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[130] and closely followed by the cavalry, succeeded in gaining Westover on the James River, and the protection of his gunboats. His position was one of great natural and artificial strength, after the heights were occupied and entrenched. It was flanked on each side by a creek, and the approach in front was commanded by the heavy guns of his shipping, as well as by those mounted in his entrenchments. Under these circumstances it was deemed inexpedient to attack him; in view of the condition of our troops, which had been marching and fighting almost incessantly for seven days under the most trying circumstances, it was determined to withdraw, in order to afford to 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 meantime some artillery and cavalry were sent below Westover to annoy his transports. On July 8th our army returned to the vicinity of Richmond.

Under ordinary circumstances the army of the enemy should have been destroyed. Its escape was due to the cause already stated. Prominent among these was the want of correct and timely information. This fact, together with the character of the country, enabled General McClellan skillfully to conceal his retreat, and to add much to the obstructions with which nature had beset the way of our pursuing columns. We had, however, effected our main purpose. 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, was completely frustrated.1

More than ten thousand prisoners, including officers of rank, fifty-two pieces of artillery, and upward 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 of the gunboats.

In the archives of the War Department in Washington there are on file some of the field and monthly returns of the strength of the Army of Northern Virginia. These are the original papers which were taken from Richmond. They furnish an accurate statement of the number of men in that army at the periods named, but were not made public at the

1 Reports of Generals Robert E. Lee, Pendleton, A. P. Hill, Huger, Alexander, and Major H. W. Taylor, in his Four Years with Lee, have been drawn upon for the foregoing.

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