he could capture Washington in two hours if he determined to take the National Capital. How we fumed and fretted! Before sunrise on July 12th we saw that Early's men were in motion. They moved slowly towards our entrenchments, with a heavy line of skirmishers preceding their battle line. These skirmishers drove our pickets before them with great ease. The Confederate battle line advanced until they were within long cannon range of the forts. Their skirmishers were within rifle range, and Confederate bullets occasionally sang above us. Many heavy guns opened on the battle-line. It halted and the men lay down in the grass, among bushes and behind buildings. We saw that his troops were not formed in charging column; saw that there was no preparatory bustle; saw, that though the Confederate skirmishers were far in advance of the main line, they were not pushing our pickets. Evidently there was to be no serious fighting that morning. We continued to shell the Confederate line without a particle of effect unless to excite the contempt of veteran soldiers. During the evening General Anger sent a body of troops from our line, to feel of Early's men. Naturally, the latter objected to be felt of, so they promptly killed and wounded 300 of Anger's men. These having had enough of dallying with savage-tempered and veteran Confederate infantry, skurried back to our entrenchments. We were told the next morning that the Union people of Washington had been panic-stricken; that the masculine portion of the entire city had got wildly drunk and kept so, and that the Sixth Corps was coming up the Potomac river to the defence of Washington. As the Sixth Corps marched on the battle ground, formed line, and, preceded by hundreds of skirmishers, advanced. Alas, too late! The last Confederates had hastened after their leader, and were well on their way to the Shenandoah Valley. Could Early have captured Washington on June 11th, 12th, 1864? I unhesitatingly answer, yes.My opinion is that he could not have held the city had he captured it.
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