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Chapter 5: Marylanders in the campaigns of 1861.

When Virginia became one of the Confederate States by the vote of her people, May 24, 1861, the Confederate government, Mr. Jefferson Davis being President, 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 Norfolk; 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 the Potomac and Shenandoah break through the Blue Ridge and form a gorge of surpassing grandeur and picturesqueness. Mr. Jefferson 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 was Thermopylae and Mont Blanc combined. It was an impregnable fortress of nature. John Brown agreed with them—about the only thing he did agree with them about—and seized Harper's Ferry as the base of his 50

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