James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
the fords of Bull Run and crowded the Warrenton turnpike, a confused mass of disorganized frightened men. The Confederates pursued them only a short distance;1 and McDowell intended to make a stand at Centreville. That was found to be impossible nor could the disorderly flight be arrested at Fairfax Court-House. The larger part of the men, telegraphed McDowell from there, are a confused mob, entirely demoralized. They are pouring through this place in a state of utter disorganization. The flight of the troops was not stopped until they reached the fortifications on the southern side of the Potomac, and many of the soldiers crossed the Long bridge into Washington. All were soon to learn that they had been fleeing before an imaginary foe, as the Confederates made no effective pursuit.
Lincoln in Washington was a prey to the same anxiety as Davis in Richmond. After his return from church, he scanned eagerly the telegrams sent to him from the War Department and from the army headquarters. These despatches were from the telegraphic station nearest the battle-field and toward three oclock became more frequent and reported the apparent course and progress of the cannonade. Impatient as he was to talk over the news, he repaired to Scotts office, where he found the aged and infirm general taking his afternoon sleep. On being waked Scott told him that such reports as had already been received possessed no value but, expressing his confidence in a successful result, he composed himself for another nap. Despatches continued to come with cheering news. It was reported that the Confederates had been forced back two or three miles. One of Scotts aides brought to the President a
Note 1. As far as Cub-run. Had the pursuit continued, McDowells reserve stationed near Blackburns ford and Centreville would have protected the rear of the fleeing troops. [back]