Confederates Attack Fort Stevens

July 11, 1864

President Lincoln writes General Ulysses S. Grant: “Yours of 10.30 P.M. yesterday received, and very satisfactory. The enemy will learn of Wright’s arrival, and then the difficulty will be to unite Wright and Hunter, South of the enemy before he will recross the Potomac. Some firing between Rockville and here now.”

After receiving telegraph, President and Mrs. Lincoln visit Fort Stevens, which Confederate General Jubal Early is preparing to attack.   Union reinforcements arrive just in time and Confederates are repulsed.   President Lincoln later visits Washington wharf where troops sent by General Grant are disembarking.

Presidential aide John Hay writes in his diary: “The President concluded to desert his tormentors today & travel around the defenses. [General Quincy] Gillmore arrived & reported. Wright & staff also came in.

At three o’clock P.M. the President came in bringing the news that the enemy’s advance was at Ft Stevens on the 7th Street road. He was in the Fort when it was first attacked, standing upon the parapet. A soldier roughly ordered him to get down or he would have his head knocked off. I can see a couple of columns of smoke just north of the White House. It is thought to be Silver Spring in flames — I was at Mr. Blair’s this evening: Fox says Gen. Wright tells him that Silver Spring is not burnt.

The President is in very good feather this evening. He seems not in the least concerned about the safety of Washington. With him the only concern seems to be whether we can bag or destroy this force in our front.

Part of Canby’s troops are here. Johnson and we went together to the War Department and spent a half hour or more with Mr Stanton. He felt no apprehension whatever for the safety of the City — said we had plenty of troops here to defend it, and it was impossible for the rebels to get in.

Hay writes in his diary: “In conversation about Genl he spoke of Butler, Hunter, Siegle, & Lew Wallace in very depreciating terms — Spoke in very high terms of Schofield — said he was earnest, faithful & able, and had failed in nothing he had undertaken, and that the opposition to him had been unreasonable & groundless. Said Genl Chas Smith now dead, was the ablest officer we had.

Gillmore has been placed in command of them. Aleck McCook is in charge of the defences. There is a great plenty of Generals. Meigs has gone out for a spurt.

White House aide William O. Stoddard writes in an anonymous newspaper dispatch: “This invasion of Maryland, well planned and admirably executed as it has been by the rebels, is obviously a desperate effort to create a diversion in Lee’s favor, and force Grant to let go his hold, now tightening hourly upon the rebel capital.”

Published in: on July 11, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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