Such was the Virginian situation early in June. By a series of most bloody battles, no one of which had been a real victory, Grant had come before the defenses of Richmond, nearly where McClellan had already been. And now, like McClellan, he proposed to move around to the southward and invest the city. It must be confessed that in all this there was nothing visible to the inexperienced vision of the citizens at home which made much brighter in their eyes the prestige of Mr. Lincoln’s war policy. Nor could they see, as that summer of the presidential campaign came and went, that any really great change or improvement was effected.
On the other hand, there took place in July what is sometimes lightly called General Early’s raid against Washington. In fact, it was a genuine and very serious campaign, wherein that general was within a few hours of capturing the city. Issuing out of that Shenandoah Valley whence, as from a cave of horrors rather than one of the loveliest valleys in the world, so much of terror and mischief had so often burst out against the North, Early, with 17,000 veteran troops, moved straight and fast upon the national capital. On the evening of July 10 Mr. Lincoln rode out to his summer quarters at the Soldiers’ Home. But the Confederate troops were within a few miles, and Mr. Stanton insisted that he should come back. The next day the Confederates advanced along the Seventh Street road, in full expectation of marching into the city with little opposition. There was brisk artillery firing, and Mr. Lincoln, who had driven out to the scene of action, actually came under fire; an officer was struck down within a few feet of him.