These considerations, so calculated to
expand the generous soul with National pride and make the possession of
citizenship of a great nation a cherished honor and privilege, seem to have had
no influence with Colonel Lee. The narrow political creed of his class of
thinkers taught no broader doctrines of citizenship than the duty of allegiance
to a petty State whose flag is utterly unknown beyond our shores-an
insignificant portion of a great Republic whose flag is honored and respected on
every sea and in every port of the civilized world. Acting upon these narrow
views, Colonel Lee said, "I must go with my State;" and going, he took with
him precious information which enabled him to make valuable suggestions to the
insurgents concerning the best methods for seizing the National capital. In time
Colonel Lee became the general-in-chief of all the armies in rebellion against his Government, at whose expense he had been educated in the art of war.
Colonel Lee advised the Virginians to erect a battery of heavy guns on Arlington Heights, not far from his own home, which would command the cities of Washington and Georgetown. They were about to follow this advice, when, late in May, their plans were frustrated by the General-in-Chief, who sent National troops across the Potomac to the Virginia shore by way of the Long Bridge at Washington, and the Aqueduct Bridge at Georgetown, to take possession of Alexandria and Arlington Heights. Ellsworth's New York Fire Zouaves went to Alexandria in two schooners, at the same time, to be assisted by a third column that crossed the river at the Long Bridge.
The troops that first passed the Long Bridge constructed a battery at the Virginia end of it, which they named Fort Runyon, in compliment to General Runyon of New Jersey, who was in command of a part of them. The troops that passed Aqueduct Bridge were led by General Irwin McDowell; and upon the spot where Lee proposed to erect a battery of siege-guns, to destroy the capital, the troops erected a redoubt to defend it, which they named Fort Corcoran, in compliment to the commander of an Irish regiment among them. These were the first redoubts constructed by the National troops in the Civil War; and this was the initial movement of the Government forces in opening the first campaigns of that war. It occurred on the morning of the 24th of May, 1861.
The troops sent by land and water reached Alexandria about the same time, and took possession of the city. They seized the Orange and Alexandria railway station and much rolling stock, with some Virginia cavalry who were guarding it. The Secessionists in the city were defiant; and one of them, the keeper of a tavern, persisted in flying the Confederate flag over his house. The impetuous young Ellsworth proceeded to pull it down with his own hands, when the proprietor shot him dead, and was killed, in turn, by one of the Zouaves. This tragedy caused great bitterness in both sections of the country for a time.
Meanwhile the Confederates had erected batteries on the Virginia shores of the Potomac River to obstruct its navigation by National vessels. They had also cast up redoubts near Hampton Roads, not far from Fortress Monroe. Captain J. H. Ward was