[CIVIL WAR]. JOHNSTON, Joseph E. (1807-1891), General, C.S.A. Autograph letter signed ("J.E. Johnston") to General Pierre G. T. Beauregard (1818-1893), Centreville, [VA], 10 Novemeber 1861. 1 page, 8vo, blue stationery, small hole in upper left corner with evidence of early repair, framed.
THE VICTORIOUS CONFEDERATE GENERALS OF THE FIRST BATTLE OF MANASSAS PLAN OPERATIONS IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA
A fine war-dated letter. Three months after the South's victory on the first major battlefield of the war, Johnston and Beauregard, the Confederate Generals who commanded at Manassas, discuss the movement of troops in Northern Virginia. From the war's outset, it was clear that the land between Richmond, VA. and Washington, D.C. would be hotly contested as the opposing armies sought to threaten their enemy's seat of government. Hoping to defend all possible routes of Union advance, Jefferson Davis placed armies close to Washington along the vital Manassas Railroad and at the head of the Shenandoah Valley near Harper's Ferry commanded by Beauregard and Johnston respectively. When a large Union Army under the command of General Irwin McDowell advanced from the northern capital towards Manassas Junction, Johnston hurriedly directed his army to aid Beauregard. The arrival of Johnston's troops on 21 July 1861 at Manassas thwarted what initially appeared to be a Union victory and sent the demoralized Yankee soldiers limping back to Washington.
Here, while the Union Army in Washington was steadily growing and improving under its new commander, George McClellan, Johnston writes Beauregard, now second in command, concerning General Nathan Evans' brigade: "[General JEB] Stuart told me last night that Evans has two companies in addition to the cavalry force you assigned to him. They were sent some weeks ago to relieve two others & E. kept all." Evans' men had won another Confederate victory at the Battle of Ball's Bluff just three weeks previously. Johnston continues: "The heavy guns at Harpers Ferry could, perhaps be brought to Leesburg by Stricker's Ferry - Thence by Turnpike. I should think, tho', that it could be used as well, for the same purpose, at H. Ferry."
Although Johnston and Beauregard worked well together during the first fall of the war, Beauregard was subsequently sent to the western theater as he had grown restless in his subordinate position. Johnston led the Confederate Army which parried the Union advance against Richmond, but the serious wound he received at the Battle of Seven Pines forced his replacement by Robert E. Lee. Johnston subsequently commanded in Georgia and the Carolinas during Sherman's operations of 1864 and 1865.