previous next
[200]

McClellan's army was delayed a month before the Confederates evacuated.

The preliminary reconnaissances by the Federal engineers persuaded McClellan that a regular siege of Yorktown was necessary, and accordingly strong works were erected opposite those of the Confederates. Emplacements for heavy guns and parapets to protect them were pushed to completion. Regular siege-works, consisting of “parallels” and “approaches,” were projected. The Confederates held the position until the last moment, and just as fire was about to be opened on them they abandoned the lines. By that time the works of defense had assumed almost the proportions of a fortress. Enormous labor was required to effect this, and, correspondingly, the labors of the besiegers were great. The low-lying ground of the Peninsula was under water part of the time from the tremendous rains, and the heavy guns of both armies sank into the mud, and it required tremendous exertions to extricate them. Yet, without fighting, the purpose of the Confederates was attained — that of delay; and, while many guns had to be abandoned, the expense was compensated for by the increased preparations of the main Confederate army.

But, notwithstanding the lessons in fortification given both combatants by these operations, the individual soldier did not appreciate, to any great extent, his own responsibility in the matter of entrenchments, since these Yorktown works were on a large scale and used by the entire masses of men of the hostile armies. It was in the campaign to follow that the important instruction in the art was to come.

The progress of the Federals was energetically disputed by inferior numbers in field-works at Williamsburg, which was not so solidly fortified as Yorktown. A large Fort with six redoubts bar-red the road into the town, but, with the flanks not well protected, the position could be turned, and the Union troops did not wait to undertake a siege. At Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, Seven Pines, Malvern Hill, and Harrison's

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Yorktown (Virginia, United States) (3)
Williamsburg (Virginia, United States) (1)
Seven Pines (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Malvern Hill (Virginia, United States) (1)
Gaines Mill (Virginia, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George B. McClellan (2)
Harrison (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: