Chapter 5: Marylanders in the campaigns of 1861.
became one of the Confederate States
by the vote of her people, May 24, 1861, the Confederate government, Mr. Jefferson Davis
, removed to Richmond
from Montgomery, Ala.
, and assumed the charge of military operations all over the Confederacy
The fixed idea of President Davis
was that the first necessity was to save the Confederate States
from invasion; for invasion, he argued, would demoralize the negro population and make inefficient the labor of the South
behind the armies, which must rely on slave labor for food and clothes.
Therefore the Confederate government undertook to cover the entire front, from the Chesapeake bay
to the western frontier.
In carrying out this strategy, armies were collected in Virginia
; at Aquia Creek
on the Potomac
; at Manassas Junction
, thirty miles from Alexandria
; at Harper's Ferry
, the junction of the Shenandoah
and Potomac and the mouth or entrance of the valley of Virginia
; and at Grafton
, west of the mountains on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad.
At Harper's Ferry
break through the Blue Ridge
and form a gorge of surpassing grandeur and picturesqueness.
once said in his notes of Virginia
that the view from Loudoun heights
on the Virginia
side was worth a voyage across the Atlantic
to see. The Virginians never got over it. Harper's Ferry
and Mont Blanc
It was an impregnable fortress of nature.
agreed with them—about the only thing he did agree with them about—and seized Harper's Ferry
as the base of his 50