Thursday, May 5, 2011

Washington's security worries Lincoln

Union soldiers at Relay House, Maryland 1861
  • Security around Washington continues to be Lincoln’s greatest worry. With the railroad lines either in Confederate hands or in constant danger of partisan saboteurs, Northern troops are now arriving by ship. Today US Gen. Benjamin Butler improves the situation somewhat by capturing the Railroad Relay House in Maryland on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, securing the railroad from Washington through Annapolis to Baltimore./1861
  • In violation of orders, 650 Virginia State Militia under command of Colonel Algernon Taylor, nephew of former President Zachary Taylor, abandons Alexandria, Virginia , directly across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Brigadier-General Philip St. George Cocke, fearing invasion of Virginia from Washington by the Long Bridge, this morning writes to Col. Taylor commanding 650 Virginia militiamen who are mostly from the Alexandria area and poorly armed. He forbids Taylor’s abandonment of Alexandria unless “pressed by overwhelming and irresistible numbers,” and only in that last resort to “retire to Manassas Junction,” tearing up the rails along the way and “harassing the enemy should he attempt to use the road.” Cocke’s dispatch reaches Col. Taylor in the afternoon, but instead, fearful of Federal attack, he abandons Alexandria and falls back to Springfield, ten miles west, on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. By 10pm, Alexandria is bereft of a single Virginia militiaman. Taylor doesn’t bother to communicate his withdrawal to Brig. Gen. Cocke. /1861 /1861
  • A Baltimore committee meets with President Lincoln at the White House and urges the recognition of independence of the Southern States. Lincoln rebukes them for their lack of fighting spirit./1861

No comments:

Post a Comment