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THE ENEMY THOROUGHLY BEATEN.
o'clock the pursuing enemy made their appearance and immediately opened a heavy artillery fire, which was replied to by our guns, the gunboats Galena and Jacob Bell assisting. The artillery duel was kept up until three o'clock in the afternoon, when the enemy charged in solid column upon our batteries, but were repulsed with terrible slaughter. Again and again they renewed the charge, but were as often beaten back. Despairing of dislodging us with shot and shell, or of storming our guns, they now advanced their infantry, who opened a musketry fire, and the engagement became general along the whole line. For three long hours the battle raged fiercely, neither side gaining any material advantage. But at the end of this time reinforcements arrived to the number of four Brigades, and decided the fortunes of the day. The enemy were everywhere beaten back and put to flight, many of them not stopping until they reached their defences. Some were at the time, and have since been, of the opinion that our victorious forces could have followed them into their capital. But when we consider the distance intervening, the condition of our own troops, and that this was only one wing of the rebel army that had met with defeat, it is scarcely reasonable to conclude that the success could have been followed up by the capture of Richmond. This terminated the series of engagements connected with the retreat. Like Massena fleeing before Wellington, General McClellan had again and again turned upon Lee, and as often checked him in the pursuit.
After being ordered in from the picket line, the Thirty-third was permitted a few hours' rest, and then sent to the front to support Ayers' battery. The men had hardly taken their position behind the guns, before they were ordered to move on, which they did in a furious storm. Reaching a large wheat-field, a portion of the army was found drawn up, in a hollow square, with the trains in the centre, expecting an attack. The troops were marched and countermarched, and arranged to meet the enemy, but they did not make their appearance. The Regiment here joined the others of the Brigade under Colonel Taylor, and proceeded on towards Harrison's Landing. The water was in many places from six to eight inches deep, the streams very much swollen, and various other circumstances conspired to make the marching slow and tedious. The Thirty-third, however, reached the landing about two o'clock in the afternoon, which was on the old Harrison estate, and reminded the men very much of White House Landing.
The river was full of gunboats and transports of every description. Many of the boys were so famished that they did not wait for the commissary, but swam out to the boats, and, clambering up the sides, procured something to eat. Others were so exhausted that, without delaying for food or shelter, they sank down in the mud, and were soon fast asleep. Notwithstanding the excessive heat and innumerable number of bugs and flies of every description, they found no difficulty in wooing Morpheus after the severe and terrible exposures and hardships of the
ADDRESS TO THE ARMY.
seven days previous. On the next day, which was the 4th, General McClellan issued the following address to the troops :
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, )
July 4th, 1862.
Your achievements of the last ten days have illustrated the valor and endurance of the American soldier. Attacked by superior forces, and without hope of reinforcements, you have succeeded in changing your base of operations by a flank movement, always regarded as the most hazardous of military expedients. You have saved all your material, all your trains, and all your guns, except a few lost in battle, taking in return, guns and colors from the enemy. Upon your march you were assailed, day after day, with desperate fury, by men of the same race and nation, skilfully massed and led. Under every disadvantage of number, and necessarily of position also, you have, in every conflict, beaten back your foes with enormous slaughter. Your conduct ranks you among the celebrated armies of history. No one will now question that each of you may always with pride say, “I belong to the Army of the Potomac.”
You have reached the new base, complete in organization and unimpaired in spirit. The enemy may, at any time, attack you. We are prepared to meet them. I have personally established your lines.