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 Washington city. Persons for a week after the battle were constantly coming to the camp at Fairfax Courthouse, and giving full and perfect information as to the utterly confused and defenceless state of the enemy. Why that was not taken advantage of time will show. But after a few weeks it was too late. Then nothing could be done except hold the host McClellan was organizing in check. And this General Johnson did on a line extending from Acquia Creek by Leesburg to Winchester, with a scantiness of resources and disparity of force, which, when known, will not be considered the least remarkable of the great achievements of this war. The fortifications at Centreville, which might have readily been turned at any time by the Sudley Ford road, and the heavy siege guns thereon mounted (of wood) for four months held at bay a great General and a great army. When at last McClellan had determined to attack him, and sending Banks by a grand movement by Winchester and the Berryville road to flank the position at Centreville, moved Kearney up the Orange and Alexandria railroad to feel our strength on our right. General Johnston, by alert and prompt action, threw his whole army back to the line of the Rappahannock. This was the second lesson he had given the enemy of eluding a proffered combat, and selecting his own time and occasion for battle with a celerity that confounded all his combinations. It was impossible for him to fight at Manassas. Banks, moving by Front Royal, could have cut his communications at Culpeper Courthouse, or, crossing at Berry's Ferry, seize the Manassas Gap railroad at Piedmont. The campaign of McClellan was frustrated by this sudden move to the Rappahannock. Banks fell back to Winchester, where he remained stationary for several weeks, and McClellan moved his army to the Peninsula. The retreat from Manassas paralyzed all the operations of the enemy in Northern Virginia for weeks, and rendered an entirely new campaign necessary on his part.
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