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CHAP. XL.] THE CONFEDERATES GAIN THE VICTORY.
eighty thousand men: he had divided it into three parts, and thrown one of them unsustained on the enemy.
Davis had left Richmond in the morning as soon as the telegraph informed him that the battle had begun. He reached Manassas Junction about four o'clock, with gloomy forebodings, for he encountered the Confederate fugitives from the national advance. He rode direct to the front, and telegraphed that night to the Confederate Congress:
Davis's telegram of victory to Richmond.
"Manassas Junction, Sunday night. "Night has closed upon a hard-fought field. Our forces were victorious. The enemy was routed, and fled precipitately, abandoning a large amount of arms, ammunition, knapsacks, and baggage. The ground was strewed for miles with those killed, and the farmhouses around were filled with wounded.
"Pursuit was continued along several routes toward Leesburg and Centreville until darkness covered the fugitives. We have captured several field batteries, stands of arms, and Union and State flags. Too high praise can not be bestowed, whether for the skill of the principal officers or for the gallantry of all our troops. The battle was mainly fought on our left. Our force was 15,000; that of the enemy estimated at 35,000.
In this dispatch, Davis's estimate of the strength of his antagonist may possibly be excused, but not so his pur posed falsification of his own force. He knew very well that it was nearly the double of what he affirmed. This Its evil effect on his deception speedily brought disaster. The Southern soldiery was confirmed in its su preme contempt for its antagonist. The troops left the army in crowds and returned to their homes, justly inferring that an inconsiderable force against such a cowardly enemy was all that would be needful to establish the Confederacy.
The Confederate loss in this battle was 378 killed, 1489 wounded. The national loss was 481 killed, 1011 wounded, and 1460 prisoners.
The battle losses.
GENERAL JOHNSTON'S JUSTIFICATION.
Surprise and indignation were soon expressed in the South that the Confederate General Johnston made no energetic pursuit, and failed to enter Washington with the fugitives. He, however, himself subsequently (1867) published his reasons, which are substantially as follows: The pursuit was not continued because the Confederate cavalry, a very small force, was driven back by the solid resistance of the United States infantry. Its rear-guard was an entire division, which had not been engaged, and was twelve or fifteen times more numerous than our two little bodies of cavalry. Expectations and hopes of the capture of Washington were not expressed by military men who understood the state of affairs. A pursuit would tion of his conduct. have been fruitless: we could not have carried the intrenchments before Washington by assault, and had none of the means to besiege them. Our assault would have been repulsed, and the enemy, then the victorious party, would have resumed their march to Richmond. And if even we had captured the intrenchments, a river a mile wide lay between them and Washington, commanded by the heavy guns of a Federal fleet. We could not have brought 20,000 men to the banks of the Potomac. Our troops believed that their victory had established the independence of the South-that the war was ended, and their military obligations fulfilled. They therefore left the army in crowds to return to their homes. The exultation of victory cost us more than our antago nists lost by defeat. The Federal troops south of the Potomac were not a rabble. Mansfield's, Miles's, and Runyon's divisions, a larger force than we could have brought against them, had neither been beaten nor engaged; and the reports of the commanders of the brigades engaged show that they entered the intrenchments organized, except those who fled individually from the field. These
Dissatisfaction in the South that Washington was not taken.
latter undoubtedly gave an exaggerated idea of the rout to the people of Washington, as those from our ranks met by President Davis, before he reached Manassas, on his way to the field, convinced him that our army had been defeated. The failure of the subsequent invasions conducted by Lee proves that the Confederacy was too weak for offensive war.
It remains now to ascertain the political interpretation of the battle of Bull Run. In a military sense, it was a great victory for the Confederacy-a humiliation for the nation.
But military movements are for the purpose of accom plishing political results. They receive their general, their true interpretation,when the degree to which they have advanced their political intention is ascertained.
Political interpretation of the battle.
INTERPRETATION OF THE BATTLE.
Feeling instinctively this truth, the Southern people were very far from being satisfied with their splendid victory. In the opinion of many of them, and, among others, of very high officials, Johnston, who commanded so brilliantly, had actually passed under a cloud. They were not satisfied with what had been done.
Here it is necessary for us to ask two questions: (1.) What was the object which had brought the Confederates to Manassas? (2.) What was the intention of the national government in hurling its three-months' militiamen on the line of Bull Run be fore their term expired?
(1.) The seizure of Washington was at this period the great political object of the Confederate authorities. For that alone their army lay at Manassas, and had its outposts almost within sight of the Capitol. But the victory of Bull Run did not secure that result, and in this the political, the true sense-the Confederate campaign was a failure.
The object sought by each party.
INTERPRETATION OF THE BATTLE.
The political advantage to the North.
(2.) The object of the national government in its of fensive movement was so to use its threemonths' militia before the expiration of their term as to paralyze the enemy's force at Manassas, and relieve Washington of all danger from them. Events showed that, though its army suffered defeat on the field of Bull Run, the political intention was secured. A blow so staggering was dealt at the Confederate force, that, as its commanding general declares, it was found to be wholly unable to undertake any thing serious against the city.
The military tri
If, then, the South had reason to be vain of her victory, the more grave and reflective North umph was to the might also congratulate herself on a substantial result. Fortune, who, as the Romans used to say, directs all the affairs of men, divided in this instance her favors, giving to one the military, to the other the political advantage.
From this time the Mexicanization of the republic ceased to be possible. The Civil War presented another phase.
VAST DEVELOPMENT OF THE WARLIKE OPERATIONS. CORRESPONDING LEGISLATIVE AND MILITARY PREPARATIONS.
OF THE FORM ASSUMED BY THE WAR.
From the beginning of the war the South was forced to take the defensive. The chief offensive operations on the part of the National Government at this time were of three kinds :
1st. A blockade of the Southern sea and land frontier; the recapture of the seacoast forts; and the restoration of the authority of the republic in New Orleans. 2d. Expeditions in the rear of the Mississippi for the opening of that river; breaking the Memphis and Charleston Railroad; and having in view the strategic point Chattanooga.
3d. Operations in contemplation of the capture of Richmond, and the destruction of the army defending it.
FROM the history of the Conspiracy which culminated in the Southern victory at Bull Run, we have now to turn to the details of the second phase of the war.
To the tumultuary rush of brave but inexperienced levies the deliberate. movement of powerful armies succeeds. I have now to describe how great military and naval forces were brought into existence, and the manner in which they were used.
The second phase of the war.
In this section there are five points presented for consideration: (1.) The form assumed by the war; (2.) The legislative measures of the Confederate Congress; (3.) Those of the national Congress; (4.) The creation of the national army; (5.) The creation of the national navy. To cach of these I shall devote a chapter.