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‘ [78] the enemy to the cover of the redoubt and the shelter of the woods near it, where he was held at bay by my two regiments, which had suffered comparatively little at that time.’ He confidently expresses the opinion that, had his attack been supported promptly and vigorously, the enemy's force there engaged would have been captured, as it had crossed over to that point on a narrow mill dam, and had only that way to escape.

The claim of the enemy to have achieved a victory at Williamsburg is refuted by the fact that our troops remained in possession of the field during the night, and retired the next morning to follow up the retreat, which was interrupted only by the necessity of checking the enemy until our trains could proceed far enough to be out of danger. The fact of our wounded being left at Williamsburg was only due to our want of ambulances in which to remove them.

Though General McClellan at this time estimated our force as ‘probably greater a good deal’ than his own, the fact is that it was numerically less than half the number he had for duty. Severe exposure and fatigue must, by sickness, have diminished our force more than it was increased by absentees returning to duty after the middle of April, so that at the end of the month the number was probably less than fifty thousand present for duty. General McClellan's report on April 30, 1862, as shown by the certified statement, gives the aggregate present for duty at one hundred twelve thousand, three hundred ninety-two.1

When the Confederates evacuated Yorktown, General Franklin's division had just been disembarked from the transports. It was reembarked, and started on the morning of the 6th up the York River.2

After the battle of Williamsburg our army continued its retreat up the Peninsula. Here, for the first time, sub-terra shells were employed to check a marching column. The event is thus described by General Rains, the inventor:

On the day we left Williamsburg, after the battle, we worked hard to get our artillery and some we had captured over the sloughs about four miles distant. On account of the tortuous course of the road, we could not bring a single gun to bear upon the enemy who were pursuing us, and shelling the road as they advanced. Fortunately, we found in a mud-hole a broken-down ammunition-wagon containing five loaded shells. Four of these, armed with a sensitive fuse-primer, were planted in our rear, near some trees cut down as obstructions to the road. A body of the enemy's cavalry came upon these sub-terra shells, and they exploded with terrific effect.

The force behind halted for three days, and finally turned off from the road, doubtless under the apprehension that it was mined throughout. Thus our

1 Report on the Conduct of the War, pp. 323, 324.

2 Army of the Potomac, Swinton, p. 117.

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