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Oliver Otis Howard, Autobiography of Oliver Otis Howard, major general , United States army : volume 1, Chapter 10: camping in Washington; in command of a brigade (search)
Chapter 10: camping in Washington; in command of a brigade On June 8th, the day our veteran commander, General Winfield Scott, penned his famous letter to old General Patterson favoring his projected capture of Harper's Ferry, my new regiment was marching along Pennsylvania Avenue and Fourteenth Street to Meridian Hill. When we began the march the heat was intense. The men were loaded down with their knapsacks, haversacks, and cartridge boxes. Friends at home and along our route had been so generous that much underclothing, books, and keepsakes had been stowed away by the men, so that the weight for each was extra heavy. Again, these old-pattern knapsacks sagged, bound the arms, hurt the shoulders, and wearied the muscles of our young soldiers. Many a brave-hearted youth gave up, sat down by the way, or dropped out of ranks for water or rest and that before the end of the first three miles of bona fide marching. When about half way on the Fourteenth Street stretch a sudden
the morale to Beauregard. Later in the war such a skirmish would have passed with scarcely a remark. The Confederate commander, General Johnston, had eluded Patterson, passed on to Piedmont, and then transported his infantry on the cars, sending them to Manassas, part at a time. Ie himself came on with the first trainload, reuregard had a plan for the offensive which Johnston approved. It was to move out from his right and attack McDowell on that remarkable Sunday (July 21st) before Patterson could join him. By Saturday night all the Union divisions except Runyon's at Alexandria were grouped around Centreville. McDowell, too, had his plan. Saturd to the command of the departments of Washington and of Northeastern Virginia. I heard General Sherman once say when he had listened to a severe criticism of Patterson, McDowell, and other early leaders, that we must not be too critical and hard upon them, for we were green in those days and we all have to learn by experience.