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[221] & Richmond Railroad, both over, the South Ann, were destroyed, as well as a considerable amount of Confederate property at Hanover Court-House and Ashland. General McClellan was much gratified at the way in which this brilliant movement was executed by General Porter, and he deemed its results valuable, because it was thus rendered impossible for the enemy to communicate by rail with Fredericksburg, or with Jackson except by the very circuitous route of Lynchburg. More important still, by the clearing of our right flank and rear, the road was left entirely open for the advance of McDowell, had he been permitted to join the Army of the Potomac. His advanced guard was at this time at Bowling Green, only about fifteen or twenty miles distant from that of Porter: so near did we come to seizing the golden opportunity which Fortune never offers a second time! McDowell's withdrawal towards Front Royal was, as General McClellan observes in his Report, “a serious and fatal error.” He was sent to a point where he could do no good, and diverted from a point where his presence was greatly needed and could not have failed to secure important results.

As our army was massed on both sides of the Chickahominy, it was necessary to maintain easy communication between them; and this compelled the building of several bridges, some of which were new, and others were reconstructions of those which the enemy had destroyed. Our troops were very efficient in work of this kind, but they had great difficulties to struggle against. The Chickahominy

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Fitz-John Porter (2)
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