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at all. Why the army did not move en masse on to Rich- . mond, the government has not yet made public. At all events when McClellan had reached Fairfax, he was ordered to march to Alexandria, preparatory to embarking for the Peninsula.
The following was the plan adopted by McClellan in conjunction with his corps commanders for the Peninsula campaign. Three corps, under the former, were to land at fortress Monroe. Banks was to move to the Rappahannock, and down the river to Fredericksburg, thence southward to Hanover junction, north of Richmond. McDowell with his splendid corps was to land on Severn river in Mobjack Bay, and marching to a position nearly opposite West Point, cross on pontoons and cut off the rebel army of the Peninsula—the movement from fortress Monroe not to begin till McDowell was ready to embark.
If this plan had been carried out, one of two things would have happened-either McDowell's march would have been a surprise, and the rebel army been cooped up between him and McClellan, or advised of its danger, fallen back on Richmond. In the latter case, there would have been no battle, and consequently no delay at Yorktown, nor indeed any battle, till the army reached the rebel Capital. Thus no time would have been allowed the enemy to fortify or concentrate his forces, and the sudden appearance of an hundred and fifty thoʻrsand men before the place would have paralyzed them. At least, the best military men to whom the plan had been submitted, pronounced it almost certain of success.
McClellan reached Monroe-Banks had nearly all his troops concentrated at Warrenton, and McDowell's division was partially embarked, when McClellan was informed, to his atter amazement, that these corps were to remain where they were, under the direction of the government at Wash
THE GREAT PLAN BROKEN UP.
ington—thus depriving him of the expected co-operation of eighty thousand men. It was after receiving this astounding news, that McClellan solicited and obtained Franklin's division, swelling his army to one hundred and fifteen thousand men.
Thus was the carefully matured plan of McClellan and his corps commanders broken up, and the whole movement threatened to prove a failure—when the Secretary of War promised, that when McClellan advanced on Richmond, McDowell should close up his right wing by way of Hanover Court House. With this promise McClellan was compelled to be satisfied, and began his preparations to move on Yorktown. But without the demonstration of McDowell on West Point, he knew that the rebels would concentrate an immense force here, and make a regular siege inevitablethe last thing he ever contemplated.
Whether the course of the government, in thus breaking up the entire plan of the campaign was in consequence of new developments and recent information, and on the whole
pru. dent, or whether it committed a blunder, it is impossible now to say. The result was the same-a defeated army and tens of thousands of our brave soldiers fallen in vain. The time for apportioning the tremendous amount of guilt that belongs somewhere, has not yet come. The outline of the plan sketched above, is not given to settle this, but to show that the stupendous failure that foilowed was in vitable--and that the mad attempt of marching unsupported on Richmond, with only a little over a hundred thousand men, was never contemplated by McClellan or his fellow commanders.
While the troops were landing, previous to taking up their march for Yorktown, a heavy rain storm set in, saturating the clayey soil, which soon became a vast bed of mortar under the artillery trains. The distance from the point of debarkation to Yorktown, is about twenty-three miles, toward
which the army advanced in three divisions. No opposition was encountered in the march, and on the seventh, a telegram announced to the Secretary of War, that McClellan was before the place. It was sent over the wires the same day with the important dispatch from the west, that Pope had crossed with his army to the Tennessee shore, thus completely cutting off Island Number Ten from succor, and rendering its capture inevitable.
As remarked in a former chapter, the country was much chagrined at the escape of the. Nashville from Beaufort. Her escape from our port was the more mortifying from the fact that we had indulged in such bitter denunciations of the British government for letting her leave theirs without molestation. The rebel government had only a few privateers at sea, but they were wonderfully lucky in escaping our cruisers. The Sumter had been chased from port to port in vain, and when at last she was caged in the port of Martinique, by a bold and skillful movement, escaped without ever being fired at. Semmes, her commander, seemed too adroit for our cruisers, but he at length made a fatal mistake. A proclamation issued by the English government, that when belligerent vessels entered any of her ports, they must not leave within twenty-four hours of each other, made him bold to sail into Gibraltar. He did not care though the Iroquois followed him, for the start he would have, when he wished to leave, would give him ample opportunity to escape. But the Americat commander proved too shrewd for him, and instead of entering the uncivil port of England, quietly steamed into one on the Spanish coast, within full sight of the Bay of Gibraltar, and from which no British proclamation could force him. The privateer was nonplussed at this extraordinary turn of affairs, but finding himself caught in a trap, prudently determined to remain under the protection of the English guns. The Iroquois, on the other hand, re
PROGRESS AT YORKTOWN.
solved to act as jailor, and thus the two vessels had lain for a long time.
But though our marine gradually recovered from its fright respecting privateers, our government was much annoyed by the continual report of vessels running our blockade, not only carrying cotton to foreign markets, but bringing in supplies and arms to the rebels. Between Charleston and the West Indies, a constant communication was kept up, which no vigilance of our commanders off the former port seemed able to stop. Many valuable prizes were taken, but this, instead of discouraging, seemed to stimulate adventurers:
In the meanwhile, our splendid army lay comparatively quiet before Yorktown. An occasional skirmish, or a feeble sortie served only to break up the monotony of the dreary weeks. Berdan's sharp-shooters, a picked regiment of marksmen, annoyed the enemy exceedingly. : Armed with rifles of a long range, they lay ensconced in their hiding places, and the moment a head appeared above the ramparts it be came the target for a dozen bullets. One man from New England, it is said, actually silenced a heavy gun-the enemy not daring to show themselves long enough to load it.
But amid all this apparent quiet, the most vigorous work. was going on. Trees, indeed whole forests, were felled, and logs cut and laid across the impassable highways, thus making miles on miles of corduroy road, over which the heavy siege guts and the forage for this immense army had to be carried Al this had been anprovided for, because in the plan of McClellan no delay could have happened here, and no siege. guns would have been wanted. At the same time, the reg. ular approaches were set on foot, and McClellan worked his slow, difficult, yet certain way to the heart of the enemy's position. Every day brought him nearer to the goal, and it was well known that when the final bombardment shouldcommence, it would be the most terrific ever witnessed in
the Now World. The enemy were reported to be over one hundred thousand strong, and it was a matter of wonder that he made no more serious efforts to check McClellan's advance, for if he were left alone the fall of the place was inevitable.
While events were thus slowly drawing to a head at Yorktown, Fremont was giving a good account of himself in the mountain department. His first encounter with the enemy was at Monterey, where after a sharp engagement the latter were defeated by a column under Milroy. There were some little signs of life, too, in the army in front of Washington. General Augur, in McDowell's division, by a rapid, unexpected march, took possession of Falmouth, on the opposite side of the river from Fredericksburg, and commanding the place, which compelled its surrender.
At length came the long expected news of the fall of fort Pulaski. Although cutting it off from Savannah, rendered the reduction of the fort a mere question of time, still the starving process was a slow and somewhat uncertain one, and Sherman determined to reduce it by bombardment, from guns placed on Tybee Island. Carrying out this determina. tion, he had caused, during the winter, a thorough explora. tion of the island to be made. The result proving satisfactory, he ordered heavy guns to be transferred thither. There being no wharf, these had to be landed at high tide, and swung ashore by hand, and then dragged to their des. tined places. The deep sand and mire, however, would, in many places, let the ponderous pieces down to their axles, and a road a mile long had to be made of fascines composed of poles withed together, and laid beside each other, the whole way. The first battery was established two miles from the fort. The guns were sunk in the sand, and protected by the earth thrown up around them, so as to present the least possible mark to the garrison. When others were established nearer the fort, the work was done during the