James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  which on Saturday had been the capture of Jackson’s army, was now mixed with fear for the safety of the capital. “Intelligence from various quarters leaves no doubt that the enemy in great force are marching on Washington,” telegraphed Stanton to the several governors of the Northern States. “You will please organize and forward all the militia and volunteer force in your State.” This despatch and the response to it reflecting the alarm at the capital, caused wild excitement at the North which was afterwards spoken of in Massachusetts as “the great scare,” elsewhere as “the great stampede.” The militia and home guards of many of the States were called out; a number of regiments, among them the Seventh New York, were hurried to Baltimore and to Harper’s Ferry; it was called the “Third uprising of the North.” The President took military possession of all the railroads in the country. “I think the time is near,” said Lincoln in a despatch to McClellan, “when you must either attack Richmond or give up the job and come to the defense of Washington.” Part of McDowell’s force was recalled to the capital city. “Our condition is one of considerable danger,” wrote Stanton, “as we are stripped to supply the Army of the Potomac and now have the enemy here.” 1  73   By May 26, the President and Secretary of War deemed Washington secure. In fact, the capital had at no time been in danger. Lee and Jackson had no further design than to threaten it and so cause the President to withhold the reënforcements intended for McClellan. The result fully realized their expectation. But now Jackson himself was in danger. Hearing of the movements for his capture, he began on May 30 a rapid retreat. “Through the blessing of an ever kind Providence,” he wrote, “I passed Strasburg before the
Note 1. IV, 19; General Meade, I, 269. [back]