Chapter 16: the Army of the Potomac before Richmond.
- Naval attack on Drewry's Bluff, 402.
-- the Army of the Potomac on the Chickahominy, 403.
-- skirmish at Ellison's Mill
-- an inspiriting order, 404.
-- inactivity of the Army of the Potomac, 405.
-- skirmishes near Hanover Court
-- House, 406.
-- McClellan calls for re-enforcements
-- raids on railways, 407.
-- the Confederates prepare to attack the Nationals
-- General Casey's position, 408.
-- battle of the seven Pines, 409.
-- battle near Fair Oaks Station, 410.
-- Sumner crosses the Chickahominy, 411.
-- Second battle of Fair Oaks Station
-- the Confederate Commander-in
-- chief wounded, 412.
-- Hooker looks into Richmond and is called back, 413.--“Stonewall” Jackson joins the Confederate Army near Richmond
-- General Robert E. Lee in command, 414.
-- public expectation disappointed
-- hopes excited, 415.
-- bold raid of General J. E. B. Stuart, 416.
-- Richmond quietly besieged, 417.
-- Lee preparing to strike McClellan, 418.
-- battle at Mechanicsville, 419.
-- the siege of Richmond abandoned, 420.
-- preparations for a defensive battle near Cool Arbor, 421.
-- battle of Gaines's Farm, 422.
-- the National Army in imminent peril, 423.
-- retreat of the Army of the Potomac to the James River begun, 424.
-- the Confederate Commander deceived, 425.
-- destruction of the “White House” and public property near, 426.
-- Lee pursues McClellan
-- the latter's insolent letter to the Secretary of War, 427.
-- battle at Savage's Station, 428.
-- battle dt the White Oak Swamp Bridge, 429. battle of Glendale, 430.
-- the Army of the Potomac on Malvern Hills, 431.
-- the contending armies confronting each other there, 432.
-- battle of Malvern Hills, 433.
-- McClellan on the Galena
-- his victorious Army ordered to retreat, 434.
-- position of his Army on the James River, 435.
-- visit to the battle-fields near Richmond, 436.
-- Malvern Hills and the Randolph mansion, 438.
-- Fair Oaks and Savage's Station, 439.
-- Williamsburg and Yorktown, 440.
We left the Army of the Potomac within a few miles of Richmond
, its advance light troops at Bottom's Bridge, and the Headquarters of its commander at Cool Arbor.
fled from Norfolk
, and the Merrimack
was blown into fragments, the Confederate
gun-boats in the James River
retired to Richmond
, closely followed by a flotilla of armed vessels under the command of Commodore John Rodgers
, whose flag-ship was the ironclad Galena
She was accompanied by the Monitor, Aroostook, Port Royal
, and Naugatuck
. They moved up the stream with great caution, for it was known that the Confederates
had erected batteries on the shores at different points, and it was believed that guerrillas were abundant on the banks.
From an armored look-out near the nast-head of the leading vessel, a vigilant watch for these was kept, but the squadron met with no serious impediment until it confronted ,a formidable battery on a bank nearly two hundred feet in height, called Drewry's Bluff
, at a narrow place in the river, about eight miles from Richmond
Below this battery were two separate barriers, formed of spiles and sunken vessels, and the shores were lined with rifle-pits filled with sharp-shooters.
An armored look-out.1|
anchored within six hundred yards of the battery, and opened fire at near eight o'clock in the-morning.
An hour later the Monitor
ran above the Galena
, but could not bring her guns to bear upon the elevated battery, and fell back.
A sharp fight was kept up until after eleven o'clock, when the ammunition of the Galena
was nearly expended.
Then the flotilla withdrew.
lost in this attack twenty-seven men, and a 100-pounder rifled cannon that burst on board the Naugatuck
, and disabled her. The commander of the battery,
Captain E. Farrand
(once of the National Navy
), reported his loss at fifteen.
fell back to City Point
and York rivers
were now both offered as a highway for supplies for the Army of the Potomac, and General McClellan
was left free to choose his base.
He decided to continue it at the head of York
until he should form a junction with McDowell
The operations in the Shenandoah Valley, just recorded, speedily postponed that junction indefinitely, for, as we have seen, McDowell
was necessarily detained to fight Jackson
, and to watch an active foe beyond the Rapid Anna River, who was then threatening Washington City
The two great armies were now in close proximity before Richmond
, with the sluggish marshbordered Chickahominy between them.
Their first collisions occurred on the 23d and 24th of May: one near New Bridge
, a short distance from Cool Arbor, where the Fourth Michigan Cavalry,. under Colonel Woodbury
, waded the river,4
and after a
smart skirmish captured thirty-seven of the Fifth Louisiana, then guarding that point, drove the remainder, and held the position.
The other was at and near Mechanicsville
, seven or eight miles from Richmond
, when a part of McClellan
's right wing was advancing toward the Chickahominy
At Ellison's Mill, about a mile from Mechanicsville
, a part of Stoneman
's command, with Davison
's brigade of Franklin
's corps, encountered
in considerable force, infantry, cavalry, and artillery.
A brisk skirmish ensued, and at sunset the Confederates
fell back to Mechanicsville
, from which they were driven across the Chickahominy
the next morning.
On this ground a battle was fought a month later.
This bold dash was followed the next day by an inspiriting general order
, that indicated an immediate advance of the whole army on Richmond
Every thing was ready for such movement.
The troops were