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any unplated ship on the globe, and put a shell from her rifled bow-gun through the Minnesota's side, which tore four of her rooms into one and set her on fire; but the flames were promptly extinguished. The Merrimac's next shot pierced the boiler of the tug-boat Dragon, which was made fast to the port side of the Minnesota, to be ready to assist in towing her off; killing or badly wounding 7 of her crew and setting her on fire. By this time, the Minnesota was raining iron upon her assailant; at least 50 solid shot from her great guns having struck the Rebel's side without apparent effect. Now the little Monitor again interposed between the larger combatants, compelling the Merrimac to change her position; in doing which she grounded; and again a broadside was poured upon her at close range from all the guns of the Minnesota that could be brought to bear. The Merrimac was soon afloat once more, and stood down the bay, chased by the Monitor; when suddenly the former turned and ran full speed into her pursuer, giving her a tremendous shock, but inflicting no serious damage. The Rebel's prow grated over the deck of the Monitor; and was badly cut by it; so that she was not inclined to repeat the experiment. The Monitor soon afterward stood down the Roads toward Fortress Monroe; but the Merrimac and her tenders did not see fit to pursue her, nor even to renew the attack on the now exposed Minnesota; on the contrary, they gave up the fight, which they were destined never to renew, and steamed back to
Norfolk. The Minnesota, despite persistent efforts, was not fairly afloat until 2 o'clock next morning. In this memorable fight, the turret of the Monitor was struck by Rebel
bolts nine times, her side armor eight'
times, her deck thrice, and her pilothouse twice—the last being her only vulnerable point. One of these bolts struck her pilot-house squarely in front of the peep-hole through which Lt. Worden was watching his enemy, knocking off some cement into his face with such force as utterly to blind him for some days, and permanently to destroy his left eye. Three men standing in the turret when it was struck were knocked down, one of them being Chief Engineer Alban C. Stimers, who managed the revolving of the turret. The Merrimac had her prow twisted in her collision with the Monitor, her anchor and flag-staff shot away, her smokestack and steam-pipe riddled, 2 of her crew killed and 8 wounded, including her commander, Buchanan. The Patrick Henry was disabled by a shot through one of her boilers, by which 4 of her crew were killed and 3 wounded. The other Rebel gunboats reported an aggregate loss of only 6 men. The Merrimac was undoubtedly disabled” in this two-days' conflict, or she would not have closed it as she did, or would have renewed it directly afterward. Our total loss by this raid, beside the frigates Cumberland and Congress, with all their armament, the tug Dragon, and the serious damage inflicted on the Minnesota, can hardly have fallen short of 400 men, includson, and damaged her machinery, and is leaking
* A letter from Petersburg, March 10, to the Raleigh Standard, says: “The Merrimac lost her enormous iron beak in the plunge at the Erics
a little.” It was probably this leak which Collstrained her to abandon the fight as she did.
ing 23 taken from the Congress and carried off by the gunboat Beaufort.
Gen. McClellan left Washington on the 1st of April, arriving next day at Fortress Monroe. Of his army, 58,000 men and 100 guns were there before him, and nearly as many more on the way. Gen. Wool’s force, holding the Fortress, is not included in these numbers.
Gen. J. B. Magruder, at Yorktown, watched this ominous gathering in his front at the head of a Rebel force officially reported by him at 11,000 in all: 6,000 being required to garrison Gloucester Point, Yorktown, and Mulberry Island; leaving but 5,000 available for the defense of a line of 13 miles. Gen. McClellan says his information placed Magruder's command at 15,000 to 20,000 men, aside from Gen. Huger's force at Norfolk, estimated by him at 20,000. Feeling the importance of dealing decisively with Magruder before he could be réenforced by Johnston, McClellan ordered an ad
vance on the morning of the 4th;
and, before evening of the next day,
Gen. Heintzelman, in front of Yorktown, and Gen. Keyes, before Winn’s Mill,” on the Warwick, were brought to a halt by the fire of Rebel batteries.” Gen. McClellan had been misled with regard to the topography: of the country as well as the number of his foes. On his map, the Warwick was traced as heading in or very near Skiff's creek, directly up the Peninsula from its mouth, some six or eight miles west of Yorktown; whereas it actually heads within a mile of that post, running diagonally and crookedly nearly across the Peninsula, while it was in good part navigable by Rebel gunboats. His false information regarding it was furnished, he states, by Gen. Wool’s topographical engineers; though there must have been a hundred negroes about the Fortress, each of whom could and gladly would have corrected it. Our ships of war
—what the Merrimac had left of
them—were intently watching for
* Called by Gen. McClellan, Lee's Mill.
*Pollard says: .
“General Magruder, the hero of Bethel, and a commander who was capable of much greater achievements, was left to confront the growing forces on the Peninsula, which daily menaced him, with an army of 7,500 men, while the great bulk of the Confederate forces were still in motion in the neighborhood of the Rappahannock and the Rapidan, and he had no assurance of réenforcements. The force of the enemy was ten times his own; they had commenced a daily cannonading upon his lines; and a council of general officers was convened, to consult whether, the little army of 7,500 men should maintain its position in the face of tenfold odds, or retire before the enemy. The opinion of the council was unanimous for the latter alternative, with the exception of one officer, who declared that every man should die in the intrenchments before the little army should fall back. ‘By G—, it shall be sol' was the sudden exclamation of Gen. Magruder, in sympathy with the gallant suggestion. The resolution demonstrated a remarkable heroism and spirit. Our little force was adroitly extended over a distance of several
miles, reaching from Mulberry Island to Gloucester Point, a regiment being posted here and there, in every gap plainly open to observation, and on other portions of the line the men being posted at long intervals, to give the appearance of numbers to the enemy. Had the weakness of Gen. Magruder at this time been known to the enemy, he might have suffered the consequences of his devoted and self-sacrificing courage; but, as it was, he held his lines on the Peninsula until they were reenforced by the most considerable portion of Gen. Johnston's forces, and made the situation of a contest upon which the attention of the public was unanimously fixed as the most decisive of the war.”
Col. Fremantle, of the British Coldstream Guards, in his “Three Months in the Southern States,” says:
“He [Magruder] told me the different dodges he resorted to to blind and deceive McClellan as to his strength; and he spoke of the intense relief and amusement with which he at length saw that General, with his magnificent army, begin to break ground before miserable earthworks
defended only by 8,000 men.”
* Magruder says:
“On every portion of my lines, he attacked us with a furious cannonading and musketry, which was responded to with effect by our batteries and troops of the line. His skirmishers
were also well thrown forward on this and the succeeding day, and energetically felt our whole
steadiness of our troops. Thus, with 5,000 men; exclusive of the garrisons, we stopped and held in check over 100,000 of the enemy. Every preparation was made in anticipation of another attack by the enemy. The men slept in the trenches and under arms; but, to my utter Surprise, he permitted day after day to elapse without an assault.”
line; but were everywhere repulsed by the
No. 1, on the Warwick, which was to have been converted into a real attack if successful at the outset. Though gallantly made, it failed; our advance being driven back across the stream with the loss of 100 men. The Rebels lost about 75 men, including Col. R. M. McKinney, 15th North Carolina, killed. Gen. McClellan had been thirty days in front of Yorktown, and was intending to open the siege in due form by the fire of breaching batteries on the morning of May 6th; but he found, two days earlier, that Magruder had abandoned his works, including Yorktown, during the preceding night, retreating up the Peninsula.” The pursuit of the flying Rebels was prompt and energetic. It was led by Gen. George D. Stoneman, with 4 regiments and a squadron of cavalry, and 4 batteries of horse-artillery, followed, on the Yorktown road to Williamsburg, by Hooker's and Rearny’s divisions, and on the Winn’s Mill road by those of W. F. Smith, Couch, and Casey. Gen. McClellan remained at Yorktown to supervise the embarkation of Gen. Franklin's and other troops for West Point.
Fort Magruder, just in front of Williamsburg, at the junction of several roads, commanded, with its 13 adjuncts, substantially all the roads leading farther up the Peninsula. Though not calculated to stand a siege, it was a large and strong earthwork, with a wet ditch nine feet wide. Here Stoneman was stopped by a sharp and accurate cannonading, which compelled him to recoil and await the arrival of infantry. Gen. Sumner, with Smith's division, came up at 5:30 P. M. A heavy rain soon set in, and continued through the night, making the roads nearly impassable. The several commands, marching on different roads, had interfered with and obstructed each other's progress at the junction of those roads as they concentered upon Williamsburg. Gen. Hooker, advancing” on the direct road from Yorktown to Williamsburg, was stopped, five or six miles out, by finding Gen. Smith's division in his way, and compelled to wait some hours. Impatient at this delay, he sought and obtained of Gen. HeintZelman permission to move over to the Hampton road on his left, on
* Gen. John G. Barnard, Gen. McClellan's chief engineer through the Peninsula campaign, in a report to his commander at the close of that campaign, says:
“At the time the Army of the Potomac landed on the Peninsula, the Rebel cause was at its lowest ebb. Its armies were demoralized by the defeats of Port Royal, Mill Spring, Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Roanoke Island, and Pea Ridge; and reduced by sickness, loss in battle, expirations of period of service, etc.; while the conscription law was not yet even passed. It seemed as if it needed but one vigorous gripe to end forever this Rebellion, so nearly throttled. How, then, happened it, that the day of the initiation of the campaign of this magnificent Army of the Potomac was the day of the resuscitation of the Rebel cause, which seemed to grow pari passu with the slow progress of its operations?
“However I may be committed to any expression of professional opinion to the contrary
(I certainly did suggest it), my opinion now is that the lines of Yorktown should have been assaulted. There is reason to believe that they were not held in strong force when our army appeared before them; and we know that they were far from complete. The prestige of power, the moTale, were on our side. It was due to ourselves to confirm and sustain it. We should probably have succeeded. But, if we had failed, it may well be doubted whether the shock of an unsuccessful assault would be more demoralizing than the labors of a siege. “Our troops toiled a month in the trenches, or lay in the swamps of Warwick. We lost few men by the siege; but disease took a fearful hold of the army; and toil and hardship, unredeemed by the excitement of combat, impaired their morale. We did not carry with us from Yorktown so good an army as we took there. Of the bitter fruits of that month gained by the enemy, we have tasted to our heart's content.” * May 4.
which he advanced through the rain and deep mud and the dense darkness till nearly midnight, when his troops were halted in the road, and rested as they might until dawn; then they pressed on until, emerging from a forest, they came in sight, about 5:30 A.M., of the Rebel works before Williamsburg; Fort Magruder in the center, at the junction of the Yorktown and Isampton roads, with - its cordon of 13 redoubts, extending clear across the Peninsula, hence widening quite rapidly and permanently just above the town. The ground had of course been chosen to give the greatest advantage to its defenders: the forest felled for a breadth of nearly half a mile, to obstruct the advance of our infantry; while a belt of open, level land, 600 or 700 yards wide, dotted all over with rifle-pits, intervened between this tangled abatis and the fort and redoubts. Williamsburg lay in plain sight of Hooker's position, two miles distant. After a careful survey of the ground, knowing that there were 30,000 of our troops within two miles, and the main body of our army within twelve, Hooker decided to attack, in order to hold the Rebel force engaged until the rest of our army could come up. Accordingly, sending the 1st Massachusetts into the felled timber on the left, and the 2d New Hampshire into that on the right, with directions to skirmish up
to the further edge of the abatis, and.
ordering the 11th Massachusetts and 26th Pennsylvania to form on the right of the 2d New Hampshire and advance as skirmishers until they reached the Yorktown road, he threw forward into the cleared field on the right of the road, barely 700 yards
from Fort Magruder, Webber's battery, which at once drew the fire of the Rebel batteries, whereby 4 of his cannoniers were shot down and the rest driven off before we had fired a gun; but their places were soon supplied, and Bramhall's battery brought into action on the right of Webber's; when, between them, Fort Magruder was silenced before 9 A. M. Patterson's brigade, composed of the 6th, 7th, and Sth New Jersey, was formed behind these batteries as their support, and was soon desperately engaged with the Rebel infantry and sharp-shooters, who were found uncomfortably numerous; so that the 1st Massachusetts, 72d and 70th New York were sent to their aid, and, though fighting gallantly, found themselves still overmatched. Meanwhile, our skirmishers on the right having reached the Yorktown road, the 11th Massachusetts and 26th Pennsylvania were sent down that road to press the enemy and establish a connection with Heintzelman's corps, supposed to be established upon it; Hooker, at 11:20 A. M., sending a pressing message to Heintzelman for assistance, and not finding him. By 1 P.M., Hooker had sent in the 73d and 74th New York, his last regiments; and, though his force was fighting gallantly, with varying success, he was losing men fast, yet making no headway. Three times he had repulsed Rebel charges upon his center, each made with fresh troops in increasing numbers and with more resolute purpose. Soon, word came from the regiments thus engaged that their ammunition was giving out, while no supply-train had yet come up ; and it was found necessary to glean the cartridges