conclusion not to be doubted, as the following facts show.
There was no reason to apprehend an attack by way of Manassas
; for the enemy in their retreat across the Rappahannock
had destroyed all the railroad-bridges behind them.
Had they attempted such a movement, their progress must have been very slow; for they must have rebuilt their bridges, and this would have announced their purpose beforehand and afforded ample time to concentrate a large body of forces at Washington
Nor was there any real ground of apprehension from the Valley of the Shenandoah
; because the movement of the army on Richmond
would make it impossible for the enemy to leave in that region men enough to overpower the large body of troops we had there.
But, in General McClellan
's opinion, the way to defend Washington
was to attack Richmond
; and the greater the force thrown against the rebel capital, the greater the security of our own. Strongly fortified as Washington
was, capable of being readily reinforced from the North
, it was manifest that the enemy could not afford to detach from his main army a force sufficient to capture it.
Here were solid grounds enough, it would appear, for General McClellan
's conclusion that he had left Washington
perfectly safe; but, unhappily, fears, panics, and apprehensions take their rise in that part of the mind which is not reached by the voice of reason.
were safe or not