Stonewall Jackson And The American Civil War
G. F. R. Henderson

Part 3 out of 19

believe that redress might not be obtained by constitutional means.
At the same time, although they questioned the expediency, they held
no half-hearted opinion as to the right, of secession, and in their
particular case the right seems undeniable. When the Constitution of
the United States was ratified, Virginia, by the mouth of its
Legislature, had solemnly declared "that the powers granted [to the
Federal Government] under the Constitution, being truly derived from
the people of the United States, may be resumed by them whenever the
same shall be perverted to their injury and oppression." And this
declaration had been more than once reaffirmed. As already stated,
this view of the political status of the Virginia citizen was not
endorsed by the North. Nevertheless, it was not definitely rejected.
The majority of the Northern people held the Federal Government
paramount, but, at the same time, they held that it had no power
either to punish or coerce the individual States. This had been the
attitude of the founders of the Republic, and it is perfectly clear
that their interpretation of the Constitution was this: although the
several States were morally bound to maintain the compact into which
they had voluntarily entered, the obligation, if any one State chose
to repudiate it, could not be legally enforced. Their ideal was a
Union based upon fraternal affection; and in the halcyon days of
Washington's first presidency, when the long and victorious struggle
against a common enemy was still fresh in men's minds, and the sun of
liberty shone in an unclouded sky, a vision so Utopian perhaps seemed
capable of realisation. At all events, the promise of a new era of
unbroken peace and prosperity was not to be sullied by cold
precautions against civil dissensions and conflicting interests. The
new order, under which every man was his own sovereign, would surely
strengthen the links of kindly sympathy, and by those links alone it
was believed that the Union would be held together. Such was the
dream of the unselfish patriots who ruled the destinies of the infant
Republic. Such were the ideas that so far influenced their
deliberations that, with all their wisdom, they left a legacy to
their posterity which deluged the land in blood.

Mr. Lincoln's predecessor in the presidential chair had publicly
proclaimed that coercion was both illegal and inexpedient; and for
the three months which intervened between the secession of South
Carolina and the inauguration of the Republican President, the
Government made not the slightest attempt to interfere with the
peaceable establishment of the new Confederacy. Not a single soldier
reinforced the garrisons of the military posts in the South. Not a
single regiment was recalled from the western frontiers; and the
seceded States, without a word of protest, were permitted to take
possession, with few exceptions, of the forts, arsenals, navy yards
and custom houses which stood on their own territory. It seemed that
the Federal Government was only waiting until an amicable arrangement
might be arrived at as to the terms of separation.

If, in addition to the words in which she had assented to the
Constitution, further justification were needed for the belief of
Virginia in the right of secession, it was assuredly to be found in
the apparent want of unanimity on so grave a question even in the
Republican party, and in the acquiescent attitude of the Federal

The people of Virginia, however, saw in the election of a Republican
President no immediate danger of the Constitution being "perverted to
their injury and oppression." The North, generally speaking, regarded
the action of the secessionists with that strange and good-humoured
tolerance with which the American citizen too often regards internal
politics. The common sense of the nation asserted itself in all its
strength. A Union which could only be maintained by force was a
strange and obnoxious idea to the majority. Amid the storm of abuse
and insult in which the two extreme parties indulged, the
abolitionists on the one side, the politicians on the other, Lincoln,

"The still strong man in a blatant land,"

stood calm and steadfast, promising justice to the South, and eager
for reconciliation. And Lincoln represented the real temper of the
Northern people.

So, in the earlier months of 1861, there was no sign whatever that
the Old Dominion might be compelled to use the alternative her
original representatives had reserved. The question of slavery was no
longer to the fore. While reprobating the action of the Confederates,
the President, in his inaugural address (March 4, 1861), had declared
that the Government had no right to interfere with the domestic
institutions of the individual States; and throughout Virginia the
feeling was strong in favour of the Union. Earnest endeavours were
made to effect a compromise, under which the seceded communities
might renew the Federal compact. The Legislature called a Convention
of the People to deliberate on the part that the State should play,
and the other States were invited to join in a Peace Conference at

It need hardly be said that during the period of negotiation
excitement rose to the highest pitch. The political situation was the
sole theme of discussion. In Lexington as elsewhere the one absorbing
topic ousted all others, and in Lexington as elsewhere there was much
difference of opinion. But the general sentiment was strongly
Unionist, and in the election of members of the Convention an
overwhelming majority had pronounced against secession. Between the
two parties, however, there were sharp conflicts. A flagstaff flying
the national ensign had been erected in Main Street, Lexington. The
cadets fired on the flag, and substituting the State colours placed a
guard over them. Next morning a report reached the Institute that the
local company of volunteers had driven off the guard, and were about
to restore the Stars and Stripes. It was a holiday, and there were no
officers present. The drums beat to arms. The boys rushed down to
their parade-ground, buckling on their belts, and carrying their
rifles. Ammunition was distributed, and the whole battalion, under
the cadet officers, marched out of the Institute gates, determined to
lower the emblem of Northern tyranny and drive away the volunteers. A
collision would certainly have ensued had not the attacking column
been met by the Commandant.

In every discussion on the action of the State Jackson had spoken
strongly on the side of the majority. In terse phrase he had summed
up his view of the situation. He was no advocate of secession. He
deprecated the hasty action of South Carolina. "It is better," he
said, "for the South to fight for her rights in the Union than out of
it." But much as they loved the Union, the people of Virginia revered
still more the principles inculcated by their forefathers, the right
of secession and the illegality of coercion. And when the proposals
of the Peace Conference came to nothing, when all hope of compromise
died away, and the Federal Government showed no sign of recognising
the Provisional Government, it became evident even to the staunchest
Unionist that civil war could no longer be postponed. From the very
first no shadow of a doubt had existed in Jackson's mind as to the
side he should espouse, or the course he should pursue. "If I know
myself," he wrote, "all I am and all I have is at the service of my

According to his political creed his country was his native State,
and such was the creed of the whole South. In conforming to the
Ordinance of Secession enacted by the legislatures of their own
States, the people, according to their reading of the Constitution,
acted as loyal and patriotic citizens; to resist that ordinance was
treason and rebellion; and in taking up arms "they were not, in their
own opinion, rebels at all; they were defending their States--that
is, the nations to which they conceived themselves to belong, from
invasion and conquest."* (* History of the Civil War, Ropes chapter 1
page 3.)

When, after the incident described above, the cadets marched back to
barracks, it was already so certain that the Stars and Stripes would
soon be torn down from every flagstaff in Virginia that their breach
of discipline was easily condoned. They were addressed by the
Commandant, and amid growing excitement officer after officer, hardly
concealing his sympathy with their action, gave vent to his opinions
on the approaching crisis. Jackson was silent. At length, perhaps in
anticipation of some amusement, for he was known to be a stumbling
speaker, the cadets called on him by name. In answer to the summons
he stood before them, not, as was his wont in public assemblies, with
ill-dissembled shyness and awkward gesture, but with body erect and
eyes sparkling. "Soldiers," he said, "when they make speeches should
say but few words, and speak them to the point, and I admire, young
gentlemen, the spirit you have shown in rushing to the defence of
your comrades; but I must commend you particularly for the readiness
with which you listened to the counsel and obeyed the commands of
your superior officer. The time may come," he continued, and the deep
tones, vibrating with unsuspected resolution, held his audience
spellbound, "when your State will need your services; and if that
time does come, then draw your swords and throw away the scabbards."

The crisis was not long postponed. Fort Sumter, in Charleston
Harbour, the port of South Carolina, was held by a Federal garrison.
The State had demanded its surrender, but no reply had been
vouchsafed by Lincoln. On April 8 a message was conveyed to the
Governor of the State that an attempt would be made to supply the
troops with provisions. This message was telegraphed to Montgomery,
still the capital of the Confederacy, and the Government ordered the
reduction of the fort. On the morning of April 12 the Southern
batteries opened fire, and the next day, when the flames were already
scorching the doors of the magazine, the standard of the Union was
hauled down.

Two days later Lincoln spoke with no uncertain voice. 75,000 militia
were called out to suppress the "rebellion." The North gave the
President loyal support. The insult to the flag set the blood of the
nation, of Democrat and Republican, aflame. The time for
reconciliation was passed. The Confederates had committed an
unpardonable crime. They had forfeited all title to consideration;
and even in the minds of those Northerners who had shared their
political creed the memory of their grievances was obliterated.

So far Virginia had given no overt sign of sympathy with the
revolution. But she was now called upon to furnish her quota of
regiments for the Federal army. To have acceded to the demand would
have been to abjure the most cherished principles of her political
existence. As the Federal Government, according to her political
faith, had no jurisdiction whatever within the boundaries of States
which had chosen to secede, it had not the slightest right to
maintain a garrison in Fort Sumter. The action of the Confederacy in
enforcing the withdrawal of the troops was not generally approved of,
but it was held to be perfectly legitimate; and Mr. Lincoln's appeal
to arms, for the purpose of suppressing what, in the opinion of
Virginia, was a strictly constitutional movement, was instantly and
fiercely challenged.

Neutrality was impossible. She was bound to furnish her tale of
troops, and thus belie her principles; or to secede at once, and
reject with a clean conscience the President's mandate. On April 17
she chose the latter, deliberately and with her eyes open, knowing
that war would be the result, and knowing the vast resources of the
North. She was followed by Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina.*
(* Kentucky and Missouri attempted to remain neutral. Maryland was
held in check by the Federal Government, and Delaware sided with the
North. The first three, however, supplied large contingents to the
Confederate armies.)

The world has long since done justice to the motives of Cromwell and
of Washington, and signs are not wanting that before many years have
passed it will do justice to the motives of the Southern people. They
were true to their interpretation of the Constitution; and if the
morality of secession may be questioned, if South Carolina acted with
undue haste and without sufficient provocation, if certain of the
Southern politicians desired emancipation for themselves that they
might continue to enslave others, it can hardly be denied that the
action of Virginia was not only fully justified, but beyond
suspicion. The wildest threats of the Black Republicans, their loudly
expressed determination, in defiance of the Constitution, to abolish
slavery, if necessary by the bullet and the sabre, shook in no degree
whatever her loyalty to the Union. Her best endeavours were exerted
to maintain the peace between the hostile sections; and not till her
liberties were menaced did she repudiate a compact which had become
intolerable. It was to preserve the freedom which her forefathers had
bequeathed her, and which she desired to hand down unsullied to
future generations, that she acquiesced in the revolution.

The North, in resolving to maintain the Union by force of arms, was
upheld by the belief that she was acting in accordance with the
Constitution. The South, in asserting her independence and resisting
coercion, found moral support in the same conviction, and the
patriotism of those who fought for the Union was neither purer nor
more ardent than the patriotism of those who fought for States'
Rights. Long ago, a parliament of that nation to which Jackson and so
many of his compatriots owed their origin made petition to the Pope
that he should require the English king "to respect the independence
of Scotland, and to mind his own affairs. So long as a hundred of us
are left alive," said the signatories, "we will never in any degree
be subjected to the English. It is not for glory, or for riches, or
for honour that we fight, but for liberty alone, which no good man
loses but with his life." More than five hundred years later, for the
same noble cause and in the same uncompromising spirit, the people of
Virginia made appeal to the God of battles.



Immediately it became apparent that the North was bent upon
re-conquest Jackson offered his sword to his native State. He was
determined to take his share in defending her rights and liberties,
even if it were only as a private soldier. Devotion to Virginia was
his sole motive. He shrank from the horrors of civil strife. The
thought that the land he loved so well was to be deluged with the
blood of her own children, that the happy hearths of America were to
be desecrated by the hideous image of war, stifled the promptings of
professional ambition. "If the general Government," he said, "should
persist in the measures now threatened, there must be war. It is
painful enough to discover with what unconcern they speak of war, and
threaten it. They do not know its horrors. I have seen enough of it
to make me look upon it as the sum of all evils."

The methods he resorted to in order that the conflict might be
averted were characteristic. He proposed to the minister of his
church that all Christian people should be called upon to unite in
prayer; and in his own devotions, says his wife, he asked with
importunity that, if it were God's will, the whole land might be at

His work, after the Ordinance of Secession had been passed, was
constant and absorbing. The Governor of Virginia had informed the
Superintendent of the Institute that he should need the services of
the more advanced classes as drill-masters, and that they must be
prepared to leave for Richmond, under the command of Major Jackson,
at a moment's notice.

The Lexington Presbytery was holding its spring meeting in the church
which Jackson attended, and some of the members were entertained at
his house; but he found no time to attend a single service--every
hour was devoted to the duty he had in hand.

On the Saturday of that eventful week he expressed the hope that he
would not be called upon to leave till Monday; and, bidding his wife
dismiss from her thoughts everything pertaining to the war and his
departure, they spent that evening as they had been accustomed,
reading aloud from religious magazines, and studying together the
lesson which was to be taught on the morrow in the Sunday-school.

But at dawn the next morning came a telegram, directing Major Jackson
to bring the cadets to Richmond immediately. He repaired at once to
the Institute; and at one o'clock, after divine service, at his
request, had been held at the head of the command, the cadet
battalion marched to Staunton, on the Virginia Central Railway, and
there took train.

Camp Lee, the rendezvous of the Virginia army, presented a peculiar
if animated scene. With few exceptions, every man capable of serving
in the field belonged either to the militia or the volunteers. Some
of the companies had a smattering of drill, but the majority were
absolutely untaught, and the whole were without the slightest
conception of what was meant by discipline. And it was difficult to
teach them. The non-commissioned officers and men of the United
States army were either Irish or Germans, without State ties, and
they had consequently no inducement to join the South. With the
officers it was different. They were citizens first, and soldiers
afterwards; and as citizens, their allegiance, so far as those of
Southern birth were concerned, was due to their native States. Out of
the twelve hundred graduates of West Point who, at the beginning of
1861, were still fit for service, a fourth were Southerners, and
these, almost without exception, at once took service with the
Confederacy. But the regular officers were almost all required for
the higher commands, for technical duties, and the staff; thus very
few were left to instruct the volunteers. The intelligence of the men
was high, for every profession and every class was represented in the
ranks, and many of the wealthiest planters preferred, so earnest was
their patriotism, to serve as privates; but as yet they were merely
the elements of a fine army, and nothing more. Their equipment left
as much to be desired as their training. Arms were far scarcer than
men. The limited supply of rifles in the State arsenals was soon
exhausted. Flintlock muskets, converted to percussion action, were
then supplied; but no inconsiderable numbers of fowling-pieces and
shot-guns were to be seen amongst the infantry, while the cavalry, in
default of sabres, carried rude lances fabricated by country
blacksmiths. Some of the troops wore uniform, the blue of the militia
or the grey of the cadet; but many of the companies drilled and
manoeuvred in plain clothes; and it was not till three months later,
on the eve of the first great battle, that the whole of the infantry
had received their bayonets and cartridge boxes.

An assemblage so motley could hardly be called an army; and the
daring of the Government, who, with this levee en masse as their only
bulwark against invasion, had defied a great power, seems at first
sight strongly allied to folly. But there was little cause for
apprehension. The Federal authorities were as yet powerless to
enforce the policy of invasion on which the President had resolved.
The great bulk of the Northern troops were just as far from being
soldiers as the Virginians, and the regular army was too small to be

The people of the United States had long cherished the Utopian dream
that war was impossible upon their favoured soil. The militia was
considered an archeological absurdity. The regular troops, admirable
as was their work upon the frontier, were far from being a source of
national pride. The uniform was held to be a badge of servitude. The
drunken loafer, bartering his vote for a dollar or a dram, looked
down with the contempt of a sovereign citizen upon men who submitted
to the indignity of discipline; and, in denouncing the expense of a
standing army, unscrupulous politicians found a sure path to popular
favour. So, when secession became something more than a mere threat,
the armed forces of the commonwealth had been reduced almost to
extinction; and when the flag was fired upon, the nation found itself
powerless to resent the insult. The military establishment mustered
no more than 16,000 officers and men. There was no reserve, no
transport, no organisation for war, and the troops were scattered in
distant garrisons. The navy consisted of six screw-frigates, only one
of which was in commission, of five steam sloops, some twenty sailing
ships, and a few gun-boats. The majority of the vessels, although
well armed, were out of date. 9000 officers and men were the extent
of the personnel, and several useful craft, together with more than
1200 guns, were laid up in Norfolk dockyard, on the coast of
Virginia, within a hundred miles of Richmond.*

(* Strength of the Federal Navy at different periods:--
March 4, 1861: 42 ships in commission.
December 1, 1861: 264 ships in commission.
December 1, 1862: 427 ships in commission.
December 1, 1863: 588 ships in commission.
December 1, 1864: 671 ships in commission.)

The cause of the Confederacy, although her white population of seven
million souls was smaller by two-thirds than that of the North, was
thus far from hopeless. The North undoubtedly possessed immense
resources. But an efficient army, even when the supply of men and
arms be unlimited, cannot be created in a few weeks, or even in a few
months, least of all an army of invasion. Undisciplined troops, if
the enemy be ill-handled, may possibly stand their ground on the
defensive, as did Jackson's riflemen at New Orleans, or the colonials
at Bunker's Hill. But fighting behind earthworks is a very different
matter to making long marches, and executing complicated manoeuvres
under heavy fire. Without a trained staff and an efficient
administration, an army is incapable of movement. Even with a
well-organised commissariat it is a most difficult business to keep a
marching column supplied with food and forage; and the problem of
transport, unless a railway or a river be available, taxes the
ability of the most experienced leader. A march of eighty or one
hundred miles into an enemy's country sounds a simple feat, but
unless every detail has been most carefully thought out, it will not
improbably be more disastrous than a lost battle. A march of two or
three hundred miles is a great military operation; a march of six
hundred an enterprise of which there are few examples. To handle an
army in battle is much less difficult than to bring it on to the
field in good condition; and the student of the Civil War may note
with profit how exceedingly chary were the generals, during the first
campaigns, of leaving their magazines. It was not till their
auxiliary services had gained experience that they dared to manoeuvre
freely; and the reason lay not only in deficiencies of organisation,
but in the nature of the country. Even for a stationary force,
standing on the defensive, unless immediately backed by a large town
or a railway, the difficulties of bringing up supplies were enormous.
For an invading army, increasing day by day the distance from its
base, they became almost insuperable. In 1861, the population of the
United States, spread over a territory as large as Europe, was less
than that of England, and a great part of that territory was
practically unexplored. Even at the present day their seventy
millions are but a handful in comparison with the size of their
dominions, and their extraordinary material progress is not much more
than a scratch on the surface of the continent. In Europe Nature has
long since receded before the works of man. In America the struggle
between them has but just begun; and except upon the Atlantic
seaboard man is almost lost to sight in the vast spaces he has yet to
conquer. In many of the oldest States of the Union the cities seem
set in clearings of the primeval forest. The wild woodland encroaches
on the suburbs, and within easy reach of the very capital are
districts where the Indian hunter might still roam undisturbed. The
traveller lands in a metropolis as large as Paris; before a few hours
have passed he may find himself in a wilderness as solitary as the
Transvaal; and although within the boundaries of the townships he
sees little that differs from the England of the nineteenth
century--beyond them there is much that resembles the England of the
Restoration. Except over a comparatively small area an army operating
in the United States would meet with the same obstacles as did the
soldiers of Cromwell and Turenne. Roads are few and indifferent;
towns few and far between; food and forage are not easily obtainable,
for the country is but partially cultivated; great rivers, bridged at
rare intervals, issue from the barren solitudes of rugged plateaus;
in many low-lying regions a single storm is sufficient to convert the
undrained alluvial into a fetid swamp, and tracts as large as an
English county are covered with pathless forest. Steam and the
telegraph, penetrating even the most lonely jungles, afford, it is
true, such facilities for moving and feeding large bodies of men that
the difficulties presented by untamed Nature have undoubtedly been
much reduced. Nevertheless the whole country, even to-day, would be
essentially different from any European theatre of war, save the
steppes of Russia; and in 1861 railways were few, and the population
comparatively insignificant.

The impediments, then, in the way of military operations were such as
no soldier of experience would willingly encounter with an improvised
army. It was no petty republic that the North had undertaken to
coerce. The frontiers of the Confederacy were far apart. The coast
washed by the Gulf of Mexico is eight hundred miles south of Harper's
Ferry on the Potomac; the Rio Grande, the river boundary of Texas, is
seventeen hundred miles west of Charleston on the Atlantic. And over
this vast expanse ran but six continuous lines of railway:--


1. [Washington,] Richmond, Lynchburg, Chattanooga, Memphis, New

2. [Washington,] Richmond, Weldon, Greensboro, Columbia, Atlanta, New

(These connected Richmond with the Mississippi.)


3. Cairo, Memphis, New Orleans.

4. Cairo, Corinth, Mobile.

5. Louisville, Nashville, Dalton, Atlanta, Mobile.

(These connected the Ohio with the Gulf of Mexico.)

6. Richmond, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah.

(This connected Richmond with the ports on the Atlantic.)

Although in the Potomac and the Ohio the Federals possessed two
excellent bases of invasion, on which it was easy to accumulate both
men and supplies, the task before them, even had the regular army
been large and well equipped, would have been sufficiently
formidable. The city of Atlanta, which may be considered as the heart
of the Confederacy, was sixty days' march from the Potomac, the same
distance as Vienna from the English Channel, or Moscow from the
Niemen. New Orleans, the commercial metropolis, was thirty-six days'
march from the Ohio, the same distance as Berlin from the Moselle.
Thus space was all in favour of the South; even should the enemy
overrun her borders, her principal cities, few in number, were far
removed from the hostile bases, and the important railway junctions
were perfectly secure from sudden attack. And space, especially when
means of communication are scanty, and the country affords few
supplies, is the greatest of all obstacles. The hostile territory
must be subjugated piecemeal, state by state, province by province,
as was Asia by Alexander; and after each victory a new base of supply
must be provisioned and secured, no matter at what cost of time,
before a further advance can be attempted. Had Napoleon in the
campaign against Russia remained for the winter at Smolensko, and
firmly established himself in Poland, Moscow might have been captured
and held during the ensuing summer. But the occupation of Moscow
would not have ended the war. Russia in many respects was not unlike
the Confederacy. She had given no hostages to fortune in the shape of
rich commercial towns; she possessed no historic fortresses; and so
offered but few objectives to an invader. If defeated or retreating,
her armies could always find refuge in distant fastnesses. The
climate was severe; the internal trade inconsiderable; to bring the
burden of war home to the mass of the population was difficult, and
to hold the country by force impracticable. Such were the
difficulties which the genius of Napoleon was powerless to overcome,
and Napoleon invaded Russia with half a million of seasoned soldiers.

And yet with an army of 75,000 volunteers, and without the least
preparation, the Federal Government was about to attempt an
enterprise of even greater magnitude. The Northern States were not
bent merely on invasion, but on re-conquest; not merely on defeating
the hostile armies, on occupying their capital, and exacting
contributions, but on forcing a proud people to surrender their most
cherished principles, to give up their own government, and to submit
themselves, for good and all, to what was practically a foreign yoke.
And this was not all. It has been well said by a soldier of Napoleon,
writing of the war in Spain, that neither the government nor the army
are the real bulwarks against foreign aggression, but the national
character. The downfall of Austria and of Prussia was practically
decided by the first great battle. The nations yielded without
further struggle. Strangers to freedom, crushed by military
absolutism, the prostration of each and all to an irresponsible
despot had paralysed individual energy. Spain, on the other hand,
without an army and without a ruler, but deriving new strength from
each successive defeat, first taught Napoleon that he was not
invincible. And the same spirit of liberty which inspired the people
of the Peninsula inspired, to an even higher degree, the people of
the Confederate States.


The Northern States, moreover, were about to make a new departure in
war. The manhood of a country has often been called upon to defend
its borders; but never before had it been proposed to invade a vast
territory with a civilian army, composed, it is true, of the best
blood in the Republic, but without the least tincture of military
experience. Nor did the senior officers, professionals though they
were, appear more fitted for the enterprise than the men they led.
The command of a company or squadron against the redskins was hardly
an adequate probation for the command of an army,* or even a brigade,
of raw troops against a well-armed foe. (* Even after the Peninsular
War had enlarged the experience of the British army, Sir Charles
Napier declared that he knew but one general who could handle 100,000
men, and that was the Duke of Wellington.) Had the volunteers been
associated with an equal number of trained and disciplined soldiers,
as had been the case in Mexico,* (* Grant's Memoirs volume 1 page
168.) they would have derived both confidence from their presence,
and stability from their example; had there been even an experienced
staff, capable of dealing with large forces, and an efficient
commissariat, capable of rapid expansion, they might have crushed all
organised opposition. But only 3000 regulars could be drawn from the
Western borders; the staff was as feeble as the commissariat; and so,
from a purely military point of view, the conquest of the South
appeared impossible. Her self-sustaining power was far greater than
has been usually imagined. On the broad prairies of Texas, Arkansas,
and Louisiana ranged innumerable herds. The area under cultivation
was almost equal to that north of the Potomac and the Ohio. The
pastoral districts--the beautiful Valley of Virginia, the great
plains of Georgia, the fertile bottoms of Alabama, were inexhaustible
granaries. The amount of live stock--horses, mules, oxen, and
sheep--was actually larger than in the North; and if the acreage
under wheat was less extensive, the deficiency was more than balanced
by the great harvests of rice and maize.* (* Cf. U.S. Census Returns
1860.) Men of high ability, but profoundly ignorant of the conditions
which govern military operations, prophesied that the South would be
brought back to the Union within ninety days; General Winfield Scott,
on the other hand, Commander-in-Chief of the Federal armies, declared
that its conquest might be achieved "in two or three years, by a
young and able general--a Wolfe, a Desaix, a Hoche--with 300,000
disciplined men kept up to that number."

Nevertheless, despite the extent of her territory and her scanty
means of communication, the South was peculiarly vulnerable. Few
factories or foundries had been established within her frontiers. She
manufactured nothing; and not only for all luxuries, but for almost
every necessary of life, she was dependent upon others. Her cotton
and tobacco brought leather and cloth in exchange from England.
Metals, machinery, rails, rolling stock, salt, and even medicines
came, for the most part, from the North. The weapons which she put
into her soldiers' hands during the first year of the war, her
cannon, powder, and ammunition, were of foreign make. More than all,
her mercantile marine was very small. Her foreign trade was in the
hands of Northern merchants. She had ship-yards, for Norfolk and
Pensacola, both national establishments, were within her boundaries;
but her seafaring population was inconsiderable, and shipbuilding was
almost an unknown industry. Strong on land, she was powerless at sea,
and yet it was on the sea that her prosperity depended. Cotton, the
principal staple of her wealth, demanded free access to the European
markets. But without a navy, and without the means of constructing
one, or of manning the vessels that she might easily have purchased,
she was unable to keep open her communications across the Atlantic.

Nor was it on the ocean alone that the South was at a disadvantage.
The Mississippi, the main artery of her commerce, which brought the
harvests of the plantations to New Orleans, and which divided her
territory into two distinct portions, was navigable throughout; while
other great rivers and many estuaries, leading into the heart of her
dominions, formed the easiest of highways for the advance of an
invading army. Very early had her fatal weakness been detected.
Immediately Fort Sumter fell, Lincoln had taken measures to isolate
the seceding States, to close every channel by which they could
receive either succour or supplies, and if need be to starve them
into submission. The maritime resources of the Union were so large
that the navy was rapidly expanded. Numbers of trained seamen,
recruited from the merchant service and the fisheries, were at once

The Northern shipbuilders had long been famous; and both men and
vessels, if the necessity should arise, might be procured in Europe.
Judicious indeed was the policy which, at the very outset of the war,
brought the tremendous pressure of the sea-power to bear against the
South; and, had her statesmen possessed the knowledge of what that
pressure meant, they must have realised that Abraham Lincoln was no
ordinary foe. In forcing the Confederates to become the aggressors,
and to fire on the national ensign, he had created a united North; in
establishing a blockade of their coasts he brought into play a force,
which, like the mills of God, "grinds slowly, but grinds exceeding

But for the present the Federal navy was far too small to watch three
thousand miles of littoral indented by spacious harbours and secluded
bays, protected in many cases by natural breakwaters, and
communicating by numerous channels with the open sea. Moreover, it
was still an even chance whether cotton became a source of weakness
to the Confederacy or a source of strength. If the markets of Europe
were closed to her by the hostile battle-ships, the credit of the
young Republic would undoubtedly be seriously impaired; but the
majority of the Southern politicians believed that the great powers
beyond the Atlantic would never allow the North to enforce her
restrictive policy. England and France, a large portion of whose
population depended for their livelihood on the harvests of the
South, were especially interested; and England and France, both great
maritime States, were not likely to brook interference with their
trade. Nor had the Southern people a high opinion of Northern
patriotism. They could hardly conceive that the maintenance of the
Union, which they themselves considered so light a bond, had been
exalted elsewhere to the height of a sacred principle. Least of all
did they believe that the great Democratic party, which embraced so
large a proportion of the Northern people, and which, for so many
years, had been in close sympathy with themselves, would support the
President in his coercive measures.

History, moreover, not always an infallible guide, supplied many
plausible arguments to those who sought to forecast the immediate
future. In the War of Independence, not only had the impracticable
nature of the country, especially of the South, baffled the armies of
Great Britain, but the European powers, actuated by old grudges and
commercial jealousy, had come to the aid of the insurgents. On a
theatre of war where trained and well-organised forces had failed, it
was hardly to be expected that raw levies would succeed; and if
England, opposed in 1782 by the fleets of France, Spain, and Holland,
had been compelled to let the colonies go, it was hardly likely that
the North, confronted by the naval strength of England and France,
would long maintain the struggle with the South. Trusting then to
foreign intervention, to the dissensions of their opponents, and to
their own hardihood and unanimity, the Southerners faced the future
with few misgivings.

At Richmond, finding himself without occupation, Major Jackson
volunteered to assist in the drilling of the new levies. The duty to
which he was first assigned was distasteful. He was an indifferent
draughtsman, and a post in the topographical department was one for
which he was hardly fitted. The appointment, fortunately, was not
confirmed. Some of his friends in the Confederate Congress proposed
that he should be sent to command at Harper's Ferry, an important
outpost on the northern frontier of Virginia. There was some
opposition, not personal to Jackson and of little moment, but it
called forth a remark that shows the estimation in which he was held
by men who knew him.

"Who is this Major Jackson?" it was asked.

"He is one," was the reply, "who, if you order him to hold a post,
will never leave it alive to be occupied by the enemy."

Harper's Ferry, the spot where the first collision might confidently
be expected, was a charge after Jackson's own heart.

April 26.

"Last Saturday," he writes to his wife, "the Governor handed me my
commission as Colonel of Virginia Volunteers, the post I prefer above
all others, and has given me an independent command. Little one, you
must not expect to hear from me very often, as I expect to have more
work than I ever had in the same length of time before; but don't be
concerned about your husband, for our kind Heavenly Father will give
every needful aid."

The garrison at Harper's Ferry consisted of a large number of
independent companies of infantry, a few light companies, as they
were called, of cavalry, and fifteen smooth-bore cannon of small
calibre. This force numbered 4500 officers and men, of whom all but
400 were Virginians. Jackson's appearance was not hailed with
acclamation. The officers of the State militia had hitherto exercised
the functions of command over the ill-knit concourse of enthusiastic
patriots. The militia, however, was hardly more than a force on
paper, and the camps swarmed with generals and field-officers who
were merely civilians in gaudy uniform. By order of the State
Legislature these gentlemen were now deprived of their fine feathers.
Every militia officer above the rank of captain was deposed; and the
Governor of Virginia was authorised to fill the vacancies. This
measure was by no means popular. Both by officers and men it was
denounced as an outrage on freemen and volunteers; and the companies
met in convention for the purpose of passing denunciatory resolutions.

Their new commander was a sorry substitute for the brilliant figures
he had superseded. The militia generals had surrounded themselves
with a numerous staff, and on fine afternoons, it was said, the
official display in Harper's Ferry would have done no discredit to
the Champs-Elysees. Jackson had but two assistants, who, like
himself, still wore the plain blue uniform of the Military Institute.
To eyes accustomed to the splendid trappings and prancing steeds of
his predecessors there seemed an almost painful want of pomp and
circumstance about the colonel of volunteers. There was not a
particle of gold lace about him. He rode a horse as quiet as himself.
His seat in the saddle was ungraceful. His well-worn cadet cap was
always tilted over his eyes; he was sparing of speech; his voice was
very quiet, and he seldom smiled. He made no orations, he held no
reviews, and his orders were remarkable for their brevity. Even with
his officers he had little intercourse. He confided his plans to no
one, and not a single item of information, useful or otherwise,
escaped his lips.

Some members of the Maryland Legislature, a body whom it was
important to conciliate, visited Harper's Ferry during his tenure of
command. They were received with the utmost politeness, and in return
plied the general with many questions. His answers were
unsatisfactory, and at length one more bold than the rest asked him
frankly how many men he had at his disposal. "Sir," was the reply, "I
should be glad if President Lincoln thought I had fifty thousand."
Nor was this reticence observed only towards those whose discretion
he mistrusted. He was silent on principle. In the campaign of 1814,
the distribution of the French troops at a most critical moment was
made known to the allies by the capture of a courier carrying a
letter from Napoleon to the Empress. There was little chance of a
letter to Mrs. Jackson, who was now in North Carolina, falling into
the hands of the Federals; but even in so small a matter Jackson was

"You say," he wrote, "that your husband never writes you any news. I
suppose you mean military news, for I have written you a great deal
about your sposo and how much he loves you. What do you want with
military news? Don't you know that it is unmilitary and unlike an
officer to write news respecting one's post? You couldn't wish your
husband to do an unofficer-like thing, could you?"

And then, the claims of duty being thus clearly defined, he proceeds
to describe the roses which climbed round the window of his temporary
quarters, adding, with that lover-like devotion which every letter
betrays, "but my sweet little sunny face is what I want to see most
of all."

Careful as he was to keep the enemy in the dark, he was exceedingly
particular when he visited his distant posts on the Potomac that his
presence should be unobserved. Had it become known to the Federal
generals that the commander at Harper's Ferry had reconnoitred a
certain point of passage, a clue might have been given to his
designs. The Confederate officers, therefore, in charge of these
posts, were told that Colonel Jackson did not wish them to recognise
him. He rode out accompanied by a single staff officer, and the men
were seldom aware that the brigadier had been through their camps.

Never was a commander who fell so far short of the popular idea of a
dashing leader. This quiet gentleman, who came and went unnoticed,
who had nothing to say, and was so anxious to avoid observation, was
a type of soldier unfamiliar to the volunteers. He was duty
personified and nothing more.

But at the same time the troops instinctively felt that this absence
of ostentation meant hard work. They began to realise the magnitude
of the obligations they had assumed. Soldiering was evidently
something more than a series of brilliant spectacles and social
gatherings. Here was a man in earnest, who looked upon war as a
serious business, who was completely oblivious to what people said or
thought; and his example was not without effect. The conventions came
to nothing; and when the companies were organised in battalions, and
some of the deposed officers were reappointed to command, the men
went willingly to work. Their previous knowledge, even of drill, was
of the scantiest. Officers and men had to begin as recruits, and
Jackson was not the man to cut short essential preliminaries. Seven
hours' drill daily was a heavy tax upon enthusiasm; but it was
severely enforced, and the garrison of the frontier post soon learned
the elements of manoeuvre. Discipline was a lesson more difficult
than drill. The military code, in all its rigour, could not be at
once applied to a body of high-spirited and inexperienced civilians.
Undue severity might have produced the very worst results. The
observance, therefore, of those regulations which were not in
themselves essential to efficiency or health was not insisted on.
Lapses in military etiquette were suffered to pass unnoticed; no
attempt was made to draw a hard and fast line between officers and
men; and many things which in a regular army would be considered
grossly irregular were tacitly permitted. Jackson was well aware that
volunteers of the type he commanded needed most delicate and tactful
handling. The chief use of minute regulations and exacting routine is
the creation of the instinct of obedience. Time was wanting to instil
such instinct into the Confederate troops; and the intelligence and
patriotism of the men, largely of high class and good position, who
filled the ranks, might be relied upon to prevent serious misconduct.
Had they been burdened with the constant acknowledgment of superior
authority which becomes a second nature to the regular soldier,
disgust and discontent might have taken the place of high spirit and
good-will. But at the same time wilful misbehaviour was severely
checked. Neglect of duty and insubordination were crimes which
Jackson never forgave, and deliberate disobedience was in his eyes as
unmanly an offence as cowardice. He knew when to be firm as well as
when to relax, and it was not only in the administration of
discipline that he showed his tact. He was the most patient of
instructors. So long as those under him were trying to do their best,
no one could have been kinder or more forbearing; and he constantly
urged his officers to come to his tent when they required explanation
as to the details of their duty.

Besides discipline and instruction, Jackson had the entire
administration of his command upon his hands. Ammunition was
exceedingly scarce, and he had to provide for the manufacture of
ball-cartridges. Transport there was none, but the great waggons of
the Valley farmers supplied the deficiency. The equipment of the
artillery left much to be desired, and ammunition carts (or caissons)
were constructed by fixing roughly made chests on the running gear of
waggons. The supply and medical services were non-existent, and
everything had to be organised de novo. Thus the officer in command
at Harper's Ferry had his hands full; and in addition to his
administrative labours there was the enemy to be watched, information
to be obtained, and measures of defence to be considered. A glance at
the map will show the responsibilities of Jackson's position.

The Virginia of the Confederacy was cut in two by the Blue Ridge, a
chain of mountains three hundred and thirty miles in length, which,
rising in North Carolina, passes under different names through
Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont, and sinks to the level
on the Canadian frontier.

The Blue Ridge varies in height from 2000 to 6000 feet. Densely
wooded, it is traversed in Virginia only by the Gaps, through which
ran three railways and several roads. These Gaps were of great
strategic importance, for if they were once secured, a Northern army,
moving up the Valley of the Shenandoah, would find a covered line of
approach towards the Virginia and Tennessee railway, which connected
Richmond with the Mississippi. Nor was this the only advantage it
would gain. From Lexington at its head, to Harper's Ferry, where it
strikes the Potomac, throughout its whole length of one hundred and
forty miles, the Valley was rich in agricultural produce. Its average
width, for it is bounded on the west by the eastern ranges of the
Alleghanies, is not more than four-and-twenty miles; but there are
few districts of the earth's surface, of equal extent, more favoured
by Nature or more highly cultivated. It was the granary of Virginia;
and not Richmond only, but the frontier garrisons, depended largely
for subsistence on the farms of the Shenandoah.

Moreover, if the Valley were occupied by the Federals, North-western
Virginia would be cut off from the Confederacy; and Jackson's native
mountains, inhabited by a brave and hardy race, would be lost as a
recruiting ground.

In order, then, to secure the loyalty of the mountaineers, to supply
the armies, and to protect the railways, the retention of the Valley
was of the utmost importance to the Confederacy. The key of the
communication with the North-west was Winchester, the chief town of
the lower Valley, twenty-six miles, in an air-line, south-west of
Harper's Ferry. From Winchester two highways lead westward, by Romney
and Moorefield; four lead east and south-east, crossing the Blue
Ridge by Snicker's, Ashby's, Manassas, and Chester's Gaps; and the
first object of the Confederate force at Harper's Ferry was to cover
this nucleus of roads.

During the month of May the garrison of the frontier post was
undisturbed by the enemy. Lincoln's first call had been for 75,000
volunteers. On May 3 he asked for an additional 40,000; these when
trained, with 18,000 seamen and a detachment of regulars, would place
at his disposal 150,000 men. The greater part of this force had
assembled at Washington; but a contingent of 10,000 or 12,000 men
under General Patterson, a regular officer of many years' service,
was collecting in Pennsylvania, and an outpost of 3000 men was
established at Chambersburg, forty-five miles north of Harper's Ferry.

These troops, however, though formidable in numbers, were as
ill-prepared for war as the Confederates, and no immediate movement
was to be anticipated. Not only had the Federal authorities to equip
and organise their levies, but the position of Washington was the
cause of much embarrassment. The District of Columbia--the sixty
square miles set apart for the seat of the Federal Government--lies
on the Potomac, fifty miles south-east of Harper's Ferry, wedged in
between Virginia on the one side and Maryland on the other.

The loyalty of Maryland to the Union was more than doubtful. As a
slave-holding State, her sympathies were strongly Southern; and it
was only her geographical situation, north of the Potomac, and with
no strong frontier to protect her from invasion, which had held her
back from joining the Confederacy. As only a single line of railway
connected Washington with the North, passing through Baltimore, the
chief city of Maryland, a very hot-bed of secession sentiment, the
attitude of the State was a matter of the utmost anxiety to the
Federal Government. An attempt to send troops through Baltimore to
Washington had provoked a popular commotion and some bloodshed. Stern
measures had been necessary to keep the railway open. Baltimore was
placed under martial law, and strongly garrisoned. But despite these
precautions, for some weeks the feeling in Maryland was so hostile to
the Union that it was not considered safe for the Northern troops to
cross her territory except in large numbers; and the concentration at
Washington of a force sufficient to defend it was thus attended with
much difficulty.

A single railroad, too, the Baltimore and Ohio, connected Washington
with the West. Crossing the Potomac at Harper's Ferry, and following
the course of the river, it ran for one hundred and twenty miles
within the confines of Virginia. Thus the district commanded by
Jackson embraced an artery of supply and communication which was of
great importance to the enemy. The natural course would have been to
destroy the line at once; but the susceptibilities of both Maryland
and West Virginia had to be considered. The stoppage of all traffic
on their main trade route would have done much to alienate the people
from the South, and there was still hope that Maryland might throw in
her lot with her seceded sisters.

The line was therefore left intact, and the company was permitted to
maintain the regular service of trains, including the mails. For this
privilege, however, Jackson exacted toll. The Confederate railways
were deficient in rolling stock, and he determined to effect a large
transfer from the Baltimore and Ohio. From Point of Rocks, twelve
miles east of Harper's Ferry, to Martinsburg, fifteen miles west, the
line was double. "The coal traffic along it," says General Imboden,
"was immense, for the Washington Government was accumulating supplies
of coal on the seaboard. These coal trains passed Harper's Ferry at
all hours of the day and night, and thus furnished Jackson with a
pretext for arranging a brilliant capture. A detachment was posted at
Point of Rocks, and the 5th Virginia Infantry at Martinsburg. He then
complained to the President of the Baltimore and Ohio that the night
trains, eastward bound, disturbed the repose of his camp, and
requested a change of schedule that would pass all east-bound trains
by Harper's Ferry between eleven and one o'clock in the daytime. The
request was complied with, and thereafter for several days was heard
the constant roar of passing trains for an hour before and an hour
after noon. But since the "empties" were sent up the road at night,
Jackson again complained that the nuisance was as great as ever, and,
as the road had two tracks, said he must insist that the west-bound
trains should pass during the same hour as those going east. Again he
was obliged, and we then had, for two hours every day, the liveliest
railroad in America.

"One night, as soon as the schedule was working at its best, Jackson
instructed the officer commanding at Point of Rocks to take a force
of men across to the Maryland side of the river the next day at
eleven o'clock, and letting all west-bound trains pass till twelve
o'clock, to permit none to go east. He ordered the reverse to be done
at Martinsburg.

"Thus he caught all the trains that were going east or west between
these points, and ran them up to Winchester, thirty-two miles on the
branch line, whence they were removed by horse power to the railway
at Strasburg, eighteen miles further south."* (* Battles and Leaders
volume 1.)

May 24.

This capture was Jackson's only exploit whilst in command at Harper's
Ferry. On May 24 he was relieved by General Joseph E. Johnston, one
of the senior officers of the Confederate army. The transfer of
authority was not, however, at once effected. Johnston reached
Harper's Ferry in advance of his letter of appointment. Jackson had
not been instructed that he was to hand over his command, and,
strictly conforming to the regulations, he respectfully declined to
vacate his post. Fortunately a communication soon came from General
Lee, commanding the Virginia troops, in which he referred to Johnston
as in command at Harper's Ferry. Jackson at once recognised this
letter as official evidence that he was superseded, and from that
time forth rendered his superior the most faithful and zealous
support. He seems at first to have expected that he would be sent to
North-west Virginia, and his one ambition at this time was to be
selected as the instrument of saving his native mountains to the
South. But the Confederate Government had other views. At the
beginning of June a more compact organisation was given to the
regiments at Harper's Ferry, and Jackson was assigned to the command
of the First Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah.* (* The Virginia
troops were merged in the army of the Confederate States on June 8,
1861. The total strength was 40,000 men and 115 guns. O.R. volume 2
page 928.)

Recruited in the Valley of the Shenandoah and the western mountains,
the brigade consisted of the following regiments:--

The 2nd Virginia, Colonel Allen.
The 4th Virginia, Colonel Preston.
The 5th Virginia, Colonel Harper.
The 27th Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel Echols.
The 33rd Virginia, Colonel Cummings.

A battery of artillery, raised in Rockbridge County, was attached to
the brigade. Commanded by the Reverend Dr. Pendleton, the rector of
Lexington, an old West Point graduate, who was afterwards
distinguished as Lee's chief of artillery, and recruited largely from
theological colleges, it soon became peculiarly efficient.* (* When
the battery arrived at Harper's Ferry, it was quartered in a church,
already occupied by a company called the Grayson Dare-devils, who,
wishing to show their hospitality, assigned the pulpit to Captain
Pendleton as an appropriate lodging. The four guns were at once
christened Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.)
No better material for soldiers ever existed than the men of the
Valley. Most of them were of Scotch-Irish descent, but from the more
northern counties came many of English blood, and from those in the
centre of Swiss and German. But whatever their origin, they were
thoroughly well qualified for their new trade. All classes mingled in
the ranks, and all ages; the heirs of the oldest families, and the
humblest of the sons of toil; boys whom it was impossible to keep at
school, and men whose white beards hung below their cross-belts;
youths who had been reared in luxury, and rough hunters from their
lonely cabins. They were a mountain people, nurtured in a wholesome
climate, bred to manly sports, and hardened by the free life of the
field and forest. To social distinctions they gave little heed. They
were united for a common purpose; they had taken arms to defend
Virginia and to maintain her rights; and their patriotism was proved
by the sacrifice of all personal consideration and individual
interest. Nor is the purity of their motives to be questioned. They
had implicit faith in the righteousness of their cause. Slave-owners
were few in the Valley, and the farms were tilled mainly by free
labour. The abolition of negro servitude would have affected but
little the population west of the Blue Ridge. But, nevertheless, west
of the Blue Ridge the doctrine of State Rights was as firmly rooted
as in the Carolinas, the idea that a State could be coerced into
remaining within the Union as fiercely repudiated; and the men of the
Valley faced the gathering hosts of the North in the same spirit that
they would have faced the hosts of a foreign foe.

In the first weeks of June the military situation became more
threatening. The Union armies were taking shape. The levies of
volunteers seemed sufficiently trained to render reconquest
practicable, and the great wave of invasion had already mounted the
horizon. A force of 25,000 men, based on the Ohio, threatened
North-west Virginia. There had been collisions on the Atlantic
seaboard, where the Federals held Fortress Monroe, a strong citadel
within eighty miles of Richmond, and Richmond had become the capital
of the Confederacy. There had been fighting in Missouri, and the
partisans of the South in that State had already been badly worsted.
The vast power of the North was making itself felt on land, and on
the sea had asserted an ascendency which it never lost. The blue
waters of the Gulf of Mexico were patrolled by a fleet with which the
Confederates had no means of coping. From the sea-wall of Charleston,
the great Atlantic port of the South, the masts of the blockading
squadron were visible in the offing; and beyond the mouths of the
Mississippi, closing the approaches to New Orleans, the long black
hulls steamed slowly to and fro.

But it was about Manassas Junction--thirty miles south-west of
Washington and barring the road to Richmond--that all interest
centred during the first campaign. Here was posted the main army of
the Confederacy, 20,000 volunteers under General Beauregard, the
Manassas Gap Railway forming an easy means of communication with the
Army of the Shenandoah.

Johnston's force had been gradually increased to 10,000 officers and
men. But the general was by no means convinced of the desirability of
holding Harper's Ferry. The place itself was insignificant. It had
contained an arsenal, but this had been burnt by the Federals when
they evacuated the post; and it was absolutely untenable against
attack. To the east runs the Shenandoah; and immediately above the
river stands a spur of the Blue Ridge, the Loudoun Heights,
completely commanding the little town. Beyond the Potomac is a crest
of equal altitude, covered with forest trees and undergrowth, and
bearing the name of the Maryland Heights.

Jackson, without waiting for instructions, had taken on himself to
hold and fortify the Maryland Heights. "I am of opinion," he had
written to General Lee, "that this place should be defended with the
spirit which actuated the defenders of Thermopylae, and if left to
myself such is my determination. The fall of this place would, I
fear, result in the loss of the north-western part of the State, and
who can estimate the moral power thus gained to the enemy and lost to
ourselves?"* (* O.R. volume 2 page 814.)

Lee, also, was averse to evacuation. Such a measure, he said, would
be depressing to the cause of the South, and would leave Maryland
isolated. The post, it was true, could be easily turned. By crossing
the Potomac, at Williamsport and Shepherdstown, twenty and ten miles
north-west respectively, the Federals would threaten the
communications of the garrison with Winchester; in case they were
attacked, the Confederates would have to fight with their backs to
the Shenandoah, broad, deep, and unbridged; and the ground westward
of Harper's Ferry was ill adapted for defence. Attack, in Lee's
opinion, would have been best met by a resolute offensive.* (* Ibid
pages 881, 889, 897, 898, 901, 923.) Johnston, however, believed his
troops unfitted for active manoeuvres, and he was permitted to choose
his own course. The incident is of small importance, but it serves to
show an identity of opinion between Lee and Jackson, and a regard for
the moral aspect of the situation which was to make itself manifest,
with extraordinary results, at a later period.

June 14.

On June 14, Johnston destroyed the railway bridge over the Potomac,
removed the machinery that had been rescued from the arsenal, burned
the public buildings, and the next day retired on Winchester. His
immediate opponent, General Patterson, had crossed the Pennsylvania
border, and, moving through Maryland, had occupied Williamsport with
14,000 men. A detachment of Confederate militia had been driven from
Romney, thirty-five miles north-west of Winchester, and the general
forward movement of the enemy had become pronounced.

June 20.

On June 20 Jackson's brigade was ordered to destroy the workshops of
the Baltimore and Ohio Railway at Martinsburg, together with the
whole of the rolling stock that might there be found, and to support
the cavalry. The first of these tasks, although Martinsburg is no
more than ten miles distant from Williamsport, was easily
accomplished. Four locomotives were sent back to Winchester, drawn by
teams of horses; and several more, together with many waggons, were
given to the flames. The second task demanded no unusual exertions.
The Federals, as yet, manifested no intention of marching upon
Winchester, nor was the Confederate cavalry in need of immediate
assistance. The force numbered 300 sabres. The men were untrained;
but they were first-rate horsemen, they knew every inch of the
country, and they were exceedingly well commanded. Lieutenant-Colonel
J.E.B. Stuart, who had been a captain of dragoons in the United
States army, had already given token of those remarkable qualities
which were afterwards to make him famous. Of an old Virginia family,
he was the very type of the Cavalier, fearless and untiring,
"boisterous as March, yet fresh as May."

Educated at West Point, and trained in Indian fighting in the
prairies, he brought to the great struggle upon which he had now
entered a thorough knowledge of arms, a bold and fertile conception,
and a constitution of body which enabled him to bear up against
fatigues which would have prostrated the strength of other men. Those
who saw him at this time are eloquent in their description of the
energy and the habits of the man. They tell how he remained almost
constantly in the saddle; how he never failed to instruct personally
every squad which went out on picket; how he was everywhere present,
at all hours of the day and night, along the line which he guarded;
and how, by infusing into the raw cavalry his own activity and
watchfulness, he was enabled, in spite of the small force which he
commanded, to observe the whole part of the Potomac from Point of
Rocks to beyond Williamsport. His animal spirits were unconquerable,
his gaiety and humour unfailing; he had a ready jest for all, and
made the forests ring with his songs as he marched at the head of his
column. So great was his activity that General Johnston compared him
to that species of hornet called "a yellow jacket," and said that "he
was no sooner brushed off than he lit back again." When the general
was subsequently transferred to the West he wrote to Stuart: "How can
I eat, sleep, or rest in peace without you upon the outpost?"* (*
Cooke page 47.)

No officer in the Confederacy was more trusted by his superiors or
more popular with the men; and Jackson was no more proof than others
against the attractions of his sunny and noble nature. As a soldier,
Stuart was a colleague after his own heart; and, as a man, he was
hardly less congenial. The dashing horseman of eight-and-twenty, who
rivalled Murat in his fondness for gay colours, and to all appearance
looked upon war as a delightful frolic, held a rule of life as strict
as that of his Presbyterian comrade; and outwardly a sharp contrast,
inwardly they were in the closest sympathy. Stuart's fame as a leader
was to be won in larger fields than those west of the Blue Ridge,
and, although sprung from the same Scotch-Irish stock, he was in no
way connected with the Valley soldiers. But from the very outbreak of
the war he was intimately associated with Jackson and his men.
Fortune seemed to take a curious delight in bringing them together;
they were together in their first skirmish, and in their last great
victory; and now, on the banks of the Potomac, watching the hostile
masses that were assembling on the further shore, they first learned
to know each other's worth.

July 2.

On July 2 Patterson crossed the river. The movement was at once
reported by Stuart, and Jackson, with the 5th Virginia and a battery,
advanced to meet the enemy. His instructions from Johnston were to
ascertain the strength of the hostile force, and then to retire under
cover of the cavalry. Four regiments of his brigade were therefore
left in camp; the baggage was sent back, and when the 5th Virginia
had marched out a short distance, three of the four guns were halted.
Near Falling Waters, a country church some five miles south of the
Potomac, Patterson's advanced guard was discovered on the road. The
country on either hand, like the greater part of the Valley, was
open, undulating, and highly cultivated, view and movement being
obstructed only by rail fences and patches of high timber.

The Virginians were partially concealed by a strip of woodland, and
when the Federal skirmishers, deployed on either side of the highway,
moved forward to the attack, they were received by a heavy and
unexpected fire. As the enemy fell back, a portion of the Confederate
line was thrown forward, occupying a house and barn; and despite the
fire of two guns which the Federals had brought up, the men, with the
impetuous rashness of young troops, dashed out to the attack. But
Jackson intervened. The enemy, who had two brigades of infantry well
closed up, was deploying a heavy force; his skirmishers were again
advancing, and the 5th Virginia, in danger of being outflanked, was
ordered to retire to its first position. The movement was
misconstrued by the Federals, and down the high road, in solid
column, came the pursuing cavalry. A well-aimed shot from the single
field-piece sufficed to check their progress; a confused mass of
horsemen went flying to the rear; and the Confederate gunners turned
their attention to the hostile battery. Stuart, at the same time,
performed a notable feat. He had moved with fifty troopers to attack
the enemy's right flank, and in reconnoitring through the woods had
become detached for the moment from his command. As he rode along a
winding lane he saw resting in a field a company of Federal infantry.
He still wore the uniform of the United States army; the enemy
suspected nothing, taking him for one of their own cavalry, and he
determined to effect their capture. Riding up to the fence he bade
one of the men remove the bars. This was done with respectful
alacrity, and he then galloped among them, shouting "Throw down your
arms, or you are all dead men!" The stentorian order was at once
obeyed: the raw troops not only dropped their rifles but fell upon
their faces, and the Confederate troopers, coming to their leader's
aid, marched the whole company as prisoners to the rear.

So firm was the attitude of Jackson's command that General Patterson
was thoroughly imposed upon. Slowly and cautiously he pushed out
right and left, and it was not till near noon that the Confederates
were finally ordered to retreat. Beyond desultory skirmishing there
was no further fighting. The 5th Virginia fell back on the main body;
Stuart came in with his string of captives, and leaving the cavalry
to watch the enemy, the First Brigade went into camp some two miles
south of Martinsburg. Patterson reported to his Government that he
had been opposed by 3500 men, exactly ten times Jackson's actual
number.* (* O.R. volume 2 page 157.) The losses on either side were
inconsiderable, a few men killed and 10 or 15 wounded; and if the
Confederates carried off 50 prisoners, the Federals had the
satisfaction of burning some tents which Jackson had been unable to
remove. The engagement, however, had the best effect on the morale of
the Southern troops, and they were not so ignorant as to overlook the
skill and coolness with which they had been manoeuvred. It is
possible that their commander appeared in an unexpected light, and
that they had watched his behaviour with some amount of curiosity.
They certainly discovered that a distaste for show and frippery is no
indication of an unwarlike spirit. In the midst of the action, while
he was writing a dispatch, a cannon ball had torn a tree above his
head to splinters. Not a muscle moved, and he wrote on as if he were
seated in his own tent.

July 3.

The day after Falling Waters, on Johnston's recommendation, Jackson
received from General Lee his commission as brigadier-general in the
Confederate army. "My promotion," he wrote to his wife, "was beyond
what I had anticipated, as I only expected it to be in the Volunteer
forces of the State. One of my greatest desires for advancement is
the gratification it will give my darling, and (the opportunity) of
serving my country more efficiently. I have had all that I ought to
desire in the line of promotion. I should be very ungrateful if I
were not contented, and exceedingly thankful to our kind Heavenly

Of Patterson's further movements it is unnecessary to speak at
length. The Federal army crawled on to Martinsburg. Halting seven
miles south-west Jackson was reinforced by Johnston's whole command;
and here, for four days, the Confederates, drawn up in line of
battle, awaited attack. But the Federals stood fast in Martinsburg;
and on the fourth day Johnston withdrew to Winchester. The Virginia
soldiers were bitterly dissatisfied. At first even Jackson chafed. He
was eager for further action. His experiences at Falling Waters had
given him no exalted notion of the enemy's prowess, and he was ready
to engage them single-handed. "I want my brigade," he said, "to feel
that it can itself whip Patterson's whole army, and I believe we can
do it." But Johnston's self-control was admirable. He was ready to
receive attack, believing that, in his selected position, he could
repulse superior numbers. But he was deaf to all who clamoured for an
offensive movement, to the murmurs of the men, and to the
remonstrances of the officers. The stone houses of Martinsburg and
its walled inclosures were proof against assault, and promised at
most a bloody victory. His stock of ammunition was scanty in the
extreme; the infantry had but fourteen cartridges apiece; and
although his patience was construed by his troops as a want of
enterprise, he had in truth displayed great daring in offering battle
south of Martinsburg.

The Federal army at Washington, commanded by General McDowell,
amounted to 50,000 men; a portion of this force was already south of
the Potomac, and Beauregard's 20,000 Confederates, at Manassas
Junction, were seriously threatened. In West Virginia the enemy had
advanced, moving, fortunately, in the direction of Staunton, at the
southern end of the Valley, and not on Winchester.

July 11.

On July 11, this force of 20,000 men defeated a Confederate
detachment at Rich Mountain, not far from Jackson's birthplace; and
although it was still in the heart of the Alleghanies, a few marches,
which there were practically no troops to oppose, would give it the
control of the Upper Valley.

Thus menaced by three columns of invasion, numbering together over
80,000 men, the chances of the Confederates, who mustered no more
than 32,000 all told, looked small indeed. But the three Federal
columns were widely separated, and it was possible, by means of the
Manassas Gap Railway, for Johnston and Beauregard to unite with
greater rapidity than their opponents.

President Davis, acting on the advice of General Lee, had therefore
determined to concentrate the whole available force at Manassas
Junction, and to meet at that point the column advancing from
Washington.* (* O.R. volume 2 page 515.) The difficulty was for the
Army of the Shenandoah to give Patterson the slip. This could easily
have been done while that officer stood fast at Martinsburg; but, in
Lee's opinion, if the enemy found that the whole force of the
Confederacy was concentrating at Manassas Junction, the Washington
column would remain within its intrenchments round the capital, and
the Confederates "would be put to the great disadvantage of achieving
nothing, and leaving the other points (Winchester and Staunton)
exposed." The concentration, therefore, was to be postponed until the
Washington column advanced.* (* O.R. volume 2 page 507.)

But by that time Patterson might be close to Winchester or
threatening the Manassas Railway. Johnston had thus a most delicate
task before him; and in view of the superior numbers which the
Federals could bring against Manassas, it was essential that not a
man should he wasted in minor enterprises. The defeat of Patterson,
even had it been practicable, would not have prevented the Washington
column from advancing; and every Confederate rifleman who fell in the
Valley would be one the less at Manassas.

July 15.

On July 15 Patterson left Martinsburg and moved in the direction of
Winchester. On the 16th he remained halted at Bunker's Hill, nine
miles north; and on the 17th, instead of continuing his advance,
moved to his left and occupied Charlestown. His indecision was
manifest. He, too, had no easy part to play. His instructions were to
hold Johnston in the Valley, while McDowell advanced against
Beauregard. But his instructions were either too definite or not
definite enough, and he himself was overcautious. He believed, and so
did General Scott, that Johnston might be retained at Winchester by
demonstrations--that is, by making a show of strength and by feigned
attacks. For more vigorous action Patterson was not in the least
inclined; and we can hardly wonder if he hesitated to trust his
ill-trained regiments to the confusion and chances of an attack. Even
in that day of raw soldiers and inexperienced leaders his troops had
an unenviable reputation. They had enlisted for three months, and
their term of service was nearly up. Their commander had no influence
with them; and, turning a deaf ear to his appeals, they stubbornly
refused to remain with the colours even for a few days over their
term of service. They were possibly disgusted with the treatment they
had received from the Government. The men had received no pay. Many
were without shoes, and others, according to their general, were
"without pants!" "They cannot march," he adds, "and, unless a
paymaster goes with them, they will be indecently clad and have just
cause of complaint."* (* O.R. volume 2 pages 169, 170.)

Nevertheless, the Federal authorities made a grievous mistake when
they allowed Patterson and his sans-culottes to move to Charlestown.
McDowell marched against Beauregard on the afternoon of the 16th, and
Patterson should have been instructed to attack Johnston at any cost.
Even had the latter been successful, he could hardly have reinforced
the main army in time to meet McDowell.

July 18.

At 1 A.M. on the morning of the 18th Johnston received a telegram
from the President to the effect that McDowell was advancing on
Manassas. Stuart was immediately directed to keep Patterson amused;
and leaving their sick, 1700 in number, to the care of Winchester,
the troops were ordered to strike tents and prepare to march. No man
knew the object of the movement, and when the regiments passed
through Winchester, marching southward, with their backs to the
enemy, the step was lagging and the men dispirited. A few miles out,
as they turned eastward, the brigades were halted and an order was
read to them. "Our gallant army under General Beauregard is now
attacked by overwhelming numbers. The Commanding General hopes that
his troops will step out like men, and make a forced march to save
the country." The effect of this stirring appeal was instantaneous.
"The soldiers," says Jackson, "rent the air with shouts of joy, and
all was eagerness and animation." The march was resumed, and as mile
after mile was passed, although there was much useless delay and the
pace was slow, the faint outlines of the Blue Ridge, rising high
above the Valley, changed imperceptibly to a mighty wall of rock and
forest. As the night came down a long reach of the Shenandoah crossed
the road. The ford was waist-deep, but the tall Virginians, plunging
without hesitation into the strong current, gained the opposite shore
with little loss of time. The guns and waggons followed in long
succession through the darkling waters, and still the heavy tramp of
the toiling column passed eastward through the quiet fields. The Blue
Ridge was crossed at Ashby's Gap; and at two o'clock in the morning,
near the little village of Paris, the First Brigade was halted on the
further slope. They had marched over twenty miles, and so great was
their exhaustion that the men sank prostrate on the ground beside
their muskets.* (* "The discouragements of that day's march," says
Johnston, "to one accustomed to the steady gait of regular soldiers,
is indescribable. The views of military obedience and command then
taken both by officers and men confined their duties and obligations
almost exclusively to the drill-ground and guards. In camps and
marches they were scarcely known. Consequently, frequent and
unreasonable delays caused so slow a rate of marching as to make me
despair of joining General Beauregard in time to aid him." Johnston's
Narrative.) They were already sleeping, when an officer reminded
Jackson that there were no pickets round the bivouac. "Let the poor
fellows sleep," was the reply; "I will guard the camp myself." And
so, through the watches of the summer night, the general himself
stood sentry over his unconscious troops.* (* Letter to Mrs. Jackson,
Memoirs page 176.)

(MAP. SITUATION NIGHT OF JULY 17TH, 1861. Showing West: Winchester,
North: Harper's Ferry, South: Warrenton and East: Washington.)


July 19.

At the first streak of dawn, Jackson aroused his men and resumed the
march. Before the column gained the plain, Stuart's cavalry clattered
past, leaving Patterson at Charlestown, in ignorance of his
adversary's escape, and congratulating himself on the success of his
cautious strategy. At Piedmont, a station at the foot of the Blue
Ridge, trains were waiting for the conveyance of the troops; and at
four o'clock in the afternoon Jackson and his brigade had reached
Manassas Junction. The cavalry, artillery, and waggons moved by road;
and the remainder of Johnston's infantry was expected to follow the
First Brigade without delay. But in war, unless there has been ample
time for preparation, railways are not always an expeditious means of
travel. The line was single; so short notice had been given that it
was impossible to collect enough rolling-stock; the officials were
inexperienced; there was much mismanagement; and on the morning of
Sunday, July 21, only three brigades of the Army of the
Shenandoah--Jackson's, Bee's, and Bartow's--together with the cavalry
and artillery, had joined Beauregard. Kirby Smith's brigade, about
1900 strong, was still upon the railway.

The delay might easily have been disastrous. Happily, the Federal
movements were even more tardy. Had the invading army been well
organised, Beauregard would probably have been defeated before
Johnston could have reached him. McDowell had advanced from
Washington on the afternoon of the 16th with 35,000 men. On the
morning of the 18th, the greater part of his force was concentrated
at Centreville, twenty-two miles from Washington, and five and a half
north-east of Manassas Junction. Beauregard's outposts had already
fallen back to the banks of Bull Run, a stream made difficult by
wooded and precipitous banks, from two to three miles south, and of
much the same width as the Thames at Oxford.

It would have been possible to have attacked on the morning of the
19th, but the Federal commander was confronted by many obstacles. He
knew little of the country. Although it was almost within sight of
the capital, the maps were indifferent. Guides who could describe
roads and positions from a military point of view were not
forthcoming. All information had to be procured by personal
reconnaissance, and few of his officers had been trained to such
work. Moreover, the army was most unwieldy. 35,000 men, together with
ten batteries, and the requisite train of waggons, was a force far
larger than any American officer had yet set eyes upon; and the
movement of such a mass demanded precise arrangement on the part of
the staff, and on the part of the troops most careful attention to
order and punctuality; but of these both staff and troops were
incapable. The invading force might have done well in a defensive
position, which it would have had time to occupy, and where the
supply of food and forage, carried on from stationary magazines,
would have been comparatively easy; but directly it was put in
motion, inexperience and indiscipline stood like giants in the path.
The Federal troops were utterly unfitted for offensive movement, and
both Scott and McDowell had protested against an immediate advance.
The regiments had only been organised in brigades a week previously.
They had never been exercised in mass. Deployment for battle had not
yet been practised, and to deploy 10,000 or 20,000 men for attack is
a difficult operation, even with well-drilled troops and an
experienced staff. Nor were the supply arrangements yet completed.
The full complement of waggons had not arrived, and the drivers on
the spot were as ignorant as they were insubordinate. The troops had
received no instruction in musketry, and many of the regiments went
into action without having once fired their rifles. But the protests
of the generals were of no effect. The Federal Cabinet decided that
in face of the public impatience it was impossible to postpone the
movement. "On to Richmond" was the universal cry. The halls of
Congress resounded with the fervid eloquence of the politicians. The
press teemed with bombastic articles, in which the Northern troops
were favourably compared with the regular armies of Europe, and the
need of discipline and training for the fearless and intelligent
representatives of the sovereign people was scornfully repudiated.
Ignorance of war and contempt for the lessons of history were to cost
the nation dear.

The march from Washington was a brilliant spectacle. The roads south
of the Potomac were covered with masses of men, well armed and well
clothed, amply furnished with artillery, and led by regular officers.
To the sound of martial music they had defiled before the President.
They were accompanied by scores of carriages. Senators, members of
Congress, and even ladies swelled the long procession. A crowd of
reporters rode beside the columns; and the return of a victorious
army could hardly have been hailed with more enthusiasm than the
departure of these untrained and unblooded volunteers. Yet, pitiful
masquerade as the march must have appeared to a soldier's eye, the
majority of those who broke camp that summer morning were brave men
and good Americans. To restore the Union, to avenge the insult to
their country's flag, they had come forward with no other compulsion
than the love of their mother-land. If their self-confidence was
supreme and even arrogant, it was the self-confidence of a strong and
a fearless people, and their patriotism was of the loftiest kind. It
would have been easy for the North, with her enormous wealth, to have
organised a vast army of mercenaries wherewith to crush the South.
But no! her sons were not willing that their country's honour should
be committed to meaner hands.

As they advanced into Virginia, the men, animated by their
surroundings, stepped briskly forward, and the country-side was gay
with fantastic uniforms and gorgeous standards. But the heat was
oppressive, and the roads lay deep in dust. Knapsack, rifle, and
blankets became a grievous burden. The excitement died away, and
unbroken to the monotonous exertion of the march the three-months'
recruits lost all semblance of subordination. The compact array of
the columns was gradually lost, and a tail of laggards, rapidly
increasing, brought up the rear. Regiment mingled with regiment. By
each roadside brook the men fell out in numbers. Every blackberry
bush was surrounded by a knot of stragglers; and, heedless of the
orders of those officers who still attempted to keep them in the
ranks, scores of so-called soldiers sought the cool shade of the
surrounding woods.* (* Sherman's Memoirs volume 1 page 181.) When
darkness fell the army was but six miles from its morning bivouacs;
and it was not till late the next day that the stragglers rejoined
their regiments.

McDowell had intended to attack at once. "But I could not," he says,
"get the troops forward earlier than we did. I wished them to go to
Centreville the second day, but when I went to urge them forward, I
was told that it was impossible for the men to march further. They
had only come from Vienna, about six miles, and it was not more than
six and a half miles further to Centreville, in all a march of twelve
and a half miles; but the men were foot-weary--not so much, I was
told, by the distance marched, as by the time they had been on foot,
caused by the obstructions in the road, and the slow pace we had to
move to avoid ambuscades. The men were, moreover, unaccustomed to
marching, and not used to carrying even the load of "light marching
order..." The trains, hurriedly gotten together, with horses,
waggons, drivers, and waggon-masters all new and unused to each
other, moved with difficulty and disorder, and were the cause of a
day's delay in getting the provisions forward."* (* O.R. volume 2
page 324. McDowell's Report.)

On the morning of the 18th, in order to attract the enemy's attention
from his right, a brigade was sent south, in the direction of Bull
Run. The Confederate outposts fell back over Blackburn's Ford. The
woods about the stream concealed the defenders' forces, and the
Federals pushed on, bringing artillery into action. Two Confederate
guns, after firing a few shots, were withdrawn under cover, and the
attacking troops reached the ford. Suddenly, from the high timber on
the further bank, volleys of musketry blazed out in their very faces,
and then came proof that some at least of the Federal regiments were
no more to be relied upon in action than on the march. A portion of
the force, despite the strong position of the enemy and the heavy
fire, showed a bold front, but at least one regiment turned and fled,
and was only rallied far in rear. The whole affair was a mistake on
the part of the commander. His troops had been heedlessly pushed
forward, and General Longstreet, commanding the opposing brigade, by
carefully concealing his infantry, had drawn him into an ambuscade.
The results of the action were not without importance. The Federals
fell back with a loss of 83 officers and men, and the Confederates
were much elated at their easy success. Among some of the
Northerners, on the other hand, the sudden check to the advance, and
the bold bearing of the enemy, turned confidence and enthusiasm into
irrational despondency. A regiment and a battery, which had enlisted
for three months and whose time was up, demanded their discharge, and
notwithstanding the appeals of the Secretary of War, "moved to the
rear to the sound of the enemy's cannon."* (* O.R. volume 2 page 324.
McDowell's Report.)

McDowell's plans were affected by the behaviour of his troops. He was
still ignorant, so skilfully had the march from the Valley been
carried out, that Johnston had escaped Patterson. He was well aware,
however, that such movement was within the bounds of possibility, yet
he found himself compelled to postpone attack until the 21st. The
19th and 20th were spent in reconnaissance, and in bringing up
supplies; and the lack of organisation made the issue of rations a
long process. But it was the general's want of confidence in his
soldiers that was the main cause of delay.

The Confederates were strongly posted. The bridges and fords across
Bull Run, with the exception of Sudley Ford, a long way up stream to
the Federal right, were obstructed with felled trees, and covered by
rude intrenchments. Even with regular troops a direct attack on a
single point of passage would have been difficult. McDowell's first
idea was to pass across the front of the defences, and turn the right
at Wolf Run Shoals, five miles south-east of Union Mills. The
country, however, on this flank was found to be unfit for the
operations of large masses, and it was consequently determined to
turn the Confederate left by way of Sudley Springs.

The Federal army consisted of five divisions of infantry, forty-three
guns, and seven troops of regular cavalry. Nine batteries and eight
companies of infantry were supplied by the United States army, and
there was a small battalion of marines. The strength of the force
told off for the attack amounted to 30,000 all told.*

(* The rifles (muzzle-loaders) used throughout the war by both
Federals and Confederates compare as follows with more modern
Sighted to Effective range
yards yards
American 1,000 250
Needle-gun (1866 and 1870) 660 250
Chassepot (1870) 1,320 350
Martini-Henry 2,100 400
Magazine 3,200 600

By effective range is meant the distance where, under ordinary
conditions, the enemy's losses are sufficient to stop his advance.
The effective range of Brown Bess was about 60 yards. The American
rifled artillery was effective, in clear weather, at 2000 yards, the
12-pounder smooth-bore at 1600, the 6-pounder at 1200.)

The Confederates, along the banks of Bull Run, disposed of 26,000
infantry, 2500 cavalry, and 55 guns. Johnston, who had arrived on the
20th, had assumed command; but, ignorant of the country, he had
allowed Beauregard to make the dispositions for the expected battle.
The line occupied was extensive, six miles in length, stretching from
the Stone Bridge, where the Warrenton highroad crosses Bull Run, on
the left, to the ford at Union Mills on the right. Besides these two
points of passage there were no less than six fords, to each of which
ran a road from Centreville. The country to the north was undulating
and densely wooded, and it would have been possible for the Federals,
especially as the Southern cavalry was held back south of the stream,
to mass before any one of the fords, unobserved, in superior numbers.
Several of the fords, moreover, were weakly guarded, for Beauregard,
who had made up his mind to attack, had massed the greater part of
his army near the railroad. The Shenandoah troops were in reserve;
Bee's and Bartow's brigades between McLean's and Blackburn's fords,
Jackson's between Blackburn's and Mitchell's fords, in rear of the
right centre.

The position south of Bull Run, originally selected by General Lee,*
was better adapted for defence than for attack. (* O.R. volume 2 page
505.) The stream, with its high banks, ran like the ditch of a
fortress along the front; and to the south was the plateau on which
stands Manassas Junction. The plateau is intersected by several
creeks, running through deep depressions, and dividing the high
ground into a series of bold undulations, level on the top, and with
gentle slopes. The most important of the creeks is Young's Branch,
surrounding on two sides the commanding eminence crowned by the Henry
House, and joining Bull Run a short distance below the Stone Bridge.
That part of the field which borders on Flat Run, and lies
immediately north of Manassas Junction, is generally thickly wooded;
but shortly after passing New Market, the Manassas-Sudley road,
running north-west, emerges into more open country, and, from the
Henry House onward, passes over several parallel ridges, deep in
grass and corn, and studded between with groves of oak and pine. Here
the large fields, without hedges, and scantily fenced, formed an
admirable manoeuvre ground; the wide depressions of the creeks,
separating the crests of the ridges by a space of fifteen or sixteen
hundred yards, gave free play to the artillery; the long easy slopes
could be swept by fire, and the groves were no obstruction to the
view. The left flank of the Confederate position, facing north, on
either side of the Manassas-Sudley road, was thus an ideal

(MAP 2. Dispositions morning of July 21st, 1861. Showing West:
Groveton, North: Centreville, South: Manassas Junction and East:
Union Mills.)

July 21. 6.30 A.M.

Sunday morning, the 21st of July, broke clear and warm. Through a
miscarriage of orders, the Confederate offensive movement was
delayed; and soon after six o'clock the Federals opened with musketry
and artillery against the small brigade commanded by Colonel Evans,
which held the Stone Bridge on the extreme left of the Confederate
line. An hour later the Shenandoah brigades, Bee's, Bartow's, and
Jackson's, together with Bonham's, were ordered up in support.

8.30 A.M.

The attack was feebly pressed, and at 8.30 Evans, observing a heavy
cloud of dust rising above the woods to the north of the Warrenton
road, became satisfied that the movement to his front was but a
feint, and that a column of the enemy was meanwhile marching to turn
his flank by way of Sudley Springs, about two miles north-west.

9 A.M.

Sending back this information to the next brigade, he left four
companies to hold the bridge; and with six companies of riflemen, a
battalion called the Louisiana Tigers, and two six-pounder howitzers,
he moved across Young's Branch, and took post on the Matthews Hill, a
long ridge, which, at the same elevation, faces the Henry Hill.

Evans' soldierly instinct had penetrated the design of the Federal
commander, and his ready assumption of responsibility threw a strong
force across the path of the turning column, and gave time for his
superiors to alter their dispositions and bring up the reserves.

The Federal force opposite the Stone Bridge consisted of a whole
division; and its commander, General Tyler, had been instructed to
divert attention, by means of a vigorous demonstration, from the
march of Hunter's and Heintzleman's divisions to a ford near Sudley
Springs. Part of the Fifth Division was retained in reserve at
Centreville, and part threatened the fords over Bull Run below the
Stone Bridge. The Fourth Division had been left upon the railroad,
seven miles in rear of Centreville, in order to guard the
communications with Washington.

Already, in forming the line of march, there had been much confusion.
The divisions had bivouacked in loose order, without any regard for
the morrow's movements, and their concentration previous to the
advance was very tedious. The brigades crossed each other's route;
the march was slow; and the turning column, blocked by Tyler's
division on its way to the Stone Bridge, was delayed for nearly three

9.30 A.M.

At last, however, Hunter and Heintzleman crossed Sudley Ford; and
after marching a mile in the direction of Manassas Junction, the
leading brigade struck Evans' riflemen. The Confederates were
concealed by a fringe of woods, and the Federals were twice repulsed.
But supports came crowding up, and Evans sent back for
reinforcements. The fight had lasted for an hour. It was near eleven
o'clock, and the check to the enemy's advance had given time for the
Confederates to form a line of battle on the Henry Hill. Bee and
Bartow, accompanied by Imboden's battery, were in position; Hampton's
Legion, a regiment raised and commanded by an officer who was one of
the wealthiest planters in South Carolina, and who became one of the
finest soldiers in the Confederacy, was not far behind; and Jackson
was coming up.* (* Hunter and Heintzleman had 13,200 officers and
men; Tyler, 12,000. Bee and Barrow had 3200 officers and men;
Hampton, 630; Jackson, 3000.)

Again the situation was saved by the prompt initiative of a brigade
commander. Bee had been ordered to support the troops at the Stone
Bridge. Moving forward towards the Henry Hill, he had been informed
by a mounted orderly that the whole Federal army seemed to be moving
to the north-west. A signal officer on the plateau who had caught the
glint of the brass field-pieces which accompanied the hostile column,
still several miles distant, had sent the message. Bee waited for no
further instructions. Ordering Bartow to follow, he climbed the Henry
Hill. The wide and beautiful landscape lay spread before him; Evans'
small command was nearly a mile distant, on the Matthews Hill; and on
the ridges to the far north-west he saw the glitter of many bayonets.

11 A.M.

Rapidly placing his battery in position near the Henry House, Bee
formed a line of battle on the crest above Young's Branch; but very
shortly afterwards, acceding to an appeal for help from Evans, he
hurried his troops forward to the Matthews Hill. His new position
protected the rear of the companies which held the Stone Bridge; and
so long as the bridge was held the two wings of the Federal army were
unable to co-operate. But on the Matthews Hill, the enemy's strength,
especially in artillery, was overwhelming; and the Confederates were
soon compelled to fall back to the Henry Hill. McDowell had already
sent word to Tyler to force the Stone Bridge; and Sherman's brigade
of this division, passing the stream by a ford, threatened the flank
of Bee and Evans as they retreated across Young's Branch.

The Federals now swarmed over the Matthews Hill; but Imboden's
battery, which Bee had again posted on the Henry Hill, and Hampton's
Legion, occupying the Robinson House, a wooden tenement on the open
spur which projects towards the Stone Bridge, covered the retirement
of the discomfited brigades. They were not, however, suffered to fall
back unharassed.

A long line of guns, following fast upon their tracks, and crossing
the fields at a gallop, came into action on the opposite slope. In
vain Imboden's gunners, with their pieces well placed behind a swell
of ground, strove to divert their attention from the retreating
infantry, now climbing the slopes of the Henry Hill. The Federal
batteries, powerful in numbers, in discipline, and in materiel, plied
their fire fast. The shells fell in quick succession amongst the
disordered ranks of the Southern regiments, and not all the efforts
of their officers could stay their flight.

The day seemed lost. Strong masses of Northern infantry were moving
forward past the Stone House on the Warrenton turnpike. Hampton's
Legion was retiring on the right. Imboden's battery, with but three
rounds remaining for each piece, galloped back across the Henry Hill,
and this commanding height, the key of the battle-ground, was
abandoned to the enemy. But help was at hand. Jackson, like Bee and
Bartow, had been ordered to the Stone Bridge. Hearing the heavy fire
to his left increasing in intensity, he had turned the head of his
column towards the most pressing danger, and had sent a messenger to
Bee to announce his coming. As he pushed rapidly forward, part of the
troops he intended to support swept by in disorder to the rear.
Imboden's battery came dashing back, and that officer, meeting
Jackson, expressed with a profanity which was evidently displeasing
to the general his disgust at being left without support. "I'll
support your battery," was the brief reply; "unlimber right here."

11.30 A.M.

At this moment appeared General Bee, approaching at full gallop, and
he and Jackson met face to face. The latter was cool and composed;
Bee covered with dust and sweat, his sword in his hand, and his horse
foaming. "General," he said, "they are beating us back!" "Then, sir,
we will give them the bayonet;" the thin lips closed like a vice, and
the First Brigade, pressing up the slope, formed into line on the
eastern edge of the Henry Hill.

Jackson's determined bearing inspired Bee with renewed confidence. He
turned bridle and galloped back to the ravine where his officers were
attempting to reform their broken companies. Riding into the midst of
the throng, he pointed with his sword to the Virginia regiments,
deployed in well-ordered array on the height above. "Look!" he
shouted, "there is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Rally behind
the Virginians!" The men took up the cry; and the happy augury of the
expression, applied at a time when defeat seemed imminent and hearts
were failing, was remembered when the danger had passed away.

The position which Jackson had occupied was the strongest that could
be found. He had not gone forward to the crest which looks down upon
Young's Branch, and commands the slopes by which the Federals were
advancing. From that crest extended a wide view, and a wide field of
fire; but both flanks would have been exposed. The Henry House was
nothing more than a cottage; neither here nor elsewhere was there
shelter for his riflemen, and they would have been exposed to the
full force of the Federal artillery without power of reply. But on
the eastern edge of the hill, where he had chosen to deploy, ran a
belt of young pines, affording excellent cover, which merged into a
dense oak wood near the Sudley road.

Along the edge of the pines Jackson placed his regiments, with six
guns to support them. Lying in rear of the guns were the 4th and 27th
Virginia; on the right was the 5th; on the left the 2nd and 33rd.
Both flanks were in the woods, and Stuart, whom Jackson had called
upon to secure his left, was watching the ground beyond the road. To
the front, for a space of five hundred yards, stretched the level
crest of the hill; and the ground beyond the Henry House, dipping to
the valley of Young's Branch, where the Federals were now gathering,
was wholly unseen. But as the tactics of Wellington so often proved,
a position from which the view is limited, well in rear of a crest
line, may be exceedingly strong for defence, provided that troops who
hold it can use the bayonet. It would be difficult in the extreme for
the Federals to pave the way for their attack with artillery. From
the guns on the Matthews Hill the Virginia regiments were well
sheltered, and the range was long. To do effective work the hostile
batteries would have to cross Young's Branch, ascend the Henry Hill,
and come into action within five hundred yards of Jackson's line.
Even if they were able to hold their ground at so short a range, they
could make no accurate practice under the fire of the Confederate

12 noon.

In rear of Jackson's line, Bee, Bartow, and Evans were rallying their
men, when Johnston and Beauregard, compelled, by the unexpected
movement of the Federals, to abandon all idea of attack, appeared
upon the Henry Hill. They were accompanied by two batteries of
artillery, Pendleton's and Alburtis'. The colours of the broken
regiments were ordered to the front, and the men rallied, taking post
on Jackson's right. The moment was critical. The blue masses of the
Federals, the dust rolling high above them, were already descending
the opposite slopes. The guns flashed fiercely through the yellow
cloud; and the Confederate force was but a handful. Three brigades
had been summoned from the fords; but the nearest was four miles
distant, and many of the troops upon the plateau were already
half-demoralised by retreat. The generals set themselves to revive
the courage of their soldiers. Beauregard galloped along the line,
cheering the regiments in every portion of the field, and then, with
the colour-bearers accompanying him, rode forward to the crest.
Johnston was equally conspicuous. The enemy's shells were bursting on
every side, and the shouts of the Confederates, recognising their
leaders as they dashed across the front, redoubled the uproar.
Meanwhile, before the centre of his line, with an unconcern which had
a marvellous effect on his untried command, Jackson rode slowly to
and fro. Except that his face was a little paler, and his eyes
brighter, he looked exactly as his men had seen him so often on
parade; and as he passed along the crest above them they heard from
time to time the reassuring words, uttered in a tone which betrayed
no trace of excitement, "Steady, men! steady! all's well!"

It was at this juncture, while the confusion of taking up a new
position with shattered and ill-drilled troops was at the highest,
that the battle lulled. The Federal infantry, after defeating Bee and
Evans, had to cross the deep gully and marshy banks of Young's
Branch, to climb the slope of the Henry Hill, and to form for a fresh
attack. Even with trained soldiers a hot fight is so conducive of
disorder, that it is difficult to initiate a rapid pursuit, and the
Northern regiments were very slow in resuming their formations. At
the same time, too, the fire of their batteries became less heavy.
From their position beyond Young's Branch the rifled guns had been
able to ply the Confederate lines with shell, and their effective
practice had rendered the work of rallying the troops exceedingly
difficult. But when his infantry advanced, McDowell ordered one half
of his artillery, two fine batteries of regulars, made up principally
of rifled guns, to cross Young's Branch. This respite was of the
utmost value to the Confederates. The men, encouraged by the gallant
bearing of their leaders, fell in at once upon the colours, and when
Hunter's regiments appeared on the further rim of the plateau they
were received with a fire which for a moment drove them back. But the
regular batteries were close at hand, and as they came into action
the battle became general on the Henry Hill. The Federals had 16,000
infantry available; the Confederates no more than 6500. But the
latter were superior in artillery, 16 pieces confronting 12. The
Federal guns, however, were of heavier calibre; the gunners were old
soldiers, and both friend and foe testify to the accuracy of their
fire, their fine discipline, and staunch endurance. The infantry, on
the other hand, was not well handled. The attack was purely frontal.
No attempt whatever was made to turn the Confederate flanks, although
the Stone Bridge, except for the abattis, was now open, and
Johnston's line might easily have been taken in reverse. Nor does it
appear that the cavalry was employed to ascertain where the flanks
rested. Moreover, instead of massing the troops for a determined
onslaught, driven home by sheer weight of numbers, the attack was
made by successive brigades, those in rear waiting till those in
front had been defeated; and, in the same manner, the brigades
attacked by successive regiments. Such tactics were inexcusable. It
was certainly necessary to push the attack home before the
Confederate reinforcements could get up; and troops who had never
drilled in mass would have taken much time to assume the orthodox
formation of several lines of battle, closely supporting one another.
Yet there was no valid reason, beyond the inexperience of the
generals in dealing with large bodies, that brigades should have been
sent into action piecemeal, or that the flanks of the defence should
have been neglected. The fighting, nevertheless, was fierce. The
Federal regiments, inspirited by their success on the Matthews Hill,
advanced with confidence, and soon pushed forward past the Henry
House. "The contest that ensued," says General Imboden, "was
terrific. Jackson ordered me to go from battery to battery and see
that the guns were properly aimed and the fuses cut the right length.
This was the work of but a few minutes. On returning to the left of
the line of guns, I stopped to ask General Jackson's permission to
rejoin my battery. The fight was just then hot enough to make him
feel well. His eyes fairly blazed. He had a way of throwing up his
left hand with the open palm towards the person he was addressing.
And, as he told me to go, he made this gesture. The air was full of
flying missiles, and as he spoke he jerked down his hand, and I saw
that blood was streaming from it. I exclaimed, "General, you are
wounded." "Only a scratch--a mere scratch," he replied, and binding
it hastily with a handkerchief, he galloped away along his line."* (*
Battles and Leaders volume 1 page 236.)

1.30 P.M.

When the battle was at its height, and across that narrow space, not
more than five hundred yards in width, the cannon thundered, and the
long lines of infantry struggled for the mastery, the two Federal
batteries, protected by two regiments of infantry on their right,
advanced to a more effective position. The movement was fatal.
Stuart, still guarding the Confederate left, was eagerly awaiting his
opportunity, and now, with 150 troopers, filing through the fences on
Bald Hill, he boldly charged the enemy's right. The regiment thus
assailed, a body of Zouaves, in blue and scarlet, with white turbans,
was ridden down, and almost at the same moment the 33rd Virginia,
posted on Jackson's left, charged forward from the copse in which
they had been hidden. The uniforms in the two armies at this time
were much alike, and from the direction of their approach it was
difficult at first for the officers in charge of the Federal
batteries to make sure that the advancing troops were not their own.
A moment more and the doubtful regiment proved its identity by a
deadly volley, delivered at a range of seventy yards. Every gunner
was shot down; the teams were almost annihilated, and several
officers fell killed or wounded. The Zouaves, already much shaken by
Stuart's well-timed charge, fled down the slopes, dragging with them
another regiment of infantry.

Three guns alone escaped the marksmen of the 33rd. The remainder
stood upon the field, silent and abandoned, surrounded by dying
horses, midway between the opposing lines.

This success, however, brought but short relief to the Confederates.
The enemy was not yet done with. Fresh regiments passed to the
attack. The 33rd was driven back, and the thin line upon the plateau
was hard put to it to retain its ground. The Southerners had lost
heavily. Bee and Bartow had been killed, and Hampton wounded. Few
reinforcements had reached the Henry Hill. Stragglers and skulkers
were streaming to the rear. The Federals were thronging forward, and
it seemed that the exhausted defenders must inevitably give way
before the successive blows of superior numbers. The troops were
losing confidence. Yet no thought of defeat crossed Jackson's mind.
"General," said an officer, riding hastily towards him, "the day is
going against us." "If you think so, sir," was the quiet reply, "you
had better not say anything about it." And although affairs seemed
desperate, in reality the crisis of the battle had already passed.
McDowell had but two brigades remaining in reserve, and one of
these--of Tyler's division--was still beyond Bull Run. His troops
were thoroughly exhausted; they had been marching and fighting since
midnight; the day was intensely hot; they had encountered fierce
resistance; their rifled batteries had been silenced, and the
Confederate reinforcements were coming up. Two of Bonham's regiments
had taken post on Jackson's right, and a heavy force was approaching
on the left. Kirby Smith's brigade, of the Army of the Shenandoah,
coming up by train, had reached Manassas Junction while the battle
was in progress. It was immediately ordered to the field, and had
been already instructed by Johnston to turn the enemy's right.

But before the weight of Smith's 1900 bayonets could be thrown into
the scale, the Federals made a vigorous effort to carry the Henry
Hill. Those portions of the Confederate line which stood on the open
ground gave way before them. Some of the guns, ordered to take up a
position from which they could cover the retreat, were limbering up;
and with the exception of the belt of pines, the plateau was
abandoned to the hostile infantry, who were beginning to press
forward at every point. The Federal engineers were already clearing
away the abattis from the Stone Bridge, in order to give passage to
Tyler's third brigade and a battery of artillery; "and all were
certain," says McDowell, "that the day was ours."

2.45 P.M.

Jackson's men were lying beneath the crest of the plateau. Only one
of his regiments--the 33rd--had as yet been engaged in the open, and
his guns in front still held their own. Riding to the centre of his
line, where the 2nd and 4th Virginia were stationed, he gave orders
for a counterstroke. "Reserve your fire till they come within fifty
yards, then fire and give them the bayonet; and when you charge, yell
like furies!" Right well did the hot Virginian blood respond.
Inactive from the stroke of noon till three o'clock, with the crash
and cries of battle in their ears, and the shells ploughing gaps in
their recumbent ranks, the men were chafing under the stern
discipline which held them back from the conflict they longed to
join. The Federals swept on, extending from the right and left,
cheering as they came, and following the flying batteries in the
ardour of success. Suddenly, a long grey line sprang from the ground
in their very faces; a rolling volley threw them back in confusion;
and then, with their fierce shouts pealing high above the tumult, the
2nd and 4th Virginia, supported by the 5th, charged forward across
the hill. At the same moment that the enemy's centre was thus
unexpectedly assailed, Kirby Smith's fresh brigade bore down upon the
flank,* (* General Kirby Smith being severely wounded, the command of
this brigade devolved upon Colonel Elzey.) and Beauregard, with ready
judgment, dispatched his staff officers to order a general advance.
The broken remnants of Bee, Hampton, and Evans advanced upon
Jackson's right, and victory, long wavering, crowned the standards of
the South. The Federals were driven past the guns, now finally
abandoned, past the Henry House, and down the slope. McDowell made
one desperate endeavour to stay the rout. Howard's brigade was
rapidly thrown in. But the centre had been completely broken by


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