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The PeninsulaMcClellan's campaign of 1862, by Alexander S. Webb.

A review by Colonel William Allan.
General Webb's book is a valuable one. It is on the whole, a clear and simple narrative of the Peninsula campaign, or rather of the actions and sufferings of the army of the Potomac during that campaign. It is written with that comprehension of the military field of operations and of the movements therein, that we might expect from an officer of the rank and distinction of the author, and who was at the same time a participant in the campaign he describes. His tone is temperate, his criticisms of the various Federal officers and authorities whom he thinks blameworthy, are judicious and moderate, though in some cases, as in that of McClellan, they are, to say the least, generous; his spirit towards his foes, “the rebels” is generally fair, and he has evidently taken pains to consult the authorities on both sides. The book is a pleasant contrast to the mass of misrepresentation and abuse that for years poured forth from northern papers under the name of History, the end of which, it is to be hoped, is heralded by this book and others like it.

General Webb has however given rather a narrative of the doings [194] of the army of the Potomac than a history of the Peninsula campaign. His description of the Confederate side of the struggle is very brief and meagre. His attention, and his pages are chiefly filled with the Federal plans of campaign, the differences between McClellan and the Federal administration, the difficulties which successively appeared in the path of the Federal army and the questions as to responsibility connected with these difficulties and the consequent failures. He handles General McClellan's military reputation very tenderly, he is anxious to take care of it, and he has found, as others have, that this makes exhaustive draughts on his skill and his time. There are too a numbers of errors of statement in the book, some of which are evidently due to haste in its preparation.

In the spring of 1862, the Confederate government found itself face to face with a difficult problem in Virginia. The largest and best appointed of the Federal armies, under their Commander-in-Chief, lay in front of General Johnston at Manassas, evidently waiting only for good weather to assume the offensive. This army contained over 180,000 men “present for duty,” and from 600 to 700 pieces of artillery (p. 7). Johnston was holding it in check with less than 50,000 men (p. 26). The Federal navy had virtually undisputed control of the sea and the rivers, except the James. Some Confederate batteries had partially obstructed the Potomac below Washington, but these could be driven away whenever the Federal Commander chose to do it. A small Confederate force under Huger still held Norfolk and the Navy Yard, where they were preparing the ram, Virginia, to introduce a new era into naval warfare. Magruder, with 11,000 men, watched the peninsula between the James and York, and by means of his works at Yorktown and Gloucester Point, closed the latter river above that point. In the West heavy reverses had already befallen the Confederate arms, and still greater were impending, so that nothing could be drawn from that quarter to strengthen the slender means with which the Confederacy was to meet the prodigious military armament that was about to set forth against Richmond. Johnston, who, by his boldness, had confined the Federal army for months to the vicinity of Washington, realized that with the advent of spring his advanced position at Manassas was untenable. McClellan could move against him in overwhelming strength, or he could leave Washington securely defended by a force larger than the Confederate army, and then move an army twice as numerous as Johnston's to the Rappahannock or the lower Chesapeake, and thus place it between Johnston and Richmond. Seeing that Fredericksburg offered the most direct route to Richmond and [195] possessed many advantages over all the others, Johnston expected his adversary to move by it, and therefore prepared to fall back behind the Rappahannock so that he might be ready to oppose an advance by way of Fredericksburg as well as be within reach should McClellan choose a more southerly line of approach. Johnston continued to maintain a bold front at Manassas, and by various ruses imposed greatly exaggerated notions of his strength upon McClellan to the last moment. To the latter's great surprise he quietly evacuated Manassas on March 9th.

This movement of the Confederate army somewhat deranged McClellan's plans. After long discussion, the latter had induced President Lincoln to agree to his plan of transporting the mass of his army to Urbana, on the lower Rappahannock, for an advance thence by way of West Point on Richmond. A main inducement to this plan was that the Federal army might by a rapid movement interpose itself between Richmond and General Johnston. With the Confederates behind the Rappahannock this last could no longer be hoped for, and General McClellan now had recourse to the alternative plan which he had kept in reserve (General Webb calls it a dernier ressort, p. 30) of making his base at Fortress Monroe and advancing thence up the Peninsula. The brilliant naval victory of the Virginia (March 8) in Hampton Roads closed the James for the time, but the Federal fleet in the lower Chesapeake was able to confine the formidable iron-clad to that river, and thus the bay and the York river up to Yorktown were open to the unmolested use of the Federal commander. By the first of April a large part of McClellan's army was at Fort Monroe and ready to go forward.

The closing weeks of March and the early ones of April were anxious ones to the Confederates. McClellan's great army was evidently on the move against Richmond, but from what point or points it would advance was for a time uncertain, and the utmost vigilance had to be exercised. The Confederate forces were fearfully inadequate, even when concentrated, and now they were scattered to guard many places. Early in April it became evident from the large number of troops that had landed at Fort Monroe that McClellan intended to try the Peninsula route, and orders were given to begin the transfer of Johnston's army from the Rappahannock to Yorktown. Meantime, to Magruder with 11,000 men was assigned the task of holding the Federal army in check until Johnston's forces could arrive. We believe that history records few operations more skilful or successful than those by which Magruder accomplished his task. Magruder's line stretched across the Peninsula from Yorktown to Mulberry Point on the James. With [196] 6,000 of his men he garrisoned the extremities of his line, holding Gloucester Point and closing the York river by his batteries. The other 5,000 held the line of the Warwick creek, which he had converted into a formidable line of defense by the use of all the resources that nature and engineering skill had placed within his reach. On April 2 McClellan reached Fort Monroe, and finding 58,000 of his troops ready to move, he ordered this force forward on the 4th, leaving the remainder to follow. Next day he found himself in front of Magruder's line, where his advance was checked, and so vigorously and skilfully did Magruder manage his forces that the Federal army forbore to assault, and deliberately set down to force the handful of Confederates out of their Yorktown lines by regular approaches and siege guns. A feeble and unsuccessful attempt was made on April 16 to break the Confederate lines, and after this McClellan seemed confirmed in his conviction that they could be carried only by regular siege operations. These lines were held for one month — long enough for Johnston and the bulk of his army to reach Yorktown — long enough for the Confederate Government to make all the dispositions within its power to meet the invading army.

Much has been written in criticism, and much in defence of the Federal administration and of McClellan in reference to the “siege of Yorktown.” That the administration treated McClellan badly there can be no doubt. Its whole conduct towards him, in the spring of 1862, showed want of confidence, and in withholding McDowell's corps at the last moment, it behaved in a way that should have caused his immediate and peremptory resignation. But, on the other hand, it is nonsense to excuse, on the score of want of support, a commander who, with 80,000 or 90,000 troops, was completely held at bay by 11,000 men behind a line twelve miles long!

Johnston showed as great skill in retiring from Yorktown as he and Magruder had shown in defending it. At the last moment when McClellan, after a month's arduous effort, was about ready to open his powerful batteries, Johnston quietly retreated towards Richmond, and so surprised and disconcerted McClellan, that it was half a day before he could begin the pursuit. (Page 69.) At Williamsburg (May 5) the Confederates found it necessary to check the advance of the Federals, which was pressing their rear. Longstreet and D. H. Hill were halted for this purpose. Longstreet accomplished the end in view handsomely by severely defeating Hooker's division, and inflicting some damage on Kearney's. D. H. Hill, on the Confederate left, did not manage so well, and in consequence Hancock was able there to [197] inflict a severe repulse on Early's brigade. But, on the whole, General Johnston, with a loss of over 1,500, inflicted a loss of over 2,200, and effectually checked the pursuit. McClellan sent a large force, headed by Franklin's division by water to the head of the York opposite West Point, with the purpose of there landing and seizing the Confederate line of retreat; but Johnston attacked the first troops that landed vigorously, drove them back to the cover of their gunboats, and penned them up there until his army trains had passed on towards the Chickahominy. Baffled thus in his movements against both the flank and rear of the retreating army, McClellan was content to follow slowly and with great caution. The retreat from Yorktown involved the evacuation of Norfolk by the Confederates; and the destruction of the iron-clad Virginia quickly gave to the Federals the command of the James river up to Drewry's Bluff. This caused Johnston to retire across the Chickahominy and take position in front of Richmond; and on May 21 the Federal army advanced to the line of the Chickahominy.

So far boldness and skill in strategy had given the Confederates the advantage in the campaign, but the Federals were gathering from different directions in overwhelming force, and it was evident that a great battle, or battles, must soon be fought for the possession of Richmond. The disparity of numbers against the Confederates was alarming. And here it should be said that General Webb is inaccurate, and sometimes very unfair in his statement of numbers. Thus, using an expression of McClellan's which probably refers to the force he could place in line of battle in an aggressive movement, he states McClellan's strength in May as 80,000 (p. 84), while he makes no reference to the official reports. From the latter he elsewhere (p. 181) gives McClellan's numbers when he left Yorktown, as 109,335 “present for duty.” There is no fair and honest basis for estimates of strength but the official reports. All else is guess-work, and all cutting down of official numbers on special grounds is only fair when applied in the same way to both armies. Now, it is plain that McClellan had early in May 109,000 effectives. How many of these he could throw forward to fight, and how many must be kept guarding his flanks, his communications and his depots, is not the question. In answer to McClellan's urgent appeals, at the middle of May, McDowell was ordered forward from Fredericksburg with a force which General Webb correctly states at 41,000 men and 100 guns (p. 85). Thus, 150,000 men were about to unite in the attack on Richmond. To meet this, Johnston had, by the official report of May 21, 53,688 men at Richmond. He called in Branch's and Anderson's brigades from [198] Gordonsville and Fredericksburg, and Huger's three brigades from Petersburg. General Webb absurdly estimates Branch's and Anderson's brigades at 12,000 (p. 86). They actually numbered possibly as many as 5,500. (See Branch's order, Southern Historical papers, vol. VIII, page 103, which shows his strength did not exceed 3,000, and Taylor's Four Years with General Lee, page 50, where Anderson's strength is given at from 2,000 to 2,300 in the seven days battles.) Huger's brigades may have numbered 6,000 at this time. Thus the Confederates were able to concentrate about 65,000 men to oppose the 150,000 which were about to unite against them.

It would be hard to find a finer illustration of the adage, that “fortune favors the brave” than occurred at this juncture. Stonewall Jackson, after defeating Fremont's advance in the mountains of West Virginia, and while he was supposed to be one hundred and fifty miles away, suddenly surprised Banks at Front Royal and Winchester, and driving him in confusion and route across the Potomac, advanced to Harper's Ferry. Jackson and his 16,000 men created a marvelous panic at Washington and throughout the North, the accounts of which at this day read like the pages of a romance. The Federal Capitol was believed to be in danger, 300,000 men were called for by the President, the militia of whole States were ordered out, and the proclamations of Governors as far away as Ohio and Massachusetts would not have seemed tame to the Romans after Cannae. The most important result of Jackson's dash was the stoppage of McDowell, who had already begun the movement that in three days would have united him with McClellan. A large part of McDowell's army was ordered back after Jackson, and the remainder was held for the time at Fredericksburg.

Relieved by Jackson's success of the fear of McDowell's forces from the North, Johnston, who had determined to attack McClellan before the junction, if possible, postponed his attack until the advance of a part of the latter's army on the south side of the Chickahominy should give the Confederates a chance of concentrating against one of the Federal wings. Meantime General Fitz John Porter gained an advantage which had no important results, at Hanover Court-house, where, with 12,000 men he attacked and defeated Branch with 4,000. Here again General Webb greatly exaggerates the Confederate force. (P. 96--see Branch's order above referred to.)

At the last of May Johnston thought the time to strike had come. Two of McClellan's corps lay on the south side of the Chickahominy along the Williamsburg road, their advance having been pushed as far as Seven Pines. The remainder of the Federal army was on the north [199] side of that river. The communication between the wings was as yet imperfect, for but few of the numerous bridges McClellan was building were complete. Every advance towards Richmond by the corps on the south side separated them more and more from their supports. On May 30th Johnston concentrated twenty-three of his twenty-seven brigades, and prepared to throw them, on the morrow, against the Federal corps of Keyes and Heintzelman, which were on the south side.

A terrific rain storm occurred on the night of the 30th, which by flooding the Chickahominy imperiled and finally interrupted the communication between McClellan's wings. While in this respect assisting the Confederates, it seriously interferred with their movements on the 31st, as the whole country was covered with water, and some of the swollen sources of White Oak Swamp caused a delay of many hours in the march of Huger's division. Longstreet with his own and D. H. Hill's division was sent out to attack Keyes in front at Seven Pines. Huger was to strike Keyes's left flank, and Johnston himself was to direct G. W. Smith's division against his right flank and prevent a retreat towards the Chickahominy. Hours were wasted in waiting for Huger to get into position. Finally, about midday, Longstreet ordered the attack to be made by D. H. Hill. Casey's Federal division was quickly routed and the whole of Keyes's Corps and Kearney's division of Heintzelman's was during the afternoon, defeated and driven from their works and camps to a third line of works a mile or two in the rear. Unfortunately Johnston did not order Smith forward promptly. Longstreet had been two or three hours engaged before General Johnston knew it, and when in the middle of the afternoon Smith was hurried forward to give the coup de grace to Heintzelman, he was just in time to run against the head of Sumner's corps at Fair Oaks. The latter sent by McClellan to reinforce his left wing, had succeeded in crossing the Chickahominy on the already floating bridges just before they were carried away, and hastening forward arrived soon enough to stop Smith, and by engaging him in a stubborn and bloody contest until night, prevented his going to Longstreet's assistance. General Johnston fell severely wounded at night-fall and the usual result of a change of commanders in the midst of a battle was seen next day. No concerted, definite plan of operations guided the Confederates on June 1st. Severe but desultory fighting took place between Longstreet's lines and the fresh troops of Hooker's and Richardson's divisions without any decided result, while Smith, now in chief command of the Confederates remained quiet in front of Sumner, though Magruder's large division, which had been unengaged, was at hand. By midday all fighting had [200] ceased. Early in the afternoon General R. E. Lee, was placed in command by President Davis, and during the evening and night he ordered the Confederate army back to its late positions in front of Richmond.

The battle of Seven Pines, though costing each army about 6,000 men, resulted in little. The plan of the Confederate leader was admirable, but the execution of it was defective. Too much time was wasted in waiting for Huger; but a more serious fault was the delay in sending forward Smith's division on Longstreet's left. Next morning the battle might have been renewed with the whole Confederate force at hand with good promise of success. As it was, the Confederates had hit Keyes and Heintzelman damaging blows, but it had been done at heavy cost, and the only result of value to them was the increased caution and slowness of McClellan's movements.

The new Confederate Commander at once began preparations for a renewal of the struggle. Troops that could be spared from the South were ordered to Richmond. Jackson was directed to be prepared to move to the same place from the Valley at the critical moment. (General Webb is in error in attributing this movement to Jackson himself, as he does on page 122. Jackson had been constantly instructed to keep such a movement in view, as may be seen from General Lee's letter to him of May 16.) The victories of Cross Keys and Port Republic, on June 8 and June 9, made the withdrawal of McDowell's corps from McClellan permanent, and left Jackson free to join Lee. Meantime the latter was busy in preparation. On June 11 Stuart was sent with the Confederate cavalry to reconnoiter McClellan's right and rear. This gallant cavalryman extended his reconnoissance into a raid completely around the Federal army, cutting its communications and destroying supplies as he went. This expedition, one of the most brilliant and successful feats of arms that had been accomplished up to that time in the war, gave Lee the information on which he planned his attack on McClellan. General Webb thinks it worthy of only a passing allusion. Lee now ordered Jackson to join the main army, using a ruse de guerre to prevent the large Federal forces in Northern Virginia from following him. Considerable bodies of troops were sent up to Jackson as if to reinforce him for another advance towards Washington. Care was taken that tidings of this movement should reach the enemy. On June 16 Jackson was ordered to move down with the greatest expedition and secrecy, and so admirable was the execution of this plan, that when Jackson reached Ashland, twelve miles north of Richmond on June 25th, neither McClellan nor the government at Washington had any knowledge of his whereabouts (page 124), and it [201] was not until the Federal pickets north of the Chickahominy were driven in next day that the Federal Commander had any certain information of the approach of his swift-footed assailant.

Lee was now ready to deliver battle. His strength, including Jackson, was from 80,000 to 81,000 men. (See the careful computations of General Early, Southern Historical papers, vol. I, p. 421, and of Colonel Taylor, Four Years with General Lee, the latter of which General Webb adopts, p. 119). General McClellan's strength, omitting Dix's command at Fort Monroe, was by his official return for June 10, 105,825 “present for duty.” (This number General Webb unfairly reduces to 92,500.) This disparity was not greater than must naturally exist between two combatants so unequal in resources as were the North and South. If the independence of the South was to be achieved it must be done in spite of it. To Lee's mind a simply defensive policy, resulting ultimately in a siege, promised nothing beyond a protracted struggle, with certain disaster at the end of it. He believed he could best thwart his adversary by attacking him. McClellan had, after the battle of Seven Pines, transferred the bulk of his army to the south side of the Chickahominy, where he reoccupied the ground from which Keyes and Heinzelman had been driven on May 31. This ground he covered with a network of entrenchments, and under the cover of strong works was slowly pushing his lines towards Richmond. About one-third of his army held the north side of the Chickahominy as high up as Meadow Bridge, and at the same time covered his communications with his base at West Point, on the Pamunkey. Lee determined to attack the Federal right wing, overwhelm it if possible, and destroy McClellan's communications and depots. McClellan would thus be forced to fight for his communications or to adopt some other line of retreat at immense cost of supplies. The information brought by Stuart confirmed Lee in his plan, and Jackson was then ordered to come down on McClellan's right and rear. When Jackson was at hand A. P. Hill was to send a brigade across the Chickahominy above the Federal right to unite with Jackson, and when the Confederate forces had moved down the north side and uncovered Meadow bridge, the remainder of A. P. Hill's division was to cross there, and he was to be followed by Longstreet and D. H. Hill by way of the Mechanicsville bridge as soon as it was open. Magruder and Huger were left to hold the lines in front of Richmond, facing the mass of McClellan's army.

Jackson, worn by his forced march from the Valley, was behind time on the morning of June 26th, and A. P. Hill waited from early in the [202] morning until the middle of the afternoon for the approach of Jackson, which was to uncover the bridge in his front. Then, fearing lest further delay might imperil the whole movement by revealing it to the enemy, he carried the bridge before him, and, moving down towards Mechanicsville, drove the small Federal force there to the lines at Beaver Dam creek, which were held by McCall's division. Jackson was expected to turn this line, but being yet behind, A. P. Hill engaged the Federal forces and made attempts on each flank, which were, however, repulsed. Longstreet and D. H. Hill joined A. P. Hill near nightfall, and the approach of Jackson on their flank caused the Federals to retreat next morning to Gaines's Mill and Cold Harbor. Here Fitz John Porter held a strong position, covering the principal bridges across the Chickahominy and protecting at the same time the York River railroad. Porter was reinforced during the afternoon by Slocum's division, and later by two additional brigades. These Federal forces amounted probably to from 30,000 to 40,000 men, or about one-third of McClellan's army. The remaining 70,000 were on the south side of the river, in front of Magruder and Huger. Lee had left on the south side some 25,000 to 30,000, and thus had probably about 50,000 men with which to attack Porter. The Confederates followed up the retreating Federals to Gaines's Mill on the afternoon of Friday, June 27th, attacked them in their positions, and after a fierce and bloody combat completely defeated Porter, driving his troops to the Chickahominy (which they crossed under cover of the night), and capturing twenty-two guns. While this was going on, Magruder made such a display of force in front of Richmond that the mass of the Federal army was held there inactive, and none of their officers in high command deemed it possible to spare any considerable force from that side to reinforce Porter. Thus Lee managed to hold two-thirds of McClellan's army idle with one-third of his own, while with the main body of the Confederate forces he inflicted a crushing blow on Porter. The Federal commander was certainly outgeneraled.

The defeat of Porter threw the York River railroad and the Federal depots on that road and on the Pamunkey into the hands of the Confederates and forced the Federal army to another line of retreat. It was. now that McClellan made his wisest move in the campaign. He had been thinking of the James river as a base, and now cut off from the Pamunkey, he determined to move towards the James at its nearest point, instead of recrossing the Chickahominy and retreating down the peninsula. He began at once the movement of the immense trains and material of his army across White Oak Swamp, in the direction of [203] Turkey Bend. The highest commendation that can be given of this movement is that it deceived his adversary and gained him a day's breathing time. Lee was uncertain as to McClellan's designs on the 28th, and such movements as he made that day were made with the notion that McClellan would recross the Chickahominy at Battner's bridge or at some of the crossings below. It was night before the Confederate commander divined McClellan's plans, and issued orders accordingly.

On the 29th Longstreet and A. P. Hill were sent to the south side of the Chickahominy. They were, by a circuit, to strike the Long-Bridge road and the flank of the retreating army. McGruder and Huger were to press the rear of the Federals by the Williamsburg and Charles City roads, Jackson to cross the Chickahominy and join in the pursuit. Longstreet was busy all day marching towards his destination. Jackson was compelled to repair the bridge over the Chickahominy, which kept him back all day. Magruder finding that the enemy had abandoned the lines in his front and had left or destroyed great quantities of stores, pressed after him and attacked the rear, under Sumner, at Savage Station. Magruder's attack was partial, he only using about half his force, and though there was much demoralization in the Federal army as indicated by Heintzelman's precipitate retreat and the destruction of stores, Sumner was able to hold his ground and keep Magruder at bay until night-fall, when the Federals made good their retreat to the south side of White Oak Swamp.

Next day, June 30th, was the day of greatest peril to the Federal army. Jackson having crossed the Chickahominy, was ordered to follow in its wake towards White Oak Swamp. Huger was directed to press along the Charles City road. Longstreet, with his own and A. P. Hill's divisions, was to attack its flank along the Long-Bridge road. Nearer the James, Holmes was advancing along the River road. Magruder was directed to make a circuit around Huger and follow Longstreet.

Jackson soon reached White Oak Swamp and found the passage of this difficult stream strongly defended by Franklin. A severe artillery fight took place, in which the Federal batteries suffered greatly, but Jackson's efforts to reconstruct the bridge and force a passage for his infantry were successfully resisted by Franklin until night-fall. Meantime Huger was impeded by some felled timber in his way, and did nothing. Holmes, on the extreme Confederate right, ran against Porter and some Federal artillery that had taken position at Malvern under the fire of the gunboats in James river, and Holmes was quickly and completely checked. Longstreet and A. P. Hill, however, attacked [204] vigorously at Frazier's farm, and defeated and put to flight the greater part of McCall's division, capturing its commander and inflicting severe losses on the troops brought up in support. At night-fall the Confederates had pressed nearly to the Quaker road, on which the Federals were retreating, and had taken many prisoners and ten guns. Longstreet was unsupported, however, and the Federals were able to hold on to their line of retreat until dark, when they fell back to Malvern Hill. This was the day big with fate to McClellan. Had Jackson and Huger co-operated with Longstreet in his assault, the result can hardly be doubted; the greater part of the Federal army must have been overwhelmed. Huger, though nearest Longstreet, did nothing, and some of the Federal troops in his front were actually sent against the latter. This failure was one of the greatest blunders of the Confederate campaign. Jackson was held back by a very serious obstacle, backed by a strong and well commanded force, sufficient, perhaps, to account in an ordinary case for his failure to unite in the attack, but it is hard to avoid the belief that had he exhibited on this occasion the wonderful skill and audacity that characterized his Valley campaign, he would have crossed White Oak Swamp in spite of Franklin.

Next day, July 1st, the Confederates, once more reunited, followed the retreating army to Malvern Hill, where McClellan had selected an admirable position and massed on it all of his forces and his immense artillery. Here Lee again attacked, but after a sanguinary contest, in which the Federal lines were severely tested, he was repulsed. The attack on the part of the Confederates was badly managed. Some confusion about the roads in this intricate region caused Magruder to be late in reaching the field. Concert of action between the attacking columns was not secured; the assaults, especially on the right, where Magruder commanded, were partial and disjointed, and the result was that McClellan saved his army by inflicting a severe repulse upon his adversary. As soon as the battle was ended, McClellan abandoned the field and retreated to Harrison's Landing (or Westover), where he could be more completely protected by the fleet in the James river. The Confederates followed, but the check at Malvern made their pursuit slow, and when the army again closed up with the Federals the latter were found in possession of a strong position, commanded by the gunboats and defended by earthworks. The contest now ceased, and General Lee withdrew to the neighborhood of Richmond.

McClellan's losses were great. His loss in men was heavy, though not so large as that of the Confederates. His losses in material and supplies were far greater. They were simply immense; but his loss in [205] prestige and morale was greatest of all. His campaign was felt to be a complete failure, and this conviction became so general that all his efforts could not prevent the Federal Government from withdrawing his army (we think wisely) from the James to the Potomac. McClellan fought injudiciously at Cold Harbor. After his defeat he selected skilfully his plan of retreat, but his mode of conducting that retreat has been most severely, and we believe justly, criticised. Good fighting and the advantages afforded by the country enabled him to escape. He chose an admirable position at Malvern Hill, and made there a judicious and successful stand which saved his defeated army from destruction.

On the other hand Lee won a great success. With an army only four-fifths as numerous as his adversaries, and of which he had been in command only a little more than three weeks, he had driven McClellan twenty miles from Richmond, had broken up his depots and communications, and had compelled the splendid army that threatened the Confederate capitol to fly for refuge to the protection of the gunboats in the river. He had, indeed, nearly accomplished the destruction of this army. On the 30th of June his admirable plans failed of their full results, only from the incapacity or want of energy of some of his subordinates. On the next day, at Malvern Hill, more, perhaps, might have been accomplished if he had himself used greater care and watchfulness to ensure concert of action in the attack. As it was, he completely broke up the campaign against Richmond, and having huddled up the Federal army on the banks of the James, left it to a July sun to force the speedy evacuation of the Peninsula and the withdrawal of the enemy to the front of Washington. General Lee was new to his plan and new to the army he was thenceforth to lead, and for this reason this campaign is, in some respects, inferior to those that followed, especially to the great, the almost incomparable one of 1864; but, nevertheless, it will remain an ever-enduring monument of his military audacity and skill.

One of the best chapters in General Webb's book is the last. It is clear, temperate and judicious. One of the worst is that on Malvern Hill, which is disjointed and confused. There are numerous smaller oversights, some of which show haste in preparation or careless proof-reading. Thus Whiting is several times called Whitney (pages 82-134), Mechum's River is called Mechanic's Run (page 122), R. H. Anderson is erroneously put for J. R. Anderson (page 96), Ellison's Mill is called Ellicott's Mill. (Page 126.) Confederate brigades are frequently spoken of as divisions--as Gregg's brigade (page 132), [206] Armistead's brigade. (Page 156.) A. P. Hill's report is misquoted, to make the same mistake on page 150, where Field's and Pender's brigades are turned into divisions. I have noted no mistakes of the opposite kind. On page 187, the Confederates attacking Porter are spoken of as 70,000 in number (?), though here General Webb may be giving McClellan's estimate and not his own.

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Hampton Roads (Virginia, United States) (1)
Gordonsville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Front Royal (Virginia, United States) (1)
Fortress Monroe (Virginia, United States) (1)
Drewry's Bluff (Virginia, United States) (1)
Cross Keys (Virginia, United States) (1)
Charles City (Virginia, United States) (1)
Beaver Dam Creek, Md. (Maryland, United States) (1)
Ashland (Virginia, United States) (1)

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