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command of all military departments | ington and Alexandria to move down the Potomac; and

"3d. That a naval auxiliary force can be had to silence, or aid in silencing, the enemy's batteries on York river. Washington shall be such as to give an entire feeling of security for its safety from menace. (Unanimous.)

"4th. That the forces to be left to cover

"If the foregoing can not be, the army should then be moved against the enemy, behind the Rappahannock, at the for reconstructing bridges, repairing railearliest possible moment; and the means roads and stocking them with material sufficient for supplying the army, should at once be collected for both the Orange and Alexandria and Acquia and Richmond Railroads. (Unanimous.)

but that of the Potomac; extending Gen. Halleck's department in the West so as to include all the Mississippi Valley northward of the Gulf States and west of a north and south line drawn through Knoxville, Tenn.; and creating a new 'Mountain Department,' consisting of the country between McClellan's and Halleck's, to be commanded by Gen. Fremont. Undoubtedly, this order indicated a diminution, if not absolute failure, of the President's confidence in his senior General; and, while it is very obvious that the commander of a great army operating from the Pen-force in front of the Virginia line of 25,000 insula against Richmond could not properly and safely direct the movements of other armies, scattered all over the country, and with which his telegraphic communications would probably be often interrrupted, it is certain that all our movements should have been directed by a com"The President, having considered the mon head, responsible for the proper plan of operations agreed upon by yourself distribution and concentration of our and the commanders of army corps, makes forces. A Secretary of War, how-no objection to the same, but gives the folhow-lowing directions as to its execution:

ever able and fit, is perplexed by duties and anxieties too multifarious and distracting to permit of his serving to advantage as Generalissimo.

Two days later, at a council of corps commanders at Fairfax Court House, it was decided-for reasons not given and not apparent-to debark our army at Old Point Comfort, between the York and James rivers, instead of Urbana or Mob Jack Bay -a most unfortunate decision, though materially qualified by the following provisos :

"N. B. That with the forts on the right bank of the Potomac fully garrisoned, and those on the left bank occupied, a covering

men would suffice. (Keyes, Heintzelman and McDowell.) A total of 40,000 men for the defense of the city would suffice. (Sumner.)"

This decision, being communicated to the War Department, was promptly responded to as follows:

"WAR DEPARTMENT, March 13, 1862. "To Maj.-Gen. GEO. B. MCCLELLAN:

"1st. Leave such force at Manassas

Junction as shall make it entirely certain that the enemy shall not repossess himself of that position and line of communication.

"2d. Leave Washington entirely secure. "3d. Move the remainder of the force

down the Potomac, choosing a new base at Fortress Monroe, or anywhere between here and there; or, at all events, move such remainder of the army at once in pursuit of the enemy by some route.


"Secretary of War."

Gen. McClellan hereupon ordered Gen. Banks, with his corps, to move both his divisions down from the Shenandoah Valley to Manassas; there to intrench and rebuild the railroads and bridges, "occupy by grand "2d. That the means of transportation, sufficient for an immediate transfer of the guards Warrenton Junction, or Warforce to its new base, can be ready at Wash-renton itself, and also some little

"1st. That the enemy's vessel Merrimac

can be neutralized.

VOL. II.-8

more advanced point on the Orange | Gen. Shields had 6,000 infantry, 750

cavalry, and 24 guns, well posted some three miles south of Winchester, and half a mile north of the little village of KERNSTOWN, covering the three principal roads which enter Winchester from the south-east, south, and south-west.

Gen. Banks had remained with Shields until about 10 A. M. ;" when, a careful reconnoissance having discovered no enemy in front but Ashby's cavalry, he concluded that Jackson was too weak or too cautious to risk an attack, and departed for Washington via Harper's Ferry. Before noon, however, Shields was advised by Col. Kimball, on his left, that a Rebel battery had opened on his position, and appeared to be supported by a considerable force of infantry. Thereupon, Sullivan's bri

and Alexandria Railway," leaving but two regiments of cavalry to "occupy Winchester and thoroughly scour the country south of the railway and up the Shenandoah Valley." Gen. Banks had already thrown across the Potomac, at Harper's Ferry," the 28th Pennsylvania, Col. Geary, following himself," taking possession of Bolivar and Loudon Heights, Leesburg, Charlestown," and Martinsburg," and pushing back the Rebels to Winchester, which Stonewall Jackson evacuated" without a struggle. Gen. Shields, commanding Lander's division," pursued Jackson to Newmarket," where he found him strongly posted and ready for action. He thereupon fell back rapidly to Winchester, pursued by Jackson's cavalry, under Turner Ashby. Gen. Banks, having dis-gade was pushed forward to support patched one division toward Centerville," Jackson's spies assured him that Shields had but four regiments left, and might easily be captured or routed; so Ashby drove in our pickets and pressed hard upon Shields, who kept the larger part of his force concealed until Jackson was induced to advance in force and attack. In the slight skirmish which occurred," Gen. Shields was struck by a fragment of shell which broke his arm, and so injured his shoulder and side that he fought next day's battle in bed. Jackson had 10 regiments of infantry, all Virginians, but reports their aggregate strength at only 3,087 men, with 27 guns and 290 cavalry."

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Kimball, and our artillery opened simultaneously with one or two more Rebel batteries; but at such distance as to dó little harm. Soon, a still larger force of all arms was developed by Jackson on his right, and an effort made to turn our left, which was gallantly resisted and foiled by Sullivan's brigade, supporting Jenks's artillery. Jackson then rëenforced heavily his left, sending two additional batteries and his reserve to support the movement; when Shields ordered up Tyler's brigade of 4 regiments to the support of Col. Kimball, commanding that wing, whereby the Rebels were outnumbered and hurled back upon their main body,

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heavy rëenforcements for Jackson were at hand, immediately sent an express after Williams's division-by this time well on its way to Harper's Ferry-desiring its immediate return; but Gen. Banks, hearing of the battle by telegraph from Winchester, had already stopped at Harper's Fer

strongly posted behind a high and
solid stone wall, crossing a hill,
where a desperate stand was made
by Jackson's famous 'Stonewall Bri-
gade,' and others, whose fire was for
a few minutes rapid and deadly; but
their position was soon flanked and
carried by our eager, determined ad-
vance, and they retreated in disor-ry
der, leaving 2 guns, 4 caissons, and
many small arms. Night now fell,
and saved them, doubtless, from a
heavier loss. Our men secured their
prisoners, cared for their wounded-
those of the Rebels having mostly
been carried off by them prior to
their retreat and sank down to rest
on the battle-field. The Rebels re-
treated a few miles, rapidly but in
good order, ere they, too, rested for
the night.

Jackson attributes his defeat in part to Gen. R. B. Garnett's error of judgment in repeatedly ordering his men to retreat, when he should have held on and fought. It seems clear, however, that the capital mistake was his own in fighting at all, when his total force, according to his own estimate, was less than 5,000 men, and he estimates our infantry on the field at over 11,000. He makes his loss 80 killed, 342 wounded, and 269 missing, mainly prisoners; total, 691; while Shields claims 300 prisoners, and estimates the Rebel loss in killed and wounded at 1,000 to 1,500." Our own loss in this engagement was 103 killed, including Col. Murray, of the 84th Pennsylvania; 441 wounded, and 24 missing.

and anticipated this order; himself rejoining Shields early next day, and resuming command. He pursued Jackson vigorously up the Valley to Woodstock, but was unable to bring him to bay.

We have seen that Gen. McClellan's council of corps commanders decided, on the 13th of March, to abandon his original plan of debarking at Urbana, on the Rappahannock, and advancing thence on Richmond by West Point, at the head of York river, making this a secondary base. This most unfortunate decision is rendered unaccountable by a destructive if not disastrous naval collision which had just occurred in Hampton Roads, and of which the results were well known to the council.

Of our naval officers' most calamitous, cowardly, disgraceful desertion of and flight from the Norfolk Navy Yard and Arsenal at the beginning of the struggle, the revolting particulars have already been given." Among the vessels there abandoned to the Rebels, after being fired, was the first-class 40-gun steam-frigate Merrimac, which, by Capt. McCauley's orders, had been scuttled and Gen. Shields, well aware that partly sunk, so that only her rig

*Shields's official report says:

"The enemy's loss is more difficult to ascertain than our own. Two hundred and seventy were found dead on the battle-field; 40 were buried by the inhabitants of the adjacent vil

lage; and, by a calculation made by the num-
ber of graves found on both sides of the Valley
road between here and Strasburg, their loss in
killed must have been about 500, and in wounded
27 See Vol. I., p. 473-7.

river from Norfolk, past Craney Island, attended by two unremarkable steam gunboats. Two other Rebel gunboats, which had, evidently by preconcert, dropped down the James from Richmond, had been discovered at anchor off Smithfield Point, some 12 miles distant, about three hours before.

The nondescript and her tenders gradually approached our war-ships awaiting her, and, passing across the bow of the Congress frigate, bore down on the Cumberland, in utter disdain of her rapid and well aimed but utterly ineffective shots, which glanced as harmless from the iron shield of the foe as though they had been peas. Not a gun was fired by the mysterious and terrible stranger until she struck the Cumberland with full force under her starboard fore-channels, at the same moment delivering a most destructive fire; while her blow had opened such a chasm in the bow of the Cumberland that her forward magazine was drowned in 30 minutes. Still, her

ging and upper works were burned; | March 8th, a strange craft was deher hull being saved by a speedy scried from our vessels off Newport submersion. Having thus fallen News, coming down the Elizabeth an easy prey to the Rebels, she was adopted by them as the basis of an iron-clad, whereof Lieut. John M. Brooke furnished the original plan, which Chief Engineer Williamson and Naval Constructor Porter, together with Lt. Brooke, ultimately fashioned into the terrible engine of destruction known to us as the Merrimac, but designated by her rebuilders the Virginia. Messrs. Brooke, Williamson, and Porter, were all graduates from our navy, as was Commodore Franklin Buchanan, who became her commander. In preparing her for her new service, the hull of the Merrimac was cut down nearly to the water's edge, after she had been plugged, pumped out, and raised; when a sloping roof of heavy timber, strongly and thoroughly plated with railroad iron, rose from two feet below the water-line to about ten feet above: the ends and sides being alike and thoroughly shielded. A light bulwark, or false bow, was added, designed to divide the water, and serve as a tank to reg-fire was kept up until, at 3:35 P. M., ulate the vessel's draft; and beyond this projected a strong iron beak. Being thus rendered thoroughly shotproof, she was armed with 10 heavy and most effective guns; and so, having been largely refitted from the spoils of the deserted Navy Yard, became at once the cheapest and most formidable naval engine of destruction that the world had ever seen. Whether she had or had not the ability to live in an open, turbulent sea, was left undecided by her brief but memorable career.

A little before noon, on Saturday,

the water had risen to the main hatchway, and the ship canted to port; when, giving a parting fire, Lt. Morris ordered every man to jump overboard and save himself if possible. The dead, and sick, and severely wounded, were unavoidably left in her bay and on her decks, to the number of at least 100; and she sank to the bottom in 54-feet water, with her flag still flying from her topmast.

Meanwhile, the Congress-which had exchanged broadsides with the Merrimac as she passed-was attacked

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