previous next

[2] garrison of Washington, that army finally embarked at Alexandria, in the last days of March, for the great expedition which was to transfer the seat of war to the vicinity of the enemy's capital; and General McClellan, when he landed upon the peninsula of Virginia, notwithstanding all these drawbacks, had still a fine army under his command—a numerous army, however imprudently reduced, composed of ardent, vigorous, brave, and intelligent men, although without experience. Recruited among all classes of society, the ranks of this army contained many men of military ability, as yet unknown to the world, and even to themselves, some of whom were about to be sacrificed before they could have a chance of asserting their full worth, whilst others were to be called to direct its long and painful labors. Consequently, despite the mistakes of the government, this army could hope to run a brilliant career upon the ground, classic in the history of the United States, where it was at last to encounter the élite of the slavery troops. It was, in fact, in the peninsula where the soldiers of Washington and Rochambeau completed the glorious work of American emancipation. It was around Yorktown, already made celebrated by the capitulation of Lord Cornwallis, that the army of the Potomac was about to fight its first battles; and if it may be permitted to an obscure member of that army to indulge here in a personal reflection, it was the remembrance of the victory achieved by France and America conjointly upon this very soil which caused a throb in the heart of the exiles so generously received under the shadow of the flag of the young republic.

Notwithstanding the historical associations which cluster around it, this locality was but little known; and in view of its peculiar configuration, we deem a detailed description necessary to a proper understanding of the operations we are about to relate. Fortress Monroe, situated at the extremity of the peninsula, lies one hundred and fifteen kilometres from Richmond, in a direct line. The route which the army of the Potomac had to follow was all laid down; it stretched out, bounded on the south by the James River—which is a river (fleuve) at Richmond, and a vast estuary at Newport News—and at the north, first by an arm of the sea called York River, and then by the Pamunky, its principal tributary. The region lying between these water-courses may be

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.
Rochambeau (1)
Newport News (1)
McClellan (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: