James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
The veterans of the Sixth Corps of the Army of the Potomac and of the Nineteenth Corps from New Orleans saved the country from the capture of its capital. It was, however, little to Grants credit that Washington should be in so imminent danger, while Richmond was in none, and that the measures for its safety should have been so tardily taken. During these days, the commander seemed to be stunned. Although his frequent despatches bear witness to his diligence, they show, at the same time, that he did not realize the danger. He was not the man of prompt decision and ready purpose who commanded at Donelson, Vicksburg and Chattanooga; rather was he the remiss and lethargic general of Shiloh. At the very time when Earlys troops were marching down the Shenandoah Valley he refused to believe that the self-same Confederate corps had left Petersburg. It was not until July 5 that he became convinced of the truth, and even then he failed to show a complete mastery of the situation. He displays little strategy or invention,1 wrote Welles.
Yet in the result Grant had acted with sufficient promptness to save the capital, inasmuch as Early, by delay, let slip a great opportunity. The Confederate commander probably suspected that the veterans had already arrived, for he did not seize Fort Stevens, which guarded the entrance to Washington by the Seventh street road and which he might have had by simply saying the word. At noon of this day (July 11) two divisions of the Sixth Corps from City Point, with General Wright in command, arrived at the wharf in Washington and soon after four oclock in the afternoon were in the neighborhood of Fort Stevens. The capital was saved. Next day a sharp skirmish took place, which was watched from the fort by the President, who was