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[86] and create uncertainty among public servants distant from the capital.

Then he added: “Should it come to the defense of the Treasury building as a citadel, then the President and all the members of his cabinet must take up their quarters with us in that building. They must not be permitted to desert the capital!”

This conversation, quoted from a Washington historian of the war-time period (Doctor Marcus Benjamin), shows, in brief, the inadequate preparations for the defense of the capital of one of the greatest nations on the face of the globe! On April 19, 1861, troops began to arrive from the North, and the extreme apprehension was for a time quieted, until the battle of Bull Run, on July 21st, threw the country, and especially the population of Washington, into a state of the most intense excitement.

Except for certain river defenses, twelve miles below the city, Washington was entirely undefended at the outbreak of the war. From a hasty glance at the topography, we find that there are no natural fortifications around the city, and that artificial works were necessary throughout. The problem of defense was made greater, also, by the fact that the city was spread out over so much ground. At the time of the Civil War the effective range of the heaviest artillery was between three and four miles, and the engineers recognized the great difficulty of erecting adequate defenses. We find also that public opinion fluctuated and affected the action of Congress in regard to these defenses, to the frequent consternation of the officers charged with their maintenance.

Obviously the first direction from which danger was apprehended was that of the Virginia side. The heights commanding the river were a constant menace to Washington until they could be occupied in force by the Federals. Since no attempts theretofore had been made to fortify the city, it does not appear that sufficient information upon which even

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