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[551] with traitors, many of them holding official positions of the gravest responsibility; and whatever it was important to Beauregard to know he speedily ascertained. To cross the Potomac, a little below or above our camps, was never difficult; and, once across, trusty messengers knew where to find fleet horses and sure guides to take them to the Rebel lines. The Confederate chiefs knew which among our officers meant them any harm, and which might be confidently trusted never to take them at disadvantage. They evidently had no more apprehension that Patterson would obstruct or countervail the march of Johnston to Manassas than that Breckinridge or Burnett would do them mortal harm in Congress.

V. The fall, very early in the action, of Gen. David Hunter,1 commanding the 2d or leading division, Was most untimely and unfortunate. He was so seriously wounded that he was necessarily borne from the field. Gen. Heintzelman,2 commanding the 3d division, was also wounded; not as severely, but so as to disable him. Gen. McDowell either had control of Runyon's division, guarding his line of communication, or he had not. If he had, he should have ordered the bulk of it to advance that morning on Centerville, so as to have had it well in hand to precipitate on the foe at the decisive moment; or, if he was so hampered by Scott that he was not at liberty to do this, he should have refused to attack, and resigned the command of the army, rather than fight a battle so fettered. After the mischief was done, Runyon's division was ordered. forward from Fairfax — of course, to no purpose. But it should, at least, have been promptly employed to block completely with its bayonets the roads leading to Washington, sternly arresting the flight of the panic-stricken fugitives, and gathering them up into something which should bear once more the semblance of an army.

VI. The original call of President Lincoln on the States, for 75,000 militia to serve three months, was a deplorable error. It resulted naturally from that obstinate infatuation which would believe, in defiance of all history and probability, that an aristocratic conspiracy of thirty years standing, culminating in a rebellion based on an artificial property valued at Four Thousand Millions of Dollars, and wielding the resources of ten or twelve States, having nearly ten millions of people, was to be put down in sixty or ninety days by some process equivalent to reading the Riot Act to an excited mob, and sending a squad of police to disperse it. Hence, the many prisoners of war taken with arms in their hands, in West Virginia and Missouri, had, up to this time, been quite commonly permitted to go at large on taking an oath3 of fidelity to the Constitution — a process which, in their view, was about as significant and imposing as taking a glass of cider. The Government had only to call for any number of men it required, to serve during the pleasure of Congress, or till the overthrow of the Rebellion, and

1 Colonel of the 3d cavalry in the regular service.

2 Colonel in the regular service.

3 For the first year of the war, no regular list of prisoners taken by us — not even of those paroled — was kept at the War Department; hence, we fell deplorably behind in our account current with the Rebels.

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