previous next
[166] division next, then Kearny and Hooker, forming Heintzelman's corps; next to these, Sedgwick and Richardson, under Sumner; with Smith and Slocum, under Franklin, on our right; while McCall's shattered Pennsylvania Reserves and our cavalry were posted in the rear, near the river. Batteries above batteries, along the brow of the hill, rendered the attack little less than madness, on any other presumption than that our men were cowards, who, if resolutely charged, would inevitably run. Apart from the great strength of our position, we had more men than the Rebels, and many more and heavier guns; and then the battle opened too late in the day to justify a rational hope of success: the main assault being made, after a very considerable pause for preparation, so late as 6 P. M.; yet it was made with such desperation — the sheltering woods enabling the Rebels to form their columns of assault within a few hundred yards of our batteries, emerging on a full run, and rushing upon our lines in utter reck-lessness of their withering fire — that Sickles's brigade of Hooker's division, and Meagher's, of Richardson's division, were ordered up to the support of Porter and Couch, who held our right front, which Jackson was charging; but not one of our guns was even temporarily captured or seriously imperiled throughout the fight, wherein the losses of the Rebels must have been at least treble our own.1 Darkness closed this one-sided carnage; though our guns were not all silent till 9 o'clock, when the Rebels on our front had been fairly driven out of range; though on our left they sunk to rest in ravines and hollows somewhat in advance of the ground they had held when their artillery first opened. And still, as throughout the struggle, our gunboats continued to throw their great missiles clear over the left of our position, into the fields and woods occupied by the enemy, probably doing little positive execution, since that enemy was not in sight, but adding materially to the discomforts of his position. Gen. McClellan, who had been down to Harrison's Bar in the Galena, in the morning, landed toward night, and was on the field during the last desperate charge of the enemy.2

1 Jackson reports the loss of his corps (comprising his own, Ewell's. Whiting's. and D. H. Hill's divisions) in this fight: 377 killed, 1,746 wounded, 39 missing; total, 2,1;2. Magruder thinks his loss will not exceed 2,900 killed and wounded, out of 26,000 or 28,000 under his orders. Brig.-Gen. Ransom reports the losses in his brigade at 499, out of 3.000. Brig.-Gen. Mahone, of Huger's division, reports a total loss of 321, out of 1,226. Gen. A. R. Wright reports the loss of his already weakened brigade, in this fight, at 362. D. R. Jones reports the losses in his division at 833. Among the wounded in this fight were Brig.-Gen. Jones, Va.; Col. Ransom, 35th N. C., severely; and Col. Ramseur, 49th N. C.

Brig.-Gen. J. R. Trimble, of Ewell's division, giving an account of the conduct of his brigade in this battle, says:

The next morning, by dawn, I went off to ask for orders; when I found the whole army in the utmost disorder; thousands of straggling men asking every passer-by for their regiment; ambulances, wagons, and artillery, obstructing every road; and altogether, in a drenching rain, presenting a scene of the most woeful and disheartening confusion.

2 There has been much unseemly controversy respecting McClellan's being or not being on a gunboat during this action; the interest thereof being heightened by this passage in Gen. M.'s testimony before the Committee on the Conduct of the War:

Question: Were you down to the river, or on board the gunboats during any part of that day, between the time you left the field and your return to it?

Answer: I do not remember; it is possible I may have been, as my camp was directly on the river.

The following extract from the Diary of Dr. R. E. Van Grieson, then Surgeon of the gunboat Galena, of which the accuracy is not disputed. seems to embody all the essential facts:

U. S. Steamer Galena, July 1. 1862.
9 A. M.. McClellan has just come on board again.

10 A. M. Under way down the river, taking McClellan with us; who, being considerably fatigued, has gone into the cabin for a little sleep. About noon, we came to Harrison's Bar.

12:30 P. M. Tug came alongside, and took McClellan and Fanklin to the encampment. In about an hour, McClellau returned,when we started up the river. As we pass on up, we can hear heavy firing. After passing Carter's Landing, it increases to a perfect roar. McClellan, though quietly smoking a cigar on the quarter-deck, seems a little anxious, and looks now and then inquiringly at the signal officer, who is receiving a message from shore. After a while, the signal officer reports “Heavy firing near Porter's division.” Next came a message demanding his presence on shore. A boat is manned, and McClellan left. The firing still continues — nearer and louder than before. About 6 P. M., we ran a little farther up, and threw in a few shell with good effect.

9 P. M. The firing has about ceased. News on shore--‘Slaughter immense’--“Enemy in full retreat.”

10 P. M. McClellan has just returned with Gen. Marcy. Mae says “ They took one gun from us yesterday; but to-day we have taken many of their guns and colors.”

“Yes,” said Marcy, “we whipped them like the devil to-day.”

12 M. From what I can gather from the conversation of McClellan. we may expect to see the major part of the army at Harrison's Landing to-morrow.

Gen. McClellan, in his report, says:

I left Haxall's for Malvern soon after day-break. Accompanied by several general officers, I once more made the entire circuit of the position, and then returned to Haxall's, whence I went with Capt. Rodgers to select the final location for the army and its d, depots. I returned to Malvern before the serious lighting commenced; and, after riding along the lines, and seeing most cause to feel anxious about the right, remained in that vicinity.

The Rebels made no attack on our right, and it was at no time in action.

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)
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.
July 1st, 1862 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: