ble English, gave me a letter to General J. E. B. Stuart, then commanding the cavalry of the army defending Richmond, and, at the same time, an order to procure a horse at the Government stables, with the advice to lose not a moment if I desired to see something of the impending battles.
The Government stables were full of good horses, and I had no difficulty in finding an excellent chestnut mare, which afterwards carried me nobly on many a hard ride.
At the earliest dawn of morning, on the 30th, an orderly reported to me with the mare in front of my hotel, and I jumped into the saddle, well equipped from head to foot, full of strength and buoyant in spirits, to ride forward to the field.
We trotted out of the city, and across the wooded plain through which runs the Brooke turnpike, passing the extensive fortifications and the long lines of the Confederate army. With the liveliest interest I looked upon these masses of warrior-like men, in their ill-assorted costumes, who had co
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 advance of our victorious troo