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[120] 23 taken from the Congress and carried off by the gunboat Beaufort.

Gen. McClellan left Washington on the 1st of April, arriving next day at Fortress Monroe. Of his army, 58,000 men and 100 guns were there before him, and nearly as many more on the way. Gen. Wool's force, holding the Fortress, is not included in these numbers.

Gen. J. B. Magruder, at Yorktown, watched this ominous gathering in his front at the head of a Rebel force officially reported by limn at 11,000 in all: 6,000 being required to garrison Gloucester Point, Yorktown, and Mulberry Island; leaving but 5,000 available for the defense of a line of 13 miles. Gen. McClellan says his information placed Magruder's command at 15,000 to 20,000 men, aside from Gen. Huger's force at Norfolk, estimated by him at 20,000. Feeling the importance of dealing decisively with Magruder before he could be reenforced by Johnston, MeClellan ordered an advance on the morning of the 4th; and, before evening of the next day, Gen. Heintzelman, in front of Yorktown, and Gen. Keyes, before Winn's Mill,1 on the Warwick, were brought to a halt by the fire of Rebel batteries.2 Gen. McClellan had been misled with regard to the topography of the country as well as the number of his foes. On his map, the Warwick was traced as heading in or very near Skiff's creek, directly up the Peninsula from its mouth, some six or eight miles west of Yorktown; whereas it actually heads within a mile of that post, running diagonally and crookedly nearly across the Peninsula, while it was in good part navigable by Rebel gunboats. His false information regarding it was furnished, lie states, by Gen. Wool's topographical engineers; though there must have been a hundred negroes about the. Fortress, each of whom could and gladly would have corrected it. Our ships of war — what the Merrimac had left of them — were intently watching for

1 Called by Gen. McClellan, Lee's Mill.

2 Pollard says:

General Magruder, the hero of Bethel, and a commander who was capable of much greater achievements, was left to confront the growing forces on the Peninsula, which daily menaced him, with an army of 7 500 men, while the great bulk of the Confederate forces were still in motion in the neighborhood of the Rappahannock and the Rapidan, and he had no assurance of reinforcements. The force of the enemy was ten times his own; they had commenced a daily cannonading upon his lines; and a council of general officers was convened, to consult whether the little army of 7,500 men should maintain its position in the face of tenfold odds, or retire before the enemy. The opinion of the council was unanimous for the latter alternative. with the exception of one officer, who declared that every man should die in the intrenchments before the little army should fall back. ‘ By G--, it shall be so!’ was the sudden exclamation of Gen. Magruder, in sympathy with the gallant suggestion. The resolution demonstrated a remarkable heroism and spirit. Our little force was adroitly extended over a distance of several miles, reaching from Mulberry Island to Gloucester Point, a regiment being posted here and there, in every gap plainly open to observation, and on other portions of the line the men being posted at long intervals, to give the appearance of numbers to the enemy. Had the weakness of Gen. Magruder at this time been known to the enemy., he might have suffered the consequences of his devoted and self-sacrificing courage; but, as it was, he held his lines on the Peninsula until they were reinforced by the most considerable portion of Gen. Johnston's forces, and made the situation of a contest upon which the attention of the public was unanimously fixed as the most decisive of the war.”

Col. Fremantle, of the British Coldstream Guards, in his “Three months in the Southern States,” says:

He [Magruder] told me the different dodges he resorted to to blind and deceive McClellan as to his strength; and he spoke of the intense relief and amusement with which lie at length saw that General, with his magnificent army, begin to break ground before miserable earthworks defended only by 8,000 men

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