The London Times, in a leading article upon the report of our Sanitary Commission, which included the results of an examination into the circumstances attending the battle of Manassas, actually makes in respectful language, the following sensible admissions:
However, these statistics, which are no doubt substantially accurate, and which are given, indeed, in greater detail than we have thought it necessary to observe must at once remove all doubt about the real causes of that inefficiency which cost the Northerners the day at Bull Run. * * * It is probably true enough that the loss of the battle was due immediately to the poor condition of the troops engaged which did not admit either of their holding out as long as might have been anticipated, or bearing up against the effects of a panic.
Here lies the true secret of the whole affair. The men were only soldiers of three months standing. They had never been inured to privation, or even inconvenience. They could not carry their packs or muskets comfortably for a short march on a cool morning least of all could they stand a mile or two of the double, which indeed might have tried older soldiers than they were. They were brave enough, no doubt, and had will enough to fight, but they had none of that endurance which training alone can give. Probably under the circumstances it was a toss-up which side broke down first, but as it happened, the luck was against the Federals.
– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, March 1, 1862, p. 1