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Farm fight, was paraded before the Division with his head half-shaved, and a placard marked "Coward," suspended upon his back. He was also sentenced to forfeit all back pay, and spend the remainder of his time of enlistment at the Tortngas. All the Regiments were drawn up in line of battle, and the cidprit marched back and forth before them, while a band played "the rogue's march."
Owing to the movements of the enemy in front of General Pope, unhealthy location of the army at Harrison's Landing, and because they had come to regard the Peninsula route to Richmond impracticable, and lost confidence in General McClellan's capacity, the military authorities at AVashington decided, early in the month of August, to recall the army from the Peninsula. General McClellan was strongly opposed to this, declaring to them that if fifty thousand reinforcements were furnished him, lie would yet enter the rebel capital. His wishes, however, were not complied with, and preparations for a "change of base" were commenced. Smith's Division received orders to be in readiness to march at daylight, Thursday, August 14th. It did not move, however, until the following Saturday. All the necessary preparations were conducted with secrecy and dispatch; wooden guns were planted on the fort which the Thirty-third had assisted in building, and sentinels of straw were posted a few feet apart on the ramparts. All day Thursday and Friday, other portions of the army marched by, the artillery and wagon trains proceeding at night. Generals
162 ON THE MARCH.
Porter's, Keyes', and Sumner's Corps proceeded by the Charles City Court House, and General Heintzelman's by the Cole's Ford route. The object of the previous movement to Malvern was now explained, it having been made to mislead the enemy, and cause them to think that another advance was intended.
About four o'clock Saturday afternoon, Smith's Division took up the line of march. As the troops moved away, the enemy who, apparently for the first time, had discovered the movement, drew near and fired for some time at the sham pickets or sentinels, occasioning many humorous remarks from the soldiers, such as, "They won't drive them," "Why don't you drop him, Mr. Rebel." "How are you, sharp-shooter," &c., &c. The column was forty miles in length, General Porter, who was at the head, having then reached Williamsburg. The Thirty-third proceeded by the river road, and marching five miles the first night, encamped on a deserted plantation. While halting by the way, General McClellan appeared, and after addressing the men a few encouraging words, urged the necessity of marching as rapidly as possible. The moon shone brightly, but the air was chilly, and many who had thrown away their blankets suffered from the cold and heavy dew. The following day, Sunday, the march was resumed at six o'clock, and continued until three in the afternoon. The Regiment marched seventeen miles, crossing the Chickahominy near its mouth on a pontoon bridge—the longest ever constructed in this country—consisting of ninety-six boats, anchored about twenty feet apart.
A PATRIOTIC SWEDISH COLONEL. 163
Among other craft lying here was the steamer Matamora, which had conveyed a portion of the Thirty-third from Alexandria to Fortress Monroe. The troops encamped in a wheat-field on an elevated spot about one-fourth of a mile back from the rivfr. All danger of an attack from the enemy was now past, and they slept soundly after their long and wearisome march. The country for miles back in the interior was very flat, almost on a level with the river's bank, and abounded in swamps and marshes. Evidences of ruin and decay were seen all along the route. The orchards had frequently been so neglected that a second growth of trees had sprung up and grown through the limbs of the older ones, presenting an anomalous sight. Col. Vegesack, who had been assigned to the 20th New York, now took command of the Brigade, and Lieutenant-Colonel Corning returned to the Regiment. Col. Vegesack, ■ who had obtained a furlough from the Swedisharmy to cross the water and fight in behalf of the Union, was a brave and beloved officer. While the first battle of Fredericksburg was in progress, he received an extension of time, and in announcing the fact to his men on the field, added; "My soldiers, I fight from patriotism: you fight from patriotism and for country; I expect that you will fight well."
The next day the Regiment marched fifteen miles, passing through Williamsburg. The inhabitants manifested in various ways their delight at seeing the army retreating, which four months before hadmarched so victoriously in the opposite direction.
164 GRAVES OF UNION SOLDIEBS.
Marching by Fort Magruder and the old battle-field, the Thirtythird bivouacked in a pleasant spot three miles beyond. The troops rose early the next morning, and by six o'clock were in motion. Proceeding through Yorktown, the Regiment encamped near a grave-yard, two miles distant from the cifr^ in which two of General Washington's Aids, killed in the first siege of Yorktown, were buried. Officers and men now for the first time visited the city, spending several hours in wandering through the streets, and examining the heavy fortifications constructed by the enemy. General Van Allen was in command of the place. Near to the fortifications was a "Union Cemetery," containing the graves of 300 Union soldiers, each of which was adorned by a neat head-board, designating the name and Regiment of the soldier. Wednesday the march was resumed at five o'clock, and continued for ten miles, until Big Bethel was reached. At ten o'clock on the following morning the Regiment arrived in Hampton. The various Divisions of the army had now reached here, the entire retrograde movement having been performed most successfully.
LEAVING THE PENINSULA. 165
Abandonment of the Peninsula.—Arrival at Acquia Creek.— Disembarkation at Alexandria.—Pope's Operations.—Death of Generals Stevens and Kearney.—Retreat to the Fortifications.— Responsibility for the Disaster.—Fitz-John Porter.
On the following day, the Thirty-third and other Regiments of the Third Brigade embarked at Fortress Monroe, on board the steamers Vanderbilt and Empire City, and came to anchor the same evening at Acqnia Creek. The design in sending them here was to reinforce General Burnside, who had already arrived, and held Fredericksburg with a large force. As affairs were assuming a threatening attitude around Washington, it was deemed best, however, to withdraw all the troops from Fredericksburg and vicinity. General Burnside, therefore, commenced evacuating the region the same day that the Thirtythird arrived. The three bridges constructed over the Rappahannock, the railroad, Quartermaster and commissary buildings at Falmouth, were destroyed, the Fredericksburg machine-shop and foundry blown up, and various other property laid in ruins. As the last of the forces were leaving, a woman appeared, with three little children clinging to her