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beat, but our troops are in improved condition, and as confident as I am hopeful of success. A total defeat of McClellan will relieve the Confederacy of its embarrassments in the East, and then we must make a desperate effort to regain what Beauregard has abandoned in the West. From the President to Mrs. Davis. Richmond, Va., June 23, 1862. You will no doubt hear many rumors, as even here the air is full of them. Be not dis turbed, we are better prepared now than we were on the first of the month, and with God's blessing will beat the enemy as soon as we can get at him. I am nearly well again. The heat and dust are very oppressive. The wagon-trains move along in a cloud which quite conceals everything except the leading team; this, of course, refers to the roads around our main encampments. General G. W. Smith, after the manner of Beauregard, has taken a surgeon's certificate, and is about to retire for a season to recruit his health. General J. E. Johnston is s
fidence is without a precedent. At the commencement of the war he enjoyed the highest reputation of any officer on the continent. The operations of General Lee in the short campaign which is just over were certainly those of a master. No captain that ever lived could have planned or executed a better campaign. It was perfect in all its parts, and will be set down hereafter as among the models which the military student will be required to study. The army under General Johnston on May 31st, from official reports,. showed an effective strength of 62,696. Deduct the losses sustained in the battle of Seven Pines, as shown by the official reports of casualties, say, 6,084 and we have 56,612 as the number of effectives when General Lee took command of the Army of Northern Virginia. Before the seven days battles around Richmond, reinforcements to the number of 24, 50 were brought to the army, so that at the beginning of the contest with McClellan, Lee had 80,762 effectives
from above. The President slept upon the field every night, and was exposed to fire all day. About this time Mr. Davis gave me news of the Sumter. From President Davis to Mrs. Davis. Confederate States of America, Executive Department, July 7, 1862. The Sumter was found to be unseaworthy, and as she could not be prepared at Gibraltar, she was laid up there, the crew discharged, and the officers ordered to go home. Becket sailed from Hamburg, and reached Nassau about the middle of June on his way home. Captain Semmes sailed from England, and reached the same port a few days thereafter, and finding orders which assigned him to a new vessel The 290, or the Alabama. now under construction, returned from Nassau to England to superintend the building of his vessel, and took Becket with him. Nothing important from the army to-day; the enemy are still sending off demoralized troops, and are said to be still receiving reinforcements. If, as is reported, they are leaving the
better it would have been had the city been left a pile of ashes! The offensive-defensive campaign which resulted so gloriously to our arms was thus inaugurated, and turned from the capital of the Confederacy a danger so momentous that, looking at it so retrospectively, it is evident that a policy less daring or less firmly pursued would not have saved the capital from capture. The President wrote substantially as follows: General J. E. B. Stuart was sent with a cavalry force, on June 8th, to observe the enemy, mask the approach of General Jackson, and to cover the route by which he was to march, and to ascertain whether the enemy had any defensive works or troops to interfere with the advance of those forces. He reported favorably on both these points. On June 26th, General Stuart received confidential instructions from General Lee, the execution of which is so interwoven with the seven days battles as to be more appropriately noticed in connection with them. Accordi
nt that a policy less daring or less firmly pursued would not have saved the capital from capture. The President wrote substantially as follows: General J. E. B. Stuart was sent with a cavalry force, on June 8th, to observe the enemy, mask the approach of General Jackson, and to cover the route by which he was to march, and to ascertain whether the enemy had any defensive works or troops to interfere with the advance of those forces. He reported favorably on both these points. On June 26th, General Stuart received confidential instructions from General Lee, the execution of which is so interwoven with the seven days battles as to be more appropriately noticed in connection with them. According to the published reports, General McClellan's position was regarded at this time as extremely critical. During the night I visited the several commands along the intrenchment on the south side of the Chickahominy. In one of these engagements our loss was small in numbers, b
e mounted in his intrenchments. Under these circumstances it was inexpedient to attack him; and our troops, who had been marching and fighting almost incessantly for seven days, under the most trying circumstances, were withdrawn in order to afford them the repose of which they stood so much in need. Several days were spent in collecting arms and other property abandoned by the enemy, and, in the meantime, some artillery and cavalry were sent below Westover to annoy his transports. On July 8th, our army returned to the vicinity of Richmond. The siege of Richmond was raised, and the object of a campaign which had been prosecuted after months of preparation, at an enormous expenditure of men and money, was completely frustrated. General Lee was now gaining fast the confidence of all classes; he had possessed that of the President always. The Richmond Dispatch of July 19, 1862, said, The rise which this officer has suddenly taken in the public confidence is without a
August 1st (search for this): chapter 29
here. Our army is greatly reduced, but I hope recruits will be promptly sent forward from most of the States, and there are many causes which will interfere with the execution of the enemy's plans, and some things they have not dreamed which we may do. If our ranks were full we could end the war in a few weeks. There is reason to believe that the Yankees have gained from England and France as the last extension, this month, and expect foreign intervention if we hold them at bay on the first of August. My great grief at the loss of the Virginia is renewed and redoubled by our want of her now in the James River. The timber for the completion of the Richmond was burned at Norfolk, and the work on her has been thus greatly delayed; it is uncertain when she will be finished. The batteries on the river, eight miles below here, will stop the gun-boats, and we must intercept and defeat any land force which attempts to take them from the land side. Our troubles, you perceive, have not en
June 11th, 1862 AD (search for this): chapter 29
show of resistance there, and with his superior forces cross the Chickahominy with his main body, and, breaking through our centre, go right into Richmond. The understanding with General Lee was, that President Davis should stay with our centre, and if McClellan made that attempt he should hold the centre as long as he could.--Colonel William Preston Johnston, Belford's Magazine, June, 1890. From President Davis to Mrs. Davis. Confederate States of America, Executive Department, June 11, 1862. I am in usual health, though the weather has been very inclement. The roads to the different positions of the army could not be worse and remain passable. The enemy is intrenching and bringing up heavy guns on the York River railroad, which not being useful to our army nor paid for by our treasury, was of course not destroyed. His policy is to advance by regular approaches covered by successive lines of earth — works, that reviled policy of West Pointism and spades, which is s
June 13th, 1862 AD (search for this): chapter 29
him, and compel him to meet us on the field, I have much confidence in our ability to give him a complete defeat, and then it may be possible to teach him the pain of invasion, and to feed our army on his territory. The issues of campaigns can never be safely foretold; it is for us to do all which can be done, and trustingly to leave our fate to Him who rules the universe. Our infant son, William Howell, lay at the point of death, and Mr. Davis, who could not come, wrote. Richmond, June 13, 1862. My heart sunk within me at the news of the suffering of my angel baby. Your telegram of the 12th gives assurance of the subsidence of disease. But the look of pain and exhaustion, the gentle complaint, I am tired, which has for so many years oppressed me, seems to have been revived; and unless God spares me another such trial, what is to become of me, I don't know. Dr. Garnett will, I hope, reach you this morning. He carried with him what he regarded as a specific remedy. My
June 21st, 1862 AD (search for this): chapter 29
eet, he had his trousers rolled up and was wading in the gutter; he looked something like Jeff, and when I persuaded him to get out of the water, he raised his sunny face and laughed, but denied my conclusion. Mrs. Greenhow is here. Madam looks much changed, and has the air of one whose nerves are shaken by mental torture. General Lee's wife has arrived, her servants left her, and she found it uncomfortable to live without them. From the President to Mrs. Davis. Richmond, Va., June 21, 1862. We are preparing and taking position for the struggle which must be at hand. The stake is too high to permit the pulse to keep its even beat, but our troops are in improved condition, and as confident as I am hopeful of success. A total defeat of McClellan will relieve the Confederacy of its embarrassments in the East, and then we must make a desperate effort to regain what Beauregard has abandoned in the West. From the President to Mrs. Davis. Richmond, Va., June 23, 18
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