“Greatest battle ever fought on this continent!” “Fearful carnage on both sides!” “Incessant roar of artillery and rattle of small-arms!” “Terrible tenacity!” “After a terrific fight, each and every rebel battery was taken!” “Now on to Richmond!” “The rout of the enemy was complete!” Crushing rebellion! “” Victory at Bull Run; Sumter avenged! “A” battle of unparalleled severity! “Our gallant and laurel-crowned army!” Another newspaper, “Our army went into battle with firm step and light hearts, singing patriotic songs.” Bull Run defeat is placed “among those great military achievements which in ancient and modern times have overthrown or marked the beginning of empires,” &c., “not less than 125,000 being engaged on both sides.” The poor blusterer tells us “an army equal in numbers to that of France, and as well disciplined, will burn to resent the wrongs that have been offered to the country, and they will rejoice at being able to display abroad the valor for which there will be no longer a field at home.” It would be worth while to know what the Secretary of State thinks of this style of writing at present. His frame of mind just now, perhaps, is not suited to such strong expressions, particularly as the people they are meant to arouse only laugh at them.
Thursday, July 25, 1861.Last night there was an alarm that the enemy were advancing. General Scott and his staff were roused up in the night by messengers from the outposts. There was a similar alarm in Alexandria, but the report was untrue. The Confederates, however, have advanced their pickets within six miles of the latter place. The War Department is in ignorance of their general movements, and can get no intelligence from the country. Several regiments marched out of the city, as their time was up, and their places will be taken by others coming in from the North and West. The three-months men are going off just as their services are most needed. Can any one say the three-years men may not do the same? The proportions of the contest are not likely to be dwarfed.
Friday, July 26, 1861.I have kept my letter open to the last moment, but there is no change to announce, except a nearer advance of the enemy's pickets on the road to Alexandria. General McClellan has arrived, and it is said he will send a force out at once to guard the Upper Potomac, and to prevent any force crossing in that direction. The weather is not excessively hot, and is favorable enough for campaigning purposes. Washington is quiet to-day as yet. There are considerable additions to be made to the works on the other side, and, indeed, there is a hill in front of one of the redoubts which commands it a trifle, and which it is an oversight not to fortify. In a few days, if a column is ready, I hope to be able to accompany it.
Mr. Russell's Third letter on Bull RunThe rebel army could have entered Washington — He speculates as to the reasons why it did not.
Washington, July 29, 1861.On this day week the Confederates could have marched into the capital of the United States. They took no immediate steps to follow up their unexpected success. To this moment their movements have betrayed no fixity of purpose or settled plan to pursue an aggressive war, or even “to liberate Maryland if they have the means of doing so.” And, indeed, their success was, as I suspected, not known to them in its full proportions, and their loss, combined, perhaps, with the condition of their army, as much as political and prudential motives actuating their leaders, may have had a fair share in producing the state of inactivity with which the Federalists have no reason to be dissatisfied.