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[69] most heroic conduct of our troops, commenced a siege by regular approaches. After the first advance of the enemy, General Magruder was reenforced by some troops from the south side of James River and General Wilcox's brigade, which had been previously detached from the army under General Johnston. On April 9th General Magruder's command, thus reenforced, amounted to about twelve thousand. On that day General Early joined with his division from the army of Northern Virginia. It had gone by rail to Richmond and thence down the York and James Rivers in vessels towed by tugs—except the trains and artillery, which moved by land. This division had about eight thousand officers and men for duty. General Magruder's force was thus increased to about twenty thousand. This was the first detachment from the army of Northern Virginia which arrived on the Peninsula.

General McClellan, in a cipher dispatch of April 7th, two days previous, informed Secretary Stanton that prisoners stated that General J. E. Wharton (no doubt, Johnston) had the day before arrived in Yorktown with strong reenforcements, and adds: ‘It seems clear that I shall have the whole force of the enemy on my hands, probably not less than one hundred thousand men, and possibly more. . . . When my present command all joins, I shall have about eighty-five thousand men for duty, from which a large force must be taken for guards, escort, etc.’ After some remarks about the strength of our entrenchments, and his conviction that the great battle which would decide the existing contest would be fought there, he urges as necessary for his success that there should be an attack on the rear of Gloucester Point, and adds: ‘My present strength will not admit of a detachment for this purpose without materially impairing the efficiency of this column. Commodore Goldsborough thinks the—work too strong for his available vessels, unless I can turn Gloucester.’1

In the cipher dispatch of April 7th to President Lincoln, General McClellan acknowledges a telegram of the previous day, and adds, ‘In reply, I have the honor to state that my entire force for duty only amounts to about eighty-five thousand men.’2 He then mentions the fact that General Wool's command is not under his orders.

Subsequent correspondence clearly shows that General McClellan would not risk making a detachment from his army to turn the position at Gloucester Point, and that the navy would not attempt to operate against the battery at that place. He therefore urgently pressed for reenforcements to act on the north side of York River.

1 Report on the Conduct of the War, Part I, p. 320.

2 Ibid., p. 321.

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