Page images

bridge in flames. Some of Jackson's | moned on the 17th, with the bulk of officers had been obliged to abandon his army, to Richmond.

their horses in order to make good

their escape.

Gen. Jackson makes his total loss in these engagements, 133 killed, 929 wounded, and 34 missing-in all, 1,096; or, since he left Winchester, 1,167, with 1 gun; while he had captured, including wounded in hospital, 975 men and 7 guns. Considering the perils he braved, and the odds which ought to have been, but were not, brought to bear against him, his campaign was one of the most brilliant of the war, and stamps him a true military genius."

Both Fremont and Shields, being recalled by orders from Washington, here relinquished the pursuit and slowly retired; while Jackson, master of the situation, recrossed the South Fork on the 12th, and encamped at Weyer's Cave; whence he was sum

On the same day" with Jackson's demolition of Kenly at Front Royal, Gen. Heth, with 3 regiments of Virginia Rebels, attacked at Lewisburg, in West Virginia, the 36th and 44th Ohio, Col. Geo. Crook, by whom he was quickly routed, though Heth seems to have had decidedly the advantage in numbers. Before our artillery could be brought into position, the Rebels were broken and flying, with a loss of 4 guns, 300 muskets, and 100 prisoners. Our loss was 11 killed and 52 wounded, including Col. Crook in the foot. The Rebel loss is stated at 50 killed and 75 wounded, part of whom were doubtless included in the prisoners. Heth burnt the bridge over the Greenbrier, three miles distant, and thus arrested the pursuit.



THE capture of Norfolk and the destruction of the Merrimac, alias Virginia, having opened James river to our navy, Commander John Rodgers, in the steamer Galena, backed by the Monitor, Aroostook, Port Royal, and Naugatuck, moved up that river unimpeded, save by the shallows on which they repeatedly grounded, to within eight miles of Richmond,

78 Confidential letters, unpublished, from Lee and Jackson to Johnson and Ewell, show that the movement was suggested, and in fact directed, from Richmond: Jackson and Ewell being ordered to combine their forces and strike a blow at Banks or at McDowell, as circumstances should render advisable. The detachment of


where he found' the channel thoroughly obstructed by two separate barriers of piles and vessels, the banks lined with sharp-shooters in rifle-pits, and a battery of heavy guns mounted on Drewry's Bluff, 200 feet above the surface of the water. The river was here so narrow as to compel him to come to anchor; which he did very near the lower barrier, and within Shields from Banks, and sending the former to McDowell at Fredericksburg, in order to enable the latter to advance to the aid of McClellan before Richmond, determined the direction of the blow.

[blocks in formation]


600 yards of the Rebel guns. He at once opened fire on the battery, and maintained a most unequal contest for 3 hours; when, having exhausted his ammunition, he desisted and fell down the river. The Galena had 13 men killed and 11 wounded; the Naugatuck 2, and the Port Royal 1 wounded. The bursting of a 100pound Parrott on the Naugatuck threatened a more serious disaster. Capt. Farrand, commanding the Rebel battery, reports his loss at 7 killed and 8 wounded.

The first collision on the Chickahominy between the advance of Gen. McClellan's army and the Rebels occurred' near New Bridge; where the 4th Michigan, Col. Woodbury, waded the stream and assailed and drove off a superior Rebel force, losing but 8 men in all, and taking 37 prisoners, of whom 15 were wounded.


until rëenforced by Gen. D. C. Butterfield, with four regiments of his brigade, when the enemy was charged and quickly routed; one of his guns being captured by Col. Lansing's 17th New York. The cavalry, Benson's battery, and Gen. Morell's infantry and artillery, keenly pursued the fugitives; while Martindale's brigade, with a section of artillery, advanced. on the Ashland road, pushing back the enemy in his front, until ordered to reform his brigade and move up the railroad to the Court House. One regiment having taken that course, Gen. Martindale was left with but two and a half regiments and one section of Martin's battery, when he was attacked by a superior force and compelled to maintain the unequal contest for an hour.

Meantime, Gen. Porter, at the Court House, learning that his rear was thus attacked, faced his whole column about and moved rapidly to the rescue, sending the 13th and 14th New York, with Griffin's battery, di

Directly afterward, Gen. Fitz-John Porter, commanding the 5th corps, on our right, was ordered by Gen. McClellan to advance from New Bridge, via Mechanicsville, to Hano-rectly to Martindale's assistance,pushver Court House, in order to facilitate and render secure Gen. McDowell's expected junction from Fredericksburg. Starting at 3 A. M.,* in a pouring rain, our cavalry advance, under Gen. W. H. Emory, had reached at noon a point two miles southward of the Court House, where the road forks to Ashland, and where the enemy were found in position to bar our further progress. The 25th New York and Berdan's sharp-shooters speedily coming up, they were deployed by Gen. Emory, with a section of Benson's battery, and thus advanced slowly toward the enemy 'May 24.

ing the 9th Massachusetts and 62d Pennsylvania through the woods on the right (west) to take the enemy in flank; while Butterfield, with the 83d Pennsylvania and 16th Michigan, hastened through the woods still farther to the right, and completed the rout of the enemy. The 13th New York, of Col. G. K. Warren's brigade, which, having been delayed repairing bridges, had not hitherto been in action, now came up on our left; and, the odds being too palpable, the Confederates made a rapid retreat. Their loss is stated by Gen. McClellan at some 200 killed, 730 * May 27


prisoners, including wounded, one | River Railroad, to the right and 12-pound howitzer, many small arms, rather in advance of Couch's posi two railroad trains, and their camp at Hanover Court House captured and destroyed. We lost 53 killed and 344 wounded. The Rebel force thus defeated consisted of Gen. L. O'B. Branch's division of North Carolina and Georgia troops, supposed by Gen. McClellan to be 9,000 strong.

tion. Heintzelman's (3d) corps had crossed after Keyes's, and been stationed in his rear, but rather to the left, so as to observe the roads debouching on that side from White Oak Swamp, whereby we might be unexpectedly assailed in flank. Sumner's corps was still north of the Chickahominy, some miles higher up, ready to cross at command. Gen. McClellan was with Fitz-John Porter's and Franklin's corps, at and near New Bridge, nearly 10 miles above Bottom's Bridge. Heintzelman, as senior Major-General, was in command on the left until Sumner appeared.


The Chickahominy, opposite Richmond, 20 to 30 miles from its mouth, is a sluggish, oozy mill-stream, three to four rods wide, often fordable, but traversing a swampy, miry bottom, generally wooded, half a mile to a mile wide, bordered by low, irregular bluffs. All the bridges by which it was previously crossed were of course destroyed in their retreat by the Rebels; but Brig.-Gen. H. M. Naglee, of Casey's division, Keyes's (4th) corps, leading our advance on the left, crossed it near Bottom's Bridge' without difficulty, wholly unopposed; followed by the rest of the corps three days later, the bridge having meantime been rebuilt. During the three following days," Naglee made a spirited reconnoissance toward Richmond, and to within two miles of the James, on our left; Couch's division took up,' by order, a position some miles in advance, at a place known as the SEVEN PINES, on the direct road from Bottom's Bridge to Richmond; which he proceeded hastily to fortify with abatis, rifle-pits, etc., and by building and arming a small redoubt. Meantime, the remaining division (Casey's) of Keyes's corps was advanced to and encamped about the station known as FAIR OAKS, on the Richmond and York out by the Williamsburg road and

The enemy being seen in force barely a mile from our front, Casey's pickets were posted some half a mile in advance of his line. It rained heavily throughout the night of May 30, swelling the Chickahominy to an extraordinary height, flooding its miry bottom, and setting afloat several of our new-made bridges. Jo. Johnston, who commanded the Rebel army, saw his opportunity, and resolved to profit by it. The roads of all that region center on Richmond, radiating thence like the folds of a fan, and affording a considerable advantage in manoeuvering to the combatant who holds the city. Informed by his scouts of the num bers and isolated position of Keyes's corps, Johnston resolved to assail and crush it before it could be adequately rëenforced. To this end, he directed Maj.-Gen. Longstreet, with his own and Gen. D. H. Hill's division, the latter in advance, to push

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]





attack our position in front, while | so come in on our right. The entire Huger's, on his right, was to Rebel army defending Richmonddown the Charles City road some 40,000 to 50,000 strong-was and come in on our left flank; and either engaged in or supporting this Gen. Gustavus W. Smith was to movement, with Jefferson Davis, move out on the New Bridge road to Gen. Lee, and other magnates, obOld Tavern, taking thence the Nine- serving, directing, animating, and mile road to Fair Oaks Station, and giving counsel.

[graphic][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

time waited impatiently in our immediate front, gave, at 1 P. M., the signal to his division to advance and attack.

The attacking columns were to | nated, when Hill, who had for some move at day-break; but the tremendous rains of the preceding afternoon and night had so flooded the earth as to render the moving of artillery exceedingly difficult; the infantry Casey's division was surprised as often wading through mud and water well as largely outnumbered. Havtwo or three feet deep. Huger's ing been scarcely two days in this flank movement had not yet culmi- position, their defensive works were

May 31.

not of much account; and even their | onets and drive them back; which commander did not consider the matter serious until a vedette reported the enemy advancing in force, about the same moment that two shells came hissing over their heads; when, dropping the axes and spades wherewith they were felling trees for abatis and digging rifle-pits, our soldiers at the front hurriedly stood to their arms as our pickets came running in.

Gen. Casey promptly sent forward Spratt's battery of 4 3-inch rifled guns to a position in front of his rifle-pits, and ordered up Gen. Naglee's infantry brigade, consisting of the 56th and 100th New York, 11th Maine, and 104th Pennsylvania, to its support; while he disposed his 7 remaining regiments and 3 batteries on either side of a small redoubt, which he had hastily constructed, expecting to hold his ground until the arrival of rëenforcements; and ordered his artillery to open on the advancing enemy.

But the odds were too great. The three brigades of Rhodes, Garland, and Anderson, were immediately in his front; while that of Rains, by a flank movement, was coming in on his left. The 104th Pennsylvania, which he had sent forward to the support of his pickets, came rushing back in confusion, and went to the rear in disorder, having lost heavily by the Rebel fire; and, though musketry and artillery were doing fearful execution on either side, it was plain that we must soon be overwhelmed.

Seeing that the enemy were closing in on him on both wings, Gen. Casey ordered Gen. Naglee, with what remained of his brigade, to charge bay

was done, but under a musketry fire that mowed down our men by hundreds. Here fell Col. James M. Brown, of the 100th New York, and Col. Davis, of the 104th Pennsylvania, whose Major also was mortally wounded; and, our flanks being again enveloped, Rains having gained the rear of our redoubt, and firing thence on the flank of our infantry, Casey's division was driven back in disorderly retreat upon Couch, with the loss of 6 guns. Col. G. D. Bailey, Major Van Valkenburg, and Adjt. Ramsey, of the 1st New York artillery, were killed, while endeavoring to save the guns in the redoubt; which were the next moment seized by Rhodes, and turned upon our flying columns. To the credit of this shattered division be it recorded, that, under a fearful enfilading fire from Rains, in addition to that thundered on their rear from Rhodes, they brought off three-fourths of our guns.

The storm of battle now fell upon the 93d Pennsylvania, Col. McCarter, 55th New York, Lt.-Col. Thourot, 23d Pennsylvania, Col. Neill, and 61st, Col. Rippey, of Couch's division, who were sent forward by Keyes to the relief of Casey, on the right, where they fought gallantly and lost heavily. The 7th Massachusetts, Col. Russell, and 62d New York, Col. J. L. Riker, were afterward sent to rëenforce them; but were pressed back upon Fair Oaks by the enemy's overpowering advance, and there, uniting with the 1st U. S. Chasseurs, Col. John Cochrane, and 31st Pennsylvania, Col. Williams, held their ground until the advance of Gen. Sumner's corps, which had with great difficulty made

« PreviousContinue »