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.
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
, 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
On the 16th, Gen. Geary
, under orders from Gen. Banks
, in Maryland
, advanced to and captured Bolivar Hights, overlooking Harper's Ferry
, 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
, 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: