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[149] men could not fairly be expected to arrest and repel a determined advance of the entire Rebel army, whereof two choice divisions, numbering 15,000 men, were hurled directly upon them. That some of our men behaved badly is true; but the responsibility of their failure rests on the Generals by whom they were badly handled. They were sent up by brigades to confront Rebel divisions, and thus beaten in detail; and, when at last the time came for fighting with the advantage of numbers on our side, the directing, impelling will was absent.

Gen. Hooker, next morning,1 by Heintzelman's order, made a reconnoissance in force, advancing to within four miles of Richmond, unresisted save by pickets. Gen. McClellan, on learning this movement, ordered Hooker to be recalled to and take position at Fair Oaks. The General commanding wrote this day to the Secretary of War:

The enemy attacked in force and with great spirit yesterday morning; but are everywhere most signally repulsed with great loss. Our troops charged frequently on both days, and uniformly broke the enemy. The result is. that our left is within four miles of Richmond. I only wait for the river to fall to cross with the rest of the force and make a general attack. Should I find them holding firm in a very strong position, I may wait for what troops I can bring up from Fortress Monroe. But the morale of my troops is now such that I can venture much. I do not fear for odds against me. The victory is complete; and all credit is due to the gallantry of our officers and men.

The President, on hearing of this bloody battle, placed the disposable troops at Fortress Monroe at the service of Gen. McClellan, sent five new regiments from Baltimore by water to his aid, and notified him that McCall's division of McDowell's corps should follow as speedily as might be. Gen. McClellan responded :2

I am glad to learn that you are pressing forward reenforcements so vigorously. I shall be in perfect readiness to move forward and take Richmond the moment McCall reaches here, and the ground will admit the passage of artillery. I have advanced my pickets about a mile to-day; driving off the Rebel pickets, and securing a very advantageous position.

He soon afterward3 telegraphed:

I am completely checked by the weather. The roads and fields are literally impassable for artillery — almost so for infantry. The Chickahominy is in a dreadful state. We have another rain-storm on our hands. I shall attack as soon as the weather and ground will permit; but there will be a delay, the extent of which no one can foresee, for tile season is altogether abnormal. In view of these circumstances, I present for your consideration the propriety of detailing largely from Halleck's army, to strengthen this; for it would seem that Halleck has now no large organized force in front of him, while we have. If this cannot be done, or even in connection with it, allow me to suggest the movement of a heavy column from Dalton upon Atlanta. If but the one can be done, it would better conform to military principles to strengthen this army. And, even although the reenforcelments might not arrive in season to take part in the attack upon Richmond, the moral effect would be great, and they would furnish valuable assistance in ulterior movements. I wish to be distinctly understood that, whenever the weather permits, I will attack with whatever force I may have, although a larger. force would enable me to gain much more decided results. I would be glad to have McCall's infantry sent forward by water at once, without waiting for his artillery and, cavalry.

Secretary Stanton promptly responded:4

Your dispatch of 3:30, yesterday, has been received. I am fully impressed with the difficulties mentioned, and which no art or skill can avoid, but only endure, and am striving to the uttermost to render you every aid in the power of the Government. Your suggestions will be immediately communicated to Gen. Halleck, with a request that he shall conform to them. At last advice,

1 June 2.

2 June 7.

3 June 10.

4 June 11.

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