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The next steps into a darker world

July 24, 2011

As the bodies from the Battle of Bull Run were buried and the fog of war dissipated, people in the North and the South stared ahead into uncertain, violent futures. “It seemed,” E.B. Long writes, “that the battle in Virginia had ended one phase of the war or started another.”

On July 23, Abraham Lincoln issued “Memoranda on Military Policy.”

MEMORANDA OF MILITARY POLICY SUGGESTED BY THE BULL RUN DEFEAT

JULY 23, 1861

1. Let the plan for making the blockade effective be pushed forward with all possible despatch.
2. Let the volunteer forces at Fort Monroe and vicinity under General Butler be constantly drilled, disciplined, and instructed without more for the present.
3. Let Baltimore be held as now, with a gentle but firm and certain hand.
4. Let the force now under Patterson or Banks be strengthened and made secure in its position.
5. Let the forces in Western Virginia act till further orders according to instructions or orders from General McClellan.
6. [Let] General Fremont push forward his organization and operations in the West as rapidly as possible, giving rather special attention to Missouri.
7. Let the forces late before Manassas, except the three-months men, be reorganized as rapidly as possible in their camps here and about Arlington.
8. Let the three-months forces who decline to enter the longer service be discharged as rapidly as circumstances will permit.
9. Let the new volunteer forces be brought forward as fast as possible, and especially into the camps on the two sides of the river here.

When the foregoing shall be substantially attended to:
1. Let Manassas Junction (or some point on one or other of the railroads near it) and Strasburg be seized, and permanently held, with an open line from Washington to Manassas, and an open line from Harper’s Ferry to Strasburg the military men to find the way of doing these.
2. This done, a joint movement from Cairo on Memphis; and from Cincinnati on East Tennessee.

With this memo, Long writes, Lincoln was “firmly standing and preparing for increased war.”

Works cited and consulted:
— Lincoln, Abraham. Speeches and Writings: 1859-1865. Ed. Don E. Fehrenbacher. Vol. 2. New York: The Library of America, 1989. 262-263. Print.
— Long, E.B. and Barbara Long. The Civil War: Day by Day. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1971. 100. Print.
— McPherson, James. Battle Cry of Freedom. New York: Oxford UP. 1988. Print.

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