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under the protection of his gunboats, from the effects of disastrous defeats. The battle, beginning on the afternoon of June twenty-sixth, above Mechanicsville, continued until the night of July first, with only such intervals as were necessary to pursue and overtake the flying foe. His strong intrenchments and obstinate resistance were overcome, and our army swept resistlessly down the north side of the Chickahominy until it reached the rear of the enemy, and broke his communication with York River, capturing or causing the destruction of many valuable stores, and, by the decisive battle of Friday, forcing the enemy from his line of powerful fortifications on the south side of the Chickahominy, and driving him to a precipitate retreat. Our victorious army pursued as rapidly as the obstructions placed by the enemy in his rear would permit, three times overtaking his flying columns, and as often driving him with slaughter from the field, leaving his numerous dead and wounded in our ha
ectually, that when the enemy marched up the Peninsula, their progress was suddenly arrested by a long line of powerful fortifications belting the country, from York River to James River, and completely stopping further invasion. 'Tis true, that McClellan's force was well handled, and fox the most part lay before Yorktown before ught the Yankee lines. Following the example of Butler, Magruder set the contrabands to work on his chain of fortifications, extending from Yorktown (on the York River) south-westwardly along the banks of the shallow Warwick to Mulberry Point, on the James River — a distance of about nine miles. The distance from Yorktown to tcDowell at Fredericksburgh, in order to move on Richmond from the north; fleets of gunboats and transports at the same time passing the extremities of our wings on York and James rivers, to throw strong forces on our flanks and rear. This was all seen by every intelligent soldier in the army, and the general expression was: These
ntice the foe into open ground, so that he might soundly thrash them on the morrow. The retreat of the main army continued as if nothing had happened; and as our flank was threatened by a force which had been hurried with great despatch up the York River, Hood's Texan brigade was double quicked to West-Point to oppose the movement. While our brigade bivouacked west of the town waiting for orders, I could not help laughing at the wo-begone features of some of our men, who, supposed to be siccaissons, numbers of dead horses, and scores of infantry. The morning after Williamsburgh, I, with others, was detailed to escort a batch of prisoners to Richmond, and in hurrying on I overtook troops marching to West-Point, the head of the York River; rumors being rife that Franklin and other Federal generals were disembarking a large force there to assail us on the flank. The main army, however, had travelled with such celerity, that they were beyond the line of West-Point, so that the Te
nd is situated at what may be considered the head of the Yorktown peninsula. On the south side the peninsula is washed by the James River; on the north, by the York River, to within seventy miles of the capital. The York River is continued by its tributary the Pamunkey River, which approaches within a few miles of the capital. York River is continued by its tributary the Pamunkey River, which approaches within a few miles of the capital. At the foot of the peninsula, where the James flows into Chesapeake Bay, are Newport News and Hampton Roads. So much for the general geography of the Richmond peninsula, as shown on ordinary maps. The approaching battle-fields may be represented by an imaginary square, the sides of which indicate the four quarters. At the bo. Our loss from all causes was great, but not a tenth of this number. The transports of the enemy brought immense supplies of every kind up to the head of the York River, (West-Point,) and depots were numerous up the Pamunkey, being easily supplied thence to the army by excellent roads, and the York River railroad, which Johnsto
on our right, and felt convinced he,possessed but few and unimportant depots on the James River, or the Chickahominy; but had established communication with the York River to his right and rear, as being safer to navigate, some considerable distance nearer to his Headquarters, and affording greater facility of transportation by th The Brook Church, or Hanover Court-House turnpike, (leading from Richmond to Hanover Court-House, the White House on the Pamunkey River, and West-Point on the York River,) was McClellan's right, situated in a fine, open, undulating country, highly cultivated and picturesque. This turnpike was the extreme left of our lines, and k Court-house roads. He appeared much fatigued and overworked, and would have served admirably for a picture of Dick Turpin when chased by officers on the road to York. His horse was a splendid black, with heavy reins and bit, cavalry-saddle, and holsters; foam stood in a lather upon him, and he was mud-splashed from head to hoo
ow swampy lands, behind his left centre and left. But now that he has his whole force on the south bank, and has lost all communication with his depots on the York River, will he, in desperation, taking advantage of the presence of our heavy forces on the north bank, concentrate and hurl his entire strength against our right, anHill had taken Mechanicsville, and Jackson's advance through the country had cut off the Federal communication with their depots on the Pamunkey and the head of York River, Stuart had been ordered to advance rapidly and secure whatever was possible ere the enemy had time to destroy it. On Thursday, therefore, he moved down the Braes and escaped. Proceeding through the country, every Federal establishment was visited, large or small, and every thing of value appropriated. At the head of York River much United States property was taken, and wagon-loads destroyed for want of transportation; but among the most singular discoveries made, was that of great qua
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: The Opening Battles. Volume 1., The first fight of iron-clads. (search)
ave exposed Norfolk and James River, and probably would have resulted in the loss of Richmond. For equally good reasons the Monitor acted on the defensive; for if she had been out of the way, General McClellan's base and fleet of transports in York River would have been endangered. Observing three merchant vessels at anchor close inshore and within the bar at Hampton, the commodore ordered Lieutenant Barney in the Jamestown to go in and bring them out. This was promptly and successfully accomppation was gone, and the next thing to be decided upon was what should be done with the ship. Two courses of action were open to us: we might have run the blockade of the forts and done some damage to the shipping there and at the mouth of the York River, provided they did not get out of our way,--for, with our great draught and low rate of speed, the enemy's transports would have gone where we could not have followed them; and the Monitor and other iron-clads would have engaged us with every a
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: The Opening Battles. Volume 1., chapter 15.58 (search)
their command could not have been driven out. No batteries could have been put up by the Confederates in the face of the broadsides of their ships, and it being only twelve miles from Fort Monroe (Old Point Comfort) it could have been reinforced to any extent. But they did give it up, and had hardly done so when they commenced making preparations to retake it. The navy yard contained a large number of heavy cannon, and these guns were used not only to fortify Norfolk and the batteries on the York, Potomac, James, and Rappahannock rivers, but were sent to North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. They were to be found at Roanoke Island, Wilmington, Charleston, Mobile, New Orleans, Vicksburg, and many other places. These guns, according to J. T. Scharf, numbered 1198, of which 52 were nine-inch Dahlgrens. editors. About 1 P. M. on the 8th of March, a courier dashed up to my headquarters with this brief dispatch: The Virginia is coming up the
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, The Passing of the Armies: The Last Campaign of the Armies., Chapter 9: the last review. (search)
he shadow of the stalwart 62d, gone, and 21St Cavalry passed on. With these the 1st and 16th Michigan, ever at the front, the keen-eyed 1st and 2d Sharpshooters and proud relics of the 4th, left from the wheat-field of Gettysburg. Here is the trusted, sorely-tried 32d Massachusetts, with unfaltering spirit and ranks made good from the best substance of the 18th, wakening heart-held visions. These names and numbers tell of the men who had opened all the fiery gateways of Virginia from the York River to the Chickahominy, and from the Rapidan to the Appomattox. Now Gregory's New York Brigade--the 187th, 188th, and 189th,--young in order of number, but veteran in experience and honor; worthy of the list held yet in living memory, the 12th, 13th, 14th, 17th, 25th, and 44th,--one by one gone before. One more brigade yet, of this division; of the tested last that shall be first: the splendid 185th New York, and fearless, clear-brained Sniper still at their head; the stalwart fourtee
The Annals of the Civil War Written by Leading Participants North and South (ed. Alexander Kelly McClure), The First great crime of the War. (search)
on to make of the Army of the Potomac was to transport it by the easiest and quickest route to York river, to operate against Richmond, leaving force enough to prevent any danger to Washington. Tht the bulk of the army should be landed at Fortress Monroe, and move up the Peninsula between the York and James rivers, and that General McDowell's corps should land on the north side of the York rivYork river. By this plan a force of over 80,000. men would have been on the Peninsula, and a corps of nearly 30,000 men would have been on the north side of the York river, in position to turn Yorktown. ThYork river, in position to turn Yorktown. The result of carrying out this plan would have been that Yorktown would have been evacuated without a siege, the Williamsburg battle would not have taken place, and the whole army would have concentratellan's plan of turning Yorktown, by the movement of McDowell's corps on the north bank of the York river, was utterly destroyed. The Army of the Potomac was forced to stay a whole month on the Penin
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