Saturday, May 7, 2011

May 5, 1861 (Sunday) Alexandria Evacuated

Christ Church in Alexandria, VA.


Colonel Taylor, Commanding at Alexandria, Va:
   SIR: You will not move the troops out of Alexandria unless pressed by overwhelming and irresistible numbers; and even then you should retire to Manassas Junction, to hold that point, assist in obstructing and breaking up the road between that point and Alexandria, harassing the enemy should he attempt to use the road, and not retire farther in the interior unless overpowered, and forced, as a last extremity, to so retire.

          Very respectfully, your most obedient.
                                                         PHILLIP ST. GEO. COOKE
                             Brigadier General, Commanding Potomac Department

Colonel A.S. Taylor received Cooke's elaborate instructions and, evaluating the condition of his 500 men (some without guns, some without ammunition, and most roaming the back streets of their home city of Alexandria under no particular authority, decided to withdraw without informing Cooke.

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