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

Page 95

  Richmond and the adjoining country for ten miles around and declared the suspension therein of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Seven weeks later, in response to his recommendation, a rigorous Conscription act was passed. 1  20     Oh, for a Grant in command of the Army of the Potomac to take quick advantage of this demoralization in the capital of the Confederacy! And indeed it seemed for the moment as if McClellan would be spurred to action, as is evident from two of his despatches to Halleck of February 20: “If the force in West can take Nashville or even hold its own for the present, I hope to have Richmond and Norfolk in from three to four weeks.” “The rebels hold firm at Manassas. In less than two weeks I shall move the Army of the Potomac, and hope to be in Richmond soon after you are in Nashville.” 2 On February 24, Nashville was occupied by the Union troops. McClellan had a wonderful opportunity. 3 In command of 150,000 men superior so far as the average raw material of the rank and file is concerned to the armies of most European countries, with roads to traverse no worse than many of those in the south of Italy over which the Sardinian army had marched in 1860, 4—roads no more difficult of passage than were the roads in Tennessee, on which the Union troops had marched and were still marching to good purpose—he should unquestionably have struck at Joseph E. Johnston at Manassas. He had three men to the enemy’s one and, though the outcome of a great battle may never be predicted with certainty, especially one with a McClellan pitted against a Joseph E. Johnston, nevertheless the chances were decidedly with the Union Army. Moreover Johnston was about
Note 1. April 16. [back]
Note 2. O. R., VII, 640. [back]
Note 3. He recovered from his illness about the middle of January, 1862. [back]
Note 4. Edward Dicey, III, 604. [back]