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[28] completely escaped all further attacks of the army of the Potomac. The Federal cavalry, despite its utmost endeavors, was hardly able to keep within sight of their rear-guard, so greatly is the character of that country opposed to offensive warfare when large masses of men have to be moved. Three days after the battle of Williamsburg the first columns of the Federal infantry left that town, and on the 10th of May the whole army was receiving its supplies from the depot established near Eltham. A new phase of the campaign was about to begin. Notwithstanding many miscalculations and delays, General Mc-Clellan had succeeded in removing the seat of war from the vicinity of Washington to that of Richmond. He had left the peninsula for a richer and more open country, where he could have plenty of elbow-room, and nothing but a battle delivered in open field could prevent him from appearing before the works which had been erected during the winter around the Confederate capital.

Being free in his movements, how was he going to manoeuvre to attack it? For a few days his route lay entirely along the Pamunky, which for him was a prolongation of the York River line, through which he had up to that time received his supplies. The ships which the enemy had sunk on the bar were soon raised, and the whole fleet of transports entered that river, the slow and muddy waters of which pursue their winding course between banks of prodigious fertility. On their passage the silence of a still virgin nature was temporarily succeeded by a show of life, or, more properly speaking, of buoyant activity; at night all these vessels, like so many fantastic apparitions, threw a glare of light across the foliage of the tall trees whose feet were bathed by the waters. In this way the army reached the neighborhood of Cumberland, then that of the White House, where the Pamunky becomes difficult of navigation, and a small railway line leading from West Point to Richmond crosses from the left to the right side of the river. In order to continue the campaign, McClellan had only to follow this road by repairing it, so as to make it useful in victualling the army; he could thus march upon the enemy's capital while still preserving his base of operations on the Pamunky. But just as he was preparing to make this movement

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