previous next

[26] for the army of the Potomac, it was unable to turn it immediately to account. The difficulty in obtaining supplies kept it for several days around Williamsburg. The only road from Yorktown, softened by the rain, obstructed by cavalry, by the reserve park, by a part of the artillery of the divisions which had been embarked, and by baggage of every kind which follows an army, did not suffice for the passage of the wagons containing the necessary rations for sixty thousand men who were assembled in Williamsburg on the 6th and 7th.

It was found necessary to establish a temporary victualling base near that town. In one day the wooded banks of Queen's Creek are cleared and rude wharves built, where transports come to deposit their cargoes of salt pork, biscuit, rice, and forage, which the army-wagons, lightened by several days' consumption, proceed to distribute among the various regiments. In exchange, the vessels receive a sad but precious cargo, consisting of all the wounded able to bear transportation, who, after a first dressing of their wounds, are forwarded to the large Northern cities, where they will meet with the care, comfort, and pure air which will solace their sufferings.

We left four divisions at Yorktown the day after the evacuation of that place, ready to embark in order to reach the extremity of the long estuary of York River. If conducted with speed, this operation might be productive of brilliant results. It assured a new base of supplies in advance of the army, thus enabling it to march by longer stages; by taking Williamsburg in the rear, it rendered all resistance on the part of the Confederates useless; for if they had lingered there, it would have placed them in a most perilous position. In fact, while Johnston, with a portion of his army, was checking the progress of the Federals in the lines of defence at Williamsburg, the remainder was disposed en echelon on the Richmond road; the four divisions thrown on the flank of this road could either occupy it before the Confederates, or surprise them on the march, throw their columns into confusion by harassing them, or at least deprive them of all the advantage of the start which had cost them so dear by fighting the battle of Williamsburg.

Unfortunately, notwithstanding the presence of the generalchief,

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Williamsburg (Virginia, United States) (4)
Yorktown (Virginia, United States) (2)
York (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
Joseph E. Johnston (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: