Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 20, 1861 (Saturday): Johnston Takes Command at Manassas

McLean House, Johnston's Headquarters at Manassas (Virginia Historical Society)

                                                                                    RICHMOND, July 20, 1861.
General Joseph E. Johnston, Manassas Junction, Va.;
    GENERAL:  You are a general in the Confederate Army, possessed of the power attaching to that rank.  You will know how to make the exact knowledge of Brigadier-General Beauregard, as well of the ground as of the troops and preparation, avail for the success of the object in which you co-operate.  The zeal of both assures me of harmonious action.
                                                                                    JEFFERSON DAVIS

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 2, Page 385

Johnston wanted to clarify his relative standing in the Army relative to Beauregard so there would be no confusion as to command.  That Johnston indulged in excessive examination of where he stood relative to other commanders is without question, but in this instance there were practical reasons to have this issue settled in advance of the battle which appeared imminent.

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