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[620] by the middle1 of October, Gen. McClellan found himself at the head of fully 150,000 men — an army superior in numbers, in intelligence, and in the essential quality of its material, to any ever led into battle by Napoleon, and by far the largest and most effective which had ever been seen on this continent. It was not only far better drilled and fitted for service than that with which Gen. McDowell had advanced to Centerville and Bull Run, but it was better constituted, in that its members — not one of them a conscript — had enlisted for a term of years, after all sixty-day hallucinations had been dispelled, and with a full knowledge that they were to encounter the hardships, the perils and the privations of protracted and inexorable war.

Gen. McClellan held his first grand parade at the close of September, when 70,000 men of all arms were assembled, maneuvered, and reviewed; a larger army than had ever before been concentrated on any field in America. Apprehensions were expressed that the Rebels would improve this opportunity to attack some portion of our lines; but they were not strong enough to warrant such a venture. Still, regiment after regiment, battery after battery,was poured from the North into Washington, and thence distributed to the several camps assigned them on either side of the Potomac, until the mere bulk of our quiescent forces, the necessity for ground whereon to station them, compelled an advance of our lines — the light troops covering the Rebel front retiring whenever pressed. Lewinsville was reoccupied by our army on the 9th, Vienna on the 16th, and Fairfax Court House on the 17th of October; the Confederates recoiling without firing a shot to Centerville and Manassas. On the 16th, Gen. Geary, under orders from Gen. Banks, in Maryland, advanced to and captured Bolivar Hights, overlooking Harper's Ferry. Leesburg, the capital of Loudoun county, Va., was mistakenly reported evacuated by the Confederates on the 17th; Gen. McCall, with a considerable Union force, moving up the right bank of the Potomac to Dranesville, whence his scouts were pushed forward to Goose Creek, four miles from Leesburg. On the 19th and 20th, McCall made two reconnoissances in the direction of Leesburg, encountering no enemy, and being assured by those he met that the Rebels had abandoned that town some days before. Thus advised, Gen. McClellan, on the 20th, directed the following dispatch to be sent to Gen. Stone, at Poolesville, Md., where he was watching and guarding the line of the Potomac from the Maryland side of the river:

Received October 20, 1861, from Camp Griffin.
Gen. McClellan desires me to inform you that Gen. McCall occupied Dranesville yesterday, and is still there; will send out heavy reconnoissances to-day in all directions from that point. The General desires that you keep a good lookout on Leesburg, to see if this movement has the effect to drive them away. Perhaps a slight demonstration on

1 Gen. McClellan, in his carefully elaborated “Report,” says:

By the 15th of October, the number of troops in and about Washington, inclusive of the garrison of the city and Alexandria, the city guard, and the forces on the Maryland shore of the Potomac below Washington, and as far as Cumberland above, the troops under the command of Gen. Dix at Baltimore and its dependencies, were as follows:

Total present for duty133,201
Total sick9,290
Total in confinement1,156
Aggregate present143,647
Aggregate absent8,404

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