War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0326 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

to assist General McClellan from Fredericksburg in the assault on Richmond.

His demonstrations in that direction were timely and useful. They led to a withdrawal of Jackson's forces from Richmond and their renewed menace against the approaches to Washington. The Army of the Peninsula was in this manner relieved of the resistance of a force which it must have expected to encounter, and which numerically was stronger than the portion of General McDowell's corps-20,000-which had been detained to cover Washington.

The movement of Jackson's forces down the Shenandoah Valley, and the jeopardy which menaced the capital, and what was then supposed to be the inflammable and revolutionary sentiments of a part of the population of the State of Maryland, led to an order suspending the march of General McDowell on Richmond and his recall to cover the approaches to Washington on the 24th of May.

It is not possible to determine accurately what would have been the result of persistence in the movement at that time of McDowell's army on Richmond.

Had there been great celerity of movement and co-operation between the armies commanded by Generals McClellan and McDowell, and Richmond had been carried by assault, without a halt and without interruption by the excessive rains which flooded the rivers and streams of Virginia on the following Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 30, 31, and June 1-had all this been successfully accomplished before Jackson could have gained any countervailing advantages against the capital and in the State of Maryland, it is quite obvious that General McDowell would have been justified by the results, in his opinion, that it was inexpedient to recall him from his projected movement against Richmond. The court has not found it necessary to decide this hypothetical question. It will remain a fruitful subject of conjecture, perhaps of recrimination, until a time of peace shall reveal all the circumstances calculated to elucidate it.

If it be doubtful whether General McDowell ought to have allowed his mind to be so fully occupied with a campaign beyond the limits of his own department, it is perfectly clear that he yielded a prompt submission to the order of the President, and without reservation or evasion, and with the most commendable alacrity, pushed forward a part of his troops toward Washington and another toward Front Royal, still leaving one division at Fredericksburg.

The whole inquiry into the conduct of General McDowell has disclosed in the most signal manner, however, at Fredericksburg on the occasion in question, that he appreciates the military necessity of submission and obedience to the authority over him. Instead of furnishing any occasion for censure, his whole conduct at Fredericksburg should receive unqualified commendation.


The only correspondence of General McDowell with the rebel commanders requiring notice relates to the removal of Mrs. Robert E. Scott from near Warrenton, Fauquier County, Virginia, to her friends within the rebel lines after the murder of her husband.

The evidence discloses that he husband was an eminent citizen of Virginia, distinguished for his high character and loyalty to the Government.