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[122] No. 1, on the Warwick, which was to have been converted into a real attack if successful at the outset. Though gallantly made, it failed; our advance being driven back across the stream with the loss of 100 men. The Rebels lost about 75 men, including Col. R. M. McKinncy, 15th North Carolina, killed.

Gen. McClellan had been thirty days in front of Yorktown, and was intending to open the siege in due form by the fire of breching batteries on the morning of May 6th; but he found, two days earlier, that Magrluder had abandoned his works, including Yorktown, during the preceding night, retreating up the Peninsula.1

The pursuit of the flying Rebels was prompt and energetic. It was led by Gen. George D. Stoneman, with 4 regiments and a squadron of cavalry, and 4 batteries of horse-artillery, followed, on the Yorktown road to Williamsburg, by Hooker's and Kearny's divisions, and on the Winn's Mill road by those of W. F. Smith, Couch, and Casey. Gen. McClellan remained at Yorktown to supervise the embarkation of Gen. Franklin's and other troops for West Point.

Fort Magruder, just in front of Williamsburg, at the junction of several roads, commanded, with its 13 adjuncts, substantially all the roads leading farther up the Peninsula. Though not calculated to stand a siege, it was a large and strong earthwork, with a wet ditch nine feet wide. Here Stoneman was stopped by a sharp and accurate cannonading, which compelled him to recoil and await the arrival of infantry. Gen. Sumner, with Smith's division, came up at 5:30 P. M. A heavy rain soon set in, and continued through the night, making the roads nearly impassable. The several commands, marching on different roads, had interfered with and obstructed each other's progress at the junction of those roads as they concentered upon Williamsburg. Gen. Hooker, advancing2 on the direct road from Yorktown to Williamsburg, was stopped, five or six miles out, by finding Gen. Smith's division in his way, and compelled to wait some hours. Impatient at this delay, he sought and obtained of Gen. Heintzelman permission to move over to the Hampton road on his left, on

1 Gen. John G. Barnard, Gen. McClellan's chief engineer through the Peninsula campaign, in a report to his commander at the close of that campaign, says:

At the time the Army of the Potomac landed on the Peninsula, the Rebel cause was at its lowest ebb. Its armies were demoralized by the defeats of Port Royal, Mill Spring, Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Roanoke Island, and Pea Ridge; and reduced by sickness, loss in battle, expirations of period of service, etc.; while the conscription law was not yet even passed. It seemed as if it needed but one vigorous gripe to end forever this Rebellion, so nearly throttled. How, then, happened it, that the day of the initiation of the campaign of this magnificent Army of the Potomac was the day of the resuscitation of the Rebel cause, which seemed to grow pari passu with the slow progress of its operations?

However I may be committed to any expression of professional opinion to the contrary (I certainly did suggest it), my opinion now is that the lines of Yorktown should have been assaulted. There is reason to believe that they were not held in strong force when our army appeared before them; and we know that they were far from complete. The prestige of power, the morale, were on our side. It was due to ourselves to confirm and sustain it. We should probably lave succeeded. But, if we had failed, it may well be doubted whether the shock of an unsuccessful assault would be more demoralizing than the labors of a siege.

Our troops toiled a. month in the trench's, or lay in the swamps of Warwick. We lost few men by the siege; but disease took a fearful hold of the army; and toil and hardship, unredeemed by the excitement of combat. impaired their morale. We did not carry with us from Yorktown so good an army as we took there. Of the bitter fruits of that month gained by the enemy, we have tasted to our heart's content.

2 May 4.

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