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[262] wrapped up in his strategic combinations to attend to these details, however important.

McClellan decided to send off by water all the materiel which his wagons could not carry, together with a portion of his artillery, his twelve thousand sick, and a reinforcement intended for Burnside, composed of a few batteries and some cavalry. To this he subsequently added Reynolds' division of Pennsylvanians. He purposed to cover the march of his convoy with the remainder of his army, and to fall back by land on Fortress Monroe, where he expected to find much greater facilities for embarkation. Despite his efforts and those of his intelligent quartermaster, Colonel Ingalls, it was not till the evening of the 16th that the last vessels received their cargoes on board, and left the wharves at Harrison's Landing. The movement of the army had commenced on the 14th. On the morning of the 15th, while Reynolds' division was descending the James to join Burnside at Aquia Creek, the large convoy was started in the wake of the corps of Heintzelman and Porter, which led the march. The road to be followed by the army lay parallel to the James, and connected near Williamsburg with that by which the Federals had advanced a few months before. The enemy was only able to send a few detachments of cavalry in pursuit of McClellan; very few troops, however, would have sufficed to embarrass him considerably in crossing the Chickahominy, which he was obliged to do at Barnett's Ferry, near its mouth. At this place the river is nearly seven hundred metres in width, but the very magnitude of this obstacle rendered it more easy to surmount it, as the depth of water enabled the Federal gun-boats to range themselves before the point designated for the passage, and to defend its approaches. They had already entered the Chickahominy when Porter reached Barnett's Ferry, and under their protection the engineers were able to throw a bridge over the immense sheet of water, which was to be crossed in a few hours. In the mean time, Heintzelman's corps, which occupied Jones' Bridge and the passes of the Chickahominy above the point of navigation, covered the left flank of the army on the march. On the evening of the 16th, McClellan was among the last to leave the abandoned encampments at Harrison's Landing, and turning his back on

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