could, with the instructions given him, was subsequently sent to Port Hudson, where, not long afterwards, he unfortunately died — not in battle, as he would have wished — but of fever, the result of too great exposure to the weather, and over-fatigue in the performance of his laborious duties.

He was a graduate of West Point, and an officer of great intelligence, perseverance, and bravery; never despondent under difficulties; never shrinking from responsibility.

He had many traits of resemblance to General Bee, who, like himself, was a South Carolinian.

Both of them would, no doubt, have attained the highest rank in the Confederate service, had their lives been spared to the end of the war.

During the occurrence of events of so momentous a character, between the middle of February and the 6th of April, and upon which hung the fate of the entire southwestern part of the Confederacy, it was — and is — to some a matter of no small surprise that General A. S. Johnston, the commander of the whole department, interposed neither advice nor authority, nor even made inquiry as to the enemy’s designs, or our plans to foil them.

Such silence, on the part of one whose love of the cause precludes all idea of indifference, omission, or neglect, can only be explained by the fact that he placed implicit reliance upon General Beauregard’s ability to cope, unassisted, with the difficulties of the situation, and successfully direct any and all movements originating within the limits of his military district.

The telegrams of General Johnston, dated February 16th and 18th, confirm this interpretation.

You must do as your judgment dictates.

And again: You must now act as seems best to you. The separation of our armies is, for the present, complete.


Troops resume their former positions after the battle of Shiloh. —General Breckinridge forms the rear guard. —General Beauregard recommends General Bragg for promotion. —preliminary report sent by General Beauregard, April 11th, to the War Department. —difficulty of obtaining reports of corps commanders. —their reports sent directly to the War Department. —Inaccuracies resulting therefrom. —General Beauregard proposes an exchange of prisoners. —General Pope gives no satisfactory answer. —General Van Dorn’s forces reach Memphis on the 11th. —despatch of the 12th to General Smith. —a diversion movement determined upon by General Beauregard. —Captain John Morgan. —he is sent by General Beauregard into middle Tennessee and Kentucky. —efforts to force Buell’s return to those States. —location of General Van Dorn’s forces at Corinth; of Generals Bragg’s, Polk’s, and Breckinridge’s. —bad water. —mismanagement of commissary Department. —necessity of withdrawing from Corinth. —Tupelo selected for next defensive position. —General Beauregard resolves to construct defensive works around Vicksburg. —General Pope takes Farmington. —Confederate attack. —Federal retreat. —on the 25th General Beauregard calls a council of War. —evacuation of Corinth resolved upon. —General Beauregard’s instructions to his corps commanders. —dispositions taken to deceive the enemy. —retreat successfully accomplished. — false despatches of the enemy. — correct account by correspondents. —General force in error. —retreat considered masterly. —dissatisfaction of the War Department. —interrogatories sent by president Davis. —General Beauregard’s answer.

After the battle of Shiloh the Confederate troops resumed their former positions, except the forces under General Breckinridge, composing the rear guard, which for several days remained at Mickey’s house,

General Force, in his book, From Fort Henry to Corinth, p. 182, says: . . . Breckinridge remained at Mickey’s three days, guarding the rear, and by the end of the week Beauregard’s army was again in Corinth.

The battle sobered both armies. some three or four miles from the battlefield, until proper dispositions of the cavalry could be made for their withdrawal.

Chalmers’s brigade, at Monterey, was also withdrawn at that time to a position nearer to Corinth.

On the day following the retreat, General Beauregard made application to the War Department for two additional majorgen-erals, four brigadier-generals, and a competent chief of artillery.

He also, in the same despatch, urgently recommended Major-General Bragg for promotion.

His gallant behavior on the battlefield had justified General Beauregard in the hope that, as an army commander, he would show more than ordinary ability.

That he was a conscientious officer and a hard fighter, though too rigid a disciplinarian at times, is known to all, especially to those who served directly under him.

Under the same date (April 8th) a telegram was forwarded by General Beauregard to the Adjutant-General’s office at Richmond, giving an account of the second day’s battle; and shortly afterwards (April 11th) a preliminary report

This Report is given in full in the Appendix to Chapter XX. was likewise sent by him, for the immediate use of the War Department.

It was incomplete, and, in many respects, imperfect, as it was written on the spur of the moment, for the instant information of the government, and before any of the reports of the corps commanders had yet reached army headquarters.

General Beauregard’s intention was to write a full and final narrative of the battle (as he had done of the battle of Manassas), for the files of the War Department, as soon as these reports should be forwarded to him; but, for reasons still unexplained, he never saw them until the winter of 1863-64,

General Beauregard has never seen General Breckinridge’s Report, notwithstanding repeated efforts to procure it, both during and after the war. when the rapid and exciting events we were then passing through prevented him from devoting any time to the preparation of that important document.

It may not be useless briefly to notice here, what there is of marked significance in the incident just touched upon.

From the date of the battle of Shiloh until General Beauregard was relieved of the command of the army at Tupelo, in June, 1862, he frequently called on Generals Polk, Bragg, Hardee, and Breckinridge, for their reports of the battle, but always in vain; their constant answer being that they had been unable, as yet, to get official detailed information from the regiment, brigade, and division commanders under them.

The consequence was, that the reports we refer to were not transmitted until many months after the battle, and one of them — General Polk’s — was delayed until nearly a year had elapsed.

They were all addressed to the War Department, without passing through the regular channel; in other words, without being first submitted to General Beauregard, who was thus deprived of his unquestionable right of correction, approval, or disapproval.

And we will further state that General Bragg’s report, though transmitted, as were the others, without the commanding general’s endorsement, bore date April 30th, 1862, as if regularly made to General Beauregard, through Colonel Thomas Jordan, his Chief of Staff, when, in reality, it was not completed and despatched from army headquarters until the 25th of July, 1862.

Campaigns of Lieutenant-General Forrest, p. 134, note. None of the general officers who thus openly violated the well-established rule of military etiquette were ignorant of its acknowledged necessity.

From the Adjutant-General at Richmond, who received the documents thus irregularly transmitted, to the very corps commanders who forwarded them, all were trained soldiers, all, except General Breckinridge, had belonged to the Regular army before the war, where red-tape routine, in every military bureau, had ever been strictly insisted upon and invariably practised.

It was by the act of a friend

That friend was General Breckinridge, who, in a letter to General Beauregard, stated that the corps commanders had been instructed to address their reports directly to the War Department, and that General Beauregard had better ascertain the contents of those documents. that General Beauregard’s attention was attracted to the singular manner in which these reports had been written and sent to the War Department.

And he had cognizance of them only after repeatedly applying for copies, which were finally furnished him from Richmond, but unaccompanied by any of the subordinate reports purporting to substantiate them.

The result is, that the official reports of the corps commanders at Shiloh (with the exception of General Breckinridge’s, which we have never seen), instead of serving as a basis for history, are, on the contrary, erroneous in many important particulars, and differ widely from those of the other generals and subordinate officers who participated in the battle, as we have already conclusively shown.

See Chapters XX.

and XXII., and their Appendices.

Commodore Hollins, on duty near Fort Pillow, was requested, on the 8th, to propose an exchange of prisoners in General Beauregard’s name.

Most of those we had taken immediately before and since the battle of Shiloh had been sent temporarily to Memphis, to be forwarded thence to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where it was thought they might find better accommodations.

General Pope made an evasive answer to General Beauregard’s overture, and nothing satisfactory was effected.

See General Villepigue’s telegram to General Beauregard, in Appendix to Chapter XXIII. It was about the same time that General Beauregard wrote to General Grant concerning the burial of the Confederate dead on the field of Shiloh, and sent to him, under flag of truce, a mounted party, accompanied by several citizens, especially from Louisiana, who were anxious to recover and give proper interment to the remains of near relatives known to have fallen during the battle.

General Grant denied the privilege thus requested, and said that he had already performed that sad duty to our dead, and was taking all necessary care of the wounded.

On the 11th, that is to say, four days after the battle of Shiloh, General Van Dorn’s forces began to enter Memphis, MajorGen-eral Price’s division arriving first. General Rust’s brigade was immediately sent to Fort Pillow, as already explained, and General Little’s command ordered to Rienzi, some twelve miles from Corinth, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, for the purpose of making a reconnaissance and securing a good encampment and suitable defensive positions in case of a retrograde movement in that direction.

On the day following, Major-General E. K. Smith, then commanding in east Tennessee, received from General Beauregard a despatch, in these terms:

Corinth, Miss., April 12th, 1862. Major-General E. K. Smith, Comdg. Knoxville, Tenn. :

Six regiments on way from General Pemberton, South Carolina, to join me. Three of yours failed to get by Huntsville.

Could you not gather the nine, add artillery, and push on Huntsville, taking enemy in reverse?

All quiet in front. G. T. Beauregard.

The South Carolina regiments above mentioned were being sent by the War Department, at the request of General Beauregard, to reinforce him at or near Corinth.

The burning of a bridge on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad prevented the execution of this plan, and different orders were issued in regard to them.

The thread of our narrative would be too disconnected and its interest impaired were we to follow too closely, in their order, the various events that occurred during the first two weeks after the retreat of the Confederate forces to Corinth.

But the Appendix to this chapter will impart all such additional information as cannot be appropriately inserted within the limits of the text.

Reference is here made particularly to General Beauregard’s instructions to Generals Breckinridge and Chalmers, at Mickey’s house and Monterey; to the list of officers forwarded to the President for promotion; to his further correspondence with General Grant relative to the exchange of prisoners, and the distinction to be made between colonels commanding brigades and brigadiergenerals duly commissioned as such; also, to the difference to be established between medical officers and other officers of the Confederate and Federal armies.

Perhaps the most difficult feat to accomplish in war is to compel an adversary to abandon the movement upon which he is engaged and adopt another by which his plans may be eventually frustrated.

Such a diversion, even with a well-trained army, possessing every requisite for rapid motion, requires more than ordinary skill on the part of the general devising it. Greater still is the hazard of the undertaking, when that army is, as compared to the one confronting it, weaker in numbers, reduced by disease, and wanting in the necessary means of transportation.

An effort of this kind, however, was determined upon by General Beauregard, as soon as it became evident to him that his inferior forces were no match for the too powerful and daily increasing army under General Halleck.

With a view to this, Generals Van Dorn and Price were invited to a conference at Corinth, ahead of their troops, then hourly arriving in Memphis.

A promising cavalry officer, Captain John H. Morgan, commanding two Kentucky companies belonging to General A. S. Johnston’s army, with which he had arrived from Bowling Green, had highly distinguished himself, during the retreat to Corinth, by his great energy and efficiency.

He had kept the commanding general thoroughly advised of the movements of the enemy, and had performed many acts indicating high military ability.

Having thus had occasion to judge of his capacity and resources, General Beauregard resolved to send him, with four companies of cavalry,

Two of which were his own, and the two others under Captain, afterwards Colonel, Robert T. Wood, of New Orleans, a grandson of General Zachary Taylor. into middle Tennessee and Kentucky; there to cause as much damage as possible to the enemy’s railroads, bridges, and telegraph lines.

He was authorized to raise his battalion to a regiment and even to a brigade, if he could.

General Beauregard supplied him with a sum of fifteen thousand dollars,

See, in Appendix, letter of General Beauregard to Major McLean, dated April 24th, 1862. to start with, and carry him into Kentucky, where he was, eventually, to live on the enemy.

This was the beginning of the brilliant career of that intrepid partisan officer.

His usefulness was afterwards greatly impaired when General Bragg attempted to make of him and his renowned brigade part of a regular command of cavalry.

Upon the recommendation of General Beauregard, he was promoted to the rank of colonel before he had organized his regiment; and when he left, with his four companies, upon his hazardous expedition, he was furnished by General Beauregard with one of the ablest telegraph operators in the service — Mr. Ellsworth — in order that he might bewilder the enemy — as he so effectually did — by sending false despatches from the various telegraph stations during his raids into Tennessee and Kentucky.

General Beauregard hoped that this expedition under Colonel Morgan, together with the operations in Kentucky suggested by General E. Kirby Smith, and strongly urged by General Beauregard on the War Department,

See his telegrams of April 14th, to Generals Cooper and E. K. Smith. would force General Halleck, who was plodding away slowly in his advance on Corinth, to send back a part, if not all, of General Buell’s army into Tennessee and Kentucky. A third expedition of two regiments of cavalry, under Colonels Claiborne and Jackson, was also thought of and organized against Paducah, western Kentucky, to aid in the same purpose, and would halve been a great success but for the notorious incapacity of the officer in command.

See, in Appendix, General Beauregard’s instructions to Colonel Claiborne. However, General Beauregard was not wholly disappointed in his expectations with regard to his diversion movements, for, immediately after the evacuation of Corinth by the Confederate army (May 30th), General Buell’s entire force was ordered into middle Tennessee and Kentucky.

On the arrival of the rest of General Van Dorn’s forces at Corinth they were located — including General Little’s brigade from Rienzi — on the right and rear of the defensive lines, along the south side of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, on several small heights which commanded the approaches to the lines, and afforded a good position for taking in flank any attack of the Federals in that direction.

Those lines extended about three miles in advance of Corinth, from the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, on the right, to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, on the left, and were situated on rather high grounds immediately in rear of a small creek, forming the head-waters of Bridge Creek, with somewhat swampy sides.

They had been located by General Bragg and his engineers, before General Beauregard reached Corinth, and were defective on the left, near the Mobile and Ohio Railroad; thereby giving decided advantage to the enemy at that point.

They were subsequently corrected by General Beauregard, but, in view of the time and labor already bestowed on them, were not sufficiently altered entirely to remedy their original defect.

The lines referred to were mostly armed with 42-, 82-, and 24-pounders, brought from Pensacola and Mobile.

General Hardee’s corps extended along and from the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, in front of General Van Dorn’s position, to the left, where it rested on the right of General Bragg, whose left in turn rested on the right of General Polk’s corps, stretching across the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.

The left of this command occupied some woods protected by abatis and rifle-pits: each corps holding a few brigades in reserve.

General Breckinridge’s division formed a general reserve, and was posted at first on or near the seminary hill (if we may so call it) immediately in rear of Corinth, which is situated at the intersection of the two railroads already mentioned.

Our small force of cavalry was stationed on the flanks of the lines, with part of it in front, to guard the approaches to Corinth.

General Halleck, notwithstanding his large superiority in numbers, was too cautions to bring about an immediate conflict between the two opposing forces.

He preferred advancing slowly and gradually; a method which might have answered against a well-fortified position, held by a correspondingly strong garrison, but which, under the circumstances, exhibited, on his part, most extraordinary prudence, and even timidity.

Meanwhile, the deficiency in good water, and the natural unhealthfulness of the place, began to tell sadly on the Confederate officers and men. They were, moreover, but scantily supplied with food, and that of an inferior quality.

This was owing to the chronic mismanagement of the Chief Commissary at Richmond, a fact which General Beauregard had more than once pointed out to the War Department, and which he again brought home to it by the following despatch:

See also, in Appendix, letter of General Beauregard to General Cooper, dated April 16th, 1862.

Corinth, Miss., April 24th, 1862. General S. Cooper, Adjutant-General, Richmond:

The false views of administration — to say the least — of Colonel Northrop will starve out this army unless I make other arrangements, which I have done.

I trust it may not be altogether too late, and that the government will sustain me with means. G. T. Beauregard, Gen. Comdg.

The truth is, it was almost impossible to have regular issues of fresh provisions made to the Confederate troops at that time, until General Beauregard took the matter into his own hands, and sent agents to northern Texas and Arkansas, where he bought large herds of cattle, which soon relieved the pressing necessities of his army.

Part of these supplies, however, he was afterwards compelled to transfer to the General Subsistence Department, for other armies in the field.

It soon became apparent to General Beauregard that the insalubrity of Corinth would increase as the season advanced, and that, apart from the danger of being overwhelmed by a steadily growing army in his front, he would have to select another strategic position, by which he could hold the enemy in check and protect the country in his rear as well as Fort Pillow, which still closed the passage of the river.

The idea of moving westward, to Grand Junction,

At the intersection of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad with the Mississippi Central, fifty miles west of Corinth. had at first been entertained; but the lack of good water there, and the fear of losing Fort Pillow, fifty-nine miles above Memphis, led to a change of plan.

Nor must it be forgotten that the defences and river batteries at Vicksburg were then just begun, as we have already shown,

See Chapter XXIII. and that, Fort Pillow falling, nothing could prevent the enemy from enjoying the free use of the Mississippi as far down as New Orleans, where a base of abundant supplies would, no doubt, soon be established.

These considerations impelled General Beauregard to hold on to his position at Corinth until forced from it by his adversary.

Meanwhile, he caused thorough reconnoissances to be made along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, for a good defensive position, well supplied with pure water, and occupying a healthy region of country.

None could be found nearer than Tupelo, where begins the fertile and salubrious black-land region of Mississippi.

There were not many running springs at Tupelo, but excellent water could be had by digging wells from ten to fifteen feet deep.

He ordered them dug at once, where it was probable the troops would take up their positions, in rear of some low lands, easily defended and of difficult passage to an army on the offensive.

It was during these reconnoissances and preparations that General Beauregard first turned his attention to the necessity of defending Vicksburg, as has already been shown in the preceding chapter, by the telegrams and letters contained in it and its Appendix.

That to him, and neither to General Lovell nor to Governor Pettus, is due the credit of having originated the idea of this defence, is further proved by the following telegrams:

1. Corinth, April 18th, 1862. Major-General M. Lovell, New Orleans, La. :

Have seen Lieutenant Brown.

Have ordered a work at Vicksburg.

Please hold ready to send there sand-bags, guns, carriages, platforms, etc., when called for by Chief-Engineer, Captain D. B. Harris.

Have you constructed traverses and blindages at your forts? G. T. Beauregard.

2. Corinth, April 23d, 1862. General S. Cooper, Adjutant-General, Richmond, Va. :

Services of General Sam. Jones are absolutely required here as soon as practicable.

Having obtained guns for Vicksburg, am going to fortify it. But require engineers.

I recommend John M. Reid, Louisiana, as captain, and J. H. Reid, Louisiana, as lieutenant.

Am well acquainted with them, they having worked many years under my orders. G. T. Beauregard.

3. Corinth, April 24th, 1862. Major-General M. Lovell, New Orleans, La. :

Two 10-inch and four rifled guns are under orders to you from Mobile.

Do you want them?

If not, say so to General S. Jones, and order them to Vicksburg. G. T. Beauregard.

4. Corinth, April 25th, 1862. Captain D. B. Harris:

In consequence of news from Louisiana, put works below Vicksburg, to prevent passage of river from New Orleans.

Put guns in position first, then construct works.

System preferred is one main work, and detached batteries, not too far from each other.

Should you not have time, send guns to Jackson, Mississippi, and be ready to destroy railroad between two places, when necessary. G. T. Beauregard.

5. Corinth, April 29th, 1862. Governor J. J. Pettus, Jackson, Miss. :

Please send immediately to Vicksburg, to report to commanding officer there, one regiment of unarmed or partially armed volunteers.

Also, one to Columbus, Mississippi.

They will be armed as soon as possible. G. T. Beauregard.

It is needless to accumulate further evidence.

Other telegrams and letters to the same effect will be found in the Appendix to this chapter.

On his arrival near Pittsburg Landing, General Pope established himself behind Seven Miles Creek, a stream that lies seven miles from the Tennessee River.

The Federal forces, as then reorganized, subdivided, and located, amounted, as we have already stated, to about one hundred and twenty-five thousand men, with General Halleck, as first, and General Grant, as second, in command.

See History of the Army of the Cumberland, by Van Horne, vol.

i. pp. 126-130. The Confederate army, under General Beauregard, with the reinforcement of Van Dorn’s seventeen thousand men, numbered about fifty thousand, but was daily decreasing on account of sickness.

General Pope’s recent successes on the Mississippi River had given him an overweening opinion of his capacities as a commander.

He was an officer of intelligence and activity, but inclined to undertake almost any movement without sufficiently considering the consequences that might follow.

The expression used by him in his first order, upon taking command in Virginia — Headquarters in the Saddle — which is even more than a boastful cavalry officer might venture to announce, is indicative of the undue self-esteem characterizing the man.

Hardly had he taken up his new position in front of Hamburg, when, in order, no doubt, to hurry on and anticipate General Halleck’s advance against our forces, he determined to make an offensive movement towards Corinth.

Four miles from the latter place was an elevated position, where stood the small village of Farmington, then occupied by an insignificant force of Confederate infantry and cavalry, with one battery of artillery.

That force was suddenly attacked on the 3d of May, by one or two Federal divisions, and driven back across a narrow creek, west, and in the near vicinity, of Farmington.

General Pope, ambitious now to accomplish something worthy of the reputation he had acquired at New Madrid and Madrid Bend, moved on the 8th, with his whole force, on the abovemen-tioned village.

As he was entirely separated from General Buell, on his right, by the head of Seven Miles Creek, which was lined with low, swampy grounds, rendered difficult to cross by recent rains, General Beauregard determined, by a sudden and rapid attack in heavy force, to cut him off from his base, before he could fortify his position at Farmington.

The Confederate corps and reserve commanders were, accordingly, called together at army headquarters, where special and specific instructions were given them by General Beauregard, relative to the movement about to be executed.

All our troops were to be held ready for battle.

General Van Dorn, on the right, was to move before daylight, by his right flank, until his centre should be opposite General Pope’s left flank, at Farmington, where he was facing in the direction of Corinth.

At dawn of day General Van Dorn, with his left and centre, was to attack vigorously whatever force might be in his front, and, with his right overlapping General Pope’s left, take it in rear and cut off the Federal line of retreat to Farmington.

At the same hour, General Bragg, with two divisions, was to advance on the Farmington road, which crossed his line of defences, and, by a front attack, co-operate with General Van Dorn, but only after the latter should have taken up his position and should be prepared to execute the movement intrusted to him.

General Hardee was to guard the partly vacated lines of Generals Van Dorn and Bragg, by extending his command to the right and left, and be ready to support the attack if necessary.

General Polk was to take a position in advance of his lines, and attack any Federal troops attempting to pass in his front.

And General Breckinridge’s reserve was to occupy, temporarily, a central position within the Confederate lines, and support any part of the field of battle which might require his assistance.

Through the inefficiency of his leading guide, and the slowness of one of his major-generals, General Van Dorn did not get his troops in position at the time prescribed.

The result was that when the Federals discovered the flanking movement threatening them, they began retiring hastily to their position behind Seven Miles Creek.

General Van Dorn threw what forces he had in hand against the enemy in his front, and, aided by the simultaneous attack of General Ruggles (Bragg’s corps), very nearly captured two brigades forming the rear of General Pope’s command.

The enemy lost quite a number in killed and wounded, and a considerable amount of camp equipage, arms, and equipments.

Our loss was insignificant, and consisted of some two hundred killed and wounded, in both commands.

The Confederate troops behaved with great spirit, and appeared anxious to punish the enemy for compelling them to prolong their sojourn at Corinth, which all were eager to leave.

For further particulars of the Farmington affair, see Report of General D. Ruggles, Southern Historical Society Papers, vol.

VII. pp. 330-33.

General Beauregard was disappointed in the result of the expedition, and thought the enemy would soon attempt to reoccupy the prominent position from which we had driven him; that a large Confederate force would then be necessary to hold it; and that, strong as such a force might be, it could be cut off by superior numbers before assistance could be brought up from other points of our weak and extended lines.

He therefore instructed his subordinate commanders