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NORFOLK EVACUATED BY THE REBELS. 127 camped, though no hostile force had so that Gen. McClellan's headappeared. Next morning, however, quarters only reached White House a regiment or two of the enemy was on the 16th, Tunstall's Station on descried and shelled from our gun- the 19th, and Coal Harbor on the boats; whereupon Gen. Dana, by 22d. Our advanced light troops had order of Gen. Slocum, hastened the reached the Chickahominy at Botlanding of his men and horses; while tom's Bridge two days before. the 16th, 31st, and 320 New York, with the 95th and 96th Pennsylvania, / The movement of our grand army were pushed forward into the woods up the Peninsula, in connection with in our front, with orders to drive out Burnside's successes and captures in the few Rebel scouts who were sup- North Carolina,“ had rendered the posed to be skulking there. They possession of Norfolk by the Rebels soon found themselves engaged with no longer tenable. To hold it by a far larger force than they had any force less than an army would be expected, whereof Gen. Whiting's simply exposing that force to capture Texan di vision and Wade Hampton's or destruction at the pleasure of our South Carolina Legion formed a part; strategists. Gen. Wool, commanding and who, with every advantage of at Fortress Monroe, having organized position and knowledge of the an expedition designed to reduce that ground, drove our men out in haste important city, led it thither on the and disorder. Twice the attempt 10th; finding the bridge over Tanwas renewed, with similar results ; ner's creek on fire, but no enemy to but at length, our batteries having dispute possession of Norfolk, which been landed and posted, they, with the was quietly surrendered by its Mayor. aid of the gunboats, easily silenced The Navy Yard and Portsmouth the single Rebel battery of small were in like manner repossessed ; howitzers, which, from an elevated the Rebels, ere they left, destroying clearing in the woods, had assisted to every thing that would burn, partially repel the advance of our infantry; blowing up the Dry Dock, and comand now that infantry pushed once pletely destroying their famous ironmore into the woods, and found no clad known to us as the Merrimac." enemy to contest their possession. They left about 200 cannon, inWe lost in this affair 194 men, mainly cluding 39 of large caliber at Craney of the 31st and 32d New York, in- Island, and those in the Sewell's cluding two Captains and two Lieu- Point batteries, which, though spiktenants; while the Rebel loss was tri-ed, were valuable; 29 pieces were
found mounted on strong earthworks Gen. Stoneman, with the advance two miles from Norfolk, but deserted. of our main army, moved from Wil. In fact, it had been decided, at a liamsburg on the 8th to open com-council held at Norfolk some days munication with Gen. Franklin, fol- before, that no attempt should be lowed by Smith's division on the made to defend that city. The Merdirect road to Richmond. Rain fell rimac, though she never fully refrequently; the roads were horrible; covered from the effects of her strug* See pages 73–81.
“ May 11, 5 A. .
gle with the Monitor, had come down rison Baltimore and Fortress Monthe river and shown fight when our roe,” and leave 20,000 “ for the vessels first undertook to shell out | defense of Washington,” he required the Rebel batteries at Sewell's Point, for his “main army of operations” three days before her self-destruc- 225,000 infantry, 25,500 cavalry, tion.“ Two unfinished iron-clads 7,500 engineer troops, and 15,000 were among the vessels fired by the artillery men, with 600 field guns ; Rebels ere they left.
in all, 273,000 men. Even this
mighty army was deemed by him inThe serious difference between the sufficient, unless aided by a strong Administration and Gen. McClellan naval force." respecting the strength of his army, Nearly three months later, in a and the detachment therefrom of letter to the Secretary of War, he so McDowell's and other forces for ser modified this demand as to evince a vice elsewhere, now demands our de- willingness to begin offensive operaliberate consideration. Gen. McClel- tions with a total effective force on lan, upon first assuming command" the Potomac and in Maryland—but of the Army of the Potomac, had ad- not including the garrison of Fortress dressed to the President a memoran- Monroe-of 208,000 men and 488 dum, wherein, in addition to the guns; but to secure this, he calcuarmies required to make " a strong lated, would require an aggregate of movement on the Mississippi,” to 240,000 men on his muster-rolls, indrive the Rebels “out of Missouri,"cluding the sick and absent, while he to hold Kentucky, and sustain " a had but 168,318, with 228 field guns, movement through that State into present, and 6 more batteries on the Eastern Tennessee,” to guard secure- way from New York. Thus his ly the passes into Western Virginia, army, which by December 1st had “ to protect and rëopen the Balti- been swelled nearly to 200,000, and more and Ohio Railroad,” to “gar- for the three months succeeding
** Com. Tatnall, in his official report of the loss Island. Part of the blame, however, was laid of the Merrimac, lays the blame entirely on his on the hasty retreat from Norfolk of the military pilots, who on the 7th assured him that they under Gen. Huger. could take her to within 40 miles of Richmond 43 August 4, 1861. if her draft were lessened to 18 feet; but, after " He says: five or six hours had been devoted to this work, "Its general line of operations should be so and she had thus been disabled for action, they, directed that water transportation can be availed for the first time, declared that, as the winds of,
of, from point to point, by means of the ocean
and the rivers emptying into it. An essential had for two days been westerly, the water in the
feature of the plan of operations will be the James was too low, so that she could not now employment of a strong naval force, to protect be run above the Jamestown flats, up to which the movements of a fleet of transports intended point each shore was occupied by our armies. to convey a considerable body of troops from He had now no alternative but to fire her, land point to point of the enemy's sea-coast, thus his crew, and make the best of his way to Suf
either creating diversions, and rendering it neces.
sary to detach largely from their main body in folk. A Court of Inquiry, presided over by Capt.
by Wap order to protect such of their cities as may be French Forrest, after an investigation protracted threatened, or else landing and forming estabfrom May 22d to June 11th, decided that her lishments on their coast, at any favorable places destruction was unnecessary, and that she might, that opportunity might offer. This naval force after being lightened to a draft of 20 feet 6 should also cooperate with the main armr, in its
efforts to seize the important sea-board towns of inches, have been taken up James river to Hog
og the Rebels."-McClellan's Official Memorandum.