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Fitzhugh Lee, General Lee, Chapter 5: invasion of Virginia. (search)
s telegram is to be found in the fact that he had changed his plan of offensive operations. He had reversed his former purposes and now proposed to fight the first battle with the army around Washington, while the army of Patterson should make the feint, to prevent a junction of Johnston's army with that of Beauregard's at Manassas. General Sanford, who commanded the State troops of New York, was the senior officer at that time on duty in Washington; and at two o'clock on the morning of May 21, 1861, with eleven thousand men first invaded Virginia and took possession of Arlington Heights and the adjacent section as far as Alexandria. The Department of Virginia was created, and General Irvin McDowell was selected by the Washington Cabinet to command it. Up to that time it is said General Scott did not want anything done on the Virginia side of the Potomac except to fortify Arlington Heights. He was piqued and irritated that the Cabinet should have sent McDowell into Virginia, an