After some weeks of inaction, ‘says Major Fairly
, of General Whiting
's staff; writing to the speaker,’ the march, ostensibly to reinforce Jackson
in the Valley
, was taken up by General Whiting
I was afterwards told that it occurred in this way: Early
in June, when all was still quiet along the lines, one day General Whiting
rode over to the quarters of General Lee
, and learning that he was out, sat down at his desk and wrote on a slip of paper, “ If you don't move, McClellan
will dig you out of Richmond
,” and left it, asking Col. Chilton
, I think, to call the General
's attention to it upon his return.
It was not long before a courier came to Whiting
's headquarters with a note or message asking General W. to come to army headquarters.
On his arrival, the General
said, “General Whiting
, I received your note; what do you propose?”
then developed the plan of appearing to reinforce Jackson
's victorious army in the Valley
, thus threatening Washington
, and causing stoppage of troops then about to leave Washington
to reinforce McClellan
, and Jackson
, by forced marches, was to fall on his right, north of the Chickahominy River
, and destroy him before the powers at Washington
could discover the “ ruse de guerre
,” and send him reinforcements.
General Lee approved, but said, “Whom can I send?”
General Whiting replied, “ Send me.”
“Ah, but I can't spare you; you command five brigades.”
General Whiting, with the unselfish patriotism which always characterized him, said, “ I will take my two old brigades and go,” to which Lee replied, “When can you go?”
“ I am ready now,” said Whiting.
said General Lee, “you can march Thursday.”
This occurred, I think, on Tuesday And so he did.
We lay at Staunton
two days. The next morning we began a forced march to meet Jackson
's corps at Brown's Gap, where we took the lead and kept it. The rapidity of the march may be judged when I say, that the teamsters were ordered to water their horses before starting, and not to allow them to stop for water until night, and I was instructed to stay by the column and enforce the order.
I could but sympathize with the teamsters, but horses must suffer that our men might be fed on the march, and so kept up to their work.
Our division led the advance of Jackson's Corps, and reached the field of Gaines' Mill, or Cold Harbor, about 5 o'clock in the afternoon of the 27th June, 1862, and, if my memory serves me right, on Friday, and none too early, for I learned that every division of ours north of the Chickahominy had been thrown against McClellan's