make rapid movements, at once signally failed.
On the afternoon of the second day's march he came to the first line of the enemy's defenses, heavy fortifications at Yorktown
on the York River
, and a strong line of intrenchments and dams flooding the Warwick River
, extending to an impassable inlet from James River
But the situation was not yet desperate.
, the Confederate
commander, had only eleven thousand men to defend Yorktown
and thethirteen-mile line of the Warwick
, on the contrary, had fifty thousand at hand, and as many more within call, with which to break the Confederate
line and continue his proposed “rapid movements.”
But now, without any adequate reconnaissance or other vigorous effort, he at once gave up his thoughts of rapid movement, one of the main advantages he had always claimed for the water route, and adopted the slow expedient of a siege of Yorktown
Not alone was his original plan of campaign demonstrated to be faulty, but by this change in the method of its execution it became fatal.
It would be weary and exasperating to recount in detail the remaining principal episodes of McClellan
's operations to gain possession of the Confederate
The whole campaign is a record of hesitation, delay, and mistakes in the chief command, brilliantly relieved by the heroic fighting and endurance of the troops and subordinate officers, gathering honor out of defeat, and shedding the luster of renown over a result of barren failure.
wasted a month raising siege-works to bombard Yorktown
, when he. might have turned the place by two or three days operations with his superior numbers of four to one.
By his failure to give instructions after Yorktown
was evacuated, he allowed a single division of his advanceguard