The secession of deep south states and the firing at Fort Sumter prompted Abraham Lincoln to call for volunteers to supperess the rebellion and in reaction Jefferson Davis called on volunteers. While the states of Virginia, Tennesee, North Carolina and Arkansas, disgusted at the idea of attacking their fellow southerners, seceded while Maryland, Missouri ,and Kentucky each declared a shakey neutrality. While Lincoln and his generals began to organize soliders and secure Maryland for operations agnist Virginia, Davis made Richmond ,Virginia his new capatal. From here he began to organize a government and the army. Davis decided to stay strictly on the defensive, which would allow the south to appear at the mercy of an attacking enemy and because the south was outmanned and out gunned. Davis also made the choice of defending all of the south and not to give the north any land without a fight, even though such an act would spread out his thin resources; New York alone had more production than the whole south. For most of the war Davis and a grab bag of advisors and secrataries of various capabilities would dictate the course of southern hopes and plans.
The first major froces to form were in northern Virginia. Two armies, numbering 40,000 total, were respectively comanded by the professional J.E. Johnston and the eccentric and uneven P.G.T. Beauregard. The goal of these armies was to defend Virgina and give battle to the union army under Irvin McDowell. It was popularly belived that one battle would decide the war, and although unprepared, McDowell was forced to attack. His army apporoched Beauregard beliving that Johnston was pinned down in the Shenandoah Valley. He was wrong and the following day he attacked a southern army nearly his own size. Despite early northern sucess, the southerns were able to counterattack and win the battle of Bull Run. The northern army retreated in disaray, but the southerns were equally confused, and the strong personalities of Davis, Johnston, and Beaurugard clashed.