actual condition of McDowell
's army on the retreat, must recollect that this was not known to General Johnston
until that army was safe from pursuit, even if it had been practicable to accomplish any more than was done with our army in its then condition.
Without having been in General Johnston
's confidence, or professing to know more about the motives actuating him at the time than he has thought proper to make public, I will undertake to show that it was utterly impossible for any army to have captured Washington
by immediate pursuit, even if it had been in condition to make such pursuit, and that it would have been very difficult to cross the Potomac
In the first place, I will say that the army was not in condition to make pursuit on the afternoon of the 21st after the battle, or that night.
All the troops engaged, except Cocke
's regiment, the 19th Virginia, the two regiments with Kershaw
, and my command, were so much exhausted and shattered by the desperate conflict in which they had participated, that they made no attempt at pursuit and were incapable of any.
Our cavalry consisted of one organized regiment of nine companies, and a number of unattached companies.
This cavalry was armed principally with shot guns and very inferior sabres, and was without the discipline and drill necessary to make that arm effective in a charge.
Moreover it had been necessarily scattered on the flanks and along the line, to watch the enemy and give information of his movements.
It could not readily be concentrated for the purpose of an efficient pursuit, and the attempts made in that direction were desultory.
By light on the morning of the 22nd, the greater part of the enemy's troops were either in the streets of Washington
or under the protection of the guns at Arlington Heights
The question then arises whether, by pursuit on the morning of the 22nd, Washington
could have been captured.
And I will here call attention to some facts which