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[111]

I went to the Peninsula as soon as possible, reaching General Magruder's headquarters early in the morning; and passed the day in examining his works with the assistance of General Whiting, who accompanied me for the purpose, and in obtaining all the pertinent information General Magruder could give.

That officer had estimated the importance of at least delaying the invaders until an army capable of coping with them could be formed; and opposed them with about a tenth of their number,1 on a line of which Yorktown, intrenched, made the left flank. This boldness imposed upon the Federal general, and made him halt to besiege instead of assailing the Confederate position. This resolute and judicious course on the part of General Magruder was of incalculable value. It saved Richmond, and gave the Confederate Government time to swell that officer's handful to an army.

His defensive line was Warwick River, a tidewater branch of the James; a system of inundations along Warwick Creek, the stream of which the river is the estuary, extending to the bend in its course opposite to Yorktown, and a line of field-works just begun, to connect the inundations with the intrenchments of the village. Gloucester Point, on the north bank of York River, and directly opposite to Yorktown, was also intrenched. Water-batteries had been established at both places, to command the channel between them. General Magruder had placed his left there, because it is the only point where the river could be commanded by such guns as ours. Everywhere else it is about two miles

1 Thirteen thousand effective men.

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