Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 326
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 326
 
 
Shenandoah Valley: this Early succeeded in doing and gained thereby an easy route to Maryland and the rear of the Federal capital. On July 9 he reached Frederick City, defeated the Union force opposed to him, and next day, at the head of 20,000 veterans, flushed with victory and spoils, advanced rapidly toward the capital itself. Washington and its fortifications had been denuded of troops for the purpose of reënforcing Grant and was now defended only by invalids, state militia and District of Columbia volunteers, a total of 20,400, of whom nearly all were raw troops and a considerable portion unavailable. On the morning of July 11, Early, with his infantry and artillery, appeared on the Seventh street road north of Washington before the fortifications of the city and in sight of the dome of the Capitol. Communication between Washington and the Northern cities was cut; the general excitement and alarm were intense. On the night before the President, unmindful of personal danger, had ridden out as usual to his summer residence, the Soldiers’ Home, which was directly in the line of the enemy’s advance, but he was now brought back to the city upon the earnest insistence of the Secretary of War; also, unknown to Lincoln, Gustavus V. Fox, Assistant-Secretary of the Navy, had a vessel ready to transport him from the capital, should its fall become absolutely certain. If Early had profited by the moment of consternation, he could have gone into Washington on July 11, seized the money in the Treasury, the large stores of clothing, arms and ammunition, destroyed a large amount of Government property and, though he might not have been able to hold the place, he could have escaped without harm from the veteran troops now hastening to the rescue; he would thus have struck the prestige of the Union a staggering blow.  7
 

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