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[9] was, indeed, a succession of disappointments, and at a time when it was too late to draw back. It may be urged that this should have been considered as an additional reason for hastening operations, as the chance of obtaining an important success was well worth the risk that might be incurred. The army needed a daring stroke (coup d'audace). Its morale would have suffered less from a sanguinary check than from the fruitless fatigues of a prolonged siege; such a success, in short, would have secured to General McClellan the efficient co-operation of his government. But he would not compromise the young army entrusted to his care in an enterprise which he considered too hazardous. Thinking that the national cause could endure delays and slow movements, but not such another disaster as that of Bull Run, he preferred to rely upon the superiority of his artillery in order to dislodge the enemy from his lines.

The Confederates, always under arms, exhausted by continnous service, did not understand what could delay an attack the issue of which they had such good cause to dread. In the mean time, behind the trees which limited their view, on the southern bank of the Warwick, the whole Federal army was at work, erecting batteries and constructing long solid corduroy causeways through the marshy forests, to make a practicable passage for cannon. But the time which was thus spent was entirely to the advantage of the Confederates. In fact, Magruder's disobedience had been at once acquiesced in. Johnston, leaving the large Federal garrison of Washington to prepare for imaginary combats, quitted the borders of the Rapidan, sending a portion of his forces into the peninsula, while he concentrated himself with the remainder around Richmond.

Some regiments, assembled in haste, had already been forwarded to Yorktown, and Magruder had begun to receive his first reinforcements two days after the arrival of the Federals before that place. When, therefore, after eleven days of reconnaissances and preparatory labors, McClellan determined at last to attack him, his forces were doubled, and his line of defence completed. The numerical disproportion between the two parties, however, was nearly as great as before; for the one hundred thousand men embarked at Alexandria were at last assembled on the narrow extremity

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