when hundreds of thousands of recruits would have begun to gather in the Eastern
and Western camps of instruction, which General Scott
had intended to form.
The same feelings that urged us on to Bull Run
in July would have sent forward a larger and quite an undisciplined an army at a later day, and the outcry would have been all the louder, as the force was greater in number, no matter if they were only enlisted yesterday.
So I have no doubt that Bull Run
was not an unmixed evil, but that Providence
may have so overruled in our favor that the infliction of this defeat of a small army, depressing as it was, may have saved us from severer defeat two months afterward. 1No thanks, however, to those who brought on the campaign.
In any event, the people were more patient, and afterward bore delays, which they could not understand, with a noble and self-sacrificing spirit.
So it happened that the first step taken by the dazed administration, after the battle of Bull Run
, was to order to Washington
, in command of the Army of the Potomac, the young General McClellan
, who had been so far the only general upon whose banners victory for the cause had perched.
He at once began a system of organization and distribution of troops, of purchase of material of war, of recommendations of generals to important commands East, West and South, of the erection of field fortifications, which to complete involved a long time, longer far than was suspected by the administration or the people.
He and his subordinates worked day and night to perfect his system, and worked ably and with good effect.
One day in August, shortly after his arrival at Washington
, he, General Blair
, and myself were together in a room in the seven buildings then occupied, I believe, as the headquarter offices.
stated to General Blair
, who was Chairman
of the Committee
on Military Affairs in the House of Representatives, certain matters upon which he was anxious that the committee should act favorably and speedily.
promised that the matter should be settled at once as General McClellan
wished to have it, and then said in effect, “General, anything that you indicate as necessary shall always be acted upon favorably by our committee, and if you do not feel that you are to-day king of this country, you do not appreciate your position.”
Although the saying was impulsive and extravagant, it nevertheless indicated the honest feelings of the speaker, and was a type of the sentiments of a great number of people then gathered in Washington
But the fall wore away, and no movement of the great army collected in front and rear of Washington