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156 ATTACK OF TEXAN CAVALRY.
Let them come, and we will convert their repulse into a final defeat.
Your government is strengthening you with the resources of a great people. On this, our Nation's birthday, we declare to our foes, who are rebels against the best interests of mankind, that this army shall enter the capital of the so-called Confederacy; that our National constitution shall prevail; and that the Union, which can alone insure internal peace and external security to each State, "must and shall be preserved," cost what it may in time, treasure, and blood.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN
This stirring address was received with immense enthusiasm by the army. During the day a national salute was fired at the headquarters of each Army Corps, and immediately after the bands played various national airs. General McClellan likewise visited all the troops in the afternoon, and they paraded before him.
The position here was one of great beauty, the country being open, rolling, and skirted with large and variegated forests. Beautiful country residences, belonging to aristocratic owners, were seen in every direction.
Saturday morning, 5th, Smith's Division was sent back on the Charles City Cross-roads, two and a half miles, to the support of General Shields' forces, which had been attacked by Texan cavalry. The rebels were repulsed, and fled, leaving one gun in our pos
CLEARING AWAY THE FORE8T8. 157
session. The Brigade remained here, and pitched their tents in a very commanding though unhealthy position. The water was frequently so stagnant that fish could not live in it, floating lifeless to the top. The men immediately commenced earthworks on the highlands in the vicinity of the Landing. The Thirty-third assisted in the construction of an extensive fort, mounting several 32-pounders. When completed, it presented a very formidable appearance. An immense amount of slashing was also performed. It was a fine sight to see a whole forest rapidly disappear before the sturdy blows of a thousand choppers. While one Regiment used the axes, another was posted in front to prevent the enemy's sharpshooters from firing upon them.
The men learned, with much satisfaction, soon after reaching the Landing, of the capture of their old acquaintance, the Teaser, which surrendered to the. Union gunboat Mantanzas.
Much sickness prevailed among the camps, owing to the unhealthy surroundings and impure water. Many died, and many more were taken North, not, however, before the seeds of death had been implanted in their constitutions. Each Company of the Thirty-third provided itself with a well, and afterwards enjoyed the luxury of pure water. Everything pertaining to a soldier's living was furnished in abundance, after affairs became settled, sweet bread, in addition to many other things, being added to the bill of fare. While here, General Smith was
confirmed as a Brigadier General of Volunteers.
158 RETURN OF GEN. DAVIDSON TO THE BRIGADE.
He was likewise nominated for a Major Generalship. General Davidson, recovering from the effects of the sunstroke, resumed command of the Brigade, and Colonel Taylor returned to his Regiment. One reconnoissance was made by him in the direction of Richmond.
VISITS FROM PRES'T LINCOLN AND GEN. HALLECK. 159
Arrival of Reinforcements.—Visit of President Lincoln.—Attack by the Enemy.—Reconnoissance to Malvern Hills.—A Deserter drummed out of Camp.—A change of base decided upon. — Return March to Fortress Monroe.—Scenes by the way.
Reinforcements began to come up the river, so that in a few days the army numbered one hundred and twenty thousand men.
On the inorning of the 8th President Lincoln arrived unexpectedly from Fortress Monroe, and was welcomed with a salute of thirty-two guns. After spending a few hours at Headquarters, he proceeded to review the various commands, accompanied by General McClellan. As he rode along the lines, and observed the thinned ranks and torn and tattered flags, he exhibited much emotion. The review was not completed until 9 o'clock, the moon shining brightly, and a cool, fresh breeze blowing from off the water. General Halleck likewise made his appearance on the 24th, and inspected the army.
The enemy soon began to show themselves on the opposite and higher bank of the river, and in the course of a few days increased to the number of several thousand. About midnight, on the 31st, they
160 BECONNOIS3ANCE TO MALVEBN HILLS.
opened a vigorous fire from three batteries on our shipping and camps. Many of the shells struck in the vicinity of the Thirty-third. Our gunboats returned the fire, and, with the assistance of the siege-guns, drove them away, at the end of two hours. Only two men were killed, and twelve wounded, by this night attack.
On the following morning eight hundred troops crossed the river in boats, and burned all the buildings, and cut down the trees in the vicinity.
Monday, August 4th, a force consisting of infantry, cavalry and artillery, under General Hooker, proceeded back to Malvern Hills, and after a brief engagement re-occupied them, the enemy retreating. They remained here until Wednesday, and then returned to camp. On the following Friday, great rejoicing was occasioned in General Hooker's Division, on the reception of the news that he had been promoted to a Major Generalship. The troops assembled en-masse at his headquarters, and cheered vociferously for "Fighting Joe," while various bands discoursed national airs. Several hundred lighted candles were fixed in the surrounding trees, imparting a beautiful effect to the scene. The same day Colonel Taylor left for the north on recruiting service, taking with him Lieutenant Corning and a Sergeant from each Company. Gen. Davidson also departed, having been ordered to the Department of Missouri. Lieutenant-Colonel Corning, being now senior officer of the Brigade, assumed command of it.
A soldier who had run away from the Golden's