inflict a severe repulse on Early
But, on the whole, General Johnston
, with a loss of over 1,500, inflicted a loss of over 2,200, and effectually checked the pursuit.
sent a large force, headed by Franklin
's division by water to the head of the York
opposite West Point
, with the purpose of there landing and seizing the Confederate
line of retreat; but Johnston
attacked the first troops that landed vigorously, drove them back to the cover of their gunboats, and penned them up there until his army trains had passed on towards the Chickahominy
Baffled thus in his movements against both the flank and rear of the retreating army, McClellan
was content to follow slowly and with great caution.
The retreat from Yorktown
involved the evacuation of Norfolk
by the Confederates
; and the destruction of the iron-clad Virginia
quickly gave to the Federals
the command of the James river
up to Drewry's Bluff
This caused Johnston
to retire across the Chickahominy
and take position in front of Richmond
; and on May 21 the Federal
army advanced to the line of the Chickahominy
So far boldness and skill in strategy had given the Confederates
the advantage in the campaign, but the Federals
were gathering from different directions in overwhelming force, and it was evident that a great battle, or battles, must soon be fought for the possession of Richmond
The disparity of numbers against the Confederates
And here it should be said that General Webb
is inaccurate, and sometimes very unfair in his statement of numbers.
Thus, using an expression of McClellan
's which probably refers to the force he could place in line of battle in an aggressive movement, he states McClellan
's strength in May as 80,000 (p. 84), while he makes no reference to the official reports.
From the latter he elsewhere (p. 181) gives McClellan
's numbers when he left Yorktown
, as 109,335 “present for duty.”
There is no fair and honest basis for estimates of strength but the official reports.
All else is guess-work, and all cutting down of official numbers on special grounds is only fair when applied in the same way to both armies.
Now, it is plain that McClellan
had early in May 109,000 effectives.
How many of these he could throw forward to fight, and how many must be kept guarding his flanks, his communications and his depots, is not the question.
In answer to McClellan
's urgent appeals, at the middle of May, McDowell
was ordered forward from Fredericksburg
with a force which General Webb
correctly states at 41,000 men and 100 guns (p. 85). Thus, 150,000 men were about to unite in the attack on Richmond
To meet this, Johnston
had, by the official report of May 21, 53,688 men at Richmond
He called in Branch
's and Anderson
's brigades from