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[148] least five thousand rendered unfit for active service by the same causes which had operated with his adversaries; this army, therefore, had undergone a diminution of twenty-five thousand men.1 This was more than one-fourth of its effective force on the 26th of June.

An interlude was to follow this great struggle. While McClellan was fortifying himself at Harrison's Landing, Lee, hampered like himself by the difficulty of subsisting his army, was obliged to fall back as far as the environs of Richmond. Both sides were gathering their troops together while waiting for a favorable opportunity to renew the contest. In the estimation of those who did not allow themselves to be troubled by foolish alarms and were not blinded by party prejudices, McClellan's situation was far from bad. The material losses he had sustained could be easily repaired. The great danger the army had incurred had excited an extraordinary sensation in the North, which resulted in numerous enlistments; the government felt at last that it could no longer haggle about reinforcements; the soldiers had been trained by their trials, and their chief had displayed qualities which justified the confidence reposed in him. Planted on the James, McClellan could, either by ascending this river or by seizing upon Petersburg, strike much deadlier blows at Richmond than when his army lay across the Chickahominy, far from any water communication.

Such was the position of the two armies about the 7th of July. On this day the steamer coming from Fortress Monroe landed a passenger at Harrison's Landing, whose dress, as simple as his manners, did not at first attract any attention, but in whom people soon recognized President Lincoln. He had come to consult with the commander of the army of the Potomac about the measures to be adopted under those grave circumstances.

But before we begin the narrative of the new campaign which was preparing in Virginia, we must retrace our steps to relate the events of which the valley of the Mississippi had been the theatre during the spring of 1862.

1 See the tabular figures of effective strength in Note B, Appendix to this volume.

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