As the morning wore on, however, the thing became too plain to doubt, and Fairfax Court House settled it. The court house and yard were packed full of new tents, new overcoats, new uniforms.
The infantry went into camp, and cavalry scouts pursued their way down to the suburbs of Alexandria
, and by night Stuart
reported to Johnston
that there was no organized force south of the Potomac
This is no place to discuss the reasons why the Confederates
did not take Washington
on the 23rd of July, 1861. Two days march would have brought them to the Long Bridge
, J. E. B. Stuart
could have occupied it by noon of the 22nd, and the army could have marched comfortably over it. It is easy to see all this now. It was not so apparent on the 22nd of July.
The Fourth brigade, Colonel Elzey
, reached the Court House
the afternoon of the 22nd, where the First Maryland had preceded them, and the command went into camp at Fairfax Station, a few miles distant.
The whole army passed the rest of the summer in drills, in marches, in sudden alarms, in being instructed in the duties of a soldier—first and most important of which is to know how to make bread.
Bad cooking that summer killed more than Yankee bullets.
But the Marylanders were full of spirit.
They sang, they yelled, they shouted, they romped like a pack of schoolboys, and they were pets in the army.
If a quick march was to be made, the Marylanders were sent on it. If a surprise was planned by J. E. B. Stuart
and the cavalry, the Maryland
regiment was ordered to support him, and to this day the survivors remember an eighteen-mile march through the rain and mud to catch a regiment of Yankee cavalry at Pohick Church, which had strayed that far into the woods and which Stuart
proposed ‘to lose’ with the help of the First Maryland.
They mustered seven hundred and twenty rifles and muskets.
Their uniform was a French kepi (a little gray cap), a natty gray roundabout,