Saturday, October 13, 2012

October 14, 1862 (Tuesday): "Provide buckets...."

Burning of Washington, 1814.

October 14, 1862. Major General S. P. HEINTZELMAN, Arlington:
    Please report immediately the present disposition of your troops. The General-in-Chief anticipates a dash of Stuart's cavalry into Washington, and directs that everything be in readiness to meet such an attempt. Have the guards of the bridges strengthened to-night and extra vigilant. Provide buckets, &c., to extinguish fires. Will send you copy of General Halleck's order.

Captain, Aide-de-Camp, and Actg. Asst. Adjt. General
8 P. M.

General HEINTZELMAN, Arlington:
General SIGEL, Fairfax Court-House:
The following is for your information:

Poolessville, October 14, 1862-4.30 p.m. (Received 5 p.m.)
Captain RICHARD B. IRWIN, Aide-de-Camp:
    My scouts from the other side of the river have just returned, and report that there are now no cavalry or other force in Leesburg. Stuart left there last evening, but, as near as I can find out, in the direction of Winchester. I have the river well guarded from the mouth of the Monocacy to a point 5 or 6 miles below the mouth of the Seneca, where our depot of supplies is. I have reported to General McClellan, and am directed to keep my force as now stationed. If the enemy crosses, I shall concentrate my whole force upon him. General Marcy forbids my crossing the river in pursuit. The canal is now full up to Harper's Ferry.

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

Series I., Vol. 19, Part 2, Page 426.

In hindsight concerns about Stuart raiding Washington may seem unrealistic.  But it should be kept in mind it was only 48 years since Major Ross and a force of only 2,500 British troops burned the public buildings of Washington, including the White House.


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