previous next

[272] and augmented the natural difficulties of our own.

After seizing the York River Railroad on the twenty-eighth of June, and driving the enemy across the Chickahominy, as already narrated, the cavalry under General Stuart proceeded down the railroad to ascertain if there was any movement of the enemy in that direction. He encountered but little opposition, and reached the vicinity of the White House on the twenty-ninth. On his approach the enemy destroyed the greater part of the immense stores accumulated at that depot, and retreated toward Fortress Monroe. With one gun and some dismounted men, General Stuart drove off a gunboat which lay near the White House, and rescued a large amount of property, including more than ten thousand stand of small-arms, partially burned. Leaving one squadron at the White House, in compliance with his orders, he returned to guard the lower bridges of the Chickahominy. On the thirtieth he was directed to recross and cooperate with General Jackson. After a long march he reached the rear of the enemy at Malvern Hill on the night of the first of July, at the close of the engagement. On the second of July it was discovered that the enemy had withdrawn during the night, leaving the ground covered with his dead and wounded, and his route exhibiting abundant evidence of precipitate retreat. The pursuit was commenced, General Stuart with his cavalry in the advance; but a violent storm which prevailed throughout the day, greatly retarded our progress. The enemy, harassed and closely followed by the cavalry, succeeded in gaining Westover, on the James River, and the protection of his gunboats. He immediately began to fortify his position, which was one of great natural strength, flanked on each side by a creek, and the approach to his front commanded by the heavy guns of his shipping in addition to those mounted in his intrenchments. It was deemed inexpedient to attack him ; and in view of the condition of our troops, who had been marching and fighting almost incessantly for seven days, under the most trying circumstances, it was determined to withdraw in order to afford them the repose of which they stood so much in need. Several days were spent in collecting arms and other property abandoned by the enemy; and in the mean time some artillery and cavalry were sent below Westover to annoy his transports. On the eighth of July the army returned to the vicinity of Richmond.

Under ordinary circumstances the Federal army should have been destroyed. Its escape was due to the causes already stated. Prominent among these is the want of correct and timely information. This fact, attributable chiefly to the character of the country, enabled General McClellan skilfully to conceal his retreat and to add much to the obstruction with which nature had beset the way of our pursuing columns. But regret that more was not accomplished gives way to gratitude to the Sovereign Ruler of the universe for the results achieved. The siege of Richmond was raised, and the object of a campaign, which had been prosecuted after months of preparation at an enormous expenditure of men and money, completely frustrated. More than ten thousand prisoners, including officers of rank, fifty-two pieces of artillery, and upwards of thirty-five thousand stand of small-arms were captured. The stores and supplies of every description which fell into our hands were great in amount and value, but small in comparison with those destroyed by the enemy. His losses in battle exceeded our own, as attested by the thousands of dead and wounded left on every field, while his subsequent inaction shows in what condition the survivors reached the protection to which they fled. The accompanying tables contain the lists of our casualties in the series of engagements. Among the dead will be found many whose names will ever be associated with the great events in which they all bore so honorable a part. For these, as well as for the names of their no less distinguished surviving comrades who earned for themselves the high honor of special commendation, when all so well discharged their duty, reference must necessarily be made to the accompanying reports. But I cannot forbear expressing my admiration of the noble qualities displayed, with rare exceptions, by officers and men under circumstances which demanded the exercise of every soldierly virtue. To the officers commanding divisions and brigades belongs the credit for the management of their troops in action. The extent of the fields of battle, the nature of the ground, and the denseness of the forests, rendered more than general directions impracticable. To the officers of my staff I am indebted for constant aid during the entire period. Colonels Chilton and Long, Majors Taylor, Venable, Talcott, and Marshall, and Captain Mason, were continuously with me in the field. General Pendleton, Chief of Artillery; Lieutenant-Colonel Corley, Chief Quartermaster; Lieutenant-Colonel Cole, Chief Commissary; Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander, Chief of Ordnance; Surgeon Guild, Medical Director; Colonel Lay and Lieutenant-Colonel Harvie, Inspectors-General; and Lieutenant-Colonel Stevens, Chief Engineer, attended unceasingly to their several departments. To the whole medical corps of the Army I return my thanks for the care and attention bestowed on the wounded.

Operations of the army from Richmond to and including the battle of Cedar Run.

After the retreat of General McClellan to Westover his army remained inactive for about a month. His front was closely watched by a brigade of cavalry, and preparations made to resist a renewal of his attempt upon Richmond from his new base.

In the mean time another Federal army under Major-General Pope advanced southward from Washington and crossed the Rappahannock as if to seize Gordonsville and move thence upon Richmond. The enemy also appeared in force at Fredericksburgh and threatened the railroad from Gordonsville to Richmond, apparently for the

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)
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 8th (1)
July 2nd (1)
July 1st (1)
June 28th (1)
30th (1)
29th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: