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noon, scarcely halting to eat, except as they rioted on our suttlers' stores, which furnished them luxuries to which they had long been strangers--destroyed a great deal of property, captured a large number of horses and mules, and over a hundred prisoners, with the loss of hardly a man. Still, they overestimated the damage they had inflicted, while many of their prisoners were teamsters and noncombatants. As far as material benefit to them was concerned, the grand result footed
up small. Its chief advantage consisted in the moral effect upon the army. Such a daring and singular adventure becomes the theme of conversation around every camp fire, and exerts a wonderful influence in enlivening the spirits, and strengthening the confidence and courage of the
After the excitement created by this event had subsided, affairs settled down into their old monotonous round of unimportant skirmishes, bold reconnoissances, and cautious, steady preparation for the coming struggle. Balloon ascensions were made so near the rebel Capital, that the streets could be distinctly marked out, and the word “Union," painted in flaming capitals on the aerial monster, could be plainly read with the aid of glasses by the astonished inhabitants.
Greater activity, however, seemed to pervade the enemy's camps, and the nightly running of cars, the shriek of steam whistles, and the beating of drums, seemed to indicate that some great movement was at hand; while the sound of heavy cannonading, booming over the Chickahominy swamp, from James river, gave rise to the hope in our army that our gun boats were pushing their way up to Richmond. The rumor that Burnside was marching on fort Darling, also filled the army with exultation, and all believed that the final strug. gle was close at hand. But these indications of an onward movement passed away as others had done, and the army
patiently lay down again in the pestiferous swamps of the Chickahominy
In the mean time, there seemed to be some change in the programme, for heavy siege guns began to arrive from Yorktown. Their appearance at this late day looked like increased delays which the feverish state of the public mind would scarcely bear.
During all these weary weeks, both armies had been busy fortifying, till a double row of earth works now stood fronting each other. The rebels chafed under their imprisonment, and began to despair, if McClellan were allowed to advance against them by the slow process of a regular siege.
But Lee, who was now their Commander-in-chief, finding that Jackson's raid had succeeded in its object, and no troops were moving from the Shenandoah to reinforce McClellan, resolved to call in the forces scattered through Virginia, and suddenly concentrate them in an overwhelming mass on him, and finish the long siege in a clap of thunder
PROXIMITY OF OUR EARTH-WORKS TO THOSE OF THE ENEMY - CHARACTER OF
THE GROUND BETWEEN THEM-MCCLELLAN RESOLVES TO SIEZE IT-ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE BATTLE-HEINTZELMAN'S AND KEARNEY'S DIVISIONS HOOKER'S BRIGADE-THE BATTLE-MC CLELLAN'S ARRIVAL ON THE FIELD
HIS ENTHUSIASTÍC RECEPTION-TAKES PERSONAL COMMAND-GALLANT EFFORT OF CAPTAIN DUSENBURY-THE ENEMY BEATEN AT ALL POINTS-MCCLELLAN'S DISPATCH TO WASHINGTON-PUBLIC EXPECTATIONS PREPARATIONS TO CELEBRATE THE FALL OF RICHMOND-PERPLEXITY OF OUR GOV
ERNMENT-GREAT PLAN OF THE REBEL LEADER, LEE-MCCLELLAN INFORM
ED THAT MODOWELL WOULD NOT BE SENT TO HIS AID EFFECT OF THE
NEWS-TRYING SITUATION-GLOOMY PROSPECTSFINAL DETERMINATION
ITS DISCOVERY BY THE ENEMY.
THE earth-works which had been thrown up on both sides
were so near to each other, that no farther advance could be made without bringing on a battle. A belt of woods stretched between the hostile fortifications, concealing them from each other's view. This piece of woods was debatable ground, and it was necessary that McClellan should have it before he made his final advance. On Tuesday night, therefore, of the twenty-fourth, he made his arrangements for getting possession of it in the morning, which might bring on a general battle.
The ground which he wished to occupy lay along the line of the Williamsburg road, and was a portion of that occupied by Casey's division nearly a month before. Between this road and the rail road, on the right, was stationed Heintzelman's division, with Sumner's still farther to the righm and back, to act as emergencies might demand. Corresponding with Heintzelman's division, Sickles' Excelsior brigade
stretched away to the left of the road, joined on its extreme limit by Kearney's division. Åt seven o'clock in the morning, the brigades were drawn up in line of battle, and the First Massachusetts sent forward as skirmishers, supported by the Second New Hampshire, and Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania, with the Eleventh Massachusetts acting as their reserve. Beyond the woods that hid Heintzelman's position from the enemy, was a swamp, from the farther edge of which extended a peach orchard, situated nearly opposite the spot occupied by Hooker's brigade. Still farther on, beyond the peach orchard, was a cleared space, on the farther side of which were rebel rifle pits. There were rifle pits also in front of Kearney, on the other side of the road, and the main object of the movement was to get possession of these. Kearney met with very little stubborn resistance, and moving steadily forward, brushing the skirmishers from his path as he advanced, soon had possession of the rifle pits. But on the other side of the road the contest was very severe, the weight of it falling on Hooker's brigade. His advance regiment soon cleared the woods of the enemy's pickets, and forcing them back into the swamp, followed them fiercely up, though sinking to their knees at every step, in mud and water. Artillery could not be handled here and it had to be an affair of infantry altogether, except as the Parrott guns in the rear pitched shells at hazard over the heads of our men into the woods and fields beyond them.
The swamp was finally cleared, and the supporting regiments having come up, the united force pushed on through the peach orchard, driving the rebels before them till they emerged on the open field swept by the rifle pits. Here the contest became fierce and bloody, for our troops, wholly unsheltered, had to advance against a steady, long line of fire from the rifle pits, above the tops of which only the enemy's heads could be seen as they rose to deliver their volleys at
MC CLELLAN DIRECTS THE BATTLE.
rest. Our loss here was three to one of the rebels, yet the dauntless regiments stood their ground, and rained a perfect hail storm on the crest of the rifle pits. The enemy, at first, seemed determined not to yield the position; but at length, seeing a column from Kearney's division, moving from the rifle pits on the other side of the road to take them in flank, they broke and fled, when our troops dashed forward with a cheer, and occupied the position, and held it until an order came for them to fall back. The reb. els made no attempt to follow them, and there came a lull to the contest, which lasted till eleven o'clock. At this time McClellan rode on to the field, his approach heralded by the thundering cheers of the regiments in reserve. in hand, he swept with his escort along the shouting lines, and taking his position by an old well, near where Casey's head-quarters were before the battle of Fair Oaks, listened to the reports of the different Generals, and their aids, and then assumed command in person, and directed the remain ing operations till the close of the action. Soon after, a battery, stationed on the rail road, began to throw shells over the heads of our men into the woods and swamp beyond. The exact locality of the enemy being concealed by the forest, an officer ascended a lofty tree that overlooked the sur. rounding country, and signaled the battery where to direct its shells. After a sharp fire had been kept up for some time, a second advance was ordered, to retake the rifle pits which we had abandoned.
In the mean time, Couch's division under General Palmer, which had been ordered forward to the support of Hooker, came up in splendid order, while two Napoleon guns of DeRussy's battery under Captain Dusenbury, went tearing in a fierce gallop along the Williamsburg road, towards the front. It was deemed hardly possible to drag them through the swamp, where they were needed, in order to do