May 28, 1862.
May 28, 1862.
1 The order was read in all the camps. It directed the troops as they advanced beyond the Chickahominy to prepare for battle at a moment's notice, and to be entirely unencumbered, with the exception of ambulances; to carry three days rations in their haversacks, and to leave their knapsacks with the wagons, that were parked on the left bank of the stream. After giving such directions, he told them “to bear in mind that the Army of the Potomac had never yet been checked,” and directed the soldiers to “preserve in battle perfect coolness and confidence, the sure forerunners of success.” This seemed almost like cruel irony to the worn soldiers, who were painfully conscious that Magruder, with 5,000 men, had “checked” the Army of the Potomac for a whole month before Yorktown.
2 this is a view of Ellison's Mill and the scene of the skirmish, and of a battle a little later, as it appeared when the writer sketched it, at the close of May, 1866. the Confederates were posted on the hills, on which the houses are seen beyond the stream, and the Nationals were on the heights near the Mill, up which the road to Gains's Mill passes.
3 Johnston had caused all the bridges across the Chickahominy to be destroyed. General Barnard, McClellan's Chief Engineer, says in his report (page 21), that “so far as engineering operations were concerned, the army could have been thrown across the river as early as the 28th of May, when the Confederates near New Bridge could have been taken in the rear, and deprived of the power of making any formidable resistance to the passage of the right wing.” In a review of the Peninsula campaign, Barnard says, “No very extensive work was anticipated, as the bottom lands were quite dry, and no inundation had yet occurred, or was anticipated. General McClellan was not waiting for the bridges, but the bridges were waiting for General McClellan.”
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