character of his defences and the soldierly bearing of his troops.
But it soon became obvious that Magruder
belonged partly to that class of men whose genius, being unshackled, was capable of achieving the most brilliant results; but when overshadowed by authority became paralyzed.
This flaw in the character of Magruder
became apparent when left in command of the defences before Richmond
, while General Lee
operated north of the Chickahominy
's right wing.
On the 27th his martial spirit was aroused by the sound of battle from Gaines' Mill
, and he boldly left his entrenchment, and made so formidable a demonstration that General McClellan
felt it necessary to withhold the reinforcements he had intended to send General Porter
at Gaines' Mill
But on the 28th the audacity which was so conspicuous on the Peninsula
seemed to abandon him; for he closely hugged his breastworks with thirty thousand men, while McClellan
was in active preparations for retreat.
The advantage thus gained could never be overcome.
On the 29th, however, he became conscious of his mistake, and endeavored to correct it by a vigorous attack on the enemy's rear guard at Savage Station.
And on the 31st, at Malvern Hill
assaulted, with splendid gallantry, the Federal
His division, in the face of a tremendous fire of artillery and musketry, broke through the enemy's line, but were obliged to yield the advantage it had won to overpowering numbers of fresh troops.
The ground over which the terrible conflict raged was covered with the Confederate
and Federal slain, lying side by side.
Soon after the battle General Magruder
reported in person to General Lee
, briefly saying: ‘My division made a heroic attack but gained nothing but glory.
After carrying the enemy's position we had to give it up and retire before greatly superior numbers.’
Shortly after the defeat of General McClellan
, General Magruder
was appointed to the command of the Department of Texas, which from its remoteness and extent was of great importance.
This exhibition of confidence on the part of the Confederate Government furnishes undeniable proof of the high estimation in which Magruder
was held, and the able manner in which he performed his duties shows that his ability was correctly estimated.
continued in the command of the Department of Texas to the end of the war. While exercising that important trust his patriotic zeal won for him the confidence and affection of the Texans
, among whom a few years later he delivered up his gallant spirit into the hand that gave it.