previous next

[113] to forestall McClellan on his line of retreat, and turn into a rout the retrograde march which his check of the preceding day would no doubt compel him to undertake. Jackson's soldiers were not in the habit of resting the day after a battle; therefore they were soon in motion. Lee, however, had not understood the manoeuvre of his opponent. From the moment he crossed the Chickahominy to join Jackson, we have seen him actuated by the desire of flanking McClellan's right wing, so as to separate him from York River. In order to accomplish this object, he had already caused the army of the Shenandoah to follow the eccentric direction which came near preventing it from reaching the battle-field of Gaines' Mill in time. In delivering this battle, he had proposed to cut off McClellan entirely from the road leading to White House. Consequently, after having won this battle, all the movements of his army during the 28th were intended to prevent the army of the Potomac from putting itself again in communication with York River. If McClellan had the design naturally attributed to him by his adversary, he had but two ways of carrying it into effect: he could have crossed the Chickahominy with his whole army between Gaines' Mill and Bottom's Bridge, and tried to force a passage through the positions occupied by the Confederates; otherwise, he should have endeavored to outstrip them in speed by pushing his way back of the river, to cross it at some point lower down, so as to fall back upon Williamsburg. But, as we have seen, these two alternatives had been both discarded by McClellan, and his sagacity had inspired him with a determination, the merit of which consisted in its not having been fathomed by his adversaries. Consequently, the Confederate generals, after having vigorously executed a well-conceived plan, were deceived by their own wishes; they too readily imagined that the Federal general would fall into the trap which they had been preparing for him.

A division of cavalry, cleverly directed by Stoneman, contributed to confirm them in their error. The latter, in fact, by slowly retiring toward New Kent Court-house, seemed as if intending to cover the lower passes of the Chickahominy, as well as the Williamsburg turnpike, and he thus drew a portion of the enemy's forces on his side. Whilst Longstreet and Hill, who had suffered

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 Places (automatically extracted)
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.
McClellan (5)
Stoneman (1)
Longstreet (1)
R. E. Lee (1)
Stonewall Jackson (1)
D. H. Hill (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: