E must return to the theatre of war in Virginia
It will be remembered that we left the army of the Potomac at Harrison's Landing
, resting after the seven days battle, and Lee
leading back his own forces to the neighborhood of Richmond
A month had elapsed since Mr. Lincoln
, landing on the banks of the James
, had come to consult with General McClellan
relative to the plans of the forthcoming campaigns; it was now the 8th of August.
During this period only a few skirmishes had disturbed the silence and inaction that succeeded the great marches and desperate struggles which the month of June had witnessed.
Everything, however, seemed to indicate that a new crisis was at hand.
A Federal army about fifty thousand strong, called the army of Virginia, was concentrated on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge
, between the two branches of the Rappahannock
was preparing to attack it at the head of three divisions.
Farther to the south, Lee
still occupied Richmond
with the remainder of his army.
At Harrison's Landing
the constant coming in and going out of transports, shipping war materials, cavalry and the wounded, together with the preparations for departure ostensibly going on in the camps, denoted an early movement on the part of the army of the Potomac.
It was indeed about to make a start, but only to turn its back upon the enemy.
Acting in obedience to superior orders, its chief would be compelled, in spite of his protest, to take it back to Fortress Monroe
; he was about to abandon the position he had conquered on the James
after so many sacrifices, which the victorious enemy could not