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Chapter 12:


While the organization of the army into divisions was being effected, General Beauregard, from close scrutiny of the Northern journals, had come to the conclusion that an early attack was meditated against his lines. To avoid all possibility of surprise, and deceive the enemy about his real strength, he caused rockets to be distributed to his command, with minute instructions as to their use. Very shortly afterwards, as night had just set in, Captain E. P. Alexander, whose zeal and activity were untiring, came to headquarters and reported that rockets were being thrown up, in a very strange manner, from the lines of the forces opposing us. General Beauregard at once ordered the discharge of the appropriate signals; and, in a few moments a counter-blaze of rockets swept the sky along the entire line of the Confederate pickets, which extended about ten miles from the Occoquan, on the right, to the vicinity of the Potomac, north of Falls Church, on the left. The consequence was a most extraordinary illumination, which produced an excitement in Washington, where charges soon became rife that officers of the War Department had given information of an intended advance by McClellan, in the night, which the Confederates had shown their readiness to meet.

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