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[326] was to advance with skirmishers as soon as Ransom was fairly engaged, and afterwards in force, and occupy the enemy, to prevent his reinforcing his right, without, however, prematurely seeking to force him back before Ransom could completely outflank him, and Whiting close up in his rear. These instructions, carefully and explicitly prepared, were reduced to writing, and impressed upon subordinates. The shortcomings of Generals Ransom and Whiting in their execution are noted in General Beauregard's official report. The first failed to carry out his instructions with vigor, and made strangely inaccurate reports of the condition of things in his part of the field. General Whiting did not move at all, notwithstanding his previous instructions and reiterated and imperative orders sent him during the action. Thus the conceptions and provisions of genius failed of fruition, and Butler, out-manoeuvred and environed by his adversary, instead of being forced to surrender, was merely pushed back upon his fortified base at Bermuda Hundred. After the war, the Federal General Ames told General Hagood that during the evening and night of the 18th, when Butler's routed and disorganized column was defiling within a mile of Whiting's 4,000 men of all arms, but a thin skirmish line intervened between them and destruction.

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