good conduct was not the result of discipline and drill, but of the essential virtues of their character.
It was prophetic of the admirable service it was destined to render, when perfected by months of well directed instruction in the tactics and practice of war.
To resume Col. Beckwith
's narrative, “Here for a little time we busied ourselves with the duties of soldiers in camp, and becoming familiar with company and battalion movements, when all of a sudden we were astonished by news that McClellan
had fallen back from Harrison's Landing
was falling back from Culpeper Court House, Jackson
was on Pope
's flank, and Lee
was partially between Pope
, and Washington
Everything was magnified in the most outrageous manner.”
What really had happened was serious enough.
's army was concentrated at Harrison's Landing
, discouraged by defeat, the defeat of its commander, not of its constituency, destitute of equipment and supplies on account of the capture and destruction of artillery and trains.
, with the forces able to be gathered for the purpose, was not able to resist the attack of the victorious Confederate army, in the series of engagements that constituted the second battle of Bull Run
; and flushed with this further triumph, Lee
was leading his forces forward in an attempt to capture Washington
They were already in Maryland
, concentrating in the vicinity of Frederick City.
It was necessary to interpose a sufficient force between the advancing enemy and Washington
to prevent its capture, and defeat the enemy.
In this effort, little time was given to the newly enlisted regiments for instruction and drill.
They were hurriedly assigned to organizations already in the field.
The 121st was ordered to report to the Fifth