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[12] time for military operations, for the winter rains were over, and the great summer heat had not yet set in. The army was impatiently waiting for the moment when all the guns which had been placed in position with so much trouble should finally break the silence, and, crushing the enemy with their fire, compel him to a precipitate retreat. The commanders contemplated the new works which were being thrown up as if by magic along the whole Confederate line, by great gangs of negroes and soldiers; they thought of the assault which would probably follow the bombardment, and were measuring with some uneasiness the vast space of ground swept by the fire of the adversary, which their young soldiers would have to pass over.

The decisive moment was drawing near, and both sides seemed to be preparing for it with equal ardor. Indeed, the combat of Lee's Mills had fully vindicated Magruder in the councils of the President of the Confederacy, and notwithstanding the advice of Lee, his chief of staff, and of Johnston himself, who were in favor of waiting for the enemy in front of Richmond, Mr. Davis had sent the last-mentioned general into the Peninsula with all his army, where he was to hold out at least until all the valuable materiel accumulated in Norfolk could be placed in safety.

On the other hand, Franklin's division had rejoined McClellan on the 22d of April. It had at first been intended for the investment of Gloucester Point, but instead of attempting a sudden assault in that direction, McClellan had preferred to leave it for a few days on board the transports which had brought it over, in order that it might take advantage of the effect of the bombardment to ascend York River at the first signal. Everything was to be ready for the 5th of May; but the day before, at dawn, the Confederate army had disappeared: it had evacuated Yorktown during the night. This movement had been determined upon since the 30th of April, at a council of war held in Yorktown by Jefferson Davis, Lee, Johnston, and Magruder. The evacuation of Norfolk, which followed as a result, was to be effected at the same time.

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