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Gen. McClellan, during and after trieve our fortunes; but to do this the Gorthe close of the eventful 27th, tele
ernment must view the matter in the saine
earnest light that I do. You must send me graphed to the War Department as very large rëenforcements, and send them at follows:
once. I shall draw back to this side of the
Chickaliominy, and think I can withdraw “HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
all our material. Please understand that in “June 27–10 A. M.
this battle we have lost nothing but men, "The night passed quietly. During it, and those the best we have. In addition to we brought all wagons, heavy guns, &c., to what I have already said, I only wish to say this side, and at daybreak drew in McCall's
to the President that I think he is wrong in division about three miles. This change of
regarding me as ungenerous when I said that position was beautifully executed, under a
my force was too weak. I merely rëiterasharp fire, with but little loss. The troops
ted a truth which to-day has been too plainly on the other side are now well in hand, and
proved. If, at tliis instant, I could dispose the whole army so concentrated that it can
of 10,000 fresh men, I could gain the victory take advantage of the first mistake made by
tu-inorrow. I know that a few thousand the enemy. White House yet undisturbed.
more men would have changed this battle Success of yesterday complete.”
from a defeat to a victory. As it is, the “ HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF Tue PotomAC, Government must not, and can not, hold me
“June 27—12 m. ] responsible for the result. I feel too earn“My change of position on the other side estly to-night-I have seen too many dead just in time. Heavy attack now being and wounded comrades to feel otherwise made by Jackson and two divisions. Ex- | than that the Governinent has not sustained pect attack also on this side."
this army. If you do not do so now, the “HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, )
game is lost. If I save this army now, I “Savage's Station,
tell you plainly that I owe no thanks to you, “June 28, 1862–12:20 Á. M. I
or to any other persons in Washington. You “I now know the whole history of the
have done your best to sacritice this army. day. On this side of the river-the right
*G. B. MCCLELLAN, Maj.-Gen. bank—we repulsed several strong attacks.
" To Hon. E. M. Stanton, On the left bank, our inen did all that men
"Secretary of War." could do, all that soldiers could accomplish; but they were overwhelmed by vastly su
To these reproachful missives, the perior numbers soon after I brought my last President thus responded : reserves into action. The loss on both sides is terrible. I believe it will prove to be the
“Washingtox, June 28, 1862. most desperate battle of the war. The sad “Save your army at all events. Will send remnants of my men behave as men; those rëenforcements as fast as we can. Of course, battalions which fought most bravely, and they can not reach you to-day, to-morrow, suffered most, are still in the best order. / or next day. I have not said you were unMy regulars were superb, and I count upon generous for saying you needed rëenforcewhat are left to turn another battle in com- ments; I thought you were ungenerous in pany with their gallant comrades of the assuming that I did not send them as fast as volunteers. Had I 20,000 or even 10,000 I could. I feel any misfortune to you and fresh troops to use to-morrow, I could take your army quite as keenly as you feel it Richmond; but I have not a man in re- yourself. If you have had a drawn battle or serve, and shall be glad to cover iny retreat a repulse, it is the price we pay for the eneand save the material and personnel of the my not being in Washington. We protected army. If we have lost the day, we have Washington, and the enemy concentrated yet preserved our honor, and no one need on you. Had we stripped Washington, he blush for the Ariny of the Potomac. I have would have been upon us before the troops lost this battle because my force was too sent could have got to you. Less than a small. I again repeat, that I am not respon-week ago, you notified us that rëenforcesible for this; and I say it with the earnest- ments were leaving Richmond to come in ness of a General who feels in his heart the front of us. It is the nature of the case; loss of every brave man who has been need- and neither you nor the Government that lessly sacrificed to-day. I still hope to re- is to blame.
separate report of their losses in this action. J. Woodward, 10th Ala.; S. T. Hale, 11th Ala.; Gen. C. M. Wilcox, 4th brigade, Longstreet's di- John Marshall, 4th Texas; among the severely vision, states his losses at 584, out of a total of wounded, Cols. Rainey, 1st Texas, and Robinson, 1,850. Among the Rebel killed were Cols. J. | 5th Texas.
MCCLELLAN DECIDES TO RETREAT.
" Please tell at once the present condition position, but resting at Tunstall's Staor aspect of things.”
tion for the night, which our force Gen. McClellan's army had now holding White House devoted to the been concentrated by the enemy in destruction of the vast aggregate of a very strong position, between the munitions and provisions there stored. Chickahominy on one side, and our Nine large loaded barges, 5 locomoGeneral's elaborate and powerful tives, with great numbers of tents, works facing Richmond on the oth- wagons, cars, &c., were involved in er. It was still more than 100,000 this general destruction; while our strong; while, save in his imagina- cavalry, under Stoneman and Emotion, there were not nearly so many ry, fled down the Peninsula, leaving armed Rebels within a circuit of large quantities of forage and provi50 miles. Properly handled, it was sions to fall into the hands of the enabundantly able and willing to meet emy. Stuart arrived next morning," and beat Lee's entire forces in fair and found nothing prepared to dispute battle; or it might have taken Rich- possession with him but a gunboat, mond and the Rebel works below which very soon crowded on all steam it," on the James; thus rëopening its and hurried off in quest of safety. communications and receiving fresh McClellan decided not to fight, but supplies by that river, most efficiently to iy. Assembling his corps compatroled by our gunboats. One thing manders on the evening after Porter's it could not do without invoking dis- defeat, he told them that he had aster, and that was to remain cooped determined on a flank movement up in its intrenchments; since Por- through White Oak Swamp to the ter's defeat and retreat across the James; Gen. Keyes, with his corps, Chickahominy had severed its com- being directed to move at once across munication with its base of supplies the Swamp in the advance, so as to at West Point; Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, seize and hold the debouches of the with the Rebel cavalry, supported roads on the James river side of the by Ewell's infantry, striking and de- Swamp, thus covering the passage of stroying the York River Railroad the other troops and trains. Our and severing the telegraph line at commander, during the night, reDispatch Station next morning, and moved his headquarters to Savage's pushing thence down the road toward Station, thence to superintend the White House, meeting no serious op movement of the corps and trains.
* Gen. Magruder, in his official report of his men between his army of 100,000 and Richparticipation in the memorable Seven Days' mond. struggle, says:
"Had McClellan massed his whole force in
column, and advanced it against any point of * From the time at which the enemy with our line of battle, as was done at Austerlitz, undrew his forces to this side of the Chickahominy der similar circumstances, by the greatest Capand destroyed the bridges, to the moment of his tain of any age, though the head of his column evacuation—that is, from Friday night until Sun. would have suffered greatly, its momentum day morning-I considered the situation of our would have insured him success, and the ocarmy as extremely critical and perilous. The cupation of our works about Richmond; and larger portion of it was on the opposite side of consequently the city might have been his re. the Chickahominy; the bridges had been all de ward. His failure to do so is the best evidence stroved; but one was rebuilt, the New Bridge. that our wise commander fully understood the which was commanded fully by the enemy's | character of his opponent." ming from Golding's; and there were but 25,000 l 30 June 23.
31 June 29.
The immense amounts of provisions, Station, which was held by Slocum's munitions, and supplies of all kinds division. This position they were to that could not be removed, were con- hold until dark," so as to cover the signed to destruction; while 2,500 withdrawal of the trains, and then wounded, who were unable to walk, fall back on the roads leading through and for whom no ambulances could the Swamp. be afforded, were left in hospital, Our line of movement-that is, of with surgeons and attendants, to fall retreat-being now fully compreinto the hands of the enemy. hended by the enemy, Lee ordered
Lee was evidently puzzled with Longstreet and A. P. IIill to recross regard to McClellan's intentions, not the Chickahominy at New Bridge believing that he could abandon his and pursue and attack our rear; position and the siege without a bat- Jackson moving down on their left, tle. IIe sent Ewell's infantry, as but between them and the Chickawell as some cavalry, down the left hominy; while Magruder and Hubank of the Chickahominy, to watch ger, advancing from before Richmond the roads leading down the Peninsu- on the Williamsburg and Charles la; but, receiving no advices from City roads respectively, were to strike Iluger and Magruder, still between us in flank. our army and Richmond, of any Magruder, on the Williamsburg movement of our trains or forces to- road, came in sight of our rear, néar ward the James, did not divine that Savage's Station, about noon; but, movement till late in the afternoon." finding the business serious, halted No serious attack or forward move and sent to Iluger for réenforccment was made by the enemy during ments. Meantime, an attack in that day; though in the morning, light force had been made, at 9 perceiving that Gen. Franklin's corps A. M.," on Gen. Sumner's front; but were being withdrawn from their it was easily repulsed; and Gen. Slofront at Golding's farm, opposite cum, pursuant to order, had fallen Woodbury's Bridge, the Rebels back from Savage's Station, and was opened on them from Garrett's and crossing White Oak Swamp. At 4 Gaines's llill, and soon advanced two P. M., Magruder attacked in full Georgia regiments to assault our force; and, though Gen. Heintzelworks; but they were easily repulsed man, under a misapprehension cf by the 230 New York and 49th orders, had posted his corps so far in Pennsylvania, with a section of the rear as to leave a gap of threeMott's battery.
fourths of a mile between Suinner McCall's weakened division was and Franklin, Magruder's attack was ordered to follow Porter across the gallantly repelled by Gen. Burns's Swamp during the ensuing night," brigade, supported by those of while Sumner's and Heintzelman's Brooks and Ilancock, rëenforced liy corps and Smith's division were di- two lines of reserves, and finally by rected to take up a line of advance the 69th New York; Hazzard's, stretching eastward from Keyes's old Pettit's, Osborn's, and Bramhall's intrenchments, and covering Savage's batteries playing a most effective 12 June 28. "Of June 28.
> or the 29th.
35 June 29.
BATTLE OF WHITE OAK SWAMP.
part in this struggle. By 9 P. M., the | ade, by which all his efforts to cross enemy had recoiled, without having during the day and evening were gained the least advantage; and our repelled and baffled. A heavy fire soldiers fell back, by order, upon of artillery, directed by Capt. Ayres, White Oak Swamp: Gen. French's was maintained throughout that day brigade, forming our rear-guard, be- and evening; Capt. Hazzard's bating in motion by midnight; crossing tery being badly cut up and its comand destroying White Oak Swamp mander mortally wounded; but, Bridge at 5 A. M. next morning.36 though the enemy replied with equal
Jackson, who had been delayed by spirit, and inflicted as well as suffered the necessity of rebuilding the Grape- much loss, our position was too vine Bridge over the Chickahominy, strong to be carried by assault; and reached Savage's Station early this every attempt of the Rebels to cross morning, and was ordered, with the marsh and creek--the bridge Longstreet and A. P. Hill, to follow having been destroyed—was worsted. immediately on the track of our During the night, our troops retired army, while Huger, supported by by order, leaving 350 sick and Magruder, pushed down on our wounded, and some disabled guns, to right.
fall an easy prey to the enemy, as he McClellan, with perhaps a third of advanced unopposed next morning. our army, had already emerged from But the main conflict of the day the Swamp, upon the high, open occurred at the crossing of the creek ground near MALVERN HILL; while some two miles farther up, or to the Gen. Holmes, who had just brought right of Jackson, where Lee in person, part of a Rebel division across from with Jefferson Davis, accompanied the south side of James river to Rich- Longstreet's advance, at the head of mond, moved down upon the river bis own and A. P. Hill's divisions; road, rëenforced by Gen. Wise, with encountering no resistance until part of his brigade. Coming in sight noon, when their advance descried of our advance near Malvern, he was our rear-guard, strongly posted upon about to open with his artillery, the road leading from New Market when he found that we were far too to Long Bridge, and having a small strong for him, and recoiled, await branch of the White Oak Swamp ing the advance of Magruder to his creek in their front. Seeing that we aid.
were in force, Longstreet waited till Jackson was to have deflected to-3 P. M. for the coming up of Iluger, ward the Chickahominy, so as to gain who was some 3 or 4 miles distant, our right flank and rear; but his ad- on his right, or Jackson, who was vance was checked by the destruc still nearer, on his left; but,, as tion of the bridge in his front; and neither arrived, he at length ordered on reaching, at noon, White Oak his batteries to open and his infantry Swamp Bridge, he was confronted to charge, under cover of a shower of by Gen. Franklin, with Smith's divi- shells. sion of his own corps, and Richard-/ McCall, with his Pennsylvania son's, of Sumner's, and Naglee's brig. Reserves, which hard fighting had
» June 30. VOL. 11.–11
reduced from 10,000 to 6,000 strong, flanks of the baffled column, hurling was immediately in their front, and it back in confusion to the sheltering his men for a time held their ground forest. Thus, for two hours, the desgallantly; but days of fighting, suc- perate conflict raged ; until Kerns's ceeded by nights of marching-al-battery, having fired its last charge, ways, alas ! in the wrong direction- was, by McCall's order, withdrawn had told upon the spirits as well as from the field, and Col. Roberts's inthe numbers of these green troops, so fantry, having just repulsed a Rebel suddenly transformed into veterans; charge, was charged again on its while the flushed and confident ene- left flank and driven from the field my who assailed them were twice if by a fresh force, which, rushing furinot thrice their number. An attempt ously on Cooper's battery, drove off to crush their left by the Rebels was the gunners and captured the guns. met by a charge of the 5th, 8th, 9th, A counter-charge was instantly made and 10th regiments, led by Col. Sim- by the 9th, with parts of other regimons, of the 5th, which hurled the ments; and, after a desperate but enemy back to the woods in their brief struggle, the battery was rerear, leaving about 200 prisoners in covered, and the standard of the 10th our hands, who were triumphantly Alabama taken. The Reserves still marched off the field. But here held the field, and not one of their Simmons fell, mortally wounded; I guns had been lost, when, between while hundreds of his soldiers strewed sunset and dark, Meagher's Irish brigthe field; and the charging column, ade, of Hooker's division, came up broken as it entered the woods, was on our left, and, charging desperately unable to rëform under the murder- across the open field, drove the ous fire of the enemy's infantry and Rebels back again into the woods. artillery, and fell back in disorder to McCall's right, under Gen. Meade, the woods behind its original posi- had been likewise engaged with overtion, which they held until night put whelming numbers, by whom a final an end to the contest.
charge was made, just at dark, for A succession of desperate struggles the possession of Randall's battery; ensued: the Rebels rushing forward which was carried at the point of the in charge after charge to capture our bayonet, though at a fearful cost. guns, which poured volleys of grape Gens. McCall and Meade instantly and canister, at short range, into rallied their infantry for its recapture, their close masses, sweeping them and a hand-to-hand struggle of undown by hundreds and forcing them surpassed ferocity ensued, wherein to recoil in dismay; when our sup- the Reserves were overpowered and porting regiments would pour a driven back, though the Rebels had leaden hail of musketry upon the suffered” too severely to pursue *7 Brig.-ljen. Roger A. Prvor, 5th brigade of
ade on my right had been repulsed, and that my Longstreet's corps, says:
command were exposed to a destructive fire on “About 4 o'clock, I received an order from the flank as well as in front. Nevertheless, Maj. Gen. Longstreet to go into the fight. At they stood their ground, and sustained the unonce, I moved in line toward the field; but the equal combat until rëenforced by the brigade of wood and other obstructions forced me to form Gen. Gregg. We did not return to our original column and send my regiments in successively. position until the enemy had abandoned the field Arriving on the field, I discovered that the brig- and surrendered his artillery into our possession.