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vice, he contemplated sending a column to operate with Mitchel against Chattanooga, and thence upon East Tennessee. Buell reports Kentucky and Tennessee to be in a critical condition, demanding immediate attention. IIalleck says the main body of Beauregard’s forces is with him at Okolona. McCall's force was reported yesterday as having embarked, and on its way to join you. It is intended to send the residue of McDowell's force also to join you as speedily as possible. “Fremont had a hard fight, day before yesterday, with Jackson's force at Union Church, eight miles from Harrisonburg. Ise claims the victory, but was badly handled. It is clear that a pretty strong force is operating with Jackson, for the purpose of detaining the forces here fron you. I am urging, as fast as possible, the new levies. “Be assured, General, that there never has been a moment when my desire has been otherwise than to aid you with my whole heart, mind, and strength, since the hour we first met; and, whatever others may say for their own purposes, you have never had, and never can have, any one more truly your friend, or more anxious to support you, or more joyful than I shall be at the success which I have no doubt will soon be achieved by your arms.”
Gen. McCall's division arrived by water during the two following days;" on the last of which, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, with 1,500 Rebel cavalry and 4 guns, attacked and dispersed two squadrons of the 5th U. S. cavalry, Capt. Royall, near Hanover Old Church; thence proceeding to make a rapid circuit of our grand army, via Tunstall's Station, seizing and burning two schooners laden with forage, and 14 wagons; capturing and taking off 165 prisoners, 260 mules and horses; halting three hours to rest at Talleysville, in the rear of our army; resuming his march at midnight; crossing the Chickahominy near Long Bridge, by hastily improvised bridges, next forenoon ; and reaching Richmond unassailed next morning. This was the first of the notable cavalry raids of the war,
tempting to many imitations, some
of them brilliant in design and exe
cution; some of them damaging to the adverse party; others disastrous to their executors; but, on the whole, involving a squandering of horseflesh and an amount of useless devastation which rendered them decidedly unprofitable, and hardly reconcilable with the legitimate ends of warfare. Gen. McClellan, at midnight on the 14th, telegraphed to the War Department as follows:
“HIEADQUARTERS ARMY of THE PotoMAC, “CAMP LIN colN, June 14, 1862. ) “All quiet in every direction. The stampede of last night has passed away. Weather now very favorable. I hope two days more will make the ground practicable. I shall advance as soon as the bridges are completed and the ground fit for artillery to move. At the same time, I would be glad to have whatever troops can be sent to me. I can use several new regiments to advantage. “It ought to be distinctly understood that McDowell and his troops are completely under my control. I received a telegram from him requesting that McCall's division might be placed so as to join him immediately on his arrival. “That request does not breathe the proper spirit. Whatever troops come to me must be disposed of so as to do the most good. I do not feel that, in such circumstances as those in which I am now placed, Gen. McDowell should wish the general interests to be sacrificed for the purpose of increasing his command. “If I cannot fully control all his troops, I want none of them, but would prefer to fight the battle with what I have, and let others be responsible for the results. “The department lines should not be allowed to interfere with me; but Gen. McD., and all other troops sent to me, should be placed completely at my disposal, to do with them as I think best. In no other way can they be of assistance to me. I therefore request that I may have entire and full control. The stake at issue is too great to allow personal considerations to be entertained; you know that I have In One. “The indications are, from our balloon reconnoissances and from all other sources, that the enemy are intrenching, daily in
* June 12–13.
On the 20th, he telegraphed to the President:
“By to-morrow night, the defensive works, covering our position on this side of the Chickahominy, should be completed. I am forced to this by my inferiority of numbers, so that I may bring the greatest possible numbers into action, and secure the army against the consequences of unforeseen disaster.”
At this time, his returns to the Adjutant-General’s office give the following as the strength of his army on the Peninsula: Present for duty, 115,102; special duty, sick, and in arrest, 12,225; absent, 29,511—total, 156,838.
Stonewall Jackson, having done us all the mischief he could in the Walley, arrested McDowell's overland march to join McClellan, and sent 40,000 or 50,000 of our men on all manner of wild-goose chases, was now on his way in full force to Richmond; hence, misleading reports of his movements were artfully circulated among our, commanders. Gen. McClellan telegraphed" to the War Department that he had information from deserters that troops had left Richmond to réenforce Jackson, and that they were probably not less than 10,000 men. To this the President responded, that he had similar information from Gen. King at Fredericksburg; and added: “If this is true, it is as good as a rēenforcement to you.” McClellan on that day telegraphed to the President:
thousand men have left Richmond to reenforce Jackson, it illustrates their strength and confidence. After to-morrow, we shall fight the Rebel army as soon as Providence will permit. We shall await only a favorable condition of the earth and sky, and the completion of some necessary preliminaries.”
To-morrow and to-morrow passed, and still our army did not advance; until, on the 24th, a young man of suspicious character was brought in by Gen. McClellan's scouts from the direction of Hanover Court House, who, after some prevarication, confessed himself a deserter from Jackson's command, which he had left near Gordonsville on the 21st, moving along the Virginia Central Railroad to Frederickshall, with intent to turn our right and attack our rear on the 28th. To McClellan's dispatch announcing this capture, and asking information of Jackson's position and movements, Secretary Stanton replied" as follows:
“We have no definite information as to the numbers or position of Jackson's force. Gen. King yesterday reported a deserter's statement, that Jackson's force was, nine days ago, 40,000 men. Some reports place 10,000 Rebels under Jackson at Gordonsville ; others that his force is at Port Republic, IIarrisonburg, and Luray. Fremont yesterday reported rumors that Western Virginia was threatened; and Gen. Kelly, that Ewell was advancing to New Creek, where Fremont has his dépôts. The last telegram from Fremont contradicts this rumor. The last telegram from Banks says the enemy's pickets are strong in advance at Luray. The people decline to give any information of his whereabouts. Within the last two days, the evidence is strong that, for some purpose, the enemy is circulating rumors of Jackson's advance in various directions, with a view to conceal the real point of attack. Neither McDowell, who is at Manassas, nor Banks and Fremont, who are at Middletown, appear to have any accurate knowledge on the subject.
“A letter transmitted to the department yesterday, purporting to be dated Gordonsville, on the 14th inst., stated that the actual 'attack was designed for Washington
“A general engagement may take place at any hour. An advance by us involves a battle more or less decisive. The enemy exhibit at every point a readiness to meet us. They certainly have great numbers and extensive works. If ten or fifteen
* June 18.
and Baltimore, as soon as you attacked Richmond; but that the report was to be circulated that Jackson had gone to Richmond, in order to mislead. This letter looked very much like a blind, and induces me to suspect that Jackson's real movement now is toward Richmond. It came from Alexandria, and is certainly designed, like the numerous rumors put afloat, to mislead. I think, therefore, that, while the warning of the deserter to you may also be a blind, that it could not safely be disregarded. I will transmit to you any further information on this subject that may be received here.”
That day, having his bridges completed, Gen. McClellan ordered an advance of his picket-line on the left, preparatory to a general forward movement; and, during the day, IIeintzelman's corps, with part of Reyes's and Sumner's, were pushed forward,” he reports, through a swampy wood, though smartly resisted, with a loss on our side of 51 killed, 401 wounded, and 64 missing: total, 516. Returning from overlooking this affair, Gen. McClellan telegraphed to the War Department as follows:
“Several contrabands, just in, give information confirming the supposition that Jackson's advance is at or near IIanover Court House, and that Beauregard arrived, with strong réenforcements, in Richmond yesterday. I incline to think that Jackson will attack my right and rear. The Rebel force is stated at 200,000, including Jackson and Beauregard. I shall have to contend against vastly superior odds, if these reports be true. But this army will do all in the power of men to hold their position and repulse any attack. I regret my great inferiority in numbers, but feel that I am in no way responsible for it, as I have not failed to represent repeatedly the necessity of réenforcements; that this was the decisive
*But Brig.-Gen. A. R. Wright, of Huger's division, who opposed this movement, reports that he had 3,000 men in all, resisting not less than 8,000 or 10,000 on our side; and adds:
“The object of the enemy was to drive us back from our picket-line, occupy it himself, and thereby enable him to advance his works
several hundred yards nearer our lines. In this, he completely failed; and, although
point, and that all the available means of the Government should be concentrated here. I will do all that a General can do with the splendid army I have the honor to command; and, if it is destroyed by overwhelming numbers, can at least die with it and share its fate. But, if the result of the action, which will probably occur to-morrow, or within a short time, is a disaster, the responsibility cannot be thrown on my shoulders; it must rest where it belongs. Since I commenced this, I have received additional intelligence, confirming the supposition in regard to Jackson's movements and Beauregard’s arrival. I shall probably be attacked to-morrow, and now go to the other side of the Chickahominy to arrange for the defense on that side. I feel that there is no use in again asking for réenforcements.”
The President responded as follows:—
“WASHINGTON, June 26, 1862.
“Your three dispatches of yesterday in relation to the affair, ending with the statement that you completely succeeded in making your point, are very gratifying. The later one, suggesting the probability of your being overwhelmed by 200,000 men, and talking of to whom the responsibility will belong, pains me very much. I give you all I can, and act on the presumption that you will do the best you can with what you have ; while you continue—ungenerously I think—to assume that I could give you more if I would. I have omitted—L shall omit—no opportunity to send you réenforcements whenever I can.”
Gen. Tobert E. Lee, having succeeded to the chief command of the Rebel army, had, in counsel with the master spirits of the Tebellion, at length resolved on striking a decisive blow. To this end, röenforcements had been quietly called in from all available quarters, swelling the Rebel Army of Virginia, including Jack
Gen. McClellan at night telegraphed, over his own signature, to the War office in Washington, that he had accomplished his object, had driven me back for more than a mile, had silenced my batteries, and occupied our camps, there is not one word of truth in the whole statement. When the fight ceased at dark, I occupied the very line my pickets had been driven from in the morning; and which I continued to hold until the total rout of the Federal army on the 29th.”
FIGHT N E A R MECHANIC S W II, I, E.
son's corps, summoned from the Walley, to not far from 70,000 men. In order to mask this concentration, Whiting's division, consisting of Hood's Texas brigade and his own, had been sent off from Richmond to Jackson; to whom also the brigade of Lawton had been ordered up from the South. When all things were ripe, Jackson moved, by order, rapidly and secretly from the Valley to Ashland, facing our extreme right, whence he was directed to advance” so as to flank our right, holding Mechanicsville. Moving on at 3 next morning,” he was directed to connect with Gen. Branch, immediately south of the Chickahominy, who was to cross that stream and advance on Mechanicsville; while Gen. A. P. Hill, lower down, was to cross near Meadow Bridge so soon as Branch's movement was discovered, and move directly upon Mechanicsville, where on the Rebel batteries on the southern bluffs of the Chickahominy were to open ; Longstreet's division following in support of Hill, while D.H. Hill's in like manner supported Jackson; thus only Huger's and Magruder's divisions were left in front of our left and center, immediately before Richmond. Jackson was unable to reach Ashland quite so soon as had been anticipated; so that A. P. Hill did not cross the stream to attack us till 3 P. M.” His advance had been discovered three hours before; so that our pickets were called in before it, and the regiment and battery holding Mechanicsville fell back, fighting, on a strong position across Beaver Dam creek. Here Gen. McCall's Pennsylvania Reserves, which had recently been sent down to réenforce
* June 26.
Advancing rapidly and resolutely, in the face of a destructive fire, which they could not effectively return, the leading brigades of A. P. Hill's, and ultimately of D. H. Hill's and Longstreet's divisions, attacked our posi- ' tion and attempted to turn our left, but were repulsed with fearful carnage. Jackson being vainly expected to arrive and assail our right, it was not turned; and night fell on a decided and animating success of our mainly green soldiers, though the fighting did not cease till after dark, and the Rebels remained in force not far from our front. Our total loss in *June 26.
this affair had been less than 400; while that of the Rebels must have been many times larger; and when, near the close of the battle, fresh troops came up to relieve the exulting Reserves, they refused to give place, but, replenishing their ammunition, lay down on their arms to await the encounter of the morrow. Before daylight,” however, an order from Gen. McClellan (who had learned, meantime, that Jackson was approaching) directed the evacuation of their strong position, and a retreat to GAINEs’s MILL–an order easy of execution had it arrived three or four hours earlier, but very difficult now, as the Rebel attack was renewed a few minutes afterward. The Rebels were repulsed, however, though our men were retiring at the time ; Meade's, Griffin's, Reynolds's, and Morell’s commands moving steadily off the field as if on parade; our dead all buried, our wounded and arms brought away, with the loss of no caisson, hardly of a musket, by a little after 7 A. M.; leaving the Rebels unaware for the moment that there was no longer an enemy before them. Before noon, each regiment and battery had taken up the new position assigned it, at Gaines's Mill, and was ready to receive the now eagerly advancing Rebels. Meantime, our trains and siege-guns had, by order, been sent off across the Chickahomimy during the night. Gen. McClellan had been” with Fitz-John Porter, behind the Mechanicsville defenses, at 10 P.M.–an hour after the triumphant and sanguinary repulse of their assailants. Four hours later, he sent orders for their prompt evacuation. This he
must have done under the correct impression that they were about to be overwhelmingly assailed in front by the Hills and Longstreet, and in flank by the yet fresh division of Jackson. In other words, it was now plain that the Rebel chiefs had resolved to precipitate the bulk of their force on our right wing, crushing it back on our center by the sheer momentum of their columns. This striking a great army on one end, and rolling it up on itself in inextricable confusion, carnage, and rout, is no novelty in warfare. The Allied Emperors tried it on Napoleon at Austerlitz; our strategists attempted it on the Rebels at first Bull Run. It is a critical manoeuver; but likely to succeed, provided your antagonist passively awaits its consummation. (“IIunting the tiger, gentlemen,” explained the returned East Indian to his associates at the United Service Club, “is capital sport—capital— unless the tiger turns to hunt you ; when it becomes rather too exciting.”) Gen. McClellan, as usual; believed the Rebels were assailing or threatening him with twice as many men as they had, supposing them to have 175,000 to 200,000 troops in his front; when they never, from the beginning to the end of the war, had so many as 100,000 effectives concentrated in a single army, or within a day’s march. Even had he been outnumbered, as he supposed, by a Rebel force on either flank nearly or quite equal to his whole army, he should have quietly and rapidly concentrated, and struck one of those assailants before it could be supported by the other. Had he chosen thus to rush upon Richmond, on the morning
* June 27,
* June 26,