with the direction of the pursuit, had this day been superseded by an order which placed Gen. Sumner
in command at the front.
, accordingly, Hooker
had sent, at different times throughout the afternoon, pressing applications for aid, but had received none; and Hooker
says in his report:
History will not be believed when it is told that the noble officers and men of my division were permitted to carry on this unequal struggle from morning until night unaided, in the presence of more than 30,000 of their comrades with arms in their hands.
Nevertheless, it is true.
explains that, before these applications reached him, he had dispatched Gen. Hancock
, with his brigade, to the extreme right; so that lie had but about 3,000 infantry left, while cavalry was useless in that wooded and unknown region; hence, lie was unable to give the assistance required.
duly accomplished the flanking movement assigned him, and, by a brilliant bayonet charge, carried the Rebel
works on our right, with a loss of less than 50 men.1
Soon, Gen. McClellan
--after whom the Prince De Joinville
and Gov. Sprague
, of Rhode Island
, had ridden post haste to Yorktown
, where he was superintending the dispatching of Franklin
's division to West Point
— was induced, after some delay, to ride to the front, reaching Hancock
's position about 5 P. M. Before dark, several other divisions had arrived on the ground; that of Gen. Couch
, or a part of it, in season to claim the honor of having been engaged in the battle.
, at 10 P. M., dispatched to Washington
the following account of this bloody affair, which proves that he was still quite in the dark respecting it:
After arranging for movement up Yorlriver, I was urgently sent for here.
I find Joe Johnston in front of me in stron5 force, probably greater, a good deal, than my own, and very strongly intrenched.. Hancock has taken two redoubts, and repulsed Early's brigade by a real charge with the bayonet, taking one Colonel and 150 prisoners, killing at least two Colonels and as many Lt.-Colonels, and many privates.
His conduct was brilliant in the extreme.
I do not know our exact loss, but fear Hooker has lost considerably on our left.
I learn from prisoners that they intend disputing every step to Richmond.
I shall run the risk of at least holding them in check here, while I resume the original plan.
My entire force is, undoubtedly, considerably inferior to that of the Rebels, who still fight well; but I will do all I can with the force at my disposal.
Had he supposed that the Rebels
were at that moment evacuating Williamsburg
in such haste as to leave all their severely wounded, 700 or 800 in number, to become prisoners,