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NORFOLK EVACUATED BY THE REBELS.
camped, though no hostile force had appeared. Next morning, however, a regiment or two of the enemy was descried and shelled from our gunboats; whereupon Gen. Dana, by order of Gen. Slocum, hastened the landing of his men and horses; while the 16th, 31st, and 32d New York, with the 95th and 96th Pennsylvania, were pushed forward into the woods in our front, with orders to drive out the few Rebel scouts who were supposed to be skulking there. They soon found themselves engaged with a far larger force than they had expected, whereof Gen. Whiting's Texan division and Wade Hampton's South Carolina Legion formed a part; and who, with every advantage of position and knowledge of the ground, drove our men out in haste and disorder. Twice the attempt was renewed, with similar results; but at length, our batteries having been landed and posted, they, with the aid of the gunboats, easily silenced the single Rebel battery of small howitzers, which, from an elevated clearing in the woods, had assisted to repel the advance of our infantry; and now that infantry pushed once more into the woods, and found no enemy to contest their possession. We lost in this affair 194 men, mainly of the 31st and 32d New York, including two Captains and two Lieutenants; while the Rebel loss was trifling.
Gen. Stoneman, with the advance of our main army, moved from Williamsburg on the 8th to open communication with Gen. Franklin, followed by Smith's division on the direct road to Richmond. Rain fell frequently; the roads were horrible; See pages 73-81.
so that Gen. McClellan's headquarters only reached White House on the 16th, Tunstall's Station on the 19th, and Coal Harbor on the 22d. Our advanced light troops had reached the Chickahominy at Bottom's Bridge two days before.
The movement of our grand army up the Peninsula, in connection with Burnside's successes and captures in North Carolina," had rendered the possession of Norfolk by the Rebels no longer tenable. To hold it by any force less than an army would be simply exposing that force to capture or destruction at the pleasure of our strategists. Gen. Wool, commanding at Fortress Monroe, having organized an expedition designed to reduce that important city, led it thither on the 10th; finding the bridge over Tanner's creek on fire, but no enemy to dispute possession of Norfolk, which was quietly surrendered by its Mayor. The Navy Yard and Portsmouth were in like manner repossessed; the Rebels, ere they left, destroying every thing that would burn, partially blowing up the Dry Dock, and completely destroying their famous ironclad known to us as the Merrimac." They left about 200 cannon, including 39 of large caliber at Craney Island, and those in the Sewell's Point batteries, which, though spiked, were valuable; 29 pieces were found mounted on strong earthworks two miles from Norfolk, but deserted. In fact, it had been decided, at a council held at Norfolk some days before, that no attempt should be made to defend that city. The Merrimac, though she never fully recovered from the effects of her strug"May 11, 5 A. M.
gle with the Monitor, had come down | rison Baltimore and Fortress Mon
The serious difference between the Administration and Gen. McClellan respecting the strength of his army, and the detachment therefrom of McDowell's and other forces for service elsewhere, now demands our deliberate consideration. Gen. McClellan, upon first assuming command" of the Army of the Potomac, had addressed to the President a memorandum, wherein, in addition to the armies required to make "a strong movement on the Mississippi," to drive the Rebels "out of Missouri," to hold Kentucky, and sustain "a movement through that State into Eastern Tennessee," to guard securely the passes into Western Virginia, "to protect and reopen the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad," to "gar
42 Com. Tatnall, in his official report of the loss of the Merrimac, lays the blame entirely on his pilots, who on the 7th assured him that they could take her to within 40 miles of Richmond if her draft were lessened to 18 feet; but, after five or six hours had been devoted to this work, and she had thus been disabled for action, they, for the first time, declared that, as the winds had for two days been westerly, the water in the James was too low, so that she could not now be run above the Jamestown flats, up to which point each shore was occupied by our armies. He had now no alternative but to fire her, land his crew, and make the best of his way to Suffolk. A Court of Inquiry, presided over by Capt. French Forrest, after an investigation protracted from May 22d to June 11th, decided that her destruction was unnecessary, and that she might, after being lightened to a draft of 20 feet 6 inches, have been taken up James river to Hog
roe," and leave 20,000 "for the defense of Washington," he required for his "main army of operations" 225,000 infantry, 25,500 cavalry, 7,500 engineer troops, and 15,000 artillery men, with 600 field guns; in all, 273,000 men. Even this mighty army was deemed by him insufficient, unless aided by a strong naval force."
Nearly three months later, in a letter to the Secretary of War, he so modified this demand as to evince a willingness to begin offensive operations with a total effective force on the Potomac and in Maryland-but not including the garrison of Fortress Monroe-of 208,000 men and 488 guns; but to secure this, he calculated, would require an aggregate of 240,000 men on his muster-rolls, including the sick and absent, while he had but 168,318, with 228 field guns, present, and 6 more batteries on the way from New York. Thus his army, which by December 1st had been swelled nearly to 200,000, and for the three months succeeding
Island. Part of the blame, however, was laid on the hasty retreat from Norfolk of the military under Gen. Huger.
August 4, 1861.
44 He says:
"Its general line of operations should be so directed that water transportation can be availed of, from point to point, by means of the ocean feature of the plan of operations will be the and the rivers emptying into it. An essential employment of a strong naval force, to protect the movements of a fleet of transports intended to convey a considerable body of troops from point to point of the enemy's sea-coast, thus either creating diversions, and rendering it necessary to detach largely from their main body in order to protect such of their cities as may be threatened, or else landing and forming establishments on their coast, at any favorable places that opportunity might offer. This naval force should also cooperate with the main army, in its efforts to seize the important sea-board towns of the Rebels."-McClellan's Official Memorandum.