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General McClellan did not visit the field of battle CH. XXIII. during the day. At night he summoned Porter across the river, and there made known to him and the other corps commanders, for the first time, his intention to change his base to the James. Porter was ordered to retire to the south bank, and destroy the bridges after him. This was accomplished safely and in good order, and the bridges were destroyed soon after sunrise on the 28th. The move- June, 1862. ment to the James once resolved upon, it was executed with great energy and ability. General Keyes moved his corps, with artillery and baggage, across the White Oak Swamp, and possessed himself of the ground on the other side, for the covering of the passage of the other troops and the trains, by noon of the 28th. General Porter's corps, during the same day and night, crossed the White Oak Swamp, and established itself in positions that covered the roads from Richmond. Franklin withdrew from the extreme right after a skirmish at Golding's Farm. Keyes and Porter continued in the advance, and established their two corps safely at Malvern Hill, thus securing the extreme left flank of the army in a commanding and important situation.
three-fourths of the troops had way. This fraction he could have crossed the Chickahominy, have beaten in four hours, and marched apprehended that he would adopt to Richmond in two hours more.” the course you suggest for him. - Published in the “New-York Had he done so, he might have Times," June 17, 1883. been in Richmond on Friday be 1 “Question. Were you with the fore midday. By concentrating right or left wing of the army his troops on the south side of during the battle of Gaines's Mill? the river before daybreak on Fri “Answer. [General McClellan.] Report day he would have been between I was on the right bank of the of the
Committee our main body and the city, with river, at Dr. Trent's house, as on Conduct only one-fourth of our force in his the most central position.” of the War.
This movement took General Lee completely k surprise. Anticipating nothing but a retreat dow the Chickahominy,' he had thrown his left win and his entire cavalry force in that direction
when he became aware of his mistake, a good des vol. &I., of precious time was already lost, and he was de
prived, during the three days that followed, o June, 1882. Stuart's invaluable services. But on the 29th
having ascertained that McClellan was marching to the James, he immediately started in pursuit, send ing his whole force by parallel roads to intercept the Army of the Potomac near Charles City Crossroads, midway between the White Oak Swamp and the James. Longstreet was to march with A. P. Hill by the Long Bridge road; while Huger was to come up at the same time by the Charles City road, and General Holmes was to take up position below him on the river road. Jackson, crossing the Grapevine Bridge, was to come in from the north on the rear of the Federal army.
Even the terrible lessons of Beaver Dam and Gaines's Mill had not convinced General Lee of the danger of attacking the Army of the Potomac in position. These lessons were repeated all along the line of march. Sumner repulsed Magruder at Allen's Farm, and then, retiring to Savage's Station, he and Franklin met another fierce onslaught from the same force, and completely defeated them. It was with the greatest difficulty that Franklin could
1 "General Lee, presuming that General D. H. Hill to a point a the Federalists would continue few miles north of Cold Harbor, to withdraw, if overpowered, to- and thence to march to that place ward the York River Railroad and strike their line of retreat." and the White House, directed – Dabney, “Life of Gen. T. J. General Jackson to proceed with Jackson," p. 443.
and Leaders of the
induce the gallant old general to leave the field. Ca. XXIII. McClellan's orders were positive that the White Oak Swamp must be crossed that night; but to all Franklin's representations Sumner answered, “No, General, you shall not go, nor will I.” When shown McClellan's positive orders, he cried out, “McClellan did not know the circumstances when he wrote that note. He did not know that we would fight a civil War." battle and gain a victory." He only gave way and reluctantly took up his line of march for the southward on the positive orders of an aide-de-camp, who had just left McClellan.
The next day occurred the battle of Glendale, or Frayser's Farm, as it is sometimes called. Jackson, with unusual slowness, had arrived at Savage's Station the day before, too late to take part in the battle there; and when he came to White Oak Swamp the bridge was gone, and Franklin occupied the heights beyond. His force was therefore neutralized during the day. He made once or twice a feeble attempt to cross the swamp, but was promptly met and driven back by Franklin. Huger, on the Charles City road, failed to break through some slight obstruction there. Holmes was in terror of the gunboats near Malvern Hill, and could give no assistance; so that Longstreet and A. P. Hill were forced to attack the Union center, at Glendale, on pretty nearly even terms.
1The corps commanders in these directed by the corps commandbattles were left almost entirely ers 1 without directions, as the follow “Answer. [General McClellan.] Report ing shows: I had given general orders for
Committee “ Question. By whom was the the movements of the troops, but
on the attle of Savage's Station fought the fighting was done under the Conduct of
the War. Did you yourself direct the move- direct orders of the corps com Part I., ments of the troops, or were they manders."
CH. XXIII. Here a savage and obstinate conflict took place,
which was felt on both sides to be the crisis of the campaign. If the Union center had been pierced, the disaster would have been beyond calculation. On the other hand, if our army had been concentrated at that point, and had defeated the army of Lee, the city of Richmond would have been the prize of victory. General Franklin says that the Prince de Joinville, who was at that moment taking leave of the army to return to Europe, said to him with great earnestness, “Advise General
McClellan to center his army at this point and fight Leaders." the battle to-day. If he does, he will be in Rich
mond to-morrow.” Neither side won the victory that day, though each deserved it by brave and persistent fighting. General McClellan, intent upon searching for a defensive position for his army upon the James, left the field before the conflict began; while Longstreet, Lee, and Jefferson Davis himself, were under the fire of the Union guns during the afternoon. When darkness put an end to the fighting, the Federal generals, left to their discretion, had accomplished their purpose. The enemy had been held in check, the trains and artillery had gone safely forward by the road which the battle had protected, and on the next morning, July 1, the Army of the Potomac was awaiting its enemy in the natural fortress of Malvern Hill. It was at this place that General Lee's contempt for his enemy was to meet its last and severest chastisement.
The position strikingly resembled the battlefield of Gaines's Mill. The Union army was posted on a high position, in lines selected and established by