« PreviousContinue »
at an early hour next morning, destroying the bridges behind them, and his entire corps proceeded at once through White Oak Swamp to Turkey Bend, on James River. McClellan, with headquarters at Savage's Station, improved the time in managing his change of base. Soon after midnight he had sent a dispatch to Stanton, complaining of defeat for the want of enough men, and concluding: “If I save this army now, I tell you plainly that I owe no thanks to you, or to any other
in Washington. You have done your best to sacrifice this army." Before night (on the 28th) he left Savage's Station, proceeding directly to the James at Turkey Bend, where he went on board the gunboat of Flagofficer Rodgers, to confer with him as to the best position to be taken by the army on that river.
Lee set his troops in motion on the morning of the 29th, seeking to intercept the retreating army near Charles City Cross-roads, about two miles beyond the White Oak Bridge. Jackson spent the 28th and 29th in burying the dead and caring for the wounded on the late battlefield, and in repairing the bridge by which his men crossed the Chickahominy on the morning of the 30th. Sumner, moving from his old position to take the place assigned him at Savage's Station, repulsed an attack from Magruder, on the morning of the 28th, near Allen's farm; and later in the day they had a more serious encounter near Savage's Station, lasting from 4 o'clock until night, with the advantage on Sumner's side. During the night the swamp was crossed by Sumner and Franklin, the latter remaining to destroy the bridge and to check pursuit. On the evening of the 30th, Heintzelman destroyed the bridge by which
he had crossed at Brackett's Ford, and held the Charles City road. Sumner, with Sedgwick's division, was at Glendale (Nelson's farm), and McCall's division formed across the New Market road, at Frayser's farm. In the afternoon McCall was attacked in overwhelming force, and a hard-fought battle followed. “The battle of Glendale,” reported Sumner, the ranking General present, "was the most severe action since the battle of Fair Oaks. About 3 P. M. the action commenced, and after a furious contest, lasting till after dark, the enemy was routed at all points and driven from the field.”
The supply trains and reserve artillery had all arrived at Turkey Bend by 4 o'clock the same afternoon. Porter had taken position on Malvern Hill, on the James, about fifteen miles from Richmond, and was prepared to receive the hostile force, which appeared near 5 o'clock. A concentrated fire of artillery, seconded by the gunboats, sufficed to repress his assailants for the evening. The corps of Keyes was also on the ground, and the corps of Heintzelman, Sumner, and Franklin were at hand in the morning. The hill — a high table-land a mile and a half long, and half as wide, from which the descent to the river is somewhat abrupt, but more gradual towards a wooded plain northward was nearly clear of timber, affording good opportunity for the use of artillery, which was heavily massed upon the slope, so as to command the approaches from White Oak Swamp and Richmond. The real conflict did not begin until after noon. Near 3 o'clock a heavy artillery fire was opened by the Confederates on Keyes's position, followed by an infantry charge. The latter was awaited by Couch's men, lying on the ground until the
enemy was well up within musket range, when they sprang to their feet. A destructive volley broke the advancing ranks, and the assailants were driven back nearly half a mile, with much slaughter. At 6 o'clock Lee's artillery opened on the Union left, and masses of infantry were ready to attack. Forming under cover of the woods, brigade followed brigade on the run, seeking to cross the open space in order to capture the batteries to which they were exposed; but, terribly swept and broken by cannon and musketry, the assailants were slaughtered, disabled, or driven back to shelter. Futile assaults were renewed with desperation until night darkened the field.
The losses at Malvern Hill were: Union — killed, 397; wounded, 2,093; Confederate — killed, 1,050; wounded, 4,075. According to official records the losses during the seven days beginning June 25th were: Union — killed, 1,734; wounded, 8,062; missing, 6,053; total, 15,849. Confederate - killed, 2,823; wounded, 13,703; missing, 3,233; total, 19,759.
During the second and third days of July the Army of the Potomac took position near Harrison's Landing, below City Point, and intrenched, its flanks being under the protection of the gunboats of Rodgers. From this point the General, on the 4th, sent a long letter to the President, in which he said: “I shall make a stand at this place, and endeavor to give my men the repose they so much require.” He summarized events occurring since his last dispatch from Savage's Station, and explained his “change of base.” While saying, “I can not now approximate to any statement of our losses, but we were not beaten,” he was not over-sanguine as to the future: "Our communications by the James, River,” he wrote, “are not secure. There are points where the enemy can establish themselves with cannon or musketry and command the river, and where it is not certain that our gunboats can drive them out. Send reinforcements as you can; I will do what I can."
A communication was addressed to the President, dated June 28th, signed by the Governors of nearly all the loyal States, suggesting a call for additional troops, and assuring him that the people were desirous to aid promptly in furnishing all reinforcements he might deem necessary. This expression from the Governors he had in fact wished — and it was quietly but actively promoted by Secretary Seward, who spent some time in New York City on that errand, - before issuing the call, which had become indispensable. Lincoln responded (July 1st), announcing that he would ask a new levy of three hundred thousand men, trusting that they would "be enrolled without delay, so as to bring this unnecessary and injurious civil war to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion."
Departments of Fremont, McDowell and Banks Consoli
dated — Halleck and Pope Called to the East - Exit Fremont - Lincoln at Harrison's Landing.
A new department had been created for Fremont, in the hope that he would early occupy Knoxville, or at least effectively break the railway communication between that city and Lynchburg. After two months, however, he was still remote from the intended scene of his main operations. When Jackson was putting Banks to flight in the latter part of May, Fremont was at Franklin, in West Virginia, midway between Beverly and Harrisonburg, with lagging trains forty miles in his rear, at Moorefield. He was ordered on the 24th to "move against Jackson at Harrisonburg," in support of Banks, and was told that the movement "must be made immediately.” The distance from his position directly across the mountain to Harrisonburg was comparatively short, and the road, though not of the best, was passable. Fremont, nevertheless, countermarched to Moorefield, and crossed from that place into the Shenandoah Valley well down toward Winchester, spoiling the President's carefully laid plan to corner Jackson. Fremont arrived just too late, though the enemy did not escape without some trouble. Fighting with