previous next

[266] only to be repulsed as before. Night was now coming on, and a flank movement having been made by Jackson on the enemy's right with great havoc to their ranks, they withdrew their batteries and retreated in the darkness. Thus was brought to a close the memorable fight of Tuesday, the first of July. It differed from the sanguinary battle of Gaines's Mill in this, that it was fought principally at long-range with artillery, whereas the encounter at the mill was between the infantry hand to hand and under the breastworks of the foe.

During the whole of this tremendous cannonade of Tuesday, Gen. Lee's headquarters were at a small house on the roadside within range. Several of the enemy's case-shot burst in the yard, and upon the day of my visit the fragments of shells could be picked up all around the building.

Continuing my ride beyond the battle-field of Tuesday, about a mile and a half, I came to the Malvern Hill mansion, which is occupied as a Federal hospital, and there I saw two hundred and fifty of the wounded Yankees in all conditions of horrible mutilation; many minus a leg or an arm; others with wounds in the head; others again shot in the body; all requiring the utmost care of the surgeons, and yet McClellan had left but three in charge of this and several other hospitals in the neighborhood. One of their wounded men told me that their loss in the fight of Tuesday far exceeded, for the number engaged, that of the Seven Pines; another said that had the first attacking column been three thousand strong, the day would have ended at once in a rout, for the cannoniers of one battery had left their guns, and the infantry supporting it had fled in confusion before the confederates had proceeded two thirds the way across the field; and a third confessed that McClellan had proclaimed it in a general order that all the United States soldiers who should fall into the hands of the rebels would be put to death!

The house at Malvern Hill is a quaint old structure of the last century, built of red brick, and stands on a lofty hill a thousand yards from James River, of whose meanderings for several miles it commands a beautiful view. The house was standing in Tarleton's time, and is marked down upon the map accompanying the early English edition of his campaigns. A fine grove of ancient elms embowers the <*>awn in a grateful shade, affording numberless vistas of far-off wheat-fields and little gleaming brooks of water, with the dark blue fringe of the primitive pines on the horizon. It seemed a bitter satire on the wickedness of man, this peaceful, serene, harmonious aspect of nature, and I turned from the joyous and quiet landscape to the mutilated victims around me with something very like a malediction upon Seward and Lincoln and their participants in the crime of bringing on this accursed war.

We are not surprised, of course, that the operations of the last ten days are claimed as victories by the Northern press. Gen. McCall, who, you know, is a prisoner in Richmond, conversing with an Episcopal clergyman of this city, declared that McClellan's “change of base line” to the James River, was but the carrying out of a plan some time resolved upon. “And it was a part of the plan, sir,” asked our clergyman, “that you should be in Richmond a prisoner?” The General was silent.

Every day adds to the amount of arms, ammunition, and stores captured by our forces. Trenches of uncommon size and suspicious looking graves have been opened and found to contain boxes of fine Belgian rifles; large quantities of fixed ammunition and sabres have been dug up in the same manner, and wagons have been discovered concealed in the woods with clothing and commissary stores in good order. On Friday Col. Thomas T. Mumford, of Jackson's cavalry, overhauled a wagon containing the drawings of McClellan's engineer department, embracing plans of all his earthworks executed and projected, and an excellent map of the country from actual survey. The value of this acquisition is incalculable.

While the army has thus been winning victories and plunder, it was natural enough that the confederate navy (what there is left of it under Mr. Mallory) should meet with disaster and loss. The steam gunboat Teaser has fallen into the enemy's hands with a balloon on board, and its armament of two guns and ammunition unharmed.

The government has so successfully kept from the public all intelligence of the movements and disposition of our forces during the last four or five days that I am unable to give you any information of affairs. All that we know is, that McClellan is at Berkeley, on James River, where he has established his line of communication with Old Point, and received large reenforcements. The weather is blazing hot--ninety-six degrees of Fahrenheit in the shade — and a week of such fierce suns acting on the “impenetrable morass” which protects his flank will probably reduce his army to one half its actual number. But then it will also decimate our own force.

Let us hope for the best. “Patience,” says Sancho Panza, “and shuffle the cards.”

Richmond Examiner account.

Richmond, July 4, 1863.
The battle of Tuesday was perhaps the fiercest and most sanguinary of the series of bloody conflicts that have signalized each of the last seven days. We have already adverted to the part played in the action by Gen. Jackson and others, but, as yet, have made little mention of the operations upon the occasion of Gen. Magruder and the troops under his command. We now propose to give such particulars as we have obtained on the field after the battle.

Early on Tuesday morning the enemy, from the position to which he had been driven the night before, continued his retreat in a southeasterly direction towards his gunboats on James River. At eight o'clock A. M. Magruder recommenced the pursuit, advancing cautiously, but steadily, and shelling the forests and swamps in front as he progressed. This method of advance

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 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 (5)
Magruder (2)
Wesley Jackson (2)
Tarleton (1)
William H. Seward (1)
Thomas T. Mumford (1)
McCall (1)
S. R. Mallory (1)
Abraham Lincoln (1)
R. E. Lee (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.
July 4th, 1863 AD (1)
July 1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: