at the same time the Confederate
fortifications at Yorktown
and Gloucester point
barred the entrance to the York
On the 16th of April, McClellan
again made a vigorous attack near the center of Magruder
's line, which he broke, but this was repulsed with severe loss by the Georgia
, North Carolina
troops of Cobb
's and Anderson
A second attempt satisfied Mc-Clellan that he could not carry the Confederate
line by assault, so he proceeded to besiege it by regular approaches, especially the lines in front of Yorktown
took command on the Peninsula
the 17th of April, having concentrated there about 50,000 men to oppose McClellan
's 100,000 or more with heavy siege trains.
Looking over the situation, Johnston
thought it advisable to retreat, but the authorities at Richmond
directed him to hold his position as long as he could.
On the 3d of May, when satisfied that McClellan
was about ready to make his grand assault, and recalling what had happened to Cornwallis on the same historic field, Johnston
secretly evacuated Yorktown
, leaving his heavy guns behind, and fell back to a line in front of Williamsburg
's ancient capital, which had also been partially fortified, having gained a month of precious time, which had been of great value in making preparations for the defense of Richmond
, on the morning of the 4th of May, finding his enemy gone, moved a large force in pursuit by the two roads leading, the one from his right and the other from his left, toward Williamsburg
Two brigades of cavalry and two divisions of infantry with artillery moved on the road leading from Yorktown
, and three divisions of infantry by the direct road, up the Peninsula
. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart
, with his cavalry, covered Johnston
's retreat, aided by the muddy roads, which had been dreadfully cut up by the moving of the Confederate army and its trains.
The Confederates reached the Williamsburg
earthworks by noon.
The evacuation of Yorktown
not only opened the York
to the Federal
navy for cooperat-ing with McClellan
, but it also necessitated the evacuation of Norfolk
, which Johnston
ordered General Huger
to make, on the 9th of May.
Knowing the advantages that the opening of the rivers to his naval power had given his foe, and that he could