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[309] leading brigade was not in line before two o'clock; so that, in addition to the troops already in Washington before my arrival, I would have had to encounter the two divisions of the Sixth Corps and the part of the Nineteenth Corps that had arrived, if I had attempted to enter Washington. The proposition, therefore, that I could have successfully made an attempt at any time after my arrival is simply preposterous. If I had been able to reach Washington sooner, Grant would have sent troops to its rescue sooner, and hence there never was any prospect of my capturing that city. It was not General Lee's orders or expectation that I should take Washington. His order was that I should threaten that city; and when I suggested to him the probability of my being able to capture it he said that would be impossible. It was my own conception, that of undertaking the capture, but the feasibility of that depended upon my finding the city very insufficiently defended. On the night of the 11th, being unwilling to surrender the idea of capturing the Federal Capital, I gave an order for the assault at dawn on the 12th; but a dispatch received during the night, stating the arrival of two corps from Grant's army, caused me to examine the works at the earliest dawn of the 12th, when I found them so strongly manned as to preclude all hope of carrying them, and I therefore countermanded the order for the assault. I remained in front of the works, however, during the 12th, with the purpose of retiring at night, and gave orders accordingly. All my movements during the day were mere demonstrations to amuse the enemy until the time for withdrawal arrived. I had ascertained that Hunter had arrived at Harper's Ferry with his forces, which I knew to be much larger than my own, and my position was therefore exceedingly critical, as there was but one way for escaping across the Potomac, and that was by a ford above Leesburg, in Loudoun county, over which I did retire successfully. If the Federal commanders in Washington and General Hunter had been possessed of the requisite enterprise and daring it would have been impossible for me to have escaped the capture of my entire command. All my movements were based on the presumed want of enterprise on the part of the enemy, and it seems that Federal commanders cannot understand the audacity that caused their Capital to be threatened by so small a force. The article of the writer in The Republican contains a number of statements on subjects of minor interest which are wholly without foundation in fact. Among them is the statement that Francis P. Blair, Sr., was driven from his residence by my troops. Mr. Blair was not at home at the time, but was, as I was informed, absent with his family in Pennsylvania, leaving his house in charge of some woman

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