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[352] appointment, than the Army of the Potomac then did. Fair Oaks attests their courage and endurance when they hurled back, again and again, the vastly superior masses of the enemy. But mortal men could not accomplish the miracles that seemed to have been expected of them. But one course was left,--a flank march, in the face of a powerful enemy, to another and better base,--one of the most hazardous movements in war. The Army of the Potomac, holding its own safety, and almost the safety of our cause, in its hands, was equal to the occasion. The seven days are classical in American history,--those days in which the noble soldiers of the Union and Constitution fought an overwhelming enemy by day, and retreated from successive victories by night, through a week of battle, closing the terrible scenes of conflicts with the ever-memorable victory at Malvern, where they drove back, beaten and shattered, the entire Eastern army of the Confederacy, and thus secured for themselves a place of rest and a point for a new advance upon the capital from the banks of the James. Richmond was still within our grasp, had the Army of the Potomac been reinforced and permitted to advance. But counsels which I cannot but think subsequent events proved unwise prevailed in Washington, and we were ordered to abandon the campaign. Never did soldiers better deserve the thanks of a nation than the Army of the Potomac for the deeds of the Peninsular campaign; and, although that meed was withheld from them by the authorities, I am persuaded they have received the applause of the American people.

The Army of the Potomac was recalled from within sight of Richmond, and incorporated with the Army of Virginia. The disappointments of the campaign on the Peninsula had not damped their ardor nor diminished their patriotism. They fought well, faithfully, gallantly, under General Pope, yet were compelled to fall back on Washington, defeated and almost demoralized.

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