The superfluous siege
The Mortar Battery that Never Fired a Shot.
By his much heralded Peninsula Campaign, McClellan had planned to end the war in a few days.
He landed with his Army of the Potomac at Fortress Monroe, in April, 1862, intending to sweep up the peninsula between the York and James rivers, seize Richmond at one stroke, and scatter the routed Confederate army into the Southwest.
At Yorktown, he was opposed by a line of fortifications that sheltered a force much inferior in strength to his own. For a whole month McClellan devoted all the energies of his entire army to a systematic siege.
Its useless elaboration is well illustrated by Battery No. 4, one of fifteen batteries planted to the south and southeast of Yorktown.
The ten monster 13-inch siege mortars, the complement of No. 4, had just been placed in position and were almost ready for action.
It was planned to have them drop shells on the Confederate works, a mile and a half distant.
Just a day before this could be done, Yorktown was evacuated, May 4, 1862. |