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[42] rode to the field. He soon encountered the procession of stragglers and heard their stories. He was so impressed by their numbers that he said to an officer riding with him, ‘Fields are not won where men desert their colors as ours are doing.’

Quite near the field, the road crossed a small stream. Here the surgeons had established field hospitals, and about these and under shade of the trees the crowd of wounded, attendants, and stragglers was extensive. As he had ridden along the road, the President had frequently called upon men to turn back to the field, and some had done so. Here he seemed to fear that the whole army was in retreat. As he rode his horse into the stream he drew his rein, and with a pale, stern face, and in a loud, ringing voice he shouted, ‘I am President Davis. Follow me back to the field!’ Not far off, Stonewall Jackson, who had been shot through the hand, but had disregarded it until victory was assured, was now having his hand dressed by Surgeon Hunter McGuire. Jackson did not catch the President's words, and McGuire repeated them to him. Jackson quickly shouted: ‘We have whipped them! They ran like sheep! Give me 5000 fresh men, and I will be in Washington City to-morrow morning.’ In that sentence, as we shall see, appears almost the only evidence of appreciation among our leaders, on that field, of the great opportunity now before them.

The enemy were routed. Jackson saw their demoralization, and felt that, if rapidly followed up, it would spread and might involve the capital itself. And every soldier should have seen in it at least a good chance to cut off and capture many thousands of fugitives retreating by long and roundabout roads.

There was little effort, worthy of the name, even to do this. Our small bodies of cavalry did their best and captured about as many prisoners as they could handle. In all 871 unwounded were taken. But to fully improve such an opportunity much more was necessary. All the troops best situated to cut the line of retreat should have been put in motion. Not only staffoffi-cers, but generals themselves, should have followed up to inspire and urge pursuit. The motto of our army here would seem to have been, ‘Build a bridge of gold for a flying enemy.’

Jackson's offer to take Washington City the next morning

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