of the place, and finally retired from it, as I then though, and still think, prematurely. The correctness of this opinion is sufeciently shown by the fact that after his withdrawal the working party reamined without interruption by the enemy, and removed much valuable property, including the heaviest part of the machinery. When General Beauregard was threatened at Manassas by a large column of the enemy, his numerical inferiority and the inactivity of the enemy in the Valley, under General Patterson, evinced the necessity, propriety, and practicability of a prompt march of our Valley army to his aid. General Johnston made serious objections to and expressed doubts as to the practicability of such a movement; and onlyu after repeated and urgent instructions did he move to make the junction proposed. The delay thus occasioned retarded the arrival of the head of his column until after the first confict had occurred, and prevented a part of his troops from getting into position until the victory had been won. Indeed, we were only saved from a fatal defeat at the battle of Manassas by the promptness of General E. Kirby Smith, who, acting without orders, and mowing by a change of direction, succeeded in reaching the battle-field in time to avert disaster. After the battle the forces of General Johnston and General Beauregard reamined united. General Johnston, who was in command of the combined forces, constantly declared his inability to assume offensive operations unless furnished with re-enforcements, which, as he was several times informed, the Goverument was unable to supply, and in the fall of 1861 put his troops in intrenched lines covering Centerville.
During the winter he declared that his position was so insecure that it must be abandoned before the enemy could advance, but indicated no other line of defense as the proper one. He was therefore summoned to Richmond in February, 1862, for conference. On inquiry into the character of his position at Centerville he stated that his lines there were untenable, but when asked what new position he proposed to occupy, declared himself ingorant of the topography of the country in his rear. This confession was a great shock to my confidence in him. That a general should have been for many months in command of an army, should have selected a line which he himself considered untenable, and should not have ascertained the potography of the country in his rear, was einexplicable on any other theory that he had neglected the primary duty of a commander. Engineers were sent by me from Richmond to examine the country and to supply him with the requesite information. General Johnston had announced, however, that his position was favorable as a point from which to advance, if he could be re-enforced. It was, therefore, agreed that he should mobilize his army by sending to the rear all heavy guns and all supplies and luggage, so as to be able to advance or retreat, as occasion might require. The Government was soon afterward suprised by learning that General Johnston had commenced a hasty retreat without giving notice of an intention to do so, though he had just been apprised of the improved prospect of re-enforcing him, and of the hope entertained by the that he would thus be enabled to assume the offensive. The retrat was without molestation or even demonstration from the enemy, but was conducted with such precipitaion as to mvolve a heavy loss of supplies. Some valuable artillery was abandoned, a large depot of provisions was burned, blankets, shoes, and saddles were committend to the flames, and this great sacrifice of property was so wanting in apparent justification as to produce a pamful impression on the public mind, and to lead to an inquiry by from Congress, which began an investigation into the subject, but did not report before Coungress adjourned.