Zzzthe thirty-days' Campaign.
I count this thirty-days' campaign as one of the most brilliant of
our own or any other war. Within that brief time General Early
, with less than 14,000 men, all told, had—
1. Driven out of the field the army of Hunter
, 18,500 strong.
2. Bottled up Sigel
at Harper's Ferry
, with a force 6,000 strong.
3. Defeated Wallace
at the Monocacy
, and sent him whirling into Baltimore
with an army of 6,000 to 7,000 strong.
4. Diverted from Grant
's army the Sixth Corps and a part of the Nineteenth Corps, which just at this time, happily for Grant
, was arriving at Fort Monroe
from New Orleans.
5. Transferred the seat of war from Central and Piedmont Virginia
, where it menaced the rear of Lee
, to the border line of Northern Virginia
on the Potomac
, where it began three years before.
Counting the men in the defences of Washington
had occupied fully 60,000 men to oppose him. All the objects of the campaign were, up to this time, roundly accomplished.
No doubt there was hope that Washington
might possibly be captured, and that Grant
, like McClellan
, might be forced to abandon operations on the James
, and both his and Lee
's armies transferred to the northern border.
But this hope was never either a design or expectation.
The march of Early
from Cold Harbor by Charlottesville
across the Potomac
and the Monocacy
, and through the South Mountain
passes to Washington
, and back to Virginia
between the 13th of June and the 14th of July, a distance of 510 miles, an average of sixteen miles a day, is for length and rapidity, without a parallel in our own or any modern war. The fact that most of his men covered sixty miles, from Charlottesville
, on the cars does not alter this statement.
It took Sherman
nearly three months to get over 300 miles, from Atlanta
, with less proportional impediment.
's Division of Wellington
's army marched seventy-two miles in twenty-four hours to Talavera
; but never did Wellington
, Stonewall Jackson
, or, that I have been able to discover, did Napoleon Bonaparte
, achieve so great a consecutive distance in so brief a time.
And, when it is remembered that Early
had to thread his path into a hostile country, through the meshes of four opposing forces, two of which (Hunter
's and Wallace
's) he defeated, one of which (Sigel
's) he eliminated and foiled, while the fourth he confronted at Washington
with numbers trebling his own, and that he did not lose a gun—the exploit is marvellous; and is, at least, a worthy companion-piece of the Valley
Campaign of Jackson