« AnteriorContinuar »
The immense amounts of provisions, munitions, and supplies of all kinds that could not be removed, were consigned to destruction; while 2,500 wounded, who were unable to walk, and for whom no ambulances could be afforded, were left in hospital, with surgeons and attendants, to fall into the hands of the enemy. Lee was evidently puzzled with regard to McClellan's intentions, not believing that he could abandon his position and the siege without a battle. He sent Ewell's infantry, as well as some cavalry, down the left bank of the Chickahominy, to watch the roads leading down the Peninsula; but, receiving no advices from IIuger and Magruder, still between our army and Richmond, of any movement of our trains or forces toward the James, did not divine that movement till late in the afternoon.” No serious attack or forward movement was made by the enemy during that day; though in the morning, perceiving that Gen. Franklin's corps were being withdrawn from their front at Golding’s farm, opposite Woodbury's Bridge, the Rebels opened on them from Garrett's and Gaines's Hill, and soon advanced two Georgia regiments to assault our works; but they were easily repulsed by the 23d New York and 49th Pennsylvania, with a section of Mott's battery. McCall's weakened division was ordered to follow Porter across the Swamp during the ensuing night,” while Sumner's and Heintzelman’s corps and Smith's division were directed to take up a line of advance stretching eastward from Keyes's old intrenchments, and covering Savage's
Station, which was held by Slocum's division. This position they were to hold until dark,” so as to cover the withdrawal of the trains, and then fall back on the roads leading through the Swamp. Our line of movement—that is, of retreat—being now fully comprehended by the enemy, Lee ordered Longstreet and A. P. Hill to recross the Chickahominy at New Bridge and pursue and attack our rear; Jackson moving down on their left, but between them and the Chickahominy; while Magruder and Huger, advancing from before Richmond on the Williamsburg and Charles City roads respectively, were to strike us in flank. Magruder, on the Williamsburg road, came in sight of our rear, near Savage's Station, about noon ; but, finding the business serious, halted and sent to IIuger for réenforcements. Meantime, an attack in light force had been made, at 9 A. M.,” on Gen. Sumner's front; but it was easily repulsed; and Gen. Slocum, pursuant to order, had fallen back from Savage's Station, and was crossing White Oak Swamp. At 4 P. M., Magruder attacked in full force; and, though Gen. Heintzelman, under a misapprehension of orders, had posted his corps so far in the rear as to leave a gap of threefourths of a mile between Sumner and Franklin, Magruder's attack was gallantly repelled by Gen. Burns's brigade, supported by those of Brooks and Hancock, réenforced by two lines of reserves, and finally by the 69th New York; Hazzard’s, Pettit’s, Osborn’s, and Bramhall's batteries playing a most effective part in this struggle. By 9 P.M., the enemy had recoiled, without having gained the least advantage; and our soldiers fell back, by order, upon White Oak Swamp: Gen. French's brigade, forming our rear-guard, being in motion by midnight; crossing and destroying White Oak Swamp Bridge at 5 A.M. next morning.” Jackson, who had been delayed by the necessity of rebuilding the Grapevine Bridge over the Chickahominy, reached Savage's Station early this morning, and was ordered, with Longstreet and A. P. Hill, to follow immediately on the track of our army, while IIuger, supported by Magruder, pushed down on our right. McClellan, with perhaps a third of our army, had already emerged from the Swamp, upon the high, open ground near MALVERN HILL; while Gen. Holmes, who had just brought part of a Rebel division across from the south side of James river to Richmond, moved down upon the river road, reenforced by Gen. Wise, with part of his brigade. Coming in sight of our advance near Malvern, he was about to open with his artillery, when he found that we were far too strong for him, and recoiled, awaiting the advance of Magruder to his aid. Jackson was to have deflected toward the Chickahominy, so as to gain our right flank and rear; but his advance was checked by the destruction of the bridge in his front; and on reaching, at noon, White Oak Swamp Bridge, he was confronted by Gen. Franklin, with Smith's division of his own corps, and Richardson's, of Sumner's, and Naglee's brig
*June 28. *Of June 28.
* Of the 29th. * June 29.
ade, by which all his efforts to cross during the day and evening were repelled and baffled. A heavy fire of artillery, directed by Capt. Ayres, was maintained throughout that day and evening; Capt. Hazzard's battery being badly cut up and its commander mortally wounded; but, though the enemy replied with equal Spirit, and inflicted as well as suffered much loss, our position was too strong to be carried by assault; and every attempt of the Rebels to cross the marsh and creek—the bridge having been destroyed—was worsted. During the night, our troops retired by order, leaving 350 sick and wounded, and some disabled guns, to fall an easy prey to the enemy, as he advanced unopposed next morning. But the main conflict of the day occurred at the crossing of the creek some two miles farther up, or to the right of Jackson, where Lee in person, with Jefferson Davis, accompanied Longstreet’s advance, at the head of his own and A. P. Hill's divisions; encountering no resistance until noon, when their advance descried our rear-guard, strongly posted upon the road leading from New Market to Long Bridge, and having a small branch of the White Oak Swamp créek in their front. Seeing that we were in force, Longstreet waited till 3 P. M. for the coming up of Huger, who was some 3 or 4 miles distant, on his right, or Jackson, who was still nearer, on his left; but, as neither arrived, he at length ordered his batteries to open and his infantry to charge, under cover of a shower of shells. McCall, with his Pennsylvania Reserves, which hard fighting had
reduced from 10,000 to 6,000 strong, was immediately in their front, and his men for a time held their ground gallantly; but days of fighting, succeeded by nights of marching—always, alas ! in the wrong direction— had told upon the spirits as well as the numbers of these green troops, so suddenly transformed into veterans; while the flushed and confident onemy who assailed them were twice if not thrice their number. An attempt to crush their left by the Rebels was met by a charge of the 5th, 8th, 9th, and 10th regiments, led by Col. Simmons, of the 5th, which hurled the enemy back to the woods in their rear, leaving about 200 prisoners in our hands, who were triumphantly marched off the field. But here Simmons fell, mortally wounded; while hundreds of his soldiers strewed the field; and the charging column, broken as it entered the woods, was unable to réform under the murderous fire of the enemy’s infantry and artillery, and fell back in disorder to the woods behind its original position, which they held until night put an end to the contest. A succession of desperate struggles ensued: the Rebels rushing forward in charge after charge to capture our guns, which poured volleys of grape and canister, at short range, into their close masses, sweeping them down by hundreds and forcing them to recoil in dismay; when our supporting regiments would pour a leaden hail of musketry upon the
flanks of the baffled column, hurling it back in confusion to the sheltering forest. Thus, for two hours, the desperate conflict raged; until Kerns's battery, having fired its last charge, was, by McCall's order, withdrawn from the field, and Col. Roberts's infantry, having just repulsed a Rebel charge, was charged again on its left flank and driven from the field by a fresh force, which, rushing furiously on Cooper's battery, drove off the gunners and captured the guns. A counter-charge was instantly made by the 9th, with parts of other regiments; and, after a desperate but brief struggle, the battery was recovered, and the standard of the 10th Alabama taken. The Reserves still held the field, and not one of their guns had been lost, when, between sunset and dark, Meagher's Irish brigade, of ILooker's division, came up on our left, and, charging desperately across the open field, drove the Rebels back again into the woods. McCall's right, under Gen. Meade, had been likewise engaged with overwhelming numbers, by whom a final charge was made, just at dark, for the possession of Randall's battery; which was carried at the point of the bayonet, though at a fearful cost. Gens. McCall and Meade instantly rallied their infantry for its recapture, and a hand-to-hand struggle of unsurpassed ferocity ensued, wherein the Teserves were overpowered and driven back, though the Rebels had suffered" too severely to pursue them. Even the guns, so severely contested, were not held by them; the cheers of a New Jersey brigade, advancing in the dusk to the relief of McCall, impelling them to fall back in haste to the woods. In this closing struggle, Gen. Meade was severely wounded in the arm and hip; Gen. McCall, who had lost all his brigadiers, riding forward a short distance to reconnoiter the apparently deserted field, was suddenly confronted by the leveled muskets of Rebel infantry, and compelled to yield himself a prisoner; and when Gen. Seymour, who had succeeded to the command, withdrew by order, at 11 P. M., to share in or cover the general retreat, the batteries of the division, their horses long since killed, their men worn out with desperate fighting, were left on the hard-fought field, where nearly onefourth of the division had been killed or wounded. The noise of this vehement struggle had brought Hooker, from our left, and Burns's brigade, and Taylor's 1st New Jersey brigade, from Slocum’s division, to the aid of McCall; so that we were doubtless in force to have won the battle just after we had lost it, had any daylight remained. Gen. Sumner, speaking from hear-say, thus mistakenly reports it: “The battle of Glendale was the most
* Brig.-Gen. Roger A. Pryor, 5th brigade of Longstreet's corps, says:
“About 4 o'clock, I received an order from Maj.-Gen. Longstreet to go into the fight. At once, I moved in line toward the field; but the wood and other obstructions sorced me to form column and send my regiments in successively. Arriving on the field, I discovered that the brig
ade on my right had been repulsed, and that my command were exposed to a destructive fire on the flank as well as in front. Nevertheless, they stood their ground, and sustained the unequal combat until réenforced by the brigade of Gen. Gregg. We did not return to our original position until the enemy had abandoned the field and surrendered his artillery into our possession. F. –
menced; and, after a furious contest, lasting till after dark, the enemy was routed at all points and driven from the field.” Heintzelman, who was present after the battle, also very mistakenly reports that McCall was not attacked till 5 P.M., and that in less than an hour his division gave way; adding: “General Hooker, being on his left, by moving to his right, repulsed the Rebels in the handsomest manner, with great slaughter. Gen. Sumner, who was with Gen. Sedgwick in McCall's rear, also greatly aided with his artillery and infantry in driving back the enemy. They now renewed their attack with vigor on Gen. Kearny’s left, and were again repulsed with heavy loss.” Lee, more plausibly though not quite fairly, says: “The superiority of numbers and advantage of position were on the side of the enemy. The battle raged furiously until 9 P. M. By that time, the enemy had been driven with great slaughter from every position but one, which he maintained until he was enabled to withdraw under cover of darkness. At the close of the struggle, nearly the entire field remained in our possession, covered with the enemy's dead and wounded. Many prisoners, including a General of division, were captured; and several batteries, with some thousands of small arms, taken. Could the other commands have cóoperated in the action, the result would have proved most disastrous to the enemy. After the engagement, Magruder was recalled to relieve the troops of Longstreet and IIill. IIis men, much fatigued by their long, hot march, arrived during the night.”
Fitz-John Porter, having been misled as well as delayed in his passage through the Swamp, had only reached MALVERN IIILL at 9 A. M.,” when he proceeded to post his troops, as they arrived, so as to command all the approaches, but especially those from Richmond and the Swamp. The last of our trains and our reserve artillery reached him about 4 P.M. of this day; about the time that Holmes's force, moving down the James, appeared on our left flank (our army having here faced about), and opened a fire of artillery on Warren's brigade, on our extreme left. IIe was at once astonished by a concentrated fire from 30 guns, and recoiled in haste, abandoning two of his cannon. The rear of our wasted, wayworn army reached the position assigned it, upon and around Malvern IIill, during the next forenoon,” closely pursued by the converging columns of the Rebels. The anxious days and sleepless nights of the preceding week; the constant and resolute efforts required to force their 40 miles of guns and trains over the narrow, wretched roads which traverse White Oak Swamp; their ignorance of the locality and exposure to be ambushed
severe action since the battle of Fair Oaks.
In this engagement, my loss was uncommonly
this fight, says:
“The brigade carried into action 723 muskets; and of this small number the loss was 22s, 1Ilcluding 4 officers killed and 13 wounded."
Gen. C. M. Wilcox reports the loss of his Alabama brigade in this bottle at 471. Among the Rebel wounded were Brig.-Gens. Anderson and Featherston. It is probable that the respective losses here were about equal
and assailed at every turn, rendered this retreat an ordeal for our men long to be remembered." Gen. McClellan had reached Malvern the preceding day. Early this morning, leaving Gen. Barnard with directions for posting the troops as they arrived, he had gone down the river on the gunboat Galena from Haxall’s, to select a position whereon his retreat should definitively terminate. Jackson's corps, consisting of his own, with Whiting's, D. H. Hill's, and Ewell's divisions, came in the Rebel advance down the Quaker Road, whereon our army had mainly emerged from the Swamp; while Magruder, with most of IIuger's division, advancing on the direct roads from Richmond, menaced and soon assailed our left. Longstreet's and A. P. IIill's divisions, having had the heaviest of the fighting thus far, and been badly cut up, were held in reserve by Lee in the rear of Jackson, and were not brought into action. It is none the less true, how
* July 1.
"Mr. Samuel Wilkeson, who sharod in this experience, wrote of it as follows to The New York Tribune :
“IIuddled among the wagons were 10,000 stragglers—for the credit of the nation be it said that four-fifths of them were wounded, sick, or utterly exhausted, and could not have stirred but for dread of the tobacco warehouses of the South. The confusion of this hord of men and mules, wagons and wounded, men on horses, nien on foot, men by the road-side, men perched on wagons, men searching for water, men famishing for food, inen lame and bleeding, men with ghostly eyes, looking out between bloody bandages, that hid the face—turn to some vivid account of the most pitiful part of Napoleon's retreat from Russia, and fill out the picture—the grim, gaunt, bloody picture of war in its most terrible features.
“It was determined to move on during the night. The distance to Turkey Island Bridge, the point on James river which was to be reached, by the direct road was six miles. But those vast numbers could not move over one narrow road in days; hence every by-road, no
matter how circuitous, had been searched out by