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[248] leave all his sick and wounded at Fortress Monroe in order that he might be more free in his movements; but at the same time these instructions seemed to imply that the plan of attack against Richmond was still approved, for he was ordered to push his reconnaissances in that direction, and to ascertain the strength of the enemy; the authorities at Washington even seemed to think that the latter had evacuated his capital. At the same time Burnside was notified not to stir from Hampton Roads, and a few days later he was ordered to Aquia Creek.

In order to conform himself to Halleck's instructions, McClellan, believing that he was on the threshold of a new campaign, directed Hooker to resume possession of Malvern Hill; some engineer troops were simultaneously to seize a promontory, called Coggin's Point, on the south side of the James, whence, the day before, D. H. Hill, with about forty pieces of cannon, had kept up a most vigorous although not very damaging fire upon the transports and even the camps of the Federals. Coggin's Point was occupied and strongly entrenched; a position was thus secured which freed the navigation of the James from all impediments, affording, moreover, an excellent tete de pont for any enterprises or diversions that might be attempted south of the river. Hooker, on his side, had set out with his division and Pleasanton's brigade of cavalry during the night of the 2d-3d of August; but having got lost in the woods, he was obliged to return to camp. The next day, the 4th, reinforced by Sedgwick's division, he again took up his line of march, and at daybreak drove a battery and two regiments of the enemy from Malvern Hill, making about one hundred prisoners. The Federal cavalry pushed on as far as White Oak Swamp Bridge, where some thirty Confederate mounted men were captured. But at the very time that McClellan was thus knocking at the gates of Richmond, where everything seemed to indicate a fortunate beginning to his new campaign, he received the fatal order which had been resolved upon several days before in cabinet council at Washington. He had at last compelled Halleck to tell him whether all the sick and convalescents were to be left behind, or whether the latter should remain at Harrison's to join their regiments from that place. Closely pressed by this question, the new commander-in-chief had spoken

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