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re not commanding your company? Couldn't do it, you see. Wouldn't let the boys elect me an officer and have the Sec. think I had bought my commission! But, old fellow, I'll win it before the month is out; and, if God spares me, mother shall call her boy Colonel Frank, before Christmas! Poor Frank! Before the hoped — for day his bones were bleaching in front of Fort Magruder. One morning the retreat from Yorktown — a pitiful roadside skirmish — a bullet in his brain-and the tramp of McClellan's advancing hosts packed the fresh sods over his grave, heroes monumentum! He was one of many, but no truer heart or readier hand were stilled in all the war. Passing out of the cut through the high bluff, just across the Jeems river bridge, Richmond burst beautifully into view; spreading panorama-like over her swelling hills, with the evening sun gilding simple houses and towering spires alike into a glory. The city follows the curve of the river, seated on amphitheatric hills, retre<
ates troops, en route to the West; and once securely lodged in its almost impregnable fastnesses, their ejection would be practically impossible. General Garnett--an old army officer of reputation and promisewas already in that field, with a handful of troops from the Virginia army; among them a regiment from about Richmond, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Pegram. The Federals, grasping at once the full importance of this position, had sent to meet this demonstration an army under General McClellan, with Rosecrans commanding the advance. There had been no collision, but its approach could not be long delayed; and the South wanted men. In this posture of affairs, General Wise received his commission and orders. The old politician donned his uniform with great alacrity; called about him a few of the best companies of Richmond, as a nucleus; and went to work with all the vim and activity expected by those who knew him best. The Richmond light infantry Blues --the oldest compa
e at once saw that with the small force at his command the position was untenable. To hold it, the heights on both sides of the river commanding it would have to be fortified, and a clear line of communication maintained with his base. General McClellan, with a force equal to his, was hovering about Romney and the upper Valley, ready at any moment to swoop down upon his flank and make a junction with Patterson, who was in his front, thus crushing him between them. Patterson was threatening Winchester, at which point he would be able to cut Johnston's supplies and at the same time effect his desired junction with McClellan. To prevent this, about the middle of June, General Johnston evacuated Harper's Ferry, destroying the magazines and a vast amount of property, and fell back to Winchester. Then, for one month, Patterson and he played at military chess, on a field ranging from Winchester to Martinsburg, without advantage on either side. At the end of that time — on the 1
boxer, in a deadly conflict with a giant, had dealt a staggering blow; and while the Titan braced his every muscle for a deadlier gripe, the weaker antagonist wasted his time lauding his strength and feeling his biceps. Meantime, the keen, hard sense of the Washington Government wasted no time in utilizing the reaction on its people. The press and the public clamored for a victim, and General Scott was thrown into its maw unhesitatingly. The old hero was replaced by the new, and General McClellan-whose untried and inexperienced talent could hardly have augured his becoming, as he did, the best general of the northern army — was elevated to his place to please the dear public. The rabid crowds of men and men-women-whose prurient curiosity had driven them to follow the great on-to-Richmond, with hopes of a first view of the triumphant entry of the Grand Army-soon forgot their uncomfortable and terrified scramble to the rear. They easily changed their whine of terror to a son
chess of his antagonist. He prepared to checkmate McClellan's whole combination; and suddenly-after weeks of qograde movement was completed so successfully that McClellan never suspected the evacuation. Two days later, huder's fortifications. Failing at the front door, McClellan again read Caesar, and essayed the back entrance. ective was this as entirely to deceive the enemy. McClellan sat down before him and began to fortify! Amidke up the line of march for Richmond. Next day McClellan's advance pressed on; and overtaking their rear, ufor their dear city against the fresh thousands of McClellan? Oh, God! Had toil and privation done its work sell-appointed brigades pressing close upon it. Had McClellan been at hand, there is little doubt as to what the the city. But they were to have little rest. McClellan advanced to the Chickahominy and strongly fortifie of stillness on the Chickahominy lines, which General McClellan improved to protect his rear communications; a
itals a lull Jackson's Meteor campaign Ashby dead! the week of blood southern estimate of McClellan what might have been Richmond under ordeal the battle rainbow sad Sequelke real sisteron and steel, weariness and death! There can be little doubt now of the consummate tact of McClellan's retreat. It is the bright page in the northern annals of strategy. Beaten each day and dri destroyed him, this fact should not detract, in the impartial mind, from the great ability of McClellan which really prevented it. Still, up to the last bloody day at Malvern Hill, the city lay of southern arms. More than once in the Seven days a rapid march by the flank would have put McClellan in possession of the Capital and secured him in its strong defenses; from which the wearied trbor and Frasier's Farm rolled back their echoes of triumph; news came of the strait into which McClellan was driven and that one day more must see him a prisoner in the city he had dared-his splendid
Thomas C. DeLeon, Four years in Rebel capitals: an inside view of life in the southern confederacy, from birth to death., Chapter 24: echo of Seven days, North and South. (search)
apter 24: echo of Seven days, North and South. Confederates hopeful, but not overconfident the cost to the North McClellan sacrificed General Pope and his methods he finds Jackson at Cedar Mountain a glance trans Allegheny well conceiveved himself a tactician in anything but name; and as part of its policy the northern government shamelessly sacrificed McClellan, while it could not but unhesitatingly acknowledge his merit. Unlike the South, the North throughout the whole war , Alexandria and Fredericksburg were mobilized and strengthened; and the baton of command was wrenched from the hand of McClellan to be placed in that of Major-General John Pope! The history of this new popular hero, to this time, may be summed being thus better able to concentrate his strength, he left only enough troops around Richmond to delay any advance of McClellan from the Peninsula; and, before the end of July, sent Stonewall Jackson — with Ewell's, A. P. Hill's, and his own old d
invader, created equal surprise as panic. Pope summarily dropped from the pinnacle of public favor into disgrace; and McClellan was the only mainstay the Federal Government could fall back on, to check the victorious Lee. Meanwhile, equal excised some 35,000 men on the banks of the Antietam, near Sharpsburg — a village ten miles north-east of Harper's Ferry. McClellan, pressing him hard with an army four times his own numbers-composed in part of raw levies and hastily-massed militia, at. And when night stopped the aimless; carnage, each army, too crippled to renew the fight, withdrew toward its base. McClellan could not pursue; and the Confederates fell back doggedly, sullenly, and recrossed into Virginia. As usual in the North, a wild howl went up against McClellan. In response to this brutumfulmen, he was promptly removed by Halleck, for not conquering an army that had proved itself invincible! Bitter indeed was the hour that brought to Richmond the story of Sh
contribution and Harrisburg was threatened by Ewell. The whole North rose in its might. Governors Seymour, of New York, Andrew, of Massachusetts, and Curtin, of Pennsylvania, put their whole militia at the service of the President; the energy at Washington, momentarily paralyzed, soon recovered; and by the last day of the month, Meade had collected an army of near 200,000 men. Many of these were, of course, new levies and raw militia; but near one-half were the veterans of the armies of McClellan, Burnside and Hooker; men who had fought gallantly on southern soil and might be expected to do so on their own. It seems that Lee's intention was to flank Meade; and leaving him in Maryland, to pass into Pennsylvania, occupy Harrisburg, destroy communications between Washington and the North and reduce Philadelphia. Such, at least, was the universal belief of the southern people; and so rapidly did their mercurial temperament rise under it, and so great was their reliance in the a
aste of the Federal retreat-stimulated the Government. A meager appropriation was passed for the construction of the Merrimac; or rather for an iron-clad ship upon the hull of the half-destroyed frigate of that name. Had the whole amount necessary for her completion been given, the vessel would have been ready weeks before she was, under the dribblet system adopted. Then, indeed, it would be hard to overestimate her value; damage to shipping in Hampton Roads; or her ultimate effect upon McClellan's campaign. No appropriation for an object of vital import could be shaken free from its bonds of red tape; and this one was saddled with an incubus, in the bill for the construction of one hundred gunboats. The scheme to build that number of wooden vessels of small size seemed equally short-sighted and impracticable. They could only be built on inland rivers and creeks, to prevent attacks by the enemy's heavier vessels; and hence they were necessarily small and ineffective. The int
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