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Gettysburg Part Two: Washington and Beyond

Uploaded by roland50 on Mar 11, 2000

For five days Jackson had looked on Washington spread before him with the Dome of the Capitol in sight from his headquarters on the Georgetown Pike near 7th Street. Lee having recovered sufficiently from his wounds had resumed command of the army but had been summoned to Richmond by President Davis following overtures from ( Vice ) President Johnson to discuss common grounds for a peaceful settlement to the War. Lincoln left the Capital for Canada, reluctantly, following pressure from Cabinet to avoid possible capture by the advancing Confederates who seemed unstoppable as the Union forces in and around Washington disintegrated into a disorderly rabble. Following his heroic retreat from Gettysburg Howard had been promoted to Lieutenant-General and assumed command of the defenses of Washington superseding Major-General S.P.Heintzelman who had very little combat experience. Howard had about 55,000 men but very little control and desertions were whittling this force away hourly. The Federal army was totally demoralized and soldiers were going home as if it was all over, sensing the end was near. Grant had, after eventually capturing Vicksburg on the 4th July been ordered to evacuate and return control to the Confederates under Pemberton. This would be accomplished by the 12th and an uneasy peace would settle across the Western theatre as Lieutenant-General ( Old Pete) Longstreet entrained to take command of all the South’s western forces. Jackson chafed... aware that the Union forces were a spent force and there for the taking, his spies reported that the defenders had shrunk to 35,000 and if they waited for another couple of weeks Washington would be a ghost town. France had broken with England and recognized the independence of the Confederacy and England was expected to follow suit very soon. In Richmond McClellan was leading the Union delegation and was pursuing a course of peace on reasonable terms. Basically, it had settled down to where the borderlines would be drawn. Davis was prepared to concede what was now West Virginia but wanted the Indian and Arizona territories. Robert E.Lee had been appointed commander of all the Confederate Forces and given a free hand in appointments and troop dispositions. Lincoln was under house arrest in Niagara, not because the British had anything against him but for his own safety as his popularity was zero and the British government didn’t want any untoward incident for which they could be blamed. Jackson had dispatched Jubal Early’s...

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Uploaded by:   roland50

Date:   03/11/2000

Category:   Civil War

Length:   4 pages (805 words)

Views:   1344

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