, and rendered our further progress impossible.
It is certain that the Federal Government
and generals did not regard the capture of Washington
by us as practicable, like the non-combatant authors of the criticisms to which I refer.
The fact that the army at Harper's Ferry
was left idle there instead of being brought to Washington
, is conclusive on that point.
I have never doubted the correctness of my course on that occasion.
Had I done so, the results of the invasions made subsequently by disciplined and much more numerous armies, properly equipped and provided, and commanded by the best soldiers who appeared in that war, would have reassured me. The first of these expeditions was after General Lee
's victory over Pope
, and those of Majors-General Jackson
, and Shields
, in 1862; the second, when the way was supposed to have been opened by the effect of General Lee
's victory at Chancellorsville
, in 1863.
The armies defeated on those occasions were four times as numerous as that repulsed on the 21st of July, 1861, and their losses much greater in proportion to numbers; yet the spirit of the Northern
people was so roused by these invasions of their country, that their armies, previously defeated on our soil, met ours on their own at Sharpsburg
so strong in numbers and in courage as to send back the war into Virginia
from each of those battle-fields.
The failure of those invasions, directed by Lee
, aided by Longstreet
, with troops inured to marches and manoeuvres as well as to battle, and attempted under the most favorable circumstances of