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 after which the arty retired behind the Rapidan, about the 23d of March. The enemy having occupied Manassas, pushed out a reconnoissance under General Howard, which, about the 26th, had a small skirmish with Stuart holding the Rappahannock as a picket line, and then withdrew. Meanwhile, after considerable opposition from the President, who favored a direct advance upon Manassas, General McClellan had sucseeded in instituting his desired campaign, an advance upon Richmond by way of the Peninsula, although under certain restrictions by Mr. Lincoln, which almost appear ridiculous. His unwilling consent was granted, provided-- First. That long-coveted Manassas, at length happily possessed, should be forever secured to the peaceable possession of the stars and stripes.1 Second. That no more than fifty thousand men should be allowed to leave Washington city without some steps being taken to put an end to the impudent and provoking blockade of the Potomac.2 Third. That enough troops should be left in the fortifications around Washington to secure it against all contingencies.3 As the blockade of the Potomac by the Evansport batteries was, of course, quietly given up when the army withdrew from Centreville, there was no trouble upon that score, but upon the other two heads McClellan seemed himself to have apprehensions, based upon his exaggerated idea of the Confederate force, which he estimated at 115,500, its true strength being only 50,000. He accordingly left for the defence of Washington 77,456 men and 109 guns,4 while 120,500 met. were
1 Lincoln's War Order No. 3, March 8th, 1863.
3 A comparison of the forces which were retained for the defences of the two capitals develops a wonderful contrast. The force kept at Richmond, though often charged with the safekeeping of large numbers of prisoners, varied from 3,000 to 8,000, and was principally composed of local malitia. The few small earth-works which defended it, were poorly provided with guns, and had no permanent garrisons. The fortifications of Washington were numerous and powerful, fully armed and manned, and the garrison probably never fell below 25,000. The only accurate returns of its forces which I can find (besides the figures given above,) are for May 1st, 1864, when there were present for duty 42,124, and for March 1st, 1865, when although there was no Confederate force north of Richmond to threaten its safety, the garrison numbered 26,056. Report of Secretary of War, 1865. These figures do not include the garrison of Baltimore which seems to have always been several thousands.
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