The fight began on the 26th June at Mechanicsville, and ended on the 2d July after Malvern Hill.
McClellan, whose lines extended across the Chickahominy in a semicircle around Richmond, from the James river to the strong position of Mechanicsville, had in the first two days of the contest been completely whipped by Jackson on the right, and that portion of his army north of the Chickahominy had been driven to the south side, where the subsequent engagements of Fraser's Farm on the 29th, Willis's Church on the 30th, and, last of all, Malvern Hill, drove him in rapid retreat to his unassailable place of refuge at Westover, on the James river.
At this point a large flotilla of gunboats protected him from any further attack on our part, and numerous transports supplied him with abundant provisions, ammunition, and reinforcements.
McClellan's retreat was indeed masterly, and too much credit cannot be paid him for the skill with which he managed to hold his own, and check the a
ing the fire under; and though all of us, and myself especially, were more or less burned in the face and hands, we felt highly gratified to have rendered some service to people who had shown us the most marked and constant kindness.
General Stuart, who always had his joke, gave the ladies a most absurd and extravagant account of my individual exertions, declaring that he had seen me running out of the burning building with a mule under one arm and two little pigs under the other.
On the 29th we had another brigade drill, which drew together a considerable number of spectators.
The place was an extended level plain, very favourable for manceuvres, and the whole drill was executed with as much precision as would have been exhibited by regular troops, and afforded indeed a most brilliant spectacle.
The fine day ended with the most terrible hurricane I ever witnessed.
Thousands of trees were torn up by their roots and hurled in the air. Houses were everywhere unroofed.
It may wel
h spot my comrades had given me such glowing accounts, that I waited with great impatience and curiosity the light of the morning, arriving there, as we did, after midnight in utter darkness.
When I arose from my grassy couch at sunrise on the 29th, I found, indeed, that the half had not been told me of The Bower.
Our headquarters were situated on a hill beneath a grove of lofty umbrageous oaks of primitive growth, which extended, on the right, towards the large mansion-house, the thick bri did not like it at all if any one of his Staff officers withdrew himself from these innocent merry-makings, after the fatigues of the day, to seek an early rest, and would always rouse him from his slumbers to take part in the revelry.
On the 29th Stuart turned over to my care and attention a Federal deserter, who pretended to have been an officer of Engineers in the Prussian army, and professed a competent knowledge of topography, but who turned out to be a great humbug, of whom I got rid