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was then rising rapidly, and when I re- right front, and at that point I posted a ceived the order to advance one of the battery of ten-pound Parrott rifle-guns, bridges becaine impassable in a very directed by Captain Hazard, 4th artilshort time, and many of the timbers of lery. I also posted the brigade of Genthe other bridge were floating ; we, how-eral French, and one regiment of However, succeeded in crossing, and I ad-ard's brigade, in my front line. The revanced rapidly to Fair Oaks with Sedg- maining three regiments of Howard's wick's division. On reaching Fair Oaks brigade formed a second line, and GenI was met by General Couch, who told eral Meagher's brigade, with remaining me that he had been separated by the eighteen pieces of artillery, in third line. enemy from the rest of the army, and The early part of the morning passed was expecting an attack every moment. away; the enemy made his first appear[ formed this division of Sedgwick's, to- ance on the other side of the large field, gether with Couch's troops-assuming his skirmishers forming in line across it command of the whole-as quickly as and advancing. A large body of cavalry possible, with a battery of artillery be- was also seen in the woods on the other tween the two divisions. Before the side, drawn up in column, as if to head a formation was completed, the enemy mass of infantry in column of attack for made a ferocious attack on my center, the assault. This soon drew the fire of evidently with the expectation of getting our Parrott guns. The line of skirmishpossession of my battery. My forces ers fell back before it ; the cavalry broke, were formed in two lines, nearly at right and this, which no doubt was intended as angles. I had six regiments in hand on the real attack, failed at once, and the the left of the battery. After sustaining head of the column turned down the a very severe fire for some time, those railroad toward my left. My division, six regiments charged directly into the occupying the centre of our whole line woods, crossing a broken down fence in of battle, now appeared to be the object doing so. The enemy then fled, and the of attack, to follow the favorite plan of
1 yesterday. It was now half-past six So closed the battles of Saturday. The o'clock in the morning. All at once the division of Richardson was brought up enemy came upon us in full force on the that night, and was prominent in the ac- railroad, which, on my left flank, was tion of the next day, which closed this crossed by two common wood roads, fierce and extended conflict. A letter along which they pushed columns of atwritten by that officer presents an ani- tack in mass, supported on both flanks mated account of the concluding scene— by battalions of infantry deployed in line “Sunday, June 1st, the army had lain on of battle. Generals French and Howard their arms all night in our front, the 5th now opened upon them a steady and Texas, 2d Mississippi, and 2d Texas well-directed fire from their brigades, regiments bivouacking within half mus- within half musket shot. I immediately ket shot of my front and picket, within communicated with those officers my speaking distance. Every one knew that willing intention to furnish them reinthe struggle would recommence in the forcements as soon as needed. After a morning, and our whole line 'stood to close fire of musketry of an hour and a arms. At three o'clock in the morning, half, without any regiment giving ground before light, the enemy drew in all his on our part, the head of the enemy's pickets. The line of railroad is bordered column broke their line of battle, waverby woods on both sides, except a few ed, and the rout became general for the open spaces. There was a large field time. I had thrown in, in the mean time, three-fourths of a mile in extent on my the two reserve regiments of Howard,
action was over for that maturday. The o'clock in the morning full force on the
to replace those regiments of the front The casualities in these engagements line who had expended all their car- were very heavy. The total Union loss, tridges, the relieved regiments coming as furnished by General McClellan, was, out and filling their boxes again. Sixty in the corps of General Sumner, 183 rounds had now been fired per man, and killed, 894 wounded, and 146 missing ; the battle was supposed to be ended. in that of Heintzelman, 259 killed, 980 Hardly was this effected, however, when wounded, 155 missing ; in that of Keyes, the enemy's column, being reinforced by 448 killed, 1,753 wounded, and 921 missthe reserve, gave a general shout, and ing—a grand total of 5,739. General again advanced to the attack. This time Johnston, in his report, states the ConI threw into action, in support, the Irish federate loss in the command of General regiments of General Meagher's brigade, Longstreet, at 3,000, in that of General reserving some of the first, which had Smith 1,233—altogether 4,233. Genbeen much shattered in the early part of eral Hill's division was included in Longthe conflict, and our steady fire was con- street's command, and General Huger tinued about one hour more, until the en- did not reach the field. Many prisoners emy again fell back. Their retreat this were taken by the Union troops, includtime was more precipitate than before, ing General Pettigrew and Colonel Long. and three of the Parrott guns, which I General Johnston claimed the capture had just placed in a new position, now of several hundred prisoners, ten pieces opened their fire, and did what they could of artillery, 6,000 muskets, one garrison to hurry up the retreat. The enemy did flag, and four regimental colors, besides not see fit to renew the attack, and from a large quantity of tents and camp the account given by prisoners and desert- equipage. ers, they must have been badly beaten.” ! In his first dispatch from the field of
It was General Sumner's prompt battle, in telegraphing the result of the movement on the afternoon of the 30th, conflict to the Secretary of War, trusting "instead of merely preparing to move, to various reports, General McClellan advancing," which saved the day for commented with severity upon the conthe Union army. The river was rising duct of Casey's division. “They gave rapidly when General Sumner crossed; way," he said, “unaccountably and disit continued to rise afterwards, and speed- creditably.” In a subsequent dispatch, ily became impracticable. They met and however, on the 5th, he modified his repulsed the fresh division of General censure. “From statements made to me Smith, which would probably else have subsequently by Generals Casey and succeeded in its flank movement, and Naglee,” he wrote, “I am induced to becutting the Union force off from retreat lieve that portions of this division beby the road by which it had crossed the haved well, and made a most gallant stand Chickahominy, would have driven it to against superior numbers." The report utter destruction in the labyrinths of of those officers, and the simple statement White Oak swamp. It was in this en-of the heavy losses incurred, with a cancounter that the Confederate commander- did review of the circumstances of the in-chief, General Johnston, who had been case, will, indeed, exonerate the division stationed during the day with the divi- from any opprobious condemnation. “If sion of General Smith, was, about sunset, a portion of my division,” says General struck from his horse, severely wounded Casey, after reviewing the condition of by a fragment of a shell. The missile the greater part of his command, raw struck him in the right shoulder, and it troops on leaving Washington, ill prowas said that in falling from his horse vided and fearfully exposed on the Pentwo ribs were fractured.
insula, "did not behave as well as could
to the division, after cases. It is disrecand though oppo
have been wished, it must be remember- the loved ones you have left at home. ed to what a terrible ordeal they were | You are fighting for all that is dearest to subjected ; still, those that bebaved dis- men, and though opposed to a foe who creditably were exceptional cases. It is disregards many of the usages of civilized true that the division, after being nearly warfare, your humanity to the wounded surrounded by the enemy, and losing and the prisoners was the fit and crownone-third of the number actually engaged, ing glory to your valor. Defenders of a retreated to the second line ; they would just cause, may God have you in his all have been prisoners of war had they holy keeping !" delayed their retreat a few minutes. The address of General McClellan to longer.”
his troops from his camp near New On the 2d of June, the day after this Bridge ran thus : "Soldiers of the army conflict, two important bulletins were is- of the Potomac: I have fulfilled at least sued, one addressed by President Jeffer- a part of my promise to you. You are son Davis to“ the army of Richmond,” the now face to face with the rebels, who are other by Gen. McClellan to “the army of held at bay in front of the capital. The the Potomac." The former had most to final and decisive battle is at hand. Unsay of the present ; both looked to the less you belie your past history the result continuance of the contest in battles as se- cannot be for a moment doubtsul. If the vere in the future. “I render to you troops who labored so faithfully, and my grateful acknowledgments," said Jef- fought so gallantly, at Yorktown, and ferson Davis, “for the gallantry and who so bravely won the hard fights at good conduct you displayed in the battles Williamsburg, West Point, Hanover of the 31st May and 1st inst., and with | Court House, and Fair Oaks, now prove pride and pleasure recognize the steadi- worthy of their antecedents, the victory ness and intrepidity with which you at- is surely ours. The events of every day tacked the enemy in position, captured prove your superiority. Wherever you his advanced entrenchments, several bat-have met the enemy you have beaten teries of artillery, and many standards, him. Wherever you have used the bayand everywhere drove them from the onet he has given way in panic and disopen field. At a part of your operations order. I ask of you now one last crownit was my fortune to be present. On no ing effort. The enemy has staked his all other occasion have I witnessed more of on the issue of the coming battle. Let calmness and good order than you ex- us meet him and crush him here, in the hibited while advancing into the very very centre of the rebellion. Soldiers, I jaws of death, and nothing could exceed will be with you in this battle, and share. the prowess with which you closed upon its dangers with you. Our confidence in the enemy when a sheet of fire was each other is now founded upon the past. blazing in your faces. In the renewed Let us strike the blow which is to restore struggle in which you are on the eve of peace and union to this distracted land. engaging, I ask, and can desire, but a Upon your valor, discipline, and mutual continuance of the same conduct which confidence the result depends." now attracts the admiration and pride of
THE SEVEN DAYS BATTLES BEFORE RICHMOND AND RETREAT FROM THE PENINSULA,
FROM the glowing address to his army / woods, which were flooded by frequent with which the last chapter concludes, rains, while the midsummer sun-never and from the tenor of a letter written by more severe than at times in this region-him the same day—that following the inflamed thc pestilent influences of crowdbattle of Fair Oaks—to the Secretary of ed camps and noxious marshes into acWar, it would appear that General Mc- tive and virulent diseases. Thousands Clellan meditated an immediate move- of strong men, during these operations of ment upon the enemy. “I only wait," the “siege of Richmond,” slowly sickenhe wrote, “for the river to fall, to cross ed of fever, and died in the swamps of with the rest of the force, and make a the Chickabominy, a name which grew general attack. Should I find them hold to the country a terrible word of fear, ing firm in a very strong position, I may synonymous with suffering in its most agwait for what troops I can bring up from gravated forms. The enemy, meanwhile, Fortress Monroe. But the morale of my encouraged by the brilliant successes of troops is now such that I can venture Jackson in his dash through the valley, much. I do not fear for odds against and by the heroism of their divisions at me. The victory is complete, and all Seven Pines, were greatly strengthening credit is due to the gallantry of our their forces in and about Richmond, unofficers and men.” The condition of der the skillful leadership of General the ground, however, and the state of Robert E. Lee, who had succeeded Genwater in the Chickahominy, remained eral Johnston in command of the Consuch, as in the judgment of the com- federate army. mander, to render the projected forward By an order of the War Department movement, for the time, impossible, and on the 2d of June, the Department of the month of June was mainly passed in Virginia extended to include that part preparations for an advance, which, at of the State south of the Rappahannock the close, by the superiority of the ene- and east of the railroad from Fredericksmy, was suddenly changed into a precipi- burg to Richmond, Petersburg, and Weltate retreat. This was emphatically the don, was assigned to General McClellan. season of trial to the army of the Poto- This brought Fortress Monroe under his mac. The victory of Fair Oaks left the authority, and a change of officers at that several corps on the right bank of the point, General Dix succeeding to General Chickahominy, in possession of the bat- / Wool, who was appointed to the comtle field, with their pickets, as before, mand of the Middle Department, with within five miles of Richmond ; and the his headquarters at Baltimore. General natural difficulties of the position remain- McClellan had thus an additional force ed the same. The ground was impassa of several thousand troops immediately ble for artillery, the slender communica- at his disposal, and was still further tions with the right wing had to be re- strengthened, in the following fortnight, paired and increased in the building of by the arrival of General McCall's divibridges; encampments and entrench- sion, about 11,000 in number, detached ments had to be formed in the swampy from the command of General McDowell, Washington being again relieved of its you that I did not depart from their fears of capture by the retreat up the spirit, and that the boldness developed valley of “Stonewall” Jackson.
in the subsequent direction of the march. It was about this time that the army was the quintessence of prudence. The on the Peninsula was startled by a bril- destination of the expedition was kept a liant cavalry raid of the enemy, which, profound secret (so essential to success), in a three days' adventure, from the 13th and was known to my command only as to the 15th of June, swept the whole cir- the actual march developed it. cuit of the Union lines in the rear of the “The force was quietly concentrated camps, from the outposts of the right beyond the Chickahominy, near Kirby's wing, toward Hanover Court House, Station, on the Richmond, Fredericksacross the railway, and by the lower burg and Potomac railroad, and moved course of the Chickahominy back to thence parallel to and to the left of that Richmond, inflicting considerable damage road. Scouts were kept far to the right in the destruction of stores, and in several to ascertain the enemy's whereabouts, encounters laying bare the weakness of and advanced guard flankers, and rear the communications of McClellan's army guard, to secure our column against surwith its base at York river. As this prise. I purposely directed my first was, up to this time, one of the most day's march (Thursday, June 12), so as daring exploits of the war, and became to favor the idea of reinforcing Jackson, the model of others of equal and greater and camped just opposite Hanover Court temerity and success, undertaken on both House, near Southana bridge (R., F. and sides, the reader may be interested in P. railroad), twenty-two miles from Richthe particular narrative of the affair pre- mond. Our noiseless bivouac was broken sented in the official report of General early next morning, and without flag or J. E. B. Stuart, the eminent cavalry bugle sound we resumed our march, officer to whom the conduct of the expe- none but one knew whither. I, however, dition was assigned by General Lee. immediately took occasion to make known
“In compliance,” he writes to General my instructions and plans confidently to Lee, “with your written instructions, I the regimental commanders, so as to seundertook an expedition to the vicinity cure an intelligent action and coöperaof the enemy's lines on the Pamunkey, tion in whatever might occur. Scouts with about twelve hundred cavalry and had returned, indicating no serious oba section of the Stuart horse artillery. stacles to my march from that to Old The cavalry was composed of portions of Church, directly in rear of, and on the the 1st, 4th, and 9th Virginia cavalry, overland avenue of communication to the second named having no field officer New Bridge and vicinity. I proceeded, present, was, for the time being, divided therefore, via Hanover Court House, upbetween the first and last mentioned, on the route to Old Church. Upon reachcommanded, respectively, by Colonel | ing the vicinity of Hanover Court House, Fitz. Lee and Colonel W. H. Fitzhugh I found it in possession of the enemy; Lee, also two squadrons of the Jeff. but very little could be ascertained Davis Legion, commanded by Lieutenant about the strength and nature of his Colonel W. T. Martin ; the section of ar- force. I, therefore, sent Colonel Fitz. tillery being commanded by First Lieu- Lee's regiment, 1st Virginia cavalry, to tenant James Breathed. Although the make a detour to the right, and reach expedition was prosecuted further than the enemy's route behind him, to ascerwas at first contemplated in your instruc-tain his force here, and crush it, if postions, I feel assured that the considera-sible ; but the enemy: proving afterward tions which actuated me will convince to be one hundred and fifty cavalry, did