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[73]

Chapter 3:

Gaines' Mill.

THE alarms occasioned by Jackson's success did not prevent the battle of Fair Oaks from producing a great sensation in the North. The army of the Potomac was essentially national in its character, and there was not a village in the free States that had not furnished to it some young men; consequently, a greater interest was everywhere manifested in its labors than in the pretended dangers of the Federal capital. The government, still cherishing a secret jealousy against General McClellan, seldom communicated to the public the tidings it received from him, but after such a battle it was no longer possible to keep silent; accordingly, a despatch from the commander-in-chief was for the first time published. The latter, unfortunately deceived by Heintzelman's report, threw undue blame upon Casey's division. This despatch was corrected in Washington, but in such a manner as to aggravate the painful effect of the error it contained. The unmerited censure was allowed to stand, while the eulogies which McClellan bestowed upon Sumner were suppressed. The general-in-chief soon set forth the truth, and it became known that the army had been saved by the stubborn resistance of Naglee and Bailey, the ardor which Kearny had infused into Jamison's and Berry's brigades, and, finally, by the indomitable energy of old Sumner.

Mr. Lincoln learned at last that he could no longer delay sending the reinforcements which the army of the Potomac needed in order to continue the task, which threatened to be difficult. The garrison of Fort Monroe and a few other regiments, eight or nine thousand men in all, were assigned to General McClellan, who distributed them among the different brigades of the army. He was again promised the co-operation of McDowell as soon as the

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