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The affair at Bethel, which was of small importance, was followed by movements in Northern and Western Virginia--the battles at Rich Mountain and Carrick's Ford; Johnston's movements in the Valley; and the advance of the main Federal army on the force under Beauregard, which resulted in the first battle of Manassas. In these events, General Lee bore no part, and we need not speak of them further than 42 to present a summary of the results. The Federal design had been to penetrate Virginia in three columns.
Large forces had been meanwhile raised throughout the South; Virginia became the centre of all eyes, as the scene of the main struggle; and early in June occurred at Bethel, in Lower Virginia, the first prominent affair, in which General Butler, with about four thousand men, was repulsed and forced to retire. The affair at Bethel, which was of small importance, was followed by movements in Northern and Western Virginia--the battles at Rich Mountain and Carrick's Ford; Johnston's movements in the Valley; and the advance of the main Federal army on the force under Beauregard, which resulted in the first battle of Manassas.
This would completely insure the communications of his army from interruption; and it was no doubt expected that Generals Fremont and Banks would coöperate in the movement also. Fremont was to advance from Northwestern Virginia, driving before him the small Confederate force, under Jackson, in the Valley; and General Banks, then at Winchester, was to cross the Blue Ridge Mountains, and, posting his forces along the Manassas Railroad, guard the approaches to Washington when McDowell advanced from Fredericksburg to the aid of General McClellan.