this affair had been less than 400; while that of the Rebels
must have been many times larger; and when, near the close of the battle, fresh troops came up to relieve the exulting Reserves, they refused to give place,, but, replenishing their ammunition, lay down on their arms to await the encounter of the morrow.
however, an order from Gen. McClellan
(who had learned, meantime, that Jackson
was approaching) directed the evacuation of their strong position, and a retreat to Gaines's Mill
— an order easy of execution had it arrived three or four hours earlier, but very difficult now, as the Rebel
attack was renewed a few minutes afterward.
The Rebels were repulsed, however, though our men were retiring at the time; Meade
's, and Morell
's commands moving steadily off the field as if on parade; our dead all buried, our wounded and arms brought away, with the loss of no caisson, hardly of a musket, by a little after 7 A. M.; leaving the Rebels
unaware for the moment that there was no longer an enemy before them.
Before noon, each regiment and battery had taken up the new position assigned it, at Gaines's Mill
, and was ready to receive the now eagerly advancing Rebels.
Meantime, our trains and siege-guns had, by order, been sent off across the Chiekahominy during the night.
with Fitz-John Porter
, behind the Mechanicsville
defenses, at 10 P. M.--an hour after the triumphant and sanguinary repulse of their assailants.
Four hours later, he sent orders for their prompt evacuation.
This he must have done under the correct impression that they were about to be overwhelmingly assailed in front by the Hills
, and in flank by the yet fresh division of Jackson
In other words, it was now plain that the Rebel
chiefs lad resolved to precipitate the bulk of their force on our right wing, crushing it back on our center by the sheer momentum of their columns.
This striking a great army on one end, and rolling it up on itself in inextricable confusion, carnage, and rout, is no novelty in warfare.
The Allied Emperors tried it on Napoleon
strategists attempted it on the Rebels
at first Bull Run
It is a critical maneuver; but likely to succeed, provided
your antagonist passively awaits its consummation. ( “Hunting the tiger, gentlemen,” explained the returned East Indian
to his associates at the United Service Club
, “is capital sport — capital — unless the tiger turns to hunt you;
when it becomes rather too exciting.” )
, as usual, believed the Rebels
were assailing or threatening him with twice as many men as they had, supposing them to have 175,000 to 200,000 troops in his front; when they never, from the beginning to the end of the war, had so many as 100,000 effectives concentrated in a single army, or within a day's march.
Even had he been outnumbered, as he supposed, by a Rebel force on either flank nearly or quite equal to his whole army, he should have quietly and rapidly concentrated, and struck one of those assailants before it could be supported by the other.
Had he chosen thus to rush up, n Richmond
, on the morning