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party, sent forward by Saxton, discovered that the bird had flown, but General Saxton did not deem it prudent to follow. On Monday, June 2d, General Sigel assumed command at Harper's Ferry, and proceeded to organize his force, for which many regiments had been recruited. Considerable delay occurred in the forwarding of these regiments, and Sigel remained inactive, while General Banks was exerting himself to recuperate his shattered column. Fremont, when he fell back to Mount Jackson, formed his line across the valley from the Massanutten Mountain, with his right on North Mountain, south of Mill Creek. The lines of the enemy were five miles distant. Complaints were made against the conduct of Fremont's troops, particularly those of Blenker's Division, whose destructive propensities distinguished neither friend nor foe. General Fremont, therefore, on the 13th of June, issued an address, denouncing "the excesses and wanton outrages upon property. There seems," he said, "to be an organized band of stragglers and plunderers who precede and follow the army, having outrage and plunder for their especial occupation." He ordered that all parties detected in these outrages should be shot.
The enemy were now once more receiving re-enforcements, and Mount Jackson, exposed on either flank, being no longer tenable, Fremont fell back to Strasburg, where extensive fortifications were erected. The force in the valley was now, June 20th, well concentrated. Fremont at Strasburg, Banks at Middletown, and Sigel a few miles east of it, on the hill towards Front Royal. Shields was again on his way to Fredericksburg with McDowell's Corps, the valley dangers being now, it was supposed, passed. The first brigade of Williams's Division, formerly commanded by Donnelly, was now under General Crawford, who had been assistant-surgeon at Fort Sumter under Anderson. The brigade was disposed on the road from Winchester to Front Royal, replacing Kenly's, which had been destroyed in the Confederate advance in May. There had been, when the Union troops followed Jackson up the valley, a large accumulation of stores at Front Royal; the threatening appearance of the enemy now induced the withdrawal of those stores, which were sent to Winchester. In this position of affairs, a new change was made in the command of the department. On June 23d it was ordered that the forces under Major-Generals Fremont, Banks, and McDowell should be consolidated into one army, called the Army of Virginia, and Major-General Pope was especially assigned, by the President, to the chief command. The forces under General Fremont constituted the First Army Corps, to be commanded by General Fremont. The forces under General Banks constituted the Second Army Corps, to be commanded by him. The forces under General McDowell constituted the Third Army Corps, to be commanded by him.
The order was received in camp June 26th, and Fremont, under whom Pope had served in Missouri, unwilling to be commanded by a junior officer, asked to be relieved of his command, and this request was promptly granted in the following order :
"WAR DEPARTMENT, June 27, 1862. "Major-General John C. Fremont having requested to be relieved from the com
mand of the First Army Corps of the Army of Virginia, because, as he says, the position assigned him by the appointment of Major-General Pope as Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Virginia is subordinate and inferior to those heretofore held by him, and to remain in the subordinate command now assigned would, as he says, largely reduce his rank and consideration in the service.
"It is ordered that Major-General John C. Fremont be relieved from command. "Second, that Brigadier-General Rufus King be, and he is hereby assigned to the command of the First Army Corps of the Army of Virginia, in place of General Fremont, relieved.
"By order of the President.
"EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War."
On the receipt of this dispatch, General Fremont turned over his command to Brigadier-General Schenck, and left for New York. General King declined the command of the First Corps, preferring to remain with his division, and General Sigel was assigned to the command.
This brief campaign of Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley at once made his name famous in America and Europe, and, by preventing the junction of McDowell with McClellan, had a most important influence upon the operations before Richmond. In all probability it saved that city for the time being, and paved the way for disaster to the Union arms. Jackson himself, after giving his troops a few days' muchneeded rest, moved towards Richmond, where we shall presently see him, at a critical moment, overwhelming the Union right wing by a flank attack.
Continued Operations against Richmond.-Combat of June 25th.-McClellan's Dispatch.-Mechanicsville.-Gaines's Mills.-Change of Base to the James River.White Oak Swamp.-Malvern Hill.-McClellan Addresses the Troops.-Jefferson Davis's Address.-Close of Campaign.-Causes of Failure.
Ir will be remembered that the concentrated attack upon General Casey's Corps at Fair Oaks took place May 31st, being the same day on which Jackson, having driven Banks across the Potomac, commenced his retreat up the Valley of the Shenandoah before the combined forces of Fremont and McDowell, who had been sent to the succor of Banks. In fact, McDowell's advance had reached Front Royal on the same day that Casey was attacked at Fair Oaks. It appears, then, that while McClellan was feeling his way towards McDowell at Fredericksburg, by extending his right to the north of Richmond, and had reached within a few miles of the latter's left, Jackson, by his rapid advance up the valley, created an alarm at Washington, which resulted in hurrying McDowell, from the aid of McClellan, into the valley, which he reached on the same day that a vigorous attack upon McClellan's left compelled him to weaken his right. The two armies that were upon the point of junction were thus violently drawn asunder in opposite directions. The retreat of Jackson disengaged McDowell, who returned to Fredericksburg, when McCall's Division was, June 6th, detached from him and sent to McClellan. The com
mand of Fortress Monroe having been restored to him, he drew thence some six thousand men. Jackson, having escaped from the valley might be expected to re-enforce Lee at Richmond.
General McClellan wrote to the Secretary of War, June 2d :—
"The enemy attacked in force and with great spirit yesterday morning, but are everywhere most signally repulsed with great loss. Our troops charged frequently on both days, and uniformly broke the enemy. The result is, that our left is within four miles of Richmond. I only wait for the river to fall to cross with the rest of the force and make a general attack. Should I find them holding firm in a very strong position, I may wait for what troops I can bring up from Fortress Monroe. But the morale of my troops is now such that I can venture much. I do not fear for odds against me. The victory is complete, and all credit is due to the gallantry of our officers and men.”
On the 8th of June, General McClellan telegraphed: "I shall be in perfect readiness to move forward and take Richmond the moment that McCall reaches here, and the ground will admit the passage of artillery." On the 10th or 11th of June, McCall's troops commenced arriving at the White House. There arrived also two regular United States batteries from Fredericksburg, and a regular cavalry regiment from Fortress Monroe. The enemy, after the battle of Fair Oaks, busied himself in multiplying fortifications around Richmond, and in extending them towards the Union lines. A double row of earthworks gradually rose in front of the Union lines on the west of the Chickahominy.
The army of McClellan was also busy with the spade, and continued gradually to close the circle. Every advance movement of the pickets was obstinately resisted by the enemy. By the 13th June there were nine bridges across the Chickahominy, and the pickets of the whole line made daily approaches, carrying forward the trenches and extending the lines of communication with dépôts at White House. The first parallel or zigzag extended three miles over hill and through wood. The left was in an impassable swamp, and the right between the enemy and the river. Its general course was about four and a half miles from Richmond. A cannonade was kept up at different points as the batteries on opposite sides became annoying. Point, at the head of York River, was the base where supplies arrived from the North and from Fortress Monroe. From this point viấ White House, the trains ran daily to the supply dépôts at the front, from whence hundreds of wagons came and went continually to distribute food to the brigades and regiments. The accommodation for this immense work was limited at West Point, and the utmost regularity was required to prevent delay, which would occasion great suffering to the troops.
The enemy, meantime, were not idle. It being determined to reconnoitre the rear of the Federal position, General Stuart, with a considerable force of cavalry and two guns of the flying artillery, started from Richmond in the direction of Mechanicsville on June 12th, and reached Ashland at night. At daybreak of the 13th the march was resumed, and by noon of the 15th the party completed the circuit of the Federal position, having passed through Hanover Court-House, Tunstall's Station, New Kent, across the Chickahominy by the Charles
City Court-House road and back into the lines, skirmishingly vigorously by the way. They claimed to have destroyed two hundred laden wagons, and a large amount of army stores, &c., losing but one man. The Union loss was estimated at several hundred thousand dollars. The information gained by the raid was necessary to a projected attack upon the Union lines, and the whole occurrence caused great sensation at the North.
The enemy were now organizing and concentrating their troops in great force. The conscripts under the act of April 15 were coming freely into camp, and every effort was made to give them consistence and to inspirit them for the work before them. To this end General Longstreet issued the following proclamation:
"HEAD-QUARTERS RIGHT WING, "ARMY BEFORE RICHMOND, June 17, 1862. "SOLDIERS:-You have marched out to fight the battles of your country, and by those battles must you be rescued from the shame of slavery. Your foes have declared their purpose of bringing you to beggary; and avarice, their national characteristic, incites them to redoubled efforts for the conquest of the South, in order that they may seize your sunny fields and happy homes. Already has the hatred of one of their great leaders attempted to make the negro your equal by declaring his freedom. They care not for the blood of babes nor carnage of innocent women which servile insurrection thus stirred up may bring upon their heads. Worse than this, the North has sent forth another infamous chief, encouraging the lust of his hirelings to the dishonor and violation of those Southern women who have so untiringly labored to clothe our soldiers in the field and nurse our sick and wounded. If ever men were called upon to defend the beloved daughters of their country, that now is our duty. Let such thoughts nerve you up to the most dreadful shock of battle, for were it certain death, death would be better than the fate that defeat would entail upon us all. But remember though the fiery noise of the battle is indeed most terrifying, and seems to threaten universal ruin, it is not so destructive as it seems, and few soldiers after all are slain. This the commanding general desires particularly to impress upon the fresh and inexperienced troops who now constitute a part of this command. Let officers and men, even under the most formidable fire, preserve a quiet demeanor and self-possessed temper. Keep cool, obey orders, and aim low. Remember while you are doing this, and driving the enemy before you, your comrades may be relied on to support you on either side, and are in turn relying upon you. Stand well to your duty, and when these clouds break away, as they surely will, the bright sunlight of peace falling upon our free, virtuous, and happy land, will be a sufficient reward for the sacrifices which we are now called upon to make.
"JAMES LONGSTREET, “Major-General Commanding."
Preparations continued to be made in Washington to send down by land from Fredericksburg the remainder of General McDowell's Corps, he being directed to co-operate fully with General McClellan, but retaining an independent command. This does not appear to have been in accordance with General McClellan's wishes; for, on the 16th of June, he telegraphs to the Secretary of War:
"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 upon 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, General McDowell should wish the general interest to be sacrificed for the purpose of increasing his command. If I cannot fully control 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."
On the 18th of June, General McClellan telegraphed to the Secretary of War that he had received information from deserters to the effect that troops have left Richmond to re-enforce Jackson; that the movement commenced on the 8th; and that if re-enforcements had gone to Jackson, they were probably not less than ten thousand men. He could not, he said, vouch for the truth of the statement, but it was pretty certainly believed in Richmond and among the rebel troops. To this the President replied on the same day, that the information was corroborated by a dispatch from General King at Fredericksburg, and remarked: "If this is true, it is as good as a re-enforcement to you of an equal force.”
On the same day General McClellan telegraphs to the President :—
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 thousand men have left Richmond to re-enforce 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."
The trenches continued to creep gradually towards Richmond; and on the 18th a grand review of the forces was made by General McClellan, beginning on the left of the army and ending at the right wing at dark. On the 20th June the left of the army was still at Fair Oaks, six miles from Richmond. By the returns of General McClellan to the adjutant-general's office, it appears that on the same day the Federal army numbered one hundred and fifty-six thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight men, of whom one hundred and fifteen thousand one hundred and two were present for duty, twelve thousand two hundred and twenty-five on special duty, sick, or in arrest, and twenty-nine thousand five hundred and eleven absent. The nearest point of the centre was at New Bridge, seven miles by direct road to the city, and the extreme right at Mechanicsville bridge, four and one half miles distant. On that day the corps of Franklin crossed the river, thus placing four of the five army corps on the right or Richmond side of the muddy stream. The situation now became critical, and on both sides there was a growing expectation of the impending battle. The weather was inclement, and the roads not altogether favorable for active movements.
The right wing, consisting of McCall's, Morell's, and Sykes's Divisions, comprising Porter's Corps, less than twenty-five thousand strong, was well posted on the left bank of the Chickahominy, from Beaver Dam Creek to a point below New Bridge. Several military bridges formed the avenues of communication between the two portions of the army separated by the river. The centre, consisting of Slocum's, Smith's, Sedgwick's, and Richardson's Divisions, comprising Franklin's and Sumner's Corps, was extended from Golding's farm, about a mile below New Bridge, on the banks of the river, to a point south of