James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
so gravely imperilled might be expected to feel. In Washington the anxiety was no longer so much for the safety of the capital, which was well fortified and garrisoned, as for the danger to the cause. Stantons uneasiness showed itself in the fear that communication with the North might be cut off. The President said he had felt badly all day (September 8).1 He was sadly perplexed and distressed. Men in New York City were terrified and panic-stricken.2 When Lee left Frederick and made directly for Pennsylvania, the farmers on the border sent away their women and children, then their cattle, then armed themselves for the protection of their homes against cavalry raids. The despatches from Governor Curtin at Harrisburg manifest concern for that capital: he called out 50,000 militia for the defence of the State. The words which came from Philadelphia were such as one expects from a wealthy city in time of panic. The country is very desponding and much disheartened, wrote Welles. It is evident, however, that the reinstatement of McClellan has inspired strength, vigor and hope in the army. Officers and soldiers appear to be united in his favor and willing to follow his lead.3 The peril in which the country lay could be averted only by McClellan and his army.
McClellan started his troops from Washington on September 5, he himself following two days later. The necessity of reorganizing his depleted army and of covering Baltimore and Washington, together with his own habitual caution and his uncertainty as to the enemys movements, caused him to proceed slowly. The morale of the army is very much impaired by recent events; the spirits of the enemy proportionately raised, wrote General Meade.4