previous next
[253] Ramseur's, and Rode's divisions of infantry. The 11th was spent in front of Washington city. Why did not Early go into the city with his troops? How often since the war have we heard discussions pro and con about the first battle of Manassas, and the following remarks were made: ‘Why did not Beauregard and Johnston take Washington city when they could have done so with but little resistance?’ I do not remember what Early's reasons were for not going into Washington on the 12th.

He no doubt had good reasons after consulting with his generals for not doing so. He knew that reinforcements, the Sixth Army Corps, was disembarking from transports on the Potomac, and still they did not reach Early's line of battle until on the 13th. What was transpiring in Washington city during all of that time? I shall take the liberty of quoting from an impartial historian, Frank Wilkinson, who fought on the Union side. He says:

Washington was in an uproar. In the morning we heard that Early was at a certain point. At night he was reported as being fifty miles from there. To-day his army was alleged to number 30,000 men. On the morrow pale-faced, anxious men, solemnly asserted that certain information had been received at the War Department that at least 50,000 veteran soldiers were marching with Early. Late at night, on July 9th, I was at Willard's Hotel. An excited man walked rapidly in and told the group in which I was talking that our army, under General Lew Wallace, had been disastrously defeated on the Monocacy by General Early, and that our disordered troops were in full retreat on Baltimore. Later on we we heard that Wallace's army had been annihilated. Still later, that the government's books, records, and money were being packed in boxes preparatory to its flight to New York. Almost every man that I met that night believed that the Confederate guns would be thundering at the capital in less than twenty-four hours.

The next morning the report of defeat on the Monocacy was confirmed and the excitement in the city grew more and more intense. Men stood in groups on street corners, in hotel lobbies, in newspaper offices, and in drinking saloons and discussed the military situation.

Officers rode furiously up and down the streets, and swarmed around the War Department. I began to think that maybe Early would make a dash at Washington. So I walked to the War Department and reported for duty. I was astonished at the authentic news. War Department officials told me that General Anger, who had command of the troops at Washington, did not have 5,000

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: