field-guns of the forts,” and “they soon became an unrivaled body of artillerymen.
Their long connection with particular works inspired them with pride in their perfection and preservation, while the zeal and military knowledge of their commanders prompted and enabled them to render aid to the engineers in modifying and strengthening the forts and in developing the lines.”
Such was the confidence felt by everyone in General Grant
that when, in 1864, he withdrew practically the entire garrison of Washington for his field-army — a thing that McClellan
had wanted to do and was prevented — there was little or no opposition raised.
But this very action left Washington
a tempting morsel for a daring raider, and the Confederate
commander was not long in taking advantage of that fact.
was hard pressed, and he sought to create a diversion by sending Early
to threaten, and, if possible, to capture Washington
This ruse of threatening the national capital had been successful before, and he hoped that Grant
also might be influenced by it. Early left Lee
's army under orders to attack and destroy General Hunter
's army in the Shenandoah
and then to threaten Washington
Several times during the raid, Lee
communicated with Early
, leaving the decision of returning or moving on to the judgment of Early
, according to the circumstances in which he found himself.
On the 10th of July he was within sixteen miles of Washington, in Maryland
, and defeated a small detachment of Federal cavalry.
Hasty preparations were made in the defenses to muster all the troops possible to repel the invader.
attacked the works on the Seventh Street Road but was repulsed, and during the night of the 12-13th of July, 1864, he withdrew and retired toward Conrad's Ferry, on the Potomac
He stated later: “McCausland
[one of his brigade commanders] reported the works on the Georgetown pike
too strong for him to assault.
We could not move to the right or left without its being discovered from a signal ”