previous next
[54] slow, agonizing motion of endless trains of artillery, army wagons, and ambulances with their sad burdens. But where were those wounded who could not bear the jolt and swaying of the ambulances? Are the hospital tents with the faithful nurses abandoned to the enemy? It may be that the safety of the army demands it. ‘This is the time that tries men's souls.’ So, various were the reflections of men of diverse temperaments and physiques. Now we hear from a dust-begrimed veteran with sleepless eyes, an optimist to the core: ‘I have not the faintest doubt of the final triumph of our cause, and I have the firmest faith in our commander-in-chief.’ Then an officer replies to another, who asks: ‘Where are we going?’ ‘To the James, to take transports to Fortress Monroe. The southern Confederacy will be recognized within a week.’

Certainly the awful suspense of Saturday, June 28, and the night following, were more trying to the spirit of the soldier than the combats that ensued. The narrow ways were choked with cavalry, teams, and infantry. The monster procession moved at a snail's pace; the day wore away. We cannot say where we passed the night of the 28th. We were evidently a part of the rear guard. At daybreak we were in the vicinity of Savage's Station. We found upon reaching Savage's Station, commissary stores and quartermaster's supplies smouldering in piles, and the scattered debris of army property. A locomotive derailed was poised upon the embankment, its smoke-stack leaning like the Tower of Pisa. But there was yet some property undestroyed. At this time the contending forces were at no point a mile apart, while Sedgwick's division was but a few hundred yards from the Confederates; they had undoubtedly divined McClellan's purpose. They must flank White Oak swamp and get possession of the New Market cross roads before the Union army can pass through the swamp, at the same time that they are prodding our rear, or it will be too late for flanking movements to avail them anything. The commander of the extreme Federal rear guard had been ordered to retire slowly and hold the enemy in check.

At Peach Orchard it was necessary for the rear division to turn and confront the Confederate van. For four hours the contest was waged with great vigor on both sides, the advantage being

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
White Oak Swamp (Virginia, United States) (1)
Fortress Monroe (Virginia, United States) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Jonathan Sedgwick (1)
George B. McClellan (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
June 28th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: