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[256] South: the road first became slippery, then muddy, then deep with mud. Through this clinging soil the weary horses dragged their loads, while on each side the living stream of infantry forced its toilsome way through the thick and dripping underbrush which bordered the road. Fortunately, the distance was not great, and the troops poured rapidly into the vast plain on the river, and sank to rest upon its trampled wheat, their journey ended, their great task accomplished. The woods of the Peninsula were on one side of them, beautiful in their midsummer luxuriance, and perhaps concealing indefatigable enemies; but on the other was the broad river, bearing on its calm waters the powerful gunboats which displayed the flag of our navy, and, thanks to the provident foresight of the general commanding, bearing also countless vessels filled with tie ammunition and equipments, the food and the clothing, of which our troops stood so much in need.

Mr. Emil Schalk,--a severe military critic, and chary of praise,--speaking of the retreat from the Chickahominy to the James River, says, “This plan of defence reflects the highest credit and honor on the general who conceived and carried it out.” 1 Such is the opinion, it is believed, of all competent judges, whether soldiers by profession, or civilians who have made the art of war a special subject of study. It was a military movement of great danger and difficulty, extending over several days, marked

1 Campaigns of 1862 and 1863, p. 179.

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