one of the old barges, to which we have alluded as having been used on our arrival for the improvisation of wharves.
The uneasiness of the horses and the occasional breaking loose of an animal; the breathless curiosity of the men as to the destination of the corps; the dark haze through which surrounding objects were dimly viewed,—all tended to make the half hour preceding our departure a singularly impressive period in our history as a company.
But the calm bearing and kindly manner of Col. Richard Arnold
, Fifth United States Artillery, then inspector general of the corps, who superintended the embarkation of the artillery and its disposition on the transports, were inspirational, and the details were completed with surprising absence of friction, and without apparent difficulty.
Whither were we bound?
Northward first, since our initial movement was in that direction.
Later, we seemed to be leaving the Chesapeake
It must be York River
that we have entered.
Daylight removed any doubt that might have been entertained as to our whereabouts.
And what a picture presented itself from the deck of any one of our transports,—the central feature being the motley array of crafts: grim black gunboats with frowning cannon, steamboats convoying schooners and barges at the end of long cables, upon the broad river which extended before and behind us like an inland lake, whose northern shore was a shifting panorama of undulating, verdant plantation and village, in sharp contrast to the nearer southern bank with its bluffs, now bare, now crowned with growth of wood.
At this moment over and beyond these bluffs, half-way to the James
, where McClellan
's advance had been stopped near Williamsburg
by works called Fort Magruder, Gen. Hooker
's division was in action, stoutly resisted by Magruder
Ultimately the Confederate
position was flanked by Gen. Hancock
But during nine hours, while we were sailing up the York
, the ever brave men of Hooker
's command, among whom were the First and Eleventh Massachusetts Volunteers, fought desperately and lost heavily; the Federal
loss during the day is said to have been 2,228.
retired during the night, leaving 700 of his severely wounded.
The direction of his retreat would be necessarily northwest.
At sunset, when we approached the right bank of the York