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Chapter 26: the gun-boats in the James River-battle of seven Pines.

About May 9th Mr. Davis insisted that we should leave Richmond, and relieve him from unnecessary anxiety. On the eve of the gth there was a reception, and we were to go in three days. A courier came to the President with despatches, and as he passed me on his return to the drawing-room I looked a question and he responded, in a whisper, “The enemy's gun-boats are ascending the river.” Our guests remained quite late, and there was no opportunity for further conversation.

As soon as they were gone my husband told me he hoped the obstructions would prevent the gun-boats reaching the river, but that he preferred we should go the next morning. Always averse to flight, I entreated him to grant a little delay, but he was firm, and I communicated the news to the family. Dr. William M. Gwin and his daughter were visiting us, and a friend from the next corner had tarried beyond the rest. As soon as our dear little neighbor was told the news, she dropped [269] on her knees and raising her hands to heaven, ejaculated, “Lord Jesus, save and help me.” Notwithstanding the crucial period through which we were passing, we all laughed heartily, except our friend. She was a woman of rare attainments and keen wit, and had written a journal which extended over a long period of intercourse with the greatest men of their day at home and abroad. Such a record of the passing show would have been almost as valuable an addition to the history of the time as Madame Junot's or Madame de Remusat's diaries, but she burnt it at once for fear of its being taken from her by the enemy.

We left for Raleigh, N. C., on the morning of May Ioth; the panic began some days later, and it was pitiable to see our friends coming in without anything except the clothes they had on, and mourning the loss of their trunks in a piteous jumble of pain and worriment.

The Sunday before our departure, Mr. Davis was baptized at home by Mr. Minnegerode, in the presence of the Right Rev. Bishop Johns, and a peace which passed understanding seemed to settle in his heart, after the ceremony. His religious convictions had long occupied his thoughts, and the joy of being received into the Church seemed to pervade his soul.

Now the campaign began in dreadful earnest. [270] Soon after General Johnston took position on the north side of the Chickahominy; accompanied by General Lee, my husband rode out to his headquarters in the field, in order to establish a more thorough co-intelligence with him. General Johnston came in after they arrived, saying he had been riding around his lines to see how his position could be improved. A long conversation followed, which was so inconclusive that it lasted until late at night, so late that they remained until the next morning, when Mr. Davis sent me the following letter:

Richmond, May 13, 1862.
Yesterday afternoon I went to the headquarters of General Johnston's army, about twenty-two or three miles from here. He was out when we reached there, and the distance was so great that after consultation it was decided to remain, and I rode in this morning.

The army is reported in fine spirits and condition. If the withdrawal from the Peninsula and Norfolk had been with due preparation and a desirable deliberation, I should be more sanguine of a successful defence of this city. Various causes have delayed the obstructions and the armament of the covering fort, while the hasty evacuation of the defences below and the destruction of the Virginia [271] hastens the coming of the enemy's gunboats.

I know not what to expect when so many failures are to be remembered, yet will try to make a successful resistance, and if it were the first attempt, would expect to sink the enemy's boats.

On May 15th, the enemy's fleet of five ships of war, among them the Monitor, steamed up the James River, and took position within range of the fort at Drewry's Bluff, and opened fire between eight and nine o'clock. The little Patrick Henry was lying above the obstructions, and co-operated with the fort in its defence. General Lee had also some light batteries in position on the banks of the river to sweep the ships' decks with cannister.

The Monitor and Galena steamed up to within six hundred yards of the fort, the smaller vessels were kept at long range.

When it was known in Richmond that General Johnston's army had fallen back to the vicinity of the city, and that the enemy's gun-boats were ascending the James, a panic became imminent. Many were apprehensive that Richmond would be abandoned by the Confederate forces.

During the engagement which ensued with the fort the flag-ship Galena was badly injured [272] by its guns, and her crew driven below by the light pieces on the banks, with many casualties. The Monitor was struck repeatedly, but the shot did little damage, save denting some of her plates.

At eleven o'clock the enemy drew off, out of range, and moved down the river. The attempt was not renewed.

Richmond breathed freer, when it was known the danger had passed. On the 16th, my husband rode out to see the works and obstructions in the James River, and upon his return wrote to me as follows:

... I returned this evening from a long ride through rain and mud, having gone down the James River to see the works and obstructions on which we rely to stop the gun-boats. The attack of yesterday has given an impulse to the public, and our working parties have been increased so much that a few days will now enable us to effect more than has been done in weeks past. I reached the fort yesterday, arriving after the firing had ceased, and found the garrison quite elated at their success, and each one prompt to tell that the gun-boats were clear gone. David was under fire and eloquent in relation to the nervousness of the raw troops, he and the marines being the veterans. ... The panic here has subsided, and with increasing [273] confidence there has arisen a desire to see the city destroyed rather than surrendered. “They lightly talk of scars who never felt a wound,” and these talkers have little idea of what scenes would follow the battering of rows of brick houses. I have told them that the enemy might be beaten before Richmond, or on either flank, and we would try to do it, but that I could not allow the army to be penned up in a city. The boats, we ought to be, and I hope are, able to stop. Their army, when reduced to smallarms and field pieces, I think we can defeat, and then a vigorous pursuit will bring results long wished for, but not given to the wind. ... Be of good cheer and continue to hope that God will in due time deliver us from the hands of our enemies and “sanctify to us our deepest distress.” As the clouds grow darker, and when one after another of those who are trusted are detected in secret hostility, I feel like mustering clans were in me, and that cramping fetters had fallen from my limbs. The great temporal object is to secure our independence, and they who engage in strife for personal or party aggrandizement deserve contemptuous forgetfulness. I have no political wish beyond the success of our cause, no personal desire but to be relieved from further connection with [274] office; opposition in any form can only disturb me insomuch as it may endanger the public welfare ... Maggie is a wise child. I wish I could learn to let people alone who snap at me, in forbearance and charity to turn away as well from the cats as the snakes. Dear little Joey may well attract admiration, and the people who think him like me must have formed complimentary ideas of my appearance. ... Our church was not fully attended to-day, the families have to a great extent left town, and the excitement, no doubt, kept away many men. Mr. Minnegerode was sick, Bishop Johns preached extemporaneously, and his address was fervent and appropriate. I thought him more eloquent than on any former occasion. The resemblance to Mr. Clay is probably accidental.

Not receiving a definite reply to a letter sent to General Johnston by his aide-decamp, Colonel G. W. C. Lee, Mr. Davis rode out to visit him at his headquarters, and was surprised, in the surburbs of Richmond, the other side of Gillis's Creek, to meet a portion of the light artillery, and to learn that the whole army had crossed the Chickahominy.

General Johnston explained that he thought the water of the Chickahominy would prove [275] injurious to his troops, and had therefore directed them to cross, and to halt at the first good water.

General McClellan following up Johnston's movement, drew his lines nearer to the Confederate capital. His army at this time numbered, present and absent, 156,838; effectives present 105,825. The army under Johnston, 62,696 effectives.

On May Igth, my husband again wrote to me as follows:

“. ... I have but a moment to say that I am well as usual, and busier than heretofore. General Johnston has brought his army back to the suburbs of Richmond, and I have been waiting all day for him to communicate his plans.”

“ The enemy have pushed out their pickets, and have found out his movements while concealing their own.”

“We are uncertain of everything, except that a battle must be near at hand.”

Under date of May 28th Mr. Davis wrote me as follows:

... We are steadily developing for a great battle, and under God's favor I trust for a decisive victory. The enemy are preparing to concentrate in advance by regular approaches; we must attack him in motion, and trust to the valor of our troops for success. [276] It saddens me to feel how many a mother, wife, and child will be made to grieve in bitterness, but what is there worse than submission to such brutal tyranny as now holds sway over New Orleans. ...

Continuing Mr. Davis's narrative in reference to the operations around Richmond at this time, he said:

Seeing no preparation to keep the enemy at a distance, and kept in ignorance of any plan for such purpose, I sent for General R. E. Lee, then at Richmond, in general charge of army operations, and told him why and how I was dissatisfied with the condition of affairs.

He asked me what I thought it was proper to do. Recurring to a conversation held about the time we had together visited General Johnston, I answered that McClellan should be attacked on the other side of the Chickahominy before he matured his preparations for a siege of Richmond. To this he promptly assented, as I anticipated he would, for I knew it had been his own opinion. He then said: “ General Johnston should of course advise you of what he expects or proposes to do. Let me go and see him, and defer this discussion until I return.”

... When General Lee came back, he told me that General Johnston proposed, on the next Thursday, to move against the [277] enemy as follows: General A. P. Hill was to move down on the right flank and rear of the enemy. General G. W. Smith, as soon as Hill's guns opened, was to cross the Chickahominy at the Meadow Bridge, attack the enemy in flank, and by the conjunction of the two it was expected to double him up. Then Longstreet was to come on the Mechanicsville Bridge and attack him in front. From this plan the best results were hoped by both of us.

On the morning of the day proposed, I hastily despatched my office business and rode out toward the Meadow Bridge to see the action commence. On the road I found Smith's division halted and the men dispersed in the woods. Looking for someone from whom I could get information, I finally saw General Hood, and asked him the meaning of what I saw. He told me he did not know anything more than that they had been halted. I asked him where General Smith was; he said he believed he had gone to a farm-house in the rear, adding that he thought he was ill.

Riding on the bluff which overlooks the Meadow Bridge, I asked Colonel Anderson, posted there in observation, whether he had seen anything of the enemy in his front. He said that he had seen only two mounted men across the bridge, and a small party of infantry [278] on the other side of the river, some distance below, both of whom, he said, he could show me if I would go with him into the garden back of the house. There, by the use of a powerful glass, were distinctly visible two cavalry videttes at the further end of the bridge, and a squad of infantry lower down the river, who had covered themselves with a screen of green boughs. The Colonel informed me that he had not heard Hill's guns; it was, therefore, supposed he had not advanced. I then rode down the bank of the river, followed by a cavalcade of sight-seers, who I supposed had been attracted by the expectation of a battle. The little squad of infantry, about fifteen in number, as we approached, fled over the bridge, and were lost to sight.

Near to the Mechanicsville Bridge I found General Howell Cobb, commanding the support of a battery of artillery. He pointed out to me on the opposite side of the river the only enemy he had seen, and which was evidently a light battery. Riding on to the main road which led to the Mechanicsville Bridge, I found General Longstreet, walking to and fro in an impatient, it might be said fretful, manner. Before speaking to him, he said his division had been under arms all day waiting for orders to advance, and that the [279] day was now so far spent that he did not know what was the matter. I afterward learned from General Smith that he had received information from a citizen that the “Beaver-dam Creek presented an impassable barrier, and that he had thus fortunately been saved from a disaster.” Thus ended the offensive-defensive programme from which Lee expected much, and of which I was hopeful.

On the morning of May 3st my husband wrote me as follows:

... I packed some valuable books and the sword I wore for many years, together with the pistols used at Monterey and Buena Vista, and my old dressing-case. These articles will have a value to the boys in after-time, and to you now. ... They will probably go forward to-day.

Thank you for congratulations on success of Jackson. Had the movement been made when I first proposed it, the effect would have been more important.

In that night's long conference it was regarded impossible. We have not made any balloon discoveries. The only case in which much is to be expected from such means will be when large masses of troops are in motion.1 [280]

Yesterday morning I thought we would engage the enemy, reported to be in large force on the Upper Chickahominy. The report was incorrect, as I verified in the afternoon by a long ride in that locality.

I saw nothing more than occasional cavalry videttes, and some pickets with field artillery.

General Lee rises to the occasion ... and seems to be equal to the conception. I hope others will develop capacity in execution. ... If we fight and are victorious, we can all soon meet again. If the enemy retreat to protect Washington, of which there are vague reports, I can probably visit you.

In the meantime the enemy moved up, and finding the crossing at Bottom Bridge undefended, on the 25th threw a corps across the Chickahominy.

He afterward added another corps, and commenced fortifying a line to Seven Pines.

Mr. Davis continued his narration in “The Rise and fall” of the Confederacy:

In the forenoon of May 31st, riding out on the New Bridge road, I heard firing in the direction of Seven Pines. As I drew nearer, I saw General Whiting, with part of General Smith's division, file into the road in front of me; at the same time I saw General Johnston ride across the field from a house before [281] which General Lee's horse was standing. I turned down to the house, and asked General Lee what the musketry firing meant. He replied by asking whether I had heard it, and was answered in the affirmative; he said he had been under that impression himself, but General yohnston had assured him that it could be nothing more than an artillery duel. It is scarcely necessary to add that neither of us had been advised of a design to attack the enemy that day.

We then walked out to the rear of the house to listen, and were satisfied that an action, or at least a severe skirmish, must be going on.

General johnston states in his report that the condition of the air was peculiarly unfavorable to the transmission of sound.

General Lee and myself then rode to the field of battle, which may be briefly described as follows:

The Chickahominy flowing in front, is a deep, sluggish, and narrow river, bordered by marshes and covered with tangled wood. The line of battle extended along the Ninemile road, across the York River railroad, and Williamsburg stage-road. The enemy had constructed redoubts, with long lines of rifle-pits covered by abatis, from below Bottom Bridge to within less than two miles of [282] New Bridge, and had constructed bridges to connect his forces on the north and south sides of the Chickahominy. The left of his forces, on the south side, was thrown forward from the river; the right was on its bank, and covered by its slope. Our main force was on the right flank of our position, extending on both sides of the Williamsburg road, near to its intersection with theNine-mile road. The wing consisted of Hill's, Huger's, and Longstreet's divisions, with light batteries, and a small force of cavalry; the division of General G. W. Smith, less Hood's brigade ordered to the right, formed the left wing, and its position was on theNine-mile road. There were small tracts of cleared land, but most of the ground was wooded, and much of it so covered with water as to seriously embarrass the movements of troops.

When General Lee and I, riding down theNine-mile road, reached the left of our line, we found the troops hotly engaged. Our men had driven the enemy from his advanced encampment, and he had fallen back behind an open field to the bank of the river, where, in a dense wood, was concealed an infantry line, with artillery in position. Soon after our arrival, General Johnston, who had gone farther to the right, where the conflict was expected, and whither reinforcement [283] from the left was marching, was brought back severely wounded, and, as soon as an ambulance could be obtained, was removed from the field.

Our troops on the left made vigorous assaults under most disadvantageous circumstances. They made several gallant attempts to carry the enemy's position, but were each time repulsed with heavy loss.

After a personal reconnaissance on the left of the open in our front, I sent one, then another, and another courier to General Magruder, directing him to send a force down by the wooded path, just under the bluff, to attack the enemy in flank and reverse. Impatient of delay, I had started to see General Magruder, when I met the third courier, who said he had not found General Magruder, but had delivered the message to Brigadier-General Griffith, who was moving by the path designated to make the attack.

On returning to the field, I found that the attack in front had ceased; it was, therefore, too late for a single brigade to effect anything against the large force of the enemy, and messengers were sent through the woods to direct General Griffith to go back.

The heavy rain during the night of the 30th had swollen the Chickahominy; it was rising when the battle of Seven Pines was [284] fought; but had not reached such height as to prevent the enemy from using his bridges; consequently, General Sumner, during the engagement, brought over his corps as a reinforcement. He was on the north side of the river, had built two bridges to connect with the south side, and, though their coverings were loosened by the upward pressure of the rising water, they were not yet impassable. With the true instinct of the soldier to march upon fire, when the sound of the battle reached him, he formed his corps and stood under arms waiting for an order to advance. He came too soon for us, and, but for his forethought and promptitude, he would have arrived too late for his friends. It may be granted that his presence saved the left wing of the Federal army from defeat.

As we had permitted the enemy to fortify before our attack, it would have been better to have waited another day, until the bridges would have been rendered impassable by the rise of the river.

General Lee at nightfall gave instructions to General Smith, the senior officer on that part of the battle-field, and left with me to return to Richmond.

Mr. Davis had a personal observation of the left of the line of battle only. For the operations on the right he referred to the [285] report of General Longstreet, who was in chief command. From this report, published by the War Department at Washington, the following extract is taken:

Agreeably to verbal instructions from the Commanding General, the division of Major-General D. H. Hill was, on the morning of the 31st ultimo formed at an early hour on the Williamsburg road, as the column of attack upon the enemy's front on that road. ... The division of Major-General Huger was intended to make a strong flank movement around the left of the enemy's position, and attack him in the rear of that flank ... After waiting some six hours for these troops to get into position, I determined to move forward without regard to them, and gave orders to that effect to Major-General D. H. Hill. The forward movement began about two o'clock, and our skirmishers soon became engaged with those of the enemy. The entire division of General Hill became engaged about three o'clock, and drove the enemy back, gaining possession of his abatis and part of his intrenched camp, General Rodes, by a movement to the right, driving in the enemy's left. The only reinforcements on the field, in hand, were my own brigades, of which Anderson's, Wilcox's, and Kemper's were put in by the front on [286] the Williamsburg road, and Colston's and Pryor's by my right flank. At the same time the decided and gallant attack made by the other brigades gained entire possession of the enemy's position, with his artillery, campequipage, etc. Anderson's brigade, under Colonel Jenkins, pressing forward rapidly, continued to drive the enemy till nightfall. ... The conduct of the attack was left entirely to Major-General Hill. The entire success of the affair is sufficient evidence of his ability, courage, and skill.

In reference to the failure of General Huger to make the attack expected of him, Mr. Davis said:

Some explanation should be given of an apparent dilatoriness on the part of that veteran soldier, who, after long and faithful service, now fills an honored grave.

It will be remembered that General Huger was to move by the Charles City road, so as to turn the left of the enemy and attack him in flank. The extraordinary rain of the previous night had swollen every rivulet to the dimensions of a stream, and the route prescribed to General Huger was one especially affected by that heavy rain, as it led to the head of the White-Oak swamp. The bridge over the stream flowing into that swamp had been carried away, and the alternatives [287] presented to him was to rebuild the bridge or leave his artillery. He chose the former, which involved the delay that has subjected him to criticism. If any should think an excuse necessary to justify this decision, they are remanded to the accepted military maxim, that the march must never be so hurried as to arrive unfit for service; and, also, that they may be reminded that Huger's specialty was artillery, he being the officer who commanded the siege-guns with which General Scott marched from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico.

General Rodes, alluding to the difficulty he had with his infantry in getting on the field, said: “The progress of the brigade was delayed by the washing away of the bridge, which forced the men to wade in water waistdeep, and a large number were entirely submerged. ... The ground was covered with thick undergrowth, and the soil very marshy. It was with great difficulty that either horses or men could get over itguided as they were only by the firing in front. Only five companies of the Fifth Alabama emerged from the woods under a heavy fire of artillery and musketry.”

General Huger's line of march was nearer to the swamp, and the impediments consequently greater than where General Rodes [288] found the route so difficult as to be dangerous even to infantry.

On the next day, June ist, the enemy endeavored to retake the works Hill's division had captured the day before.

General Longstreet was ordered to attack on the morning of the 31st. The division of General D. H. Hill drove the enemy steadily back until nightfall. Our troops on the left did not co-operate with General Hill. If the battle was preconceived, why did they not come to his aid? Why were they so far removed as not to hear the first guns?

General G. W. Smith seems not to have been informed of the Federal works in his front, as he says in his report:

The enemy was driven, but they were reinforced and held a strong position-either fortzifed or naturally strong ... Fire came from a low bank of an old ditch, either drain or foundation of a fence very near the surface of the ground.

General Smith continued: “After leaving the wood, I heard for the first time that General Johnston had been severely wounded, and compelled to leave the field. This unfortunate casualty placed me in command of the Army of Northern Virginia. ... The next morning I was compelled by illness to leave the field.” [289]

Mr. Davis wrote:

On the morning of June ist, I rode out toward the position where General Smith had been left on the previous night, and where I learned from General Lee that he would remain. After turning into the Ninemile road, and before reaching that position, I was hailed by General Whiting, who saw me at a distance, and ran toward the road to stop me. He told me I was riding into the position of the enemy, who had advanced on the withdrawal of our troops, and there, pointing, he said, “ is a battery which I am surprised has not fired on you.” I asked where our troops were. He said his was the advance, and the others behind him. He also told me that General Smith was at the house which had been his (Whiting's) headquarters, and I rode there to see him. To relieve both him and General Lee from any embarrassment, I preferred to make the announcement of General Lee's assignment to command previous to his arrival.

After General Lee arrived, I took leave, and being subsequently joined by him, we rode together to the Williamsburg road, where we found General Longstreet, his command being in front, and then engaged with the enemy on the field of the previous day's combat. [290]

On the morning of June Ist, the army was withdrawn to its old position in front of Richmond.

By official reports our loss, “killed wounded, and missing,” was 6,804; of which 4,851 were in Longstreet's command on the right, and 1,233 in Smith's command on the left. On the right we captured 10 pieces of artillery, 4 flags, a large amount of camp-equipage, and more than I,000 prisoners.

Our aggregate of both wings was about 40,500. The enemy's 37,936, until Sumner's corps crossed the Chickahominy, when the enemy's aggregate in excess of ours was in round numbers 16,000.

General R. E. Lee was now in immediate command, and thenceforward directed the movements of the army in front of Richmond. Laborious and exact in details, as he was vigilant and comprehensive in grand strategy, a power, with which the public had not credited him, soon became manifest in all that makes an army a rapid, accurate, compact machine, with responsive motion in all its parts. I extract the following sentence from a letter from the late Colonel R. H. Chilton, Adjutant and Inspector-General of the Army of the Confederacy, because of his special knowledge of the subject:

“I consider General Lee's exhibition of [291] grand and administrative talents and indomitable energy, in bringing up that army in so short a time to that state of discipline which maintained aggregation through those terrible seven days fights around Richmond, as probably his grandest achievement.”

On June 2d 2 and 3d my husband wrote me the following letters:

... On Saturday we had a severe battle and suffered severely in attacking the enemy's intrenchments, of which our Generals were poorly informed. Some of them, and those most formidable, were found by receiving their fire. Our troops behaved most gallantly, drove the enemy out of their encampments, captured their batteries, carried their advanced redoubts, and marched forward under fire more heavy than I had ever previously witnessed. Our loss was heavy, that of the enemy unknown. General J. E. Johnston is severely wounded. The poor [292] fellow bore his suffering most heroically. When he was about to be put into the ambulance to be removed from the field, I dismounted to speak to him; he opened his eyes, smiled, and gave me his hand, said he did not know how seriously he was hurt, but feared a fragment of shell had injured his spine. It was probably a shell loaded with musket-balls, as there appears to be a wound of a ball in his shoulder ranging down toward the lungs. I saw him yesterday evening; his breathing was labored, but he was free from fever and seemed unshaken in his nervous system. Mrs. Johnston is deeply distressed and very watchful. They are at Mr. Crenshaw's house, on Church Hill. I offered to share our house with them, but his staff obtained a whole house and seemed to desire such arrangement. General Lee is in the field, commanding. General G. W. Smith has come in this morning, sick-his old disease, it is said.

Yesterday we had some heavy skirmishing, and increased our stock of prisoners, but no important result was gained. Unaccountable delays in bringing some of our troops into action prevented us from gaining a decisive victory on Saturday. The opportunity being lost, we must try to find another. The same point and manner of attack would not succeed if again attempted. [293]

God will, I trust, give us wisdom to see, and valor to execute, the measures necessary to vindicate the just cause.

Richmond, Va., June 3, 1862.
... I cannot telegraph to you of our military operations without attracting attention and exciting speculation which it is desirable to avoid. The events of the last few days have not varied our condition in any decisive manner, and you have seen enough of rumor to teach you to reject babbling.

General Johnston is improving, and though his confinement must be long, it is confidently believed that his wounds will not prove fatal. General Smith is sick, a return of his former disease, superinduced, it is said, by loss of sleep.

The movements of the enemy are slow and well concealed; our scouts will, I hope, succeed better hereafter, than heretofore, in obtaining intelligence.

The Yankees had been eight or ten days fortifying the position in which we attacked them on Saturday, and thefirst intimation I had of their having slept on this side of the Chickahominy, was after I had gone into an encampment from which they had been driven.

The ignorance of their works caused much of the loss we suffered. ... [294]

If the Mississippi troops, lying in camp when not retreating under Beauregard, were at home, they would probably keep a section of the river free for our use, and closed against Yankee transports.

It is hard to see incompetence losing opportunity and wasting hard-gotten means, but harder still to bear is the knowledge that there is no available remedy. I cultivate hope and patience, and trust to the blunders of our enemy and the gallantry of our troops for ultimate success.

Tell Helen that Captain Keary has been in the column most distinguished of late. ... Jackson is probably now marching toward this side of the Blue Ridge.

1 A balloon called “the Intrepid,” containing two people, ascended from Richmond and hung over McClellan's camp for two hours, about the end of July, 1862.

2 June 2, 1862, the President addressed a letter of thanks “To the army of Richmond.”

“At a part of your operations it was my fortune to be present. On no other occasion have I witnessed more of calmness and good order than you exhibited while advancing into the very jaws of death, and nothing could exceed the prowess with which you closed upon the enemy when a sheet of fire was blazing in your faces. ... You are fighting for all that is dearest to men; and though opposed to a foe who disregards many of the usages of civilized war, your humanity to the wounded and the prisoners was the fit and crowning glory to your valor.”

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