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of two roads, one leading to Hampton and the other to Yorktown, by which the Union troops advanced. The rebels were strongly posted behind earthworks, and a cavalry skirmish occurred, with unimportant results. The enemy's main work was Fort Magruder, at the junction of the road, on either side of which were redoubts, thirteen in number, extending across the Peninsula and connected by rifle-pits. By dark on the 4th, Hooker arrived in front of the works, after incredible toil in getting his guns through the twelve miles of mud which extended between Yorktown and the battle-field. It was only by the most strenuous exertions that the artillery was got forward ; the supply trains did not get through, and the men, with no other food than that contained in their haversacks, and worn out with toil, lay on their arms all night amidst a drenching rain, which turned the soft quicksands of the Peninsula into a slough.

The enemy's works occupied an elevated plain, sloping east and south, Approaching from the south either by the Yorktown or Hampton road, they were concealed by a heavy forest, but a belt of a mile in breadth in front of the works had been cleared, in order that an enemy's approach might be seen in season. Fort Magruder had substantial parapets and deep ditches, and commanded the Yorktown and Hampton rouds, while the neighboring redoubts coinmanded the ravines which were not swept by its guns. Early on the 5th, General Hooker made his dispositions for an attack, and at half past seven A. M. General Grover was directed to take his brigade into action. He immediately sent the First Massachusetts into some felled timber to the left of the road, with orders to skirmish up the cleared land and then turn their attention to the gunners of the fort. The Second New Hampshire had the same duty on the right; the Eleventh Massachusetts and the Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania were sent further to the right un:il they should gain the Yorktown road. Webber's battery was then sent to the front of the felled timber, where, exposed to the fire of Fort Magruder and two adjoining redoubts, it received such a storm of shot that the men were driven back. Volunteers were then called for, and a number sprang forward to work the guns. Marshall's battery then took position on the right of Webber, supported by the Fifth New Jersey. The remainder of Patterson's Brigade protected the left of the road. Meantime the Eleventh Massachusetts and the Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania had reached the Yorktown road, and were advancing on it to clear it of obstructions. The battle was now general, but the enemy was constantly strengthening his right and pressing harder upon Grover, who, re-enforced by part of Taylor's Excelsior Brigade, was enabled to hold his own until one o'clock, when the remainder of Taylor's Brigade was ordered up, and the Eleventh Massachusetts was recalled from the right to further strengthen the left, where Taylor's men were falling short of ammunition. The enemy was now re-enforced by Longstreet, and at the same time made a vigorous attack upon the Federal batteries in front, by which five guns were captured. At about four o'clock, General Kearny with his division reached the field, replacing the exhausted lines of Hooker, which were withdrawn from the contest. The loss in Hookers Division was one thousand two hundred and forty killed and wounded. While the left was thus engaged, General Hancock's Brigade was deployed on the extreme right, under the supervision of General Keyes, and took possession of two of the enemy's outer works. He then formed in line of battle in an open field, and opened upon Fort Paige. The enemy, perceiving that he was unsupported, attempted to get in his rear; as they advanced they were met by a brilliant bayonet charge, which drove them back effectually, During the night of Monday heavy Federal re-enforcements were moved to the front, but as the rain continued, and the roads were made worse by the movement upon them, it was impossible to get up the supply trains, and the troops suffered for want of food. In the morning the Confederate army was seen drawn up in front of Williamsburg, but beyond the forts, which it was soon discovered had been abandoned. The enemy were already in motion, to the rear, and before their deserted works were occupied they were already beyond the city, marching to the north west. There were no guns captured in the forts. The enemy reported his killed and wounded at two hundred and twenty, and that he captured six hundred and twenty-three prisoners and eleven field-pieces. These results gave General McClel. lan, who arrived on the field at five o'clock on Monday, great satisfaction, as appears from his dispatch as follows:


“WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA, Tuesday, May 6.5 “Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

“I have the pleasure to announce the occupation of this place as the result of the hard-fought action of yesterday.

"The effect of Hancock's brilliant engagement yesterday afternoon was to turn the lest of their line of works. He was strongly re-enforced, and the enemy abandoned the entire position during the night, leaving all his sick and wounded in our hands. His loss yesterday was very severe.

"We have some three hundred uninjured prisoners, and more than a thousand wounded. Their loss in killed is heavy. The victory is complete. I have sent cavalry in pur.


"The conduct of our men has been excellent, with scarcely an exception.

"The enemy's works are very extensive and exceedingly strong, both in respect to position and the works themselves. **Our loss was heavy in Hooker's Division, but very little on other parts of the field, " Hancock's success was gained with a loss of not over twenty killed and wounded.

“The weather is good to-day, but there is great difficulty in getting up food on account of the roads. Very few wagons have yet come up.

"Am I authorized to follow the example of other generals, and direct the names of battles to be placed on colors of regiments ? “We have other battles to fight before reaching Richmond.

"G. B. MOCLELLAN, “ Major-General Commanding."

The enemy retreated beyond the Chickahominy, to which stream the cavalry pursued then, finding no fortifications, but capturing some prisoners and guns.

There is but little doubt that the battle of Williamsburg was, on the Federal side, one of the most poorly managed actions of the war. The place was strong and well fortified, and if the enemy fought there at all, he would, it was to be supposed, do so in great force. Hence he should have been attacked by the main body of the Union army. Instead of this, however, the battle was commenced and fought by different corps, without concert of action, and without any general order. The cavalry of Stoneman overtook the enemy's rear-guard, under circumstances which forced the enemy to send back his infantry, already far in advance, to rescue them. Hooker attacked, and was severely handled. Kearny came to his rescue, outranked him, and continued the battle, which was sustained by the operations of Hancock. General McClellan did not arrive on the field until the hardest fighting of the day was ended. In the night, the enemy resumed his retreat. The Union loss was several thousand men, and the enemy had gained time for his trains to move on.

The division of General Franklin arrived at West Point on the afternoon of the 6th, and was immediately landed on the south side of the Pamunkey River, half a mile below West Point. The enemy disappeared on the approach of the Federal gunboats, and on the same evening, part of General Sedgwick's troops, under General Dana, arrived. On the morning of the 7th, these troops landed, and immediately advanced to drive the enemy, who were assembling in a piece of woods above. The latter, however, pressed so heavily on the left, that the Federals were forced back with some loss, until they came within range of the gunboats, the vigorous fire of which threw the enemy into confusion, and they retired. General Franklin then completed his landing, and further arrivals of troops from Yorktown and Fortress Monroe strengthened the position, which became an important base for the movement upon Richmond.

The enemy retired slowly and in good order towards Richmond, skirmishing as they went, while the main body of the Federal army, under McClellan, followed slowly over the heavy roads. On the oth of May, his head-quarters were twelve miles from Williamsburg, and Stoneman defeated the enemy's cavalry at New Kent Court-House; on the 10th, the enemy, under Longstreet, evacuated Cumberland, on the Pamunkey, which was occupied by the Federal cavalry. On the following day, May 11th, the cavalry advance reached White House, a station of the Richmond and York Railroad, on the Pamunkev. twenty miles from Richmond. A junction was now effected with Franklin's Corps, and, on the 14th, nearly the whole of the invading army was concentrated at Cumberland, on the Pamunkey, near White House. The troops were now permitted to rest, put their arms in order, recover from their fatiguing march, and recruit from their short rations. The advance was again ordered for the 19th, when the indefatigable Stoneman occupied Cold Harbor, ten miles northwest of Richmond, by turnpike and by New Bridge, over the Chickahominy, eight miles from Richmond. There was now no enemy north of the Chickahominy. In the march from Yorktown, innumerable hardships, as they seemed to a raw army, had been overcome, and great labors had been performed; roads had been constructed, bridges built, and the enemy driven before them. The men were now recruited, and eager again to advance.

Soon after the evacuation of Yorktown, the rebels retired from Norfolk, and blew up the Merrimac, thus leaving the river 'open to the Union war-vessels. The gunboats Aroostook, Galena, and Port Royal, with the Naugatuck and the Monitor, immediately moved up, getting aground occasionally, but meeting no opposition until within eight miles from Richmond, at Ward's Bluff, crowned by Fort Darling. At that point were constructed two batteries of piles, sunken steamboats, and sail-vessels, secured by chains, and the banks of the river were lined with rifle-pits. The Galena ran up to the barrier, swung across the stream, and opened upon the fort. The Monitor ran above her, but her guns could not be elevated to reach the fort, which was two hundred feet high. The Naugatuck's one-hundredpounder gun burst, and she was consequently disabled. The wooden vessels kept out of range around a bend in the river. The Galena, after four hours' firing, expended her ammunition, and hauled off with thirteen killed and eleven wounded. The sides of the Galena, which sloped with the view of causing shot striking her to glance off, were found to present only a fairer mark for shot from elevated points, and were too thinly armored to resist heavy metal. This was one of the first practical lessons in gunboat armor.


Taking of Norfolk.–Chickahominy.-Position of Enemy.--Hanover Court-House

Battle of Fair Oaks.-Advance of the Reserves.-Retreat of the Enemy.

The evacuation of Yorktown was immediately followed by another event which had important results. Norfolk, Virginia, had been held by the Confederates since the surrender to them of Gosport NavyYard with its vast military stores. It was the only naval dépôt then possessed by them, and also the only harbor of refuge for the Merrimac. It had long been threatened on the south by the corps of General Burnside, who held Elizabeth City and Weldon, North Carolina, and it was but inadequately defended by General Huger with a small force. It was therefore determined to land troops, under cover of the gunboats, and capture the place. The point selected for landing the troops was inspected by President Lincoln, who, on the 8th of May, went across from Fortress Monroe to a spot (Willoughby's Point) about one mile below the Rip Raps. On his return, a dozen transports were loaded with troops, and at daylight of the 10th landed at the appointed place. The main body of the troops, under Generals Mansfield and Webber, pushed directly for Norfolk, while General Wool and staff remained to superintend the disembarkation of the remainder of the force, all of whom were landed and in motion before noon. The harbor defences at Sewell's Point and Craney Island had been shelled on the previous day by the fleet under Flag-officer Goldsborough, and the Confederate commander abandoned Norfolk on the landing of the troops. As the latter approached, they were met by the mayor and other officials, who surrendered to General Wool, on his promise to respect private property. He issued the following proclamation:


“NORFOLK, May 10, 1862.5 "The city of Norfolk having been surrendered to the Government of the United States, military possession of the same is taken in behalf of the National Government, by Major-General John E. Wool.

* Brigadier-General Viele is appointed Military Governor for the time being. He will see that all citizens are carefully protected in all their rights and privileges, taking the utmost care to preserve order, and to see that no soldiers are permitted to enter the city except by his order, or by the written permission of the commanding officer of his brigade or regiment, and he will punish summarily any American soldier who shall trespass upon the rights of any of the inhabitants. “ (Signed)

John E. Wool, Major-General."

By the evacuation of Norfolk, the important works on Craney Island and the Elizabeth River, which had barred the ascent of the James, also fell into the hands of the Federal troops.

This event was followed by the destruction of the Merrimac, on the morning of the 11th, by order of Commodore Tatnall. He stated that the pilots bad assured him that if she was lightened she could be taken up James River. He accordingly threw her armament overboard, but without effecting the desired results. Being now disarmed, and having no place of refuge, she was set on fire, and shortly exploded. A court of inquiry subsequently stated that her destruction was unnecessary; that she could have been taken up James River to Hog Island, where, the channel being narrow, she could effectively have prevented the ascent of the enemy's vessels. Martial law was proclaimed at Norfolk, and the following proclamation issued :

"NORFOLK, VA., May 10, 1862. “ The occupancy of the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth is for the protection of the public property and the maintenance of the public laws of the United States. Private associations and domestic quiet will not be disturbed, but violations of order and disrespect to the Government will be followed by the immediate arrest of the offenders.

"Those who have left their homes under the anticipation of any acts of vandalism, may be assured that the Government allows no man the honor of serving in its armies who forgets the duties of a citizen in discharging those of a soldier, and that no individual rights will be interfered with.

*The sale of liquor is prohibited. The offices of the Military Governor and of the Provost-Marsbal are at the Custom-House. "(Signed)

EGBERT L. VIELE, Brigadier-General U. S. A., and Military Governor.”

Immediate steps were taken to strengthen the Union position. A force was pushed forward to Suffolk, twenty-two miles from Norfolk, which forms the junction of the Seaboard and Roanoke, and Norfolk and Petersburg Railroads. By the occupation of this point a junction might be effected, by means of the former road, with General Burnside, who was supposed to be at Weldon, North Carolina. An internal route of communication was also established via the Dismal Swamp Canal between Burnside and McClellan, The occupation of

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