Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 1.djvu/455

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war, were answered at the North by an immediate flow of money and men to sustain the administration.

Four Federal armies of 100,000 men were now deployed upon the territory of Virginia, all disposed so as to bear upon Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy. Fewer than two-thirds that number of Confederate troops were maneuvered by their skillful officers to resist the invasion. At the first encounter misfortune befell the Confederacy in western Virginia, and notwithstanding the Southern victories at other points the Federal armies advanced from the Potomac during the first summer months of 1861, deeper into the heart of Virginia.

The battle of Manassas, July 21 st, became the climax of these movements of the Federal and Confederate armies, in which the combatants actually engaged were nearly evenly matched, the Confederates putting into the fight a total of about 28,000 and the Federals assaulting with about 35,000 men. Whether by superior skill of Confed erate generals and harder fighting by the soldiers, or any other cause, the fact of a most thorough and mortifying defeat of the Federals remains as the ineffaceable result of this early encounter between the two armies. The political purpose of the battle, based upon undue confidence in the immense preparations for overwhelming victory, also broke down completely, and the promoters escaped indignation only by the loud cry which they uttered for a vast army and unlimited expenditures to save the capital.

The story of this remarkable first campaign against Richmond is well told by the following extracts from the official dispatches as they appear in the " Records," the dates of which should be noticed:

Gen. Scott to McClellan, July 18: " McDowell yester day drove the enemy beyond Fairfax court-house. He will attack the entrenched camp at the Manassas junction to-day. Beaten there the enemy may retreat both upon Richmond and the Shenandoah valley. I may reinforce him (Patterson) to enable you to bag Johnston."

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