previous next
[342] the four routes whereby McClellan might advance—the one chosen the previous July; another by Fredericksburg; the third and fourth by the lower Rappahannock, or the Peninsula between the York and James. The choice of the second route (joined to movements which, by the aid of the river, it was easy to conceal), would place McClellan at least two days nearer Richmond than was Johnston at Bull Run. Face to face with these conditions, the Confederate General, between the 5th and 11th of March, placed his entire army on the south bank of the Rappahannock, where with equal readiness he could resist his antagonist advancing from Manassas, or met him at Fredericksburg, and at the same time be in a position to unite with others, should he move from Fortress Monroe, or by the lower Rappahannock. On the latter date McClellan occupied the works at Centreville and Manassas, which, except by Quaker guns, had been deserted since the evening of the 9th. Fortress Monroe was then chosen as the base of operations against Richmond. Soon perceiving the evidence of this, Johnston moved to the south of the Rapidan, whence he could still more effectually unite the forces of opposition to the meditated movement. McClellan's plan was to capture the force on the Peninsula, open the James and press on to Richmond before reinforcements could arrive. Two things baffled his purpose—first, Magruder's inflexible intrenchments; second, Johnston's alertness. On the day McClellan began his movement from Fortress Monroe, Johnston began the movement to swell Magruder's handful. It was on the 5th of April that McClellan was brought to a halt, in front of Yorktown and the supporting fortifications. As the conclusion from the artillery duel of this day, which was protracted until dusk, it was deemed inexpedient to carry these positions by assault. It was an army of a hundred thousand against twelve. With such forces against such forts, it had been ascertained, that the ground, in front of those frowning heights and forbidding swamps, was swept by guns, which could not be silenced. Accordingly, parallels were started to bring Yorktown to terms by a more gradual procedure. There is, however, no parallel to the confession extorted from McClellan by Magruder.

From the final parellel, it was thought siege batteries would be ready to open on the 6th of May. Johnston's computation, coinciding with McClellan's, Yorktown was evacuated on the night of the 3d. On the morning of the 4th, empty works again capitulated to the conqueror.

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 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.
George B. McClellan (7)
Joseph E. Johnston (5)
John Bankhead Magruder (3)
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.
July (1)
May 6th (1)
April 5th (1)
March 11th (1)
March 5th (1)
4th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: