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CHAPTER VI.

PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN-MECHANICSVILLE-GAINES' MILL.

The Reserves in camp at Fredericksburg-Condition of brigadesGeneral Reynolds military governor-General Ord, promotion, his military services - McClellan calls for reinforcements-Destruction of bridges at Fredericksburg-McCall's division ordered to the Peninsula -Embarkation-Sailing to the White House-Disembarkation—March to Despatch station-Pursuit of enemy at Tunstall's station—Stuart's raid-Arrival of Third brigade—The Reserves save McClellan's line of communication-Concentration of the division at Despatch stationStrength of the division-March to new bridge-Spirit of the menMcCall and his troops assigned the post of honor–March to Mechanicsville—The appearance of the troops-Position on Beaver Dam creekOccupation of Mechanicsville-Picket lines- Powerful armies face to face-Delay of the attack-The situation ; in Richmond; in the armies -McClellan in doubt-Resolves to give battle-Position of the armyAdvance of the left wing-Position of the right wing-Jackson's movement-Advance of the Rebel army-Battle of Mechanicsville-Night after the battle-Withdrawal to a new line-Position at Gaines' MillBatile of Gaines' Mill — Desperate fighting by regiments - Oficial reports-Results.

The departure of two divisions of the First corps for the Shenandoah valley, left McCall with the Reserve Corps at Fredericksburg to hold the position, until General McDowell should return with the other divisions of his command. General McCall moved his division from the rear of Fal. mouth, to the position vacated by General King's division, opposite Fredericksburg, and established his headquarters in the Phillips IIouse, situated on a hill half a mile northeast from the Lacy IIouse, which it surpassed in architectu. ral beauty and elegance of finish. The Phillips House in December, 1862, made the headquarters of General Burnside during the battle of Fredericksburg, and afterwards the headquarters of General Sumner; in the spring of 1863, it was accidently destroyed by fire.

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On the 24th of May, General McDowell addressed a communication to General McCall, requesting him to report which of his brigades was the least efficient or least fit to take the field ? To this inquiry, General McCall replied: “It is impossible for me to draw a satisfactory distinction between the brigades of my division; in respect to their arms, they are equally efficient, having about the same number of smooth bore Harper's Ferry muskets in each, (say about twelve hundred,) while the remainder are rifle muskets. I consider all these brigades as fit to take the field as any in the service, as far as the physique and intelligence of the men are questions; and the discipline and instruction are good in all.”

Colonel McCalmont of the Tenth regiment, after the experience of a winter in camp, found his health rapidly failing. He had applied himself most assiduously to the labor of preparing his regiment for effective service, and left nothing unaccomplished that his versatile genius could suggest as advantageous to the thorough discipline of his command. He was eminently successful; but when the time came for the well drilled regiment to be led in active campaigns, Colonel McCalmont was obliged, on account of his broken health, to allow that honor to his junior officer. He accordingly resigned his commission in the month of May, while the regiment was at Fredericksburg. Lieutenant-Colonel James T. Kirk was elected to the colonelcy, and commanded the regiment through the Peninsular campaign, and until after the battle of Antietam.

On the 26th of May, General Reynolds' brigade marched across the river on a trestle bridge, and occupied the city of Fredericksburg. General Reynolds was appointed military governor, and camped his brigade on the heights in the rear of the city. His administration of affairs in Fredericksburg was vigorous and equitable, so that the loyal citizens rejoiced in the establishment of the authority of the United States in their city.

While at Fredericksburg, the Third brigade lost its com. mander, who, by his ability as an officer, had won the confi. dence of the soldiers, and was much loved by all the men. Edward 0.C. Ord was born in the State of Maryland, in 1818, and graduated at the military academy at West Point in 1839. He was commissioned second lieutenant of the Third regiment United States artillery, and sent to Florida, to serve against the Seminole Indians. At the close of the Florida war, Lieutenant Ord was ordered to join the coast survey, where he served with distinction. In 1846, he was sent to California, and in 1851 he was promoted to a captaincy and employed on the Atlantic coast. He was returned to the West, to serve in California and Oregon, in 1855. At the beginning of the war against the rebels, he came East, and in September, 1861, was commissioned a brigadier-general, and given the choice of several vacancies. General Ord, without a moment of hesitation, asked to be assigned to the command of the vacancy in the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps; choosing that position both on account of his great confidence in the military abilities of General McCall, and the honorable reputation already attained by the regiments of his division. The Third brigade, under his instructions, rose rapidly in efficiency, and under his command, in December, fought and won the battle of Dranesville. In May, 1862, General Ord was promoted to a major-generalship, and was assigned to the command of a division in the First corps.

The brigade of Reserves parted with him in sorrow, and never again loved an officer so dearly. The vacancy was filled by the assignment of Brigadier-General Truman Sey. mour, who, previous to the promotion of General Ord, had been a captain in command of the United States battery attached to McCall's division.

After the battle of Fair Oaks, which ended on the first of June, General McClellan repeated, with renewed emphasis, his demands for reinforcements, which, from the day of his landing at Fortress Monroe, in April, until his departure from Ilarrison's Landing, in July, had been incessant. On the 4th of June, he telegraphed to the Secretary of War:

" Terrible rain storm during the night and morning-not yet cleared off. Chickahominy flooded, bridges in bad condition, Are still hard at work at them. I have taken every possible step to insure the security of the corps on the right bank, but I cannot reinforce them here until my bridges are all safe, as my force is too small to insure my right and rear, should the enemy attack in that direction, as they may probably attempt. I have to be very cautious now. Our loss in the late battle will probably amount to seven thousand. I have not yet full returns. On account of the effect it might have on our own men and the enemy, I request that

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will regard this information as confidential for a few days. I am satisfied that the loss of the enemy was very considerably greater; they were terribly punished. I mention these facts now, merely to show you that the Army of the Potomac has had serious work, and that no child's play is before it.

"You must make your calculations on the supposition that I have been correct from the beginning in asserting that the serious opposition was to be made here.

“Please inform me, at once, what reinforcements, if any, I can count upon having at Fortress Monroe or White House within the next three days, and when each regiment may be expected to arrive. It is of the utmost importance that I should know this immediately.

“If I can have five new regiments for Fort Monroe and its dependencies, I can draw three more old regiments from there safely. I can well dispose of four more raw regiments on my communications. I can well dispose of from fifteen to twenty well-drilled regiments among the old brigades in bringing them up to their original effective strength. Recruits are especially necessary for the regular and volunteer batteries of artillery, as well as for the regular and volunteer regiments of infantry. After the losses in our last battle, I trust I will no longer be regarded as an alarmist.

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I believe we have at least one more desperate battle to fight.”

Among other reinforcements promised, in reply to this despatch, Secretary Stanton informed General McClellan, that General McCall would be ordered to move on transports to White House, as soon as McDowell's force returned from its trip to Port Royal.

On the 7th of June, the Secretary advised General McClellan of the departure of troops for the Peninsula, and inquired, whether he would, on their arrival, be in a condition to advance. To this General McClellan replied :

“I have the honor to state that the Chickahominy river has risen so as to flood the entire bottoms to the depth of three and four feet. I am pushing forward the bridges in spite of this, and the men are working night and day, up to their waists in water, to complete them.

“The whole face of the country is a perfect bog, entirely impassable for artillery or even cavalry, except directly in the narrow roads, which renders any general movement, either of this or the rebel army, entirely out of the question until we have more favorable weather.

“I am glad to learn that you are pressing forward rein. forcements so vigorously.

“I shall be in perfect readiness to move forward and take Richmond, the moment McCall reaches here and the ground will admit the passage of artillery. I have advanced my pickets about a mile to-day, driving off the rebel pickets and securing a very advantageous position.”

When the disloyal population of Fredericksburg learned that many

of the National troops were leaving that vicinity, and believing that all would soon be withdrawn, they exhibited great hostility to the Union cause, and became insolent and abusive. General Reynolds, however, when he was appointed military governor, at once adopted measures to restrain all unfriendly demonstrations. On the 4th of June, there was a great freshet in the river, which carried away all the bridges connecting Fredericksburg with the

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