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Chapter 14: the Richmond campaign.

After the victory of Winchester in May, General Jackson had requested his friend Hon. A. R. Boteler to represent to the authorities near Richmond, his desire for reinforcements, that he might carry the war toward the Federal Capital. “Tell them,” said he, “that I have now fifteen thousand men. I should have forty thousand; and with them I would invade the North.” When this message was delivered to General Lee, the Commander-in-Chief, he replied: “But he must help me to drive these people away from Richmond first.” Thus it appears that his sagacious mind had already formed the design of concentrating the army of Jackson with his own, in order to take the aggressive against McClellan. Had the battle of Port Republic been a disaster, this would have been impossible, and Richmond would probably have fallen into the hands of the assailants. As soon as the news of Jackson's victory there was received in Richmond, it was judged that the proper time had arrived for the great movement. To make it successful, it was necessary to mask Jackson's removal from the Valley, lest his enemies, lately defeated, should assail some vital point, and to continue the diversion of General McDowell's army from a union with McClellan. To further these objects, a strong detachment, consisting of the brigades of Whiting, Hood, and Lawton, which made an aggregate of seven thousand men, was sent to Jackson [432] by the way of Lynchburg and Charlottesville. It was so arranged that the captives from Port Republic on their way to the military prisons of Richmond, should meet all these troops upon the road; and on their arrival there, General Lee dismissed the officers among them upon parole. He knew that they would hasten to Washington and report what they had seen. The report of General McClellan reveals the success of the expedient. He states that the answer made by Mr. Lincoln to the next of his repeated requests for the co-operation of General McDowell, was the following: that he could not now need that aid, inasmuch as the army of General Lee was weakened by fifteen thousand men just sent to General Jackson, and the dangers of Washington City were to the same extent increased: (the Federal officers, with their customary exaggeration, had doubled the number of Jackson's reinforcements.)

He, meanwhile, was deceiving the enemy in the Valley with equal adroitness. As soon as Colonel Munford established his cavalry at Harrisonburg, he sent him orders to arrest all transit up and down the Valley, and even to limit the communication between his own troops on the outposts and, the Confederate infantry, to the narrowest possible bounds; so that no intelligence might steal through to the enemy. He also instructed him to press his outposts with energy against those of the enemy, and to drive him as far below as practicable. He desired thus to produce in Fremont the persuasion, that the whole Confederate army was about to advance upon him, to improve its victory in that direction. Last, he requested Colonel Munford to do all in his power, by other means, to foster this belief. Opportunity was already provided for carrying out this order. As the advance of the Confederates pressed toward Fremont, they met, twelve miles north of Harrisonburg, a Federal flag of truce, in the hands of a major, followed by a long train of surgeons and ambulances [433] bringing a demand for the release of their wounded men. Colonel Munford had required the train to pause at his outposts, and had brought the major, with one surgeon, to his quarters at Harrisonburg; where he entertained them with military courtesy, until their request was answered by the commanding General. He found them full of boasts and arrogance: they said that the answer to their flag was exceedingly unimportant, because Fremont and Shields were about to effect a junction, when they would recover, by force, all they had lost, and teach Jackson a lesson which would cure his audacity. When Colonel Munford received the instructions we have mentioned, he called for Mr. William Gilmer of Albemarle, a gentleman of infinite spirit and humor, who was serving with his young kinsman as an amateur trooper, and gave him his cue. He silently left the village, but presently returned, in very different fashion, as an orderly, with despatches from General Jackson and from Staunton. With an ostentatious clanking of spurs and sabre, he ascended to Colonel Munford's quarters, and knocked in a hurried manner. “Come in,” said the gallant Colonel. “And what answer do you bring, orderly, from General Jackson?” At this word, the Yankee officers in the adjoining chamber were heard stealthily approaching the partition, for the purpose of eavesdropping. “Why,” said Gilmer, “the General laughed at the demand for the surrender of the wounded prisoners. He has no notion of it.” “Do you bring any good news?” asked the Colonel. “Glorious news,” he answered. “The road from Staunton this way is chock-full of soldiers, cannon, and wagons, come to reinforce Jackson in his march down the Valley. There is General Whiting, General Hood, General Lawton, and General I-don't-know-who. I never saw so many soldiers and cannon together in my life. People say there are thirty thousand of them.” After a few such questions and answers, framed for the edification of the eavesdroppers, [434] Colonel Munford dismissed him, and he descended, to fill the hotel and the town with his glorious news. The whole place was speedily in a blaze of joy and excitement. Citizens came to offer supplies for the approaching hosts; and bullocks, flour, and bacon were about to be collected for them in delighted haste. After leaving his guests to digest their contraband news, for several hours, Colonel Munford at length sent for them, and told them that he had a reply from his General, respectfully declining to accede to their request; so that nothing now remained but to send them back to their friends, in the same honor and safety in which they had come. They departed much humbler, and as they imagined, much wiser men. He pushed his advance soon after them, to New Market; and upon their arrival at the quarters of General Fremont near Mount Jackson, the Federal army precipitately broke up its camp, and retreated to Strasbourg; where they began busily to fortify themselves. The Confederate cavalry then drew a cordon of pickets across the country just above them, so strict that the befooled enemy never learned General Jackson's whole army was not on his front, until he discovered it by the disasters of McClellan.

The larger part of the reinforcements sent from Richmond had halted near Staunton. On the evening of June 17th, General Jackson began to move his troops from Mount Meridian, and leaving orders with his staff to send away the remainder the next morning, he went to the town to set the new brigades in motion. No man in the whole army knew whither it was going. General Ewell, the second in command, was only instructed to move towards Charlottesville, and the rest were only ordered to follow him. Two marches brought them to the neighborhood of the latter town, where General Jackson rejoined them, and confiding to his chief of staff the direction of his movement, with strict injunctions of secrecy, departed by railroad, to hold [435] a preliminary conference with General Lee in Richmond. He directed that an advanced guard of cavalry should precede the army continually, and prohibit all persons, whether citizens or soldiers, from passing before them toward Richmond. A rearguard was to prevent all straggling backward, and when they encamped, all lateral roads were to be guarded, to prevent communication between the army and country.

But on reaching Gordonsville, whither the brigade of General Lawton had gone by railroad, he was arrested for a day by a groundless rumor of the approach of the enemy from the Rappahannock. Then, resuming the direction of the troops, he proceeded to a station called Frederickshall, fifty miles from Richmond, where he arrested his march to give the army its Sabbath rest. No General knew better than he, how to employ the transportation of a railroad in combination with the marching of an army. While the burthen trains forwarded his stores he caused the passenger trains to proceed to the rear of his line of march, which was chosen near the railroad, and take up the hindmost of his brigades. These were forwarded, in a couple of hours, a whole day's march; when they were set down, and the trains returned again, to take up the hindmost, and give them a like assistance.

After a quiet Sabbath, the General rose at 1 o'clock A. M., and mounting a horse, rode express with a single courier, to Richmond. A few miles from his quarters, a pleasing evidence of the fidelity of his pickets was presented to him. He endeavored to pass this outpost, first as an officer on military business, and then as an officer bearing important intelligence for General Lee. But the guard was inexorable, and declared that his instructions from General Jackson especially prohibited him to pass army men, as well as citizens. The utmost he would concede was, that the captain commanding the picket [436] should be called, and the appeal made to him. When he came, he recognized his General; who, praising the soldier for his obedience to instructions, bound them both to secrecy touching his journey. Having held the desired interview with the Commander-in-Chief, he returned the next day to the line of march pursued by his troops, and led them, the evening of June 25th to the village of Ashland, twelve miles north of Richmond.

To understand the subsequent narrative, the reader must have a brief explanation of the position of the two great armies. The Chickahominy River, famous for the adventures and capture of Captain John Smith, in the childhood of Virginia, is a sluggish stream of fifteen yards width, which flows parallel to the James, and only five miles north of Richmond. It is bordered by extensive meadows, which degenerate in many places into marshes, and its bed is miry and treacherous; so that it constitutes an obstacle to the passage of armies far more formidable than its insignificant width would indicate. During this year, especially, the excessive rains and repeated freshets had converted its little current into an important stream, its marshes into lakes, and its rich, level cornfields into bogs. But at the distance of half a mile from the channel, the country on each side rises into undulating hills, with farms interspersed irregularly among the tracts of forest, and the coppices of young pine. General McClellan, taking his departure from the White House, on the Pamunkey, and using the York River Railroad as his line of supply, had pressed his vast army to the east and north of Richmond. Its two wings, placed like the open jaws of some mighty dragon, the one on the north and the other on the south side of the Chickahominy, almost embraced the northeast angle of the city. To connect them with each other, he had constructed three or four elaborate bridges across the stream, with causeways leading to them, and along the length of the valley, [437] [438] by which he hoped to defy both mire and floods. On both sides, his front was so fortified with earthworks, abattis, and heavy artillery, that they could not be assailed, save with cruel loss. These works, on his left, were extended to the front of the battle-field of Seven Pines, and on his right to the hamlet of Mechanicsville; which, seated upon the north bank of the Chickahominy, six miles from Richmond, commanded the road thence to Hanover Court House.

The Confederate army, now under the immediate order of General Robert E. Lee, confronted McClellan, and guarded the course of the Chickahominy, as high as the half sink farm, northwest of Richmond, where Brigadier-General Branch, of Major General A. P. Hill's division, was stationed within a few miles of Ashland. General Lee, after the battle of Seven Pines, had fortified his front, east of Richmond, in order that a part of his forces might hold the defensive against the Federal army; while, with the remainder, he attempted to turn its flank north of the Chickahominy. To test the practicability of this grand enterprise, and to explore a way for General Jackson's proposed junction, he had caused General J. E. B. Stuart, of the cavalry to make his famous reconnoissance of the 12th of June; in which that daring officer had marched a detachment of cavalry from north to south around McClellan's whole rear, and had discovered that it was unprotected by works, or by proper disposition of forces, against the proposed attack.

The conception of the Commander-in-Chief is thus developed in his own general order of battle, communicated to General Jackson. He was to march from Ashland on the 25th of June, to encamp for the night, west of the Central Railroad, and to advance at three A. M., on the 26th, and turn the enemy's works at Mechanicsville, and on Beaver-Dam Creek, a stream flowing into the Chickahominy a mile in the rear of that hamlet, where [439] he had a powerful reserve entrenched. Major-General A. P. Hill was to cross the Chickahominy, to the north side, at the meadow bridges, above Mechanicsville, and associating to himself Branch's brigade, which was to advance so soon as the march of General Jackson opened a way for it, was to sweep down against the enemy's right. As soon as the Mechanicsville bridge should be uncovered, Longstreet and D. H. Hill were to cross, the latter to proceed to the support of Jackson, and the former to that of A. P. Hill. The four commands were directed to sweep down the north side of the Chickahominy, toward the York River Railroad; Jackson on the left and in advance, Longstreet nearest the river and in the rear. Huger and Magruder were to hold their positions south of the Chickahominy, against any assault of the enemy, to observe him closely, and to follow him should he retreat. General Stuart, with his cavalry, was thrown out on Jackson's left, to guard his flank, and give notice of the enemy's movements.

The evening of June 25th found the army of General Jackson a few miles short of their appointed goal-at Ashland-instead of the line of the Central Rarioad. The difficulties of handling so large a force with inexperienced subordinates, concurred with the loss of the bridges on his direct line of march, (lately burned by order of the Federalists,) to delay him thus much. No commander ever sympathized more fully with the spirit of Napoleon's answer, when he replied to one of his marshals, in view of a similar combination of his armies for a great battle: “Ask me for anything but time.” Jackson's ardent soul, on fire with the grandeur of the operations before him, and with delight in their boldness and wisdom, and chafing at the delays of blundering and incompetent agents, forbade rest or sleep for him on this important night. He deliberately devoted the whole of it to the review of his preparations, and to prayer. Rations were to be [440] distributed and prepared by the men for three days. The lead ers of the different divisions, encamped around Ashland, were to be instructed in their routes, so that the several commands might take their places in the column without confusion or delay. After all his staff were dismissed for a short repose, he still paced his chamber in anxious thought, or devoted to wrestling with God the intervals between the visits of his officers. In the small hours of the night, two of the commanders of divisions came to suggest that he should move the army by two columns, on parallel roads, instead of by one. He listened respectfully, but requested that they would await his decision until morning. When they left him, the one said to the other: “Do you know why General Jackson would not decide upon our suggestion at once? It was because he has to pray over it, before he makes up his mind.” A moment after, the second returned to Jackson's quarters to fetch his sword, which he had forgotten; and, as he entered, found him upon his knees! praying, doubtless, for Omniscient guidance in all his responsible duties, for his men, and for his country.

Notwithstanding his efforts, the army did not move until after sunrise; when, all being ready, it advanced in gallant array toward the southeast, crossed the Central Railroad, and, meeting here and there the vigilant cavalry of General Stuart, which came in from the left at the cross-roads, approached the Pole- Green church, a century before sanctified by the eloquence of the Rev. Samuel Davies, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Jackson was now abreast of the enemy's right flank at Mechanicsville, and but a few miles north of it. Between him and the church was the Tottopottamoy, a little stream which still bears its Indian title. The pickets of McClellan occupied the opposite bank, and had destroyed the light wooden bridge, and obstructed the road beyond with prostrate trees. The Texan brigade of Hood, which [441] was in front, deployed a few skirmishers, who speedily cleared the opposing bank with their unerring rifles; and the wood beyond was shelled by one of Whiting's batteries while the bridge was rapidly repaired. This initial cannonade was intended to subserve the additional purpose of a signal, by which the Confederates before Mechanicsville might be advertised of his presence.

For many hours' the brigades of A. P. Hill had been patiently awaiting the expected sound, before the enemy's works. They now pressed forward, and a furious cannonade opened on both sides. General Hill, supported by Ripley's brigade, of D. H. Hill's division, speedily carried the little village, with the fieldworks and camp of the enemy, while the latter retired a mile to the eastward, to their stronger lines upon Beaver-Dam Creek. Jackson's advance would in due time have turned this position, as it had Mechanicsville, and would thus have given to the two Hills an easy conquest; but the presence of the Commander-in. Chief and the President of the Confederate States upon the field, with their urgency that the place should be carried without delay, impelled them to the attack. The heroic troops pressed up to the stream, and held the nearer brink throughout the night, but could effect no lodgement within the hostile works; and thus, at nine o'clock, the cannonade died away, and the opposing forces lay down upon their arms, after a bloody and useless struggle. As General Jackson's forces passed the Pole-Green church, and went into camp a little below, at Hundley's Corner, the sound of the guns and the roar of the musketry told them that the gigantic struggle had begun.

Thus opened the seven days tragedy before Richmond. The demeanor of its citizens during the evening of June 26th, gave an example of their courage, and their faith in their leaders and their cause. For many weeks, the Christians of the city had [442] given themselves to prayer; and they drew from heaven a sublime composure. The spectator passing through the streets saw the people calmly engaged in their usual avocations, or else wending their way to the churches, while the thunders of the cannon shook the city. As the calm summer evening descended, the family groups were seen sitting upon their door-steps, where mothers told the children at their knees, how Lee and his heroes were now driving away the invaders. The young people promenaded the heights north of the town, and watched the distant shells bursting against the sky. At one church, a solemn cavalcade stood waiting; and if the observer had entered, saying to himself: “This funeral reminds me that Death claims all seasons for his own, and refuses to postpone his dread rites for any inferior horrors,” he would have found a bridal before the altar. The heart of old Rome was not more assured and steadfast, when she sold at full price in her Forum, the fields on which the victorious Carthaginian was encamped.

During the night, detachments of the enemy approached General Jackson's camps at Hundley's corner, but were checked by Brockenborough's battery, and the 1st Maryland, 13th Virginia, and 6th Louisiana regiments. At an early hour, the troops were put in motion, and speedily crossed the higher streams of the Beaver-Dam, thus turning the right of the enemy's position. The way was now opened, by their retreat, for the advance of General D. H. Hill, who crossing Jackson's line of march, passed to his front and left. The evacuation of the lines of Beaver-Dam also soon followed. At the dawn of day, the contest between the Federal artillery there, and that of General A. P. Hill had been resumed; but perceiving the divisions of General Jackson approaching their rear, the enemy retreated precipitately down the Chickahominy towards Cold Harbor, pursued by Generals A. P. Hill and Longstreet, burning vast [443] quantities of army stores, and deserting many uninjured. As General Jackson approached Walnut Grove church, he met the Commander-in-Chief; and while he halted his column to receive his final instructions from him, the gallant division of A. P. Hill filed past, in as perfect array as though they had been unscathed of battle. General Lee presuming that the Federalists would continue to withdraw, if overpowered, toward the York River Railroad and the White House, directed General Jackson to proceed, with General D. H. Hill, to a point a few miles north of Cold Harbor, and thence to march to that place, and strike their line of retreat. Two roads led thither, the one direct, the other circuitous. The latter, which passed first eastward, and then southward, was the one which offered the desired route for General Jackson; for the former would have conducted him to ground in the rear of the retreating army, already occupied by General A. P. Hill. General Jackson had selected young men of the vicinage, found in a company of cavalry near him, for guides. When he asked them the road to Cold Harbor, his habitual reticence, in this instance too stringent, withheld all explanation of his strategic designs. They therefore naturally pointed him to the direct and larger road, as the route to Cold Harbor. After marching for a mile and a half, the booming of cannon in his front caught his ear, and he demanded sharply of the guide near him: “Where is that firing?” The reply was, that it was in the direction of Gaines's Mill. “Does this road lead there?” he asked. The guide told him that it led by Gaines's Mill to Cold Harbor. “But,” exclaimed he, “I do not wish to go to Gaines's Mill. I wish to go to Cold Harbor, leaving that place to the right.” “Then,” said the guide, “the left-hand road was the one which should have been taken; and had you let me know what you desired, I could have directed you aright at first.” Nothing now remained, but to reverse the column, [444] and return to the proper track. It was manifest that an hour of precious time must be lost in doing this, while the accelerated firing told that the battle was thickening in the front, and every heart trembled with the anxious fear lest the irreparable hour should be lost by the delay. But Jackson bore the same calm and assured countenance, and when this fear was suggested to him, he replied: “No, let us trust that the providence of our God will so overrule it, that no mischief shall result.” Nor was he mistaken in this confidence; for the time thus allowed to General D. H. Hill enabled him to reach the desired point of meeting north of Cold Harbor, just in front of Jackson, and brought them into precise conjunction. They then turned to the right and moved directly toward the supposed position of the enemy, with the division of Hill in front, followed by those of Ewell, Whiting, and Jackson in the order of their enumeration. After passing Cold Harbor, and arresting at that spot a few Federal carriages, they perceived the enemy about a half mile southward, drawn up in battle array, and fronting to the north. General Jackson, with a numerous suite, rode forward to observe their position; and at his suggestion a battery from Hill's division was posted opposite to them. But before they began to fire, several Federal batteries opened upon them a furious cannonade, by which the Generals were speedily driven to a distant part of the field, and the Confederate guns were silenced, after a gallant but unequal contest of half an hour.

It was now two o'clock in the afternoon. The firing west of Cold Harbor told that General A. P. Hill was fully engaged with the enemy there. In fact, he was fighting single-handed, the whole centre of the opposing host. For a time, General Jackson held his troops back in the margin of the woods looking toward the highway, and along the line of their march, in the hope that the enemy, retreating before Generals A. P. Hill and [445] Longstreet, would expose their flank to a crushing blow from him. But the firing on his right began evidently to recede, showing that Hill, instead of driving the savage game into his toils, was giving way before their overpowering numbers. He then determined to bring his whole infantry into action. Assigning to General D. H. Hill the extreme left, he placed General Ewell's division next him. and sent orders to Generals Whiting and Lawton, and to the Brigadiers of his own original division, which brought up the rear, to form for battle along the road by which they were marching, and then moving in echelon, beginning on the left, to feel for the position of the enemy and engage him. The topography was unknown to Jackson and to his subordinates, the forests forbade a connected view of the country, and no time was left for reconnoissances. Nothing remained, therefore, but to move toward the firing, and engage the foe wherever he was found.

The expectations that the Federalists would continue their retreat, when hard pressed, toward the White House, was erroneous. Their commander proposed to himself another expedient: to concentrate his troops on the south of the Chickahominy, and relinquishing his connections with the York River, to open for himself communications with the River James below Richmond, now accessible to his fleets up to Drewry's Bluffs. Accordingly, his present purpose was to stand at bay upon the northern bank of the former stream, until he could withdraw his troops across it in safety. He chose, for this end, a strong position, covering two of his military bridges, and confronting with a convex array, the Confederates who threatened him from the north and west. His right, or eastern wing occupied an undulating plateau, protected in front by thickets of pine and the rude fences of the country, and presenting numerous commanding positions for artillery. In front of that wing a sluggish rivulet, speedily [446] degenerated into a marsh, thickset with briers and brushwood, stretched away to the east, affording a seeming protection to that flank. An interval of a few hundred yards in front of his right was unprotected by any such obstruction; but the fields were here swept by a powerful artillery. And as his line passed westward, another rivulet commenced its course, and flowed in front of his whole centre and left wing, in an opposite direction to the first, until, merging itself into Powhite Creek, it passed into the Chickahominy above. His centre was enveloped in a dense forest, which, with the marshy stream in front, precluded the use of artillery by the assailants. His left was posted in a belt of woodland, which descended with a steep inclination from the plateau to a deep and narrow gully, excavated for itself by the rivulet. Three formidable lines of infantry held this hill-side, the first hidden in the natural ditch at its bottom, the second behind a strong barricade of timber a little above, and the third near the top. The brow of the eminence was crowned with numerous batteries, which screened by the narrow zone of trees, commanded every approach to the position. Last, a number of heavy, rifled cannon upon the heights south of the Chickahominy, protected the extreme left, and threatened to enfilade any troops advancing across the open country to the attack. These formidable dispositions were only disclosed to the Confederates by their actual onset, so that manoeuvre was excluded, and the only resort was to stubborn courage and main force. And it was only on General Jackson's extreme left, that the Confederate artillery could find any position, from which the enemy could be reached effectively. The front upon which these two great armies were to contend was less than three miles in extent. Hence, as the brigades of Longstreet and A. P. Hill from the Confederate right, and of D. H. Hill and Jackson from the left, moved into the combat on convergent radii, they formed, in many places, an order of battle two [447] [448] or three lines deep; and those first engaged were supported by those which arrived later.

The road along which General Jackson drew up his line for battle, made with the enemy's front an angle of forty or fifty degrees. Hence, the troops toward the right had the longer arc to traverse, in reaching the scene of combat, and all were required to incline toward their left, in order to confront the enemy. General D. H. Hill, on the Confederate left, moved first, and was soon furiously engaged. For two or three hours he struggled with the enemy with wavering fortunes, unable to rout them, but winning some ground, which he stubbornly held against a terrible artillery and musketry fire. General Ewell moved next, with one brigade upon the left, and two upon the right of the road which led from Gaines's Mill toward the Federal left. Crossing the marsh, he ascended the opposing hill-side, and engaged the enemy in the forest. Before their terrific fire, General Elzey, commanding his left brigade, fell severely wounded, and Colonel Seymour, commanding the Louisiana brigade of Taylor, was slain. Whole regiments were killed, wounded, or scattered, under this leaden tempest; but still their dauntless General rallied his fainting men, repaired his line, and held all his ground against the double and triple lines of the enemy; until just as his ammunition was exhausted, welcome succors arrived under General Lawton.

One cause of delay in the arrival of the remaining troops has already been seen, in the larger space which they were required to pass over in order to reach the enemy. Another, and a more dangerous one, arose out of a fatal misconception of General Jackson's orders by his messenger. Communicating to all the commanders in the rear of Ewell the plan for their advance, he had concluded by instructing them to await farther orders before engaging the enemy! But another officer of the staff, comprehending better the General's true intentions, and the urgency of [449] the occasion, corrected the error, and at length moved the remaining brigades into action. Their leaders could learn nothing of the country, to which they were all strangers; and their movements were partially concealed from each other by the numerous tracts of coppice and forest. Hence, instead of advancing toward the enemy in parallel lines, they unconsciously crossed each other; and several of them, at last, went into action far aside from the points at which they were expected to strike. But the Providence of that God to whom their General ever looked, guided them aright to the places where their aid was most essential.

The Stonewall Brigade, under General Winder, was next the last in the line of march,, and should therefore have formed almost the extreme right of General Jackson's battle. Their General, so soon as he comprehended the error of the instructions which held him inactive, advanced with chivalrous zeal. But his neighbors on the left, with whom he should have connected his right, having already passed out of sight in the thickets, he had no other guide than the din of the battle. Feeling his way rapidly toward this, he passed transversely from right to left, across the ground over which the corps had already swept, and found himself behind the struggling line of D. H. Hill. This indomitable soldier was just devising, with his two Briga diers, Garland and Anderson, upon his left, a daring movement, to break the stubborn resistance of the Federalists. Garland proposed to swing around their extreme right with his brigade; and, taking them in reverse, to charge with the bayonet, while the rest of the division renewed their attack in front. One formidable obstacle existed: a hostile battery at that extremity of the field threatened to enfilade his ranks while marching to the attack. To obviate this danger, Hill determined to storm the battery with five regiments; but only one--that of Colonel [450] Iverson, of North Carolina--arrived at it. He was severely wounded; and, after ten minutes, his men were driven from it by overpowering numbers; but this interval, during which its guns were silenced, was decisive. For, meantime, Winder had advanced the famed Stonewall Brigade, in perfect order; had rallied to him all the shattered regiments of Elzey and Hill which he found lurking under cover, or waging a defensive struggle; and now swept with an imposing line and a thundering cheer across the whole plateau occupied by the enemy's right. Garland and Anderson dashed simultaneously upon their flank; the contested battery was in an instant captured a second time; and the whole wing of the Federal army, with their reinforcements, hurled back into the swamps of the Chickahominy. There they broke into a scattered rabble in the approaching darkness, and crouched behind the trees, or found their way across the stream to their friends. This brilliant movement, with simultaneous successes upon other parts of the field, decided the day. Nowhere were the panic and confusion of the beaten army more utter than here. The fields which were the scene of this terrific struggle composed the farms of two respectable citizens, named Maghee. The one of these farthest in the Federal rear was spectator of their rout. Regiments sent over by McClellan to support the wavering battle were seen to pause, even before they came under fire; to break, without firing a musket; and to throw away their arms, and fly to the swamp. As ordnance wagons and ambulances galloped toward the scene of action, they were arrested by the frantic fugitives, who snatched the animals from them, and, mounting two or three on each, fled toward the bridge, leaving ammunition and wounded comrades to their fate. One officer was seen, delirious with terror, with his hat in one hand, and his empty scabbard in the other, screaming as he ran: “Jackson is coming Jackson is coming!” [451] Indeed, the baseness of the Northern soldiery was shown by the fact that, throughout this battle, it was usually the supporting regiments in the rear, unscathed as yet, which gave way first; while the resistance was sustained by the old United States regulars of Sykes and Porter in the front. In the volunteer regiments, the “will of the majority,” which was usually a determination to retire at the critical moment, was sometimes expressed against the authority of the officers by a formal popular vote. To the entreaties of their commanders their answers were: “We're tired out fighting;” “Got no more ammunition;” “Guess the rebels will be down to them bridges soon.” And so they broke away, and the rout was propagated from the rear to the front.

The two other, brigades of Jackson's old division, the 2nd and 3rd Virginia, under the lead of Colonels Cunningham and Fulkerson, also advanced with spirit as soon as they received correct orders. Having met messengers from the Commander-in-Chief, and General A. P. Hill, they obtained more correct guidance, and advanced to the Confederate right. The second brigade supported Brigadier-General R. H. Anderson, near General Longstreet's extreme right. Just as they arrived, the troops of Anderson were giving ground momentarily before the enemy. Colonel Cunningham proposed to take the front, and give him an opportunity to reform behind his lines; but the gallant Carolinian insisted upon completing his own work. The shout was raised; “Jackson's men are here,” and his regiments answering with a cheer, rushed forward again, and swept all before them, leaving to the Virginians little more to do than to fire a parting volley. In like manner, the third brigade reinforced the line of A. P. Hill, near the centre, but only arrived in time to see the enemy give way before Whiting's division, which had come earlier to its help. As Colonel Fulkerson [452] advanced to relieve these wearied and decimated troops of the labors of the pursuit, the retreating enemy fired a last volley, by which he was'mortally wounded. In him General Jackson lost an able and courageous subordinate, who had proved himself equal to every task imposed upon him. Had he lived, the highest distinction must have crowned his merits; for his judgment, diligence and talent for command, were equal to his heroic courage.

Just before the three original brigades of Jackson, had marched the Georgia brigade of Lawton, nearly four thousand strong. The time had now come for them to fight their maiden battle. As they advanced towards the enemy's centre, they unconsciously crossed the line of march just before pursued by General Whiting, and passing under a severe fire from a battery upon the plateau near Maghee's they crossed the marsh, and entered the wood in rear of General Ewell, passing between two regiments which had retired from the contest after exhausting their ammunition. Here the brigade was thrown into line, and advanced firing, with imposing force. Their appearance was most timely; for the shattered remnant with which Ewell still stood at bay, were firing their last rounds of cartridges. As the grim veteran saw this magnificent line of thirty-five hundred bayonets sweeping through the woods, he waved his sword with enthusiasm and shouted; “Huzza for Georgia!” Lawton, receiving directions from him, pressed forward with a steady advance, drove the enemy's centre from the woods, into the open fields, nearer the river, and connecting with D. H. Hill and Winder on his left, assisted them in sweeping the Federalists, at nightfall, into the swamps.

But the most brilliant achievement of the day was reserved for the division of General Whiting, consisting of the Mississippi brigade of Colonel Law, and the Texan brigade of General Hood. In Jackson's initial order of battle, they filled the space [453] between Ewell and Lawton, thus being the third division, counting from the left. Whiting, after being sorely embarrassed by the confused and erroneous instructions received, was properly informed of General Jackson's wishes, and put his two brigades in motion. Before they had advanced far, he met the Commanderin-Chief, who directed him to the part of the field held, at the beginning of the battle, by A. P. Hill. Passing through the forest from which this General. had already driven the enemy, he emerged into a broad, open field, in front of that ravine and gully, which have already been described as covering the leftcentre, and left of the Federal army. Farther toward the Confederate right, Longstreet was bringing up his division simultaneously, to storm this desperate line; and, after other brigades had recoiled, broken by a fire under which it seemed impossible that any troops could live, was just sending in his never-failing reserve, Pickett's veteran brigade. These troops, after advancing heroically over the shattered regiments of their friends, within point blank range of the triple lines before them, unfortunately paused to return the fire of the concealed enemy. The entreaties of their officers to charge bayonets were unheard amidst the terrific roar of musketry. It was as they stood thus, decimated at every volley, unable to advance, but too courageous to flee, that the brigades of Hood and Whiting were launched against the Federal lines on the left. The charge may be best described in the language of General Jackson himself.

Advancing thence, through a number of retreating and disordered regiments, he came within range of the enemy's fire; who, concealed in an open wood, and protected by breastworks, poured a destructive fire, for a quarter of a mile, into his advancing line; under which many brave officers and men fell. Dashing on with unfaltering step, in the face of these murderous discharges of canister and musketry, General Hood and Colonel [454] Law, at the heads of their respective brigades, rushed to the charge with a yell. Moving down a precipitous ravine, leaping ditch and stream, clambering up a difficult ascent, and exposed to an incessant and deadly fire from the entrenchments, these brave and determined men pressed forward, driving the enemy from his well-selected and fortified position.

In this charge, in which upwards of a thousand men fell, killed and wounded, before the fire of the enemy, and in which fourteen pieces of artillery and nearly a regiment were captured, the fourth Texas, under the lead of General Hood, was the first to pierce these strong-holds and seize the guns. “....” The shouts of triumph which rose from our brave men as they, unaided by artillery, had stormed this citadel of their strength, were promptly carried from line to line, and the triumphant issue of this assault, with the well-directed fire of the batteries, and successful charges of Hill and Winder upon the enemy's right, determined the fortunes of the day. The Federalists, routed at every point, and aided by the darkness of the night, escaped across the Chickahominy.

The next morning, as Jackson inspected this position, and saw the deadly disadvantages under which the Texans had carried it, he exclaimed; “These men are soldiers indeed” Here, and in front of Pickett's charge near by, all the Confederate dead were on the north side of the gorge. Just as soon as the enemy saw them determined to advance, in spite of their fire, and the first line was dislodged from the channel of the rivulet in front, the other two lines incontinently fled from their barricades, although well able still to have repulsed the shattered assailants twice over; nor did the artillery hold their ground with more firmness upon the brow of the ascent. But now, as the troops of Longstreet and Whiting drove the throng of their foes from cover into the open fields, they speedily reaped a bloody revenge for [455] all previous losses. The Federal infantry, resigning all thought of battle, fled across the fields or huddled together in the open vales, where the furious Confederates mowed them down by hundreds. The Federal artillery flying to another position a few hundred yards in the rear, opened upon retreating friends and advancing foes, distinguished nothing in the gathering gloom; and as the victors rushed upon the guns again, they drove before them as a living shield, a confused herd of fugitives, whose bodies received the larger part of the volleys of canister.

During the afternoon, General Jackson, with his escort, occupied a position near Cold Harbor, where five roads met, in the rear of his left centre. Ignorant of the delay which had kept his reserves for two hours out of the strife, and of its unlucky cause, he:grew more and more anxious as the sun approached the horizon, and the sustained firing told him that the enemy was nowhere broken. Sending first for Stuart, he suggested to him a vigorous charge of cavalry; but this was relinquished as impracticable. His gigantic spirit was manifestly gathering strength, and its rising tides were chafing stormily against their obstacles. Riding restlessly to and fro to the different points of interest, he issued his orders in a voice which rang with the deadly clang of the rifle, rather than the sonorous peal of the clarion. Cheek and brow were blazing with the crimson blood, and beneath the vizor of his old drab cap, his eye glared with a fire, before which every other eye quailed. But a half hour of sunlight now remained. Unconscious that his veteran brigades were but now reaching the ridge of battle, he supposed that all his force had been put forth, and (what had never happened before) the enemy was not crushed. It was then that he despatched messengers to all the commanders of his divisions, with these words: “Tell them this affair must hang in suspense no longer; sweep the field with the bayonet.” The officers darted [456] away with their messages; but before they reached the line, the ringing cheers, rising from every side out of the smoking woods, told that his will was anticipated, and the day was won. At this sound, no elation lighted up his features, but subduing the tempest of his passion, he rode calmly forward to direct the pursuit of the enemy.

In this battle, General Jackson employed little artillery. Upon his wing a few of the batteries of D. H. Hill were put in action at the extreme left, with small effect at first, upon the enemy's fire. Later in the day, Major Pelham, of Stuart's horseartillery, whose splendid courage Jackson then first witnessed took position in front of Cold Harbor, with two guns, and engaged the Federal batteries which obstructed the movements of Hill. One of his pieces was speedily disabled; but with the other, he continued the unequal duel to the close of the day. At sunset, the batteries upon the extreme left were reinforced by those of Courtenay and Brockenborough. Thirty guns now opened upon the retreating enemy, and contributed much to his final discomfiture.

In the battle of Chickahominy, the Confederates used about forty thousand men, of whom twenty thousand belonged to the command of General Jackson, exclusive of the division of D. H. Hill, temporarily associated with it. General McClellan asserted that he had but thirty-six thousand men engaged. The length of his triple lines of battle, and the superior numbers met by the Confederates at every point, show that if this statement was correct, it excluded the reserves engaged at the close of the day; and if a similar subtraction were made on the other side, their numbers also would be reduced far below that amount. General Lee declared that the principal part of the Federal army was engaged. When it is remembered that this force embraced all of their regulars, and that the adroit use of the position selected [457] by McClellan debarred the Confederates from the employment of artillery, while it exposed them on both wings to that powerful implement of war, their victory will be received as a glorious proof of their prowess. They captured twenty-five pieces of artillery, and more than four thousand prisoners( while the field showed that the carnage among the Federalists was considerably heavier than among the patriots. The victory was purchased by a loss of five hundred and eighty-nine men killed on the field, two thousand six hundred and seventy-one wounded, and twentyfour missing, in Jackson's corps. In the other divisions engaged, the loss was also heavy. Several circumstances made the price paid for the splendid advantages of this achievement, heavier than it might have been, and the fruits more scanty. Of these, the one most worthy of the attention of the Confederates, because susceptible of a remedy, was the lack of a competent general Staff, by which the plans of the Commander-in-Chief might be carried out with accuracy, and unity of action secured. Next, it should be remarked, that the generals were possessed of no topographical surveys, and were therefore compelled to manoeuvre their troops without any acquaintance with the ground, in an intricate country, obscured by woodlands, and devoid of any elevated points of view. The whole space over which Jackson's troops moved, was occupied by a succession of thickets of pine, and insignificant farms; so that scarcely anywhere did two brigades move in sight of each other, and an advance of a quarter of a mile invariably hid them from view. It was vain therefore, for the General to depend upon his own eyes; and with a scanty and ill-organized staff, he had no means of knowing, for a considerable time, whether his orders were executed or not.

On the morning of Saturday, June 28th, there was not a Federal soldier in arms north of the Chickahominy. The two bridges by which McClellan had retreated were jealously guarded [458] by his sharpshooters, and by commanding batteries upon the southern heights, which forbade their passage, save at an expense of blood too great to be contemplated. Ewell's division, with the cavalry of Stuart, marched, early in the morning, for the York River Railroad; which they occupied without opposition, at Dispatch Station. The enemy thereupon retreated to the south side of the river, and burned the railroad bridge, while General Ewell destroyed a part of the track. Stuart, pursuing a detachment of cavalry toward the White House, found all the Stations in flames, including the dwelling and farm buildings of General Lee, at the latter place, and a vast amount of military stores destroyed. It was now manifest from the enemy's own act, that this line of retreat was finally surrendered. Two other alternatives remained to him: one was to cross the Chickahominy below, by the Williamsburg road and the neighboring ways; the other, to turn to the river James. To prevent the adoption of the former, General Ewell was ordered to guard Bottom's bridge, the next below the railroad, while the cavalry watched the lower course of the stream. To resist the latter, General Holmes's division was directed to watch the roads leading toward the James, with a portion of the cavalry, while Generals Magruder and Huger guarded his front, and stood prepared to press the Federalists upon the first appearance of retreat. The Confederate forces upon the north bank of the Chickahominy remained there until their purposes were developed.

McClellan, although still superior to Lee in numbers and materiel of war, was now in a situation which might well excite his solicitude. His vast army, cut off from its established line of supplies, must either move at once or starve. Before him, and on both his flanks was a determined and victorious foe. Behind him was a forest country, possessing few good roads, and intersected by sluggish water-courses, which the unprecedented rais [459] had this year converted into swamps. But the forests were, in another aspect, his friends; for they concealed his designs and prevented the watching of his movements. One vigorous day's march, moreover, would bring him to his powerful fleet, which would give him a secure refuge and the needed supplies. Saturday evening, there were manifest signs of movement behind the Federal entrenchments, and Sunday morning they were abandoned, and the bridges across the Chickahominy were broken down. General Longstreet now marched to the south side by the New Bridge; but the Grapevine Bridge opposite General Jackson's position was so destroyed that the pioneers consumed nearly the whole day in repairing it. Late in the afternoon, the Stonewall Brigade, with the General and his Staff, passed over, and inspected the country. At the Trent farm near by, were extensive bowers, ingeniously woven of cedar boughs, which had surrounded the headquarters where McClellan had recently resided, in a village of canvas, provided with every appliance of luxury. Here also was his telegraph office, whence lines diverged to each corps of his army and to Washington, with the floor littered with the originals of those fictitious despatches, with which his Government was wont to delude its people. A little farther, General Jackson found the forces of General Magruder, with the Commander-in-Chief, watching the retreating enemy; and, it was agreed, after consultation, that the evening was too far advanced for an effective movement, and that General Jackson should return to his bivouac, and commence his march in pursuit at dawn the next morning. As he rode across the fields this evening, he witnessed a spectacle of inexpressible grandeur. The attention was attracted toward the east by the roar of an invisible railroad train, which seemed to be rushing toward the Chickahominy, far beyond the distant woods, with a speed which was constantly accelerated until it became friglhtf.iL [460] Suddenly, as the beholders were speculating upon the cause of this sound, a vast pillar of white smoke was seen to spring upwards into the sky, which rose higher and higher, and continually unfolded itself from within, in waves of snowy vapor, until it filled that quarter of the heavens. And, a moment after, the atmosphere, slower than the sunbeams, brought to the ear an astounding explosion, in which a multitude of nearly simultaneous thunder-claps were mingled into a roar louder than cannon. The explanation was learned afterwards. The retreating foe had loaded a train with a vast bulk of ammunition, and, firing the engine to its most intense heat, had launched it from Savage's Station, without a guide, with a slow match lighted. Just as it plunged into the Chickahominy, at the chasm where the bridge had lately been, the powder caught; and ammunition, engine, and carriages were blown into one huge wreck.

This was not the only form of destruction which the Federalists employed to prevent their enemies from profiting by the spoils. Their industry in attempting to demolish was equal to the haste of their flight. The whole country was full of deserted plunder; and this, indeed, was equally true of the tracts over which they had been driven on the north side of the river, from Mechanicsville downward. Army wagons and pontoon trains, partially burned or crippled; mounds of grain and rice, and hillocks of mess-beef smouldering; tens of thousands of axes, picks, and shovels; camp-kettles gashed with hatchets; medicine-wagons with their drugs stirred into foul medley; and all the apparatus of a vast and lavish host, encumbered the roads; while the mire under foot was mixed with blankets lately new, and overcoats torn in twain from the waist up. For weeks afterwards, the agents of the army were busy gathering in the spoils; while a multitude of the country people found in them partial indemnity [461] for the ruin of their farms. Great stores of fixed ammunition were saved, while more was destroyed.

Scarcely had General Jackson returned to the northern bank, when a rapid outbreak of firing told that General Magruder had attacked the enemy near Savage's station. Here were the last entrenchments behind which McOlellan could stand at bay. By a vigorous attack — in flank and front, he was driven out of them just at sunset, and pursued for a short space with great slaughter. The sound of this combat kindled again in Jackson's heart the fire of battle, and as he lay down under the open sky for a short repose, he gave orders that everything should be ready to move in pursuit at the earliest dawn. At midnight, however, a sudden shower awoke him, and finding himself wet through, he determined to sleep no more, but to precede the troops to the position of General Magruder, in order to have time for fuller conference. When the head of his column, composed again of the division of D. H. Hill, reached the scene of the evening's combat, the General was found drying himself by a camp-fire. Without procuring any food or refreshment, he now advanced through the troops of Magruder, and took the old highway which led to Williamsburg. When the station near Savage's came in view, a city of canvas was seen upon a distant hill-side, glittering in the morning sun. This was a vast field-hospital of McClellan, where twenty-five hundred sick and wounded, with their nurses, had been left by him to the care of the Confederates. General Jackson, having sent a suitable officer to receive the submission of these, advanced rapidly upon the enemy's traces. At every step the Federal stragglers issued from the thickets, and submitted themselves as prisoners of war, until a thousand additional men were sent to the rear. A vast drove of mules deserted by the Federal army, was gathered from the woods. Every hut and dwelling near the roadside [462] was also converted into a refuge for the wounded, whose numbers showed the sanguinary nature of the struggle of the previous evening. An officer congratulating the General upon the great number of his prisoners, said jocularly, that they surrendered too easily, for the Confederacy would be embarrassed with their maintenance. He answered, smiling; “It is cheaper to feed them, than to fight them.”

Before reaching White Oak Swamp, an inconsiderable stream which crossed the road, he diverged toward the right in the direction of the Court House of Charles' City County, pursuing still the wrecks of the enemy's flight. It now became manifest that he had relinquished all thought of a retreat toward Yorktown, and had turned decisively toward the river James. To explain the subsequent movements, the disclosure of McClellan's plans, still doubtful to the Confederate commander, must be a little anticipated. His purpose was to collect his army and all its apparatus upon the bank of the James, at some point below the mouth of the Appomattox: where the greater width and depth of the stream would enable his great fleets to approach him with convenience, and manoeuvre for his defence. To disencumber the roads leading directly thither, and leave them free for the march of his columns, he sent his whole baggage trains down the way which Jackson had now reached, leading from the neighborhood of Savage's Station on the railroad, to Charles. City Court House. Having followed this route until they were effectually protected, they made their way across from this thoroughfare, to the Seep water at Harrison's Landing. To protect them, Franklin's corps was stationed on the eastern bank of White Oak Swamp; and when Jackson reached it, he stubbornly contested its passage with him during the whole of Monday, June 30th. On the other hand, the corps of Keyes, from McClellan's left, with the beaten troops of Porter, were rapidly [463] marched to Malvern Hill, a range of highlands accessible by the shortest march from the southern end of the Federal line, and overlooking at once the river James, and the New Market, or river road, which leads from the city of Richmond down its northern side. The object of this movement on the part of McClellan, was to protect his communications with the deep water from an advance down the New Market road, which he had good reason to fear. The remainder of his great army was massed on Monday midway between the White Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill, under Generals Heintzelman and McCall, to watch the roads going eastward; by which the Confederates might insinuate themselves between his right and left, and pursue his baggage trains. These judicious dispositions, made in a forest country, and chiefly by night marches, were not immediately disclosed in all their details to the Confederate leader. But his troops were now directed, with a masterly and comprehensive foresight, to meet every contingency, in such sort that had all his purposes been carried out, the adroit concealments of his adversary would have been vain. Major General Holmes was ordered to cross from the south bank of the river James, which he had been left to guard, on the 29th, and march down the New Marker road, to prevent the enemy from reaching the water. He did not approach Malvern Hill until the 30th, when he found it already powerfully occupied by the enemy under Keyes and Porter, crowned by a formidable artillery, and flanked by gunboats in the river. Early on the 29th Major-Generals Longstreet and A. P. Hill were directed to cross the Chickahominy at the New Bridges, and march eastward by the Darby-town road, a highway parallel to the New Market road, and north of it. Major-Generals Huger and Magruder were directed the enemy in front, by the road leading direct from Richmond to Charles City; while Jackson was to advance rapidly upon the [464] left, scour the south side of the Chickahominy, and endeavor to attain the enemy's rear.

Longstreet and A. P. Hill, who moved first on the 29th, first came up with the enemy's centre, upon the 30th, posted a little below the termination of the Darby-town road. Magruder, who advanced by the same road, was diverted by a request of General Holmes for reinforcements; and, thus unfortunately, was turned aside from the centre, where a fatal blow was practicable, toward the heights of Malvern Hill, which were now unassailable; and did not retrace his steps until the day was decided. But General Huger still remained to support the attack of Longstreet and Hill upon the right; and General Jackson, on the other hand, if able to force his passage across White Oak Swamp, would have found himself upon the enemy's flank and rear. Such was the attitude of the respective parties at mid-day of June 30th.

When Jackson approached the stream last named, at this hour, he found in the fields near it, extensive camps deserted, and full of spoils, and another field-hospital crowded with wounded. The hills descended by long and gentle declivities on both sides toward the little water-course, and the meadows along its margin were soft and miry from the recent rains. On the Confederate side, the right of the road was occupied by the open fields of an extensive farm, and the left by a dense forest of pines. On the side occupied by Franklin, the fields extended far both to the right and left of the highway; but the low margin of the stream opposite the Confederate right was covered by a belt of tall forest, in full leaf, which effectually screened all the Federal left from view. But the hills on their right were occupied by fifteen or twenty cannon in position, and were black with long lines of infantry. General Jackson, riding, as was his wont, with the advanced guard, no sooner saw the ground than [465] he halted his army, and ordered twenty-eight guns to be brought up, by a little vale through the fields on his right, just deep enough to hide them effectually from the enemy's view. These, although upon his right wing, were directed to the batteries of the Federalists opposite his left. At a preconcerted signal, the guns, ready shotted, were now moved forward upon the brow of the eminence, and opened their thunders upon the enemy. So sudden and terrible was the revelation, they scarcely made .an effort to reply, but galloped away, leaving two or three rifled pieces behind them; while the ranks of infantry melted swiftly into the woods far in their rear. After a little, several batteries upon the enemy's left, concealed behind the belt of forest, began to reply to this fire; and, from this time, the two parties kept up a desultory artillery-duel during the day. But as each was invisible to the other, much damage was neither given nor received.

The General now advanced a section of artillery near the crossing of the stream, which speedily drove the Federal sharpshooters from the opposite bank and trees; and he ordered over the cavalry regiment of Colonel Munford. They found the wooden bridge broken up, and its timbers floating — a tangled mass — in the waters. But just above was a deep and narrow ford, by which they passed over, followed immediately by the General. They scoured, with drawn sabres, over the ground lately occupied by the Federal right wing, noted the deserted cannon, and picked up a few prisoners. But the enemy's left, behind the long screen of forest, was found standing fast, while they were bringing both artillery and infantry into position to command the crossing. Colonel Munford therefore passed down the stream to his left, and, finding a spot where it was practicable, returned to his friends without loss. Jackson, upon observing this, advanced the divisions of D. H. Hill and Whiting into [466] the pine wood on his left, detailed a working party to act with their support, and attempted to repair the bridge, with the purpose of forcing his way by a simultaneous advance of his infantry and artillery. But the men could not be induced to labor steadily, exposed to the skirmishers of the enemy; and the attempt was abandoned. The remainder of the afternoon was spent in endeavors to discover some way, on the right or the left, by which the vexatious stream could be crossed, and the enemy's position turned; but the roads were so effectually obstructed with fallen trees, that no hope appeared of removing them in time to fight a battle that evening. The troops were then withdrawn out of reach of the enemy's shells, and bivouacked, to await a more propitious morning. On thief occasion it would appear, if the vast interests dependent on General Jackson's co-operation with the proposed attack upon the centre were considered, that he came short of that efficiency in action for which he was everywhere else noted. Surely the prowess of the Confederate infantry might have been trusted, for such a stake as Lee played for that day, to do again what it had so gloriously done, for a stake no greater, on the 27th; it might have routed the Federal infantry and artillery at once, without the assistance of its own cannon. Two columns, pushed with determination across the two fords at which the cavalry of Munford passed over and returned, -the one in the centre, and the other at the left,--and protected in their onset by the oblique fire of a powerful artillery so well posted on the right, would not have failed to dislodge Franklin from a position already half lost. The list of casualties would indeed have been larger than that presented on the 30th, of one cannoneer mortally wounded. But how much shorter would have been the bloody list filled up the next day at Malvern Hill? This temporary eclipse of Jackson's genius was probably to be explained by physical causes. The labor of the [467] previous days, the sleeplessness, the wear of gigantic cares, with the drenching of the comfortless night, had sunk the elasticity of his will and the quickness of his invention, for the once, below their wonted tension. And which of the sons of men is there so great as never to experience this? The words which fell from Jackson's lips, as he lay down that night among his Staff, showed that he was conscious of depression. After dropping asleep from excessive fatigue, with his supper between his teeth, he said: “Now, gentlemen, let us at once to bed, and rise with the dawn, and see if to-morrow we cannot do something!” Yet he found time, amidst the fatigues of this day, to write to Mrs. Jackson, with a heart full of piety and of yearning for domestic happiness:--

Near White Oak Swamp Bridge, June 30th.
An ever kind Providence has greatly blessed our efforts, and given us great reason for thankfulness in having defended Richmond as he has.

I hope that our God will soon bless us with an honorable peace, and permit us to be together at home, in the enjoyment of domestic happiness.

Meantime, Generals Longstreet and A. P. Hill, after confronting the enemy's powerful centre until 4 o'clock P. M., heard firing upon the Charles City road, which they supposed indicated the near approach of Huger. The former placed a battery in position and discharged it against the enemy to give notice of his presence. The Federalists replied, and the old war-horse, whose mettle forbade his ever declining the gage of battle, rushed to the contest. None of his expected supports came up; and the advantage of position and numbers was wholly with his adversaries. But after a sanguinary conflict, he drove them from [468] their whole line save at one point, and captured many prisoners, including a general of division, several batteries, and some thousands of small arms; when night arrested the furious struggle. This action has been known as the battle of Frazier's farm. So near did its issue bring the enemy's left wing to destruction, even without the expected assistance of Jackson, Huger, and Magruder, that when it closed, at dark, the victorious troops of Longstreet were, unconsciously, within sight of the cross road by which Franklin was required to march his corps, in the rear of the Federal centre, in order to reach the appointed place of concentration at Malvern Hill. Nay, the cornfields beyond that road were ploughed up with Longstreet's cannonshot. What then might not the triumph have been, if the intended co-operation had been given? As soon as the night grew quiet, Franklin, informed of his critical position, moved off from White Oak Swamp, glided silently behind the shattered ranks which still confronted Longstreet, and retired, with them, to the protection of McClellan's lines at Malvern Hill. When the morning dawned, there was nothing in front of Jackson save the forsaken cannon of the enemy, and they had deserted to Longstreet a field ghastly with multitudes of their slain and wounded. His wearied troops, with those of A. P. Hill, were drawn off to seek the needed repose, and Magruder took his place.

General Jackson putting his corps in motion at an early hour, July 1st, with Whiting's division in front, crossed the White Oak Swamp; and, a little after, turning south, marched upon the traces of the enemy toward Malvern Hill. As he approached Frazier's farm, a Confederate line of battle was seen a little distance from the right of the road, with their skirmishers upon the opposite side, looking eastward. These were the forces of Magruder, which had relieved those of Longstreet during the [469] night. Jackson passed between the line and the skirmishers, lustily cheered by them, and pursued the enemy swiftly. The road now plunged into an extensive woodland, with the Willis' Church upon the right hand, filled with the wounded of both armies. After advancing for a mile and a half through this forest, the General's suite was suddenly greeted with a volley of rifle-balls from the Federal outposts, and a moment after, by a shower of shells. Retiring to a safer spot, he now ordered up his troops, and prepared to attack. His reconnoissance showed him the enemy most advantageously posted upon an elevated ridge in front of Malvern Hill, which was occupied by several lines of infantry partially fortified, and by a powerful artillery. In short, the whole army of McClellan, with three hundred pieces of field artillery, was now, for the first time, assembled on one field, determined to stand at bay, and contend for its existence; while the whole Confederate army was also converging around it, under the immediate eye of the Commander-in-Chief and the President. The war of the giants was now about to begin, indeed! before which the days of Gaines's Mill and Frazier's Farm were to pale. The position of the Federalists had been selected by McClellan himself, with consummate skill. His line fronted north, covering the river road behind it, and presenting a convex curve toward the Confederates. His right was covered by a tributary of Turkey creek, and his left by the fire of his gunboats, which threw their monstrous projectiles beyond his whole front. The ground occupied by him dominated by its height over the whole landscape; and nowhere in his front was there a spot, where artillery could be massed to cope with his on equal terms. For, the country before him was not only of inferior altitude, but covered with woods and thickets, save within a few hundred yards of his own lines. And here, the open fields sloped gently away, offering full sweep to his [470] murderous fire; while this approach was only reached, before his right and centre, by struggling across the treacherous rivulet in front.

General Lee now assigned the left to Jackson, and the right to Magruder, supported by Huger and Holmes. Longstreet and A. P. Hill, with their wearied divisions, were held in reserve. The only spot where open ground appeared in opposition to the enemy's, was upon Jackson's extreme left. Here an extensive farm, belonging to a gentleman named Poindexter, indented the forests, and its luxuriant wheat fields, partially reaped, descended to the stream from which the Federal position rose on the opposite side. This field offered the only ground for the manoeuvring of artillery. After an examination of it, General Jackson ordered a few batteries to enter it from the covert of the woods, and engage the enemy. But the number of guns directed against them by him was too great; and after a short contest, they retired crippled. The batteries of Poague and Carpenter from the Stonewall Brigade, and of Balthis from the division of Whiting, were then ordered forward, and by approaching the enemy more nearly, found a position which, though of inferior altitude, offered some shelter. Here they maintained a stubborn and gallant contest with the numerous batteries opposed to them during the remainder of the day, and barred the way to the advance of the enemy's infantry. The infantry of Whiting was now disposed upon the left, the brigade of Colonel Law concealed in the tall wheat of the field, and that of General Hood in the adjoining forest, while the 3rd Virginia brigade, of Jackson's division, commanded by General Hampton, supported the guns. The centre was occupied by the Louisiana brigade of Taylor, and the right by D. H. Hill. The reserve was composed of the remainder of the division of Ewell, and the brigades of Lawton, Winder and Cunningham. These dispositions [471] were completed by 2 o'clock, P. M., and the General anxiously awaited the signal to begin. But the corps of Magruder, moving after Jackson's and delayed by a misconception of the route, was later in reaching its position. Instructions were sent by General Lee, that the onset should begin upon the right, with the brigades of Magruder, and that when D. H. Hill heard the cheer with which they charged the enemy, he should attack with the bayonet, to be followed immediately by the leaders upon his left. To approach the Federal centre, he was compelled to emerge from the forest, and cross an open field, where he suffered a preliminary loss of no small amount, from their artillery. His own batteries had been left in the rear, their ammunition exhausted; and the Confederate artillery sent to his support was advanced, piece-meal, only to be crippled in detail and driven from the field. Fording the rivulet, however, in despite of his losses, he found a partial shelter for his division under a body of woodland within four hundred yards of the enemy's front. Accompanied by General Jackson, he then made a more particular examination of the ground, and found himself confronted by two or three lines of infantry and batteries, whose murderous fire commanded every approach. Five o'clock had now arrived, when suddenly Hill heard a mighty shout upon his right, followed by an outburst of firing. Regarding this as doubtless the appointed signal, and the beginning of Magruder's onset, he gave the word, and his men advanced devotedly to the charge under a storm of artillery and musketry. The first line of the enemy was forced, and their guns were compelled to withdraw to avoid capture; but the other points of their line, unoccupied by a simultaneous attack, advanced reinforcements to them; and Hill was beaten off, after inflicting and suffering a severe loss. Jackson reinforced him, by sending the brigades of Trimble, Lawton, Winder and Cunningham; but the difficulties [472] of the position, the approaching darkness, and the terrific fire of the enemy, prevented their doing more than holding their ground, and maintaining an uncertain conflict.

As sunset approached, and after the attack of Jackson was checked, Magruder at length got his troops into position, and advanced, with similar results. Much heroism was exhibited by his men, some ground was won from the enemy, a bloody loss was inflicted upon them, and received in his own command. At these attacks, the fire of the Federal artillery, which had been heavy, became inexpressibly furious. Along their whole line, whether assailed or not, their countless field-pieces belched forth their charges of flame with an incessant din, which was answered back by the hoarser bellowings of the gunboats in the rear.. Wherever the eye turned, it was met by a ceaseless stream of missiles shrieking and crashing through the forest. A moonless night descended on the turmoil, and the darkness was lighted up for miles with the glare flashing across the heavens, as when two thunder clouds illuminate the adverse quarters of the horizon with sheet lightning. Beneath, the fitful lines of light danced amidst the dark foliage, showing where the stubborn ranks of infantry plied their deadly work; and the roar of the musketry filled the intervals of the mightier din with its angry monotone; while a fierce yell from time to time told of some hardly won vantage ground gained by the Confederates. At ten o'clock, the battle died away; for the Federalists were silently withdrawing from the field, under the friendly veil of the darkness. Indeed, much of the cannonade was doubtless intended to cover this retreat; and no sooner had it sunk into silence, than the rumbling of the multitude of wheels began to tell that the artillery was withdrawing from a field which was already abandoned by their infantry. The Confederates lay down upon their arms where the battle had ceased, in many places within a few paces [473] of the opposing pickets, and during the night they saw the lanterns flitting over the field, where they were busy removing the wounded.

When the battle had ceased thus, General Jackson retired slowly and wearily to the rear, to seek some refreshment and rest. In the midst of a confused multitude of wagons and straggldrs, his faithful servant had prepared a pallet for him upon the ground; and here, after taking a morsel of food, he lay down and slept. At one o'clock his division commanders awoke him, to report the condition of their forces, and receive instructions for the morrow. None of them knew, as yet, those signs of retreat and discomfiture, which the advanced pickets were observing; they only knew what they had suffered in their own commands. Their imaginations were awe-struck by the sights and sounds of the fearful struggle, and every representation which they gave was gloomy. At length, after many details of losses and disasters, they all concurred in declaring that McClellan would probably take the aggressive in the morning, and that the Confederate army was in no condition to resist him. Jackson had listened silently, save as he interposed a few brief questions, to all their statements; but now he replied, with an inexpressible dryness and nonchalance: “No; I think he will clear out in the morning.” These words reveal one element of his power and greatness. Such was the clearness of his military intuitions, and the soundness of his judgment, such the steadfastness of his spirit, that he viewed every fact soberly, without distortion or exaggeratiofl. His excited fancy played no tricks with his understanding. Dangers never loomed into undue proportions before his steady eye. Hence, in the most agitating or even appalling circumstances, his conclusions were still correct. Such they proved to be now; for when morning dawned upon the battle-field, [474] McClellan was gone indeed, leaving every evidence of precipitate retreat.

The morning dawned with a dreary and pitiless rain, in contrast with the splendor of the harvest sun of the previous day, as though the heavens had clad themselves in mourning, and were weeping a flood of tears for the miseries of the innocent, and the crimes of the guilty aggressor. The woods, which, the evening before, were thick with sulphureous smoke, were now wreathed in vapor; and the deep dust of the roads trampled into ashes by the myriad feet of men and horses, was now as speedily converted into semi-fluid mire. All were of course without tents; and fatigued and hungry, they wore an aspect of squalid discomfort. The only activity visible was the humane labor of the surgeons and their assistants, who were still bringing in the wounded, exhausted by their sufferings and drenched with rain. General Jackson, however, arose, and without breakfast, hurried to the front to watch over his men. The air was too thick with mist to distinguish anything upon the opposite hill; but soon the reports from his outposts, and from the cavalry of Munford, convinced him that the enemy was gone. He now issued orders that the troops should form in the woods which they had occupied the day before, kindle liberal fires, cook their food, and refresh themselves after their fatigues; while he repaired to the house of Poindexter to meet the Commander-in-Chief. General Stuart, whom the latter had recalled from the north side of the Chickahominy, had reached Turkey Creek on the left of the lines of Jackson, just as the battle closed. He was now witness of the precipitate retreat of the enemy, and following him down the river road, found numerous carriages fast stuck in the mire, or wrecked, with ammunition, clothing, equipments and muskets strewn broadcast over the country. He was informed by the country people, that the Federal army reached the open fields of [475] Haxall's at morning, without the semblance of organization, observing no ranks nor obedience, spreading over the fields and woods at will, and lying down to sleep under the pelting rain. Instead of meditating the aggressive, the whole host would have surrendered to the summons of ten thousand fresh men. But, alas! the Confederates had not those men to pursue them. Every division of the army had been worn by marching and fighting, and a certain disarray prevailed throughout. It must also be declared that this inability to reap the fruits of their heroic exertions arose partly from that lack of persistence which is the infirmity of the Southern character. The army of Lee was as able to pursue, as that of McClellan was to flee; and to the true soldier, the zeal to complete a hardly-won victory, and to save his country by one successful blow, should be as pungent a motive for intense exertion, as the instinct of self-preservation itself. Another cause of delay in the pursuit was the hesitation of the Commander-in-Chief, who, uninformed as yet of all the signs of defeat given by his enemy, and prudently sceptical of the extent of his own success, was uncertain whether this was a flight, or a ruse of McClellan to draw him from his bridges and from Fort Drewry, in order that he might suddenly pass to the south side, now denuded of defenders, and occupy Petersburg and Richmond without resistance. The remainder of July 2nd was therefore consumed in replenishing the ammunition of the batteries, and in refreshing the men. Orders were given that on Thursday morning, the 3rd, all the army should pursue the enemy by way of Turkey Creek and the river road, with Longstreet in front. But after that General had put his troops in motion, General Lee determined to march toward Harrison's landing, where the Federalists were now assembled, by returning to the Charles City.road, and making his way thence down to the river. His purpose was to avoid the obstructions which they were reported [476] to have left behind them to cover their rear. The brigades of Longstreet were therefore countermarched by Willis' Church; and Jackson was directed to give him the road. The guides of the former proved incompetent to their duties, and he was compelled to halt his division before half the day's march was completed. Hence General Jackson only moved three miles on Thursday. Chafing like a lion at the delay, he moved his troops at early dawn of Friday, and pressing close upon the heels of Longstreet, reached the enemy's front by the middle of the day.

The opportunity was already almost gone. McClellan had now been allowed two unmolested days to select and fortify his position, and to reduce again the huge mob which followed him to the form of an army. The return of genial suns, with rest and rations, and the immediate proximity of their gunboats, were fast restoring their spirits. The ground occupied by them was a beautiful peninsula, between the river James and a tributary called Herring Creek, composing the two estates of Westover and Berkeley. The creek, which enters the river at the eastern extremity of this peninsula, is, first, a tide stream; then, an impracticable marsh; and, then, a mill-pond, enlarged by an artificial embankment. West of Berkeley, another stream of the like character descends to the river; so that the only access was through a space between the two creeks, of no great extent, and rapidly closing with earthworks. The fire of the gunboats, it was supposed, might also assist to cover this approach, over the heads of their friends.

“The Commander-in-Chief was disappointed to learn, on his arrival in front of the Federalists, that no opportunity had been found for striking a blow, either on their retreat, or in their present position. He immediately rode forward with General Jackson; and the two, dismounting, proceeded, without attendants to make a careful reconnoissance on foot, of the enemy's [477] whole line and position. Jackson concurred fully in the reluctant opinion to which General Lee was brought by this examination,--that an attack would now be improper; so that, after mature discussion, it was determined that the enemy should be left, unassailed, to the effects of the summer heats and the malaria, which were now at hand.”

To this the condition of his troops powerfully inclined him. On Saturday, General Jackson obtained returns of all his corps in front of the enemy, and ready for duty; and found them just ten thousand men, exclusive of the division of D. H. Hill, which had been left to bury the dead at Malvern Hill. Half his men appeared, therefore, to be out of their ranks, from death or wounds, from the necessary labors of the care of the wounded, from straggling, and from the inefficiency of their inferior officers. The army was therefore allowed to lie quiet in front of the enemy, and refresh themselves after their fatigues. The wagons of the General also arrived; and, for the first time in a fortnight, the Staff enjoyed the luxury of their tents. These were now pitched beside a beautiful fountain, under the shade of a group of venerable oaks and chestnuts; and here the quiet Sabbath was spent in religious worship, and in much-needed repose.

The battle of Malvern Hill was technically a victory for the Confederates, for they held the field, the enemy's killed and wounded, and the spoils; while the Federalists retreated precipitately at its close. But, practically, it was rather a drawn battle; because the loss inflicted on them was probably no greater than that of the assailants; and, especially, because the enemy would have retired to the same spot, and at the same time, if no assault had been made. The loss of Jackson's corps was three hundred and seventy-seven men killed, and one thousand seven hundred and forty-six wounded, with thirty-nine missing. The larger part of this bloodshed was in the division [478] of D. H. Hill. The divisions under command of. General Magruder lost about two thousand nine hundred men, killed and wounded.

The struggle for the possession of the Confederate Capital was now closed. The results of Lee's victories were, indeed, far less than the overweening hopes and expectations of the people; for Richmond was agitated with daily rumors that the Federal army was wholly dissipated; and, then, that it was about to surrender in a body. But, in the language of the Commander-in-Chief, “Regret that more was not accomplished, gives way to gratitude to the Sovereign Ruler of the universe for the results achieved. 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, completely frustrated. More than ten thousand prisoners, --including officers of rank,--fifty-two pieces of artillery, and upwards of thirty-five thousand stand of small arms were captured. The stores, and supplies of every description, which fell into our hands, were great in amount and value; but small in comparison with those destroyed by the enemy. His losses in battle exceeded our own, as attested by the thousands of dead and wounded left on every field; while his subsequent inaction shows in what condition the survivors reached the protection to which they fled.”

But yet, the same exalted authority has declared, that, “under ordinary circumstances, the Federal army should have been destroyed.” While that which was effected is creditable to the Confederates, yet the ruin of the enemy was within the scope of probability; and might have been effected by them, by a higher degree of skill and effort. It is therefore of interest to the student of the military art, to learn what were the obstacles and blunders which prevented the fullest success. Of these, some were [479] unavoidable; and among these latter must be reckoned a large part of the ignorance concerning the movements of McClellan, and the proper directions to be taken by the Confederates, by which General Lee found himself so much embarrassed. There were no topographical surveys of the country, and all the general officers were strangers to it. It was a country of numerous intricate roads, of marshy streams, and of forests. Hence every march and every position of the enemy was enveloped in mystery, until it was disclosed in some way at the cost of the Confederates; and every movement made by them in pursuit was in some degree tentative.

Among the unavoidable difficulties may, perhaps, be also ranked that which was, directly or indirectly, the fruitful parent of every miscarriage. The army was not sufficiently instructed, either in its officers or its men, for its great work. The capacity to command, the practical skill and tact, the professional knowledge, the devotion to duty, which make the efficient officer, do not come in a day; and few are the natures which are capable of learning them to a high degree. When the Confederate Government attempted to produce extempore officers of all grades for armies so great, out of a people who had been reared in the pursuits of peace, it could only be partially successful. The company and field officers competent to instruct and govern their men thoroughly, and to keep them to their colors amidst the confusion of battle and the fatigues of forced marches, were far too few for the regiments to be commanded. There were not enough Brigadiers, who knew how to manoeuvre a brigade quickly or vigorously; nor enough Major-Generals able to handle a great mass of troops. Hence that deficiency in the functions of the Staff which has been already explained, by reason of which the commander was ever in imperfect communication with his forces, and was never certain that his wishes [480] were properly conveyed to all of them, or that he was possessed of their whole situation when out of his sight. Through so imperfect a medium perfect unison in action could never be gained, upon a theatre like that of Malvern Hill, extended over miles of wooded country, and including the convergent movements of several separate armies. It was from these causes the bungling combinations proceeded, upon every important field of this brief campaign. Enough officers always manoeuvred their commands so slowly as to compel the Commander-in-Chief to let slip critical hours, and to wear away the day which should have been employed in attacking and pursuing. Thus it was ever: at Mechanicsville, at Cold Harbor, at Savage's Station, at Frazier's Farm, and especially at Malvern Hill; the prime of the day was spent in waiting for somebody, or in getting into position; the battle, which should have been the business of that prime, was thrust into the late afternoon; and when the bloody victory was won, no time remained to gather in its fruits fully by a vigorous pursuit.

The event also taught, what no forecast, perhaps, would have foreseen, that a more efficient employment of the cavalry upon the enemy's flanks would have put the Commander-in-Chief in earlier possession of essential information. It has been seen that General Stuart, after his return from the White House, was directed to remain upon the north side of the Chickahominy, guarding the Long Bridge, and the other crossings below; and that he only rejoined the army the night of July 1st. He should rather have been required to cross the Chickahominy immediately, and press as closely upon the line of the enemy's actual operations, let it be where it might, as was possible. He would thus have equally fulfilled the purpose of his stay upon the north side, to ascertain that they did not retire toward Yorktown by the lower roads; and he would probably have discovered at once, their [481] real movement. It afterward appeared, that the whole baggage train of McClellan, with numerous stragglers, passed nearly to Charles City Court House, by a road parallel to the Chickahominy and only a few miles distant from it, on the 29th of June. Had this fact been reported to General Lee by the first of July, it might have thrown a flood of new light upon the momentous question, which he was required that day to decide: must McClellan be attacked in his almost impregnable position or not? It was known that he was assembling all the corps of his army at Malvern Hill; that his gunboats had ascended thither; that he was beginning to entrench himself there. Was it his purpose to convert this spot into a permanent entrenched camp, to defend it from all such assaults as he had just experienced on the Chickahominy, by his engineering skill; to provision it from his ships, and thus to establish himself again within fifteen miles of Richmond, upon a base which General Lee's wisdom taught him to be a better one than that which he had lost? If this was his design, then it was imperative that he should be dislodged; and the more speedily it was attempted, the less patriot blood would it cost. For if he were permitted to fix himself here, all the toil and loss of the glorious week would be vain. But now, add the fact that McClellan had sent all his trains to another spot, and that he stood upon Malvern Hill with nothing but his ammunition, and the supplies of a day; and it became probable that he would retreat from this place, whether he were attacked or not; that he would retreat whither his trains had preceded him, and that he was only standing at bay for a short time, to secure the privilege of that retreat. The question thus assumed a new aspect, whether it were better to assail him on his chosen ground, at such a cost of blood, or to wait for a fairer opportunity as he withdrew.

If it were granted that McClellan ought to have been attacked [482] at once, on his own ground, much yet remains in the management of the battle on the Confederate side, which, though excused, cannot be justified. The attack was made in detail, first at one point, and then at another, instead of being simultaneous. Had the corps of Jackson and Magruder charged simultaneously, with the devoted gallantry which a part of each exhibited, the Federal lines would doubtless have given way, and a glorious success would have rewarded the Confederates, without any greater expenditure of blood than they actually incurred. But it is worthy of question whether McClellan's advantage of position could not have been neutralized. Malvern Hill is upon the convexity of a sharp curve in the river James, which just below that neighborhood, flows away toward the south, while the river road pursues still an easterly course. If McClellan moved eastward, he must either forsake the coveted help of his gunboats, or, to continue near the water, he must leave the highlands, and descend to a level region commanded from the interior. These facts seemed to point to the policy of extending the Confederate left, until his egress by the river road was so violently threatened as to compel him to weaken his impregnable front. The great body of forest, which confronted his centre, might have been safely left to the guardianship of a skirmish line; for their weakness would have been concealed by the woods, and the enemy was, on that day, in no aggressive mood. A powerful mass of artillery and infantry displayed beyond their extreme right, would probably have produced the happiest effects. Last, the tardy and indirect pursuit which followed the battle, was the least excusable blunder of all. The two days which were allowed to McClellan proved the salvation of his army. But what are all these criticisms more than an assertion in different form, of the truths that all man's works are imperfect, and that every art must be learned before it is practised? [483] When it is remembered that the South had very few professional soldiers, that the men who formed the victorious army of Lee were, the year before, a peaceful multitude occupied, since their childhood, in the pursuits of husbandry, and that half the brigades into which they were organized had never been under fire before the beginning of the bloody week, the only wonder will be that the confusion was not worse, and that the failures were not greater. That so much was accomplished is proof of the eminent courage of the people, and their native aptitude for war.

It is a fact worthy of note in this narrative, that the fire of the gunboats, so much valued by the Federals and at first so dreaded by the Confederates, had no actual influence whatever in the battle. Their noise and fury doubtless produced a certain effect upon the emotions of the assailants; but this was dependent on their novelty. The loss inflicted by them was trivial when compared with the ravages of the field artillery, and it was found chiefly among their own friends. For more of their ponderous missiles fell in their own lines, than in those of the Confederates. Indeed, a fire directed at an invisible foe, across two or three miles of intervening hills and woods, can never reach its aim, save by accident. Nor is the havoc wrought by the larger projectiles proportioned to their magnitude. Where one of them explodes against a human body, it does indeed crush it into a frightful mass, scarcely cognizable as human remains. But it is not likely to strike more men, in the open order of field operations, than a shot of ten pounds; and the wretch, blown to atoms by it, is not put hors du combat more effectually, than he whose brain is penetrated by half an ounce of lead or iron. The broadside of a modern gunboat may consist of three hundred pounds of iron, projected by thirty or forty pounds of powder. But it is fired from only two guns. The effect upon a line of men is therefore but one fifteenth of that [484] which the same metal might have had, fired from thirty tenpounder rifled guns.

In conclusion, a statement of the numbers composing the two armies in this great struggle, is necessary to estimate its merits. Under the orders of General Lee there were, at its beginning, about seventy-five thousand effective men, including the corps brought to his aid by General Jackson. McClellan confidently represented the numbers opposed to him as much larger than his own; but the habitual exaggerations of his apprehensive temper were patent, even to his own Government. He states that his own force was reduced to eighty thousand effective men. It must be remembered that during the campaign before Richmond, the motives of McClellan's policy dictated a studied depreciation of his own numbers. In the returns given by himself in another place, his effective force present for duty is set down at one hundred and six thousand men, inclusive of the garrison of Fortress Monroe under General Dix. Halleck declared, in his letter of Aug. 6th, that McClellan still had ninety thousand men at Berkeley, after all his losses I These McClellan had estimated at fifteen thousand, how truthfully may be known from this: that he places the men lost by desertion and capture under six thousand, whereas the Confederates had in their hands more than ten thousand prisoners; and the woods of the peninsula were swarming with stragglers. Whatever may have beer his numerical superiority, it is indisputable that every advantage of equipments, arms, and artillery was on his side.

But the arrival of General Jackson brought a strength to the Confederates beyond that of his numbers. His fame as a warrior had just risen to the zenith; while all the other armies of the Confederacy had been retreating before the enemy, or at best holding the defensive with difficulty, his alone had marched, and attacked, and conquered. A disaster had never alighted on [485] his banners. His assault was regarded by friends and foes as the stroke of doom, and his presence gave assurance of victory. Hence, when the army before Richmond learned that he was with them, they were filled with unbounded joy and confidence, while their enemies were struck with a corresponding panic. [486]

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Beaver Dam (Wisconsin, United States) (1)
Appomattox (Virginia, United States) (1)
Albemarle (Virginia, United States) (1)

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