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 but Magruder was not in a condition to dispute its possession for any length of time with the powerful army which had at length encountered his pickets on the 5th of April. The division with which he had been charged to protect the peninsula since the preceding autumn numbered only eleven thousand men. The military authorities of the Confederacy had not guessed or known in advance, as it was pretended at the time, the change of base of the army of the Potomac, or they were singularly careless and improvident, for after McClellan had embarked the greatest portion of his troops at Alexandria, Johnston with all his forces was still waiting for him on the Rapidan. Disturbed by the same fears which had beset Mr. Lincoln, the cabinet of Mr. Davis dared no more than he to uncover their capital; so that on the arrival of McClellan before Yorktown with his fifty-eight thousand men, not a single soldier had as yet been sent to reinforce Magruder. These facts, which have been officially proved since the close of the war, afford the most conclusive evidence in favor of the plan which the commander-in-chief of the army of the Potomac had undertaken to carry out. If the line of defence selected by Magruder was naturally strong, it was too much extended, since the Confederate general had only eleven thousand soldiers to occupy about twenty kilometres. He had placed six thousand men at Gloucester Point and at Yorktown, and in a small work situated on the James, so that he had only five thousand left to defend the whole course of Warwick Creek. Consequently, the Richmond authorities, being fully convinced that he would not be able to maintain himself in that position, sent him a formal order to evacuate Yorktown and to abandon the entire peninsula. But Magruder's obstinacy was proverbial among his old comrades. He refused to obey, and prepared to resist the enemy by placing his troops near the dams and among the few clearings adjacent to the stream, so as to deceive the Federals regarding his real strength. The latter, being received by a well-sustained fire on their appearance, imagined themselves confronted by the skirmishers of an army concealed by the forest; and General Keyes, commanding a column of more than twenty-five thousand men which had thus unexpectedly encountered Warwick Creek, did not consider himself strong enough to force a passage. General
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