previous next
[152] and Baltimore, as soon as you attacked Richmond; but that the report was to be circulated that Jackson had gone to Richmond, in order to mislead. Tills letter looked very much like a blind, and induces inc to suspect that Jackson's real movement now is toward Richmond. It caine from Alexandria, and is certainly designed, like the numerous rumors put afloat, to mislead. I think, therefore, that, while the warning of the deserter to you may also be a blind, that it could not safely be disregarded. I will transmit to you any further information on this subject that may be received here.

That day, having his bridges completed, Gen. McClellan ordered an advance of his picket-line on the left, preparatory to a general forward movement; and, during the day, Heintzelman's corps, with part of Keyes's and Sumner's, were pushed forward,1 he reports, through a swampy wood, though smartly resisted, with a loss on our side of 51 killed, 401 wounded, and 64 missing: total, 516. Returning from overlooking this affair, Gen. McClellan telegraphed to the War Department as follows:

Several contrabands, just in, give information confirming the supposition that Jackson's advance is at or near Hanover Court house, and that Beauregard arrived, with strong reeinforcements, in Richmond yesterday. I incline to think that Jackson will attack my right and rear. The Rebel force is stated at 200,000, including Jackson and Beauregard. I shall have to contend against vastly superior odds. if these reports be true. But this army will do all in the power of men to hold their position and repulse any attack. I regret my great inferiority in numbers, but feel that I am in no way responsible for it, as I have not failed to represent repeatedly the necessity of reenforcements; that this was the decisive point, and that all the available means of the Government should be concentrated here. I will do all that a General can do with the splendid Army I have the honor to command; and, if it is destroyed by overwhielming numbers, can at least die with it and share its fate. But, if the result of the action, which will probably occur to-morrow, or within a sort time, is a disaster, the responsibility cannot be thrown on my shoulders; it must rest where it belongs. Since I commenced this, I have received additional intelligence, confirming the supposition in regard to Jackson's movements and Beauregard's arrival. I shall probably be attacked to-morrow, and now go to the other side of the Chickahominy to arrange for the defense on that side. I feel that there is no use in again asking for reenforcements.

The President responded as follows :--

Washingon, June 26, 1862.
Your three dispatches of yesterday in relation to the affair, ending with the statement that you completely succeeded in making your point, are very gratifying. The later one, suggesting the probability of your being overwhelmed by 200,000 men, and talking of to whom the responsibility will belong, pains me very much. I give you all I can, and act on the presumption that you will do the best you can with what you have ; while you continue — ungenerously I think — to assume that I could give you more if I would. I have omitted — I shall omit — no opportunity to send you reenforcements whenever I can.

Gen. Robert E. Lee, having succeeded to the chief command of the Rebel army, had, in counsel with the master spirits of the Rebellion, at length resolved on striking a decisive blow. To this end, reenforcements had been quietly called in from all available quarters, swelling the Rebel Army of Virginia, including Jackson's

1 But Brig.-Gen. A. R. Wright, of Huger's division, who opposed this movement, reports that he had 3,000 men in all, resisting not less than 8,000 or 10,000 on our side; and adds:

The object of the enemy was to drive us back from our picket-line, occupy it himself, and thereby enable him to advance his works several hundred yards nearer our lines. In this, he completely failed; and, although Gen. McClellan at night telegraphed, over his own signature, to the War office in Washington, that he had accomplished his object, had driven me back for more than a mile, had silenced my batteries, and occupied our camps, there is not one word of truth in the whole statement. When the fight ceased at dark, I occupied the very line my pickets had been driven from in the morning; and which I continued to hold until the total rout of the Federal army on the 29th.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
G. B. McClellan (3)
Stonewall Jackson (3)
G. T. Beauregard (3)
A. R. Wright (1)
Edwin V. Sumner (1)
Robert E. Lee (1)
Keyes (1)
Huger (1)
Heintzelman (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
June 26th, 1862 AD (1)
29th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: