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Washington under attack 1864.

July 11, 2016

conradbrunstrom

washingtonraid

Today is the 152nd anniversary of the Confederate attack on Washington.  Led by General Jubal Early, this was not a serious attempt to capture the capital of the Union but rather an attempt to scare the Union into withdrawing reinforcements from their main efforts in the Eastern theatre.

Sometimes called the Battle of Fort Stevens, this bit of fighting is renowned for being the closest Abraham Lincoln came to actual fighting during the Civil War, although more accurately, the fighting came to him.  But he wandered rather disconcertingly close to the front line and it is reported that he was ordered in no uncertain terms to get his conspicuously tall person out of danger.  (A young Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr is sometimes credited with this brusque command.)

The spectacle of fighting on the outskirts of Washington helps give an impression of contingency to a great conflict – what if Washington…

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