Pity for Those in High Authority
WITHIN LESS THAN A WEEK after Manassas, Beauregard was complaining that the fruits of the victory had been lost. Maryland should have been liberated and Washington occupied, he wrote to a member of Congress.1 The failure of the army to advance he blamed on Richmond. Specifically he blamed Commissary General Northrop. The army could not move because it did not have enough food on hand to last through a campaign of any duration; it could not obtain food because of Northrop's red-tape rules. He also criticized the Commissary General for not supplying the army with sufficient horse and wagon transportation. Although Beauregard bore some responsibility for the situation, the fault was primarily Northrop's. Undeniably the Commissary General was an inefficient and irritating administrator. The army was on short rations.2
Frustrated by Northrop's refusal to meet his appeals, Beauregard took more direct action. On August 1 he addressed a letter to two of his former aides, William Porcher Miles and James Chesnut, who were now members of Congress. After describing the sufferings of his men he said:
They have stood it, though, nobly; but if it happens again, I shall join one of their camps and share their wants with them; for I will never allow them to suppose that I feast while they suffer.
The want of food and transportation has made us lose all the fruits of our victory. We ought at this moment to be in or about Washington.... God only knows when we will be able to advance; without these means we can neither advance nor retreat....