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 was planned and carried into execution.1 Washington, in fact, assumed the aspect of a fortified capital, with a system of defences so formidable that the enemy at no time throughout the war attempted seriously to assail that city.2 Such is but a faint setting forth of the manifold activities evoked and directed towards the creation of the Army of the Potomac by its new commander. It was a season of faithful, fruitful work, amid which that army grew into shape and substance. And with such surprising energy was the work of organization pushed forward, that whereas General McClellan in July came into command of a collection of raw, dispirited, and disorganized regiments, without commissariat or quartermaster departments, and unfitted either to march or fight, he had around him at the end of three months a hundred thousand men, trained and disciplined, organized and equipped, animated by the highest spirit, and deserving the fond name of the Grand Army of the Potomac. And certainly, if there are portions of McClellan's subsequent military career that are open to animadversion, he yet challenges from all impartial minds the credit due this mighty performance.3 Looking at the work he then initiated, in the only light in which we can rightly appreciate it—as it stands related to
2 The theory of the system of defences of Washington is that upon which the works of Torres Vedras were based—the occupation of commanding points within cannon-range of each other by field-forts, the fire of which shall sweep all the approaches, a connection being formed by infantry parapets easily improvised. The line, as it encircles the capital on both sides of the Potomac, has a development of thirty-three miles. As to the value of this system of defences for the safeguard of Washington, that is a vast, complex, and difficult question, not to be entered on here. It has been very severely criticised by Colonel Lecomte in his work, ‘Campagne de Virginie et de Maryland en 1862;’ and to these animadversions a warm rejoinder has been made by General Barnard in ‘The Peninsular Campaign and its Antecedents.’
3 History will not refuse to affirm of this work the judgment pronounced by General McClellan himself: ‘The creation of such an army in so short a time from nothing, will hereafter be regarded as one of the highest glories of the administration and the nation.’
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