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Elias Nason, McClellan's Own Story: the war for the union, the soldiers who fought it, the civilians who directed it, and his relations to them. 34 0 Browse Search
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rthy of the great task, but I do feel that I did not seek it. It was thrust upon me. I was called to it; my previous life seems. to have been unwittingly directed to this great end; and I know that God can accomplish the greatest results with the weakest instruments-therein lies my hope. I feel, too, that, much as we in the North have erred, the rebels have been far worse than we. No date. I have just returned from a ride over the river, where I went pretty late, to seek refuge in Fitz Porter's camp. You would have laughed if you could have seen me dodge off. I quietly told the duke to get our horses saddled, and then we slipped off without escort or orderlies, and trotted away for Fitz-John's camp, where we had a quiet talk over the camp-fire. I saw yesterday Gen. Scott's letter asking to be placed on the retired list and saying nothing about Halleck. The offer was to be accepted last night, and they propose to make me at once commander-in-chief of the army. I cannot get
gun-battery fast getting ready to blow secesh up. He will have a bad time of it when we open. Have news this evening via Richmond that New Orleans is in our possession. I presume it is true. So the work goes bravely on. . . . Yesterday made Fitz Porter Director of the siege --a novel title, but made necessary by the circumstances of the case. I give all my orders relating to the siege through him, making him at the same time commandant of the siege operations and a chief of staff for that portion of the work. This new arrangement will save me much trouble, and relieve my mind greatly, and save much time. In going over the line of trenches yesterday I found so many blunders committed that I was very thankful to put Porter on duty at once. . . . The good fellow (Colburn) never leaves me; wherever I ride he sticks close after me. He is one of the very best men I ever knew, so thoroughly honest and reliable. His judgment is excellent and he is perfectly untiring. Day and night are
if they fell back. His pursuit was to be by the Lee's Mill road, with Smith leading. The remaining divisions — those of Porter, Sedgwick, Richardson, and Sykeswere held in readiness to support either Keyes, Heintzelman, or Franklin, as might prove support of Franklin. But I ordered him to move beyond Yorktown a short distance, ready to move to the front if ordered. Porter and Richardson mere also instructed to be ready to obey whatever orders they might receive. I returned at once to my cal with, the enemy was present in very heavy force. Therefore, to guard against all eventualities, I sent back orders to Porter to occupy Yorktown, and to Sedgwick and Richardson to advance by land in the morning. During the night Heintzelman rep night, I countermanded the orders to Sedgwick and Richardson, and directed them to return to Yorktown and, together with Porter, embark as rapidly as possible in support of Franklin. Early on the morning of the 6th it was found that the enemy had
until the forenoon of the 9th, up to which time I was absolutely without baggage of any kind. Sedgwick's division reached Franklin during the 7th; one brigade of Porter's division got off from Yorktown by water on the afternoon of the 7th, the rest on the 8th, without cavalry or artillery; two brigades of Richardson's division gorning of the 13th, while the troops were moving in such a manner that at the close of that day the disposition was as follows: headquarters, with the divisions of Porter, Franklin, Sykes (regulars), and the artillery reserves, at Cumberland, now a temporary depot; Couch and Casey at New Kent Court-House; Hooker and Kearny near Ropthe 5th Pa. Cavalry, at Williamsburg. On the 14th and 15th it rained heavily and continuously, and somewhat on the 16th. On the 15th and 16th the divisions of Porter, Franklin, and Smith were with great difficulty advanced to White House. The roads were so bad, narrow, and infrequent as to render the movements of large masses
ound him have acted so as to make the matter as offensive as possible. . . . Fitz Porter has stuck through it all most nobly, He is all that I thought him, and more.rned. It was so dark that no one could tell what the damage was; one man at Fitz Porter's headquarters had his leg shot off; no vessels set on fire; the camps all qdozen horses killed; vessels not hurt a bit. One shell did fall in my camp. Fitz Porter caught the most of the storm, but had only one man killed. This afternoon Iconsisting of one house in the wilderness; so I am not likely to be disturbed. Porter, Ingalls, Colburn, and Key are with me. They are all sound asleep, so I have noose them in this, only to show you that you are sometimes in my thoughts. . . . Porter's corps starts this evening, Franklin in the morning, the remaining three to-mo returned from an examination of this fort and the Rip Raps. . . . The whole of Porter's corps got off last night. Heintzelman from Yorktown to-day. Franklin commen
nd said that in conversation he found Halleck quite agreed with him, but averse to precipitate action. Yours truly, H. W. Halleck. Secretary Stanton to Gen. McClellan. Telegram; cipher.headquarters, Department of War, Washington, July 5, 1862, 2.20 P. M. Maj.-Gen. G. B. McClellan, Commanding, etc., Army of the Potomac: I have nominated for promotion Gen. E. V. Sumner as brevet major-general of the regular service and major-general of volunteers; Gens. Heintzelman, Keyes, and Porter as brevet brigadiers in the regular service and major-generals of volunteers. The gallantry of every officer and man in your noble army shall be suitably acknowledged. Gen. Marcy is here and will take you cheering news. Be assured you shall have the support of this department and the government as cordially and faithfully as was ever rendered by man to man, and if we should ever live to see each other face to face you will be satisfied that you have never had from me anything but the