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LEE PURSUES MOCLELLAN.
« June 29,
equal in history.' In a most unhappy state of mind he moved to the front with his staff, giving general orders to his commanders how to resist pursuit, and directing Keyes to move on to the James River, and occupy a defensive position near the high open ground of Malvern Hill. Porter was to follow him and prolong the line toward the right, and the trains were to be pushed forward to the James and placed under the protection of the gun-boats.
At about the hour when McClellan left Savage's Station, Lee put his troops in motion in pursuit.“ Magruder and Huger were ordered to push along the Williamsburg and Charles City roads, to strike the fugitives on flank and rear; Longstreet and Hill to cross the Chickahominy at New Bridge, and move by flank routes so intercept the retreat; and Jackson was to cross at the Grape Vine Bridge and sweep with his usual celerity down the right bank of the Chickahominy.
McClellan had twenty-four hours the start in this exciting race, and his trains and a large part of his army were weli on toward the James before the pursuit began. Yet that advantage did not secure his army immunity from a terrible struggle for life with its foe. It began on the extreme rear, on the morning of the 29th, when Magruder approached Savage's Station. Seeing this menace, Sumner, who had vacated his position at Fair Oaks early in the morning, and taken position on Allen's farm, near Orchard Station, moved his corps to Savage's, uniting there with Smith's division of Franklin's corps, and taking chief command. The divisions of Richardson and Sedgwick were formed on the right of the railway, fronting Richmond, the latter joining that of Heintzelman's left.
Magruder made a furious attack on Sedgwick's right at about nine o'clock, but was easily repulsed. Supposing the Nationals to be advancing, he sent to Huger for aid. Two brigades were for
1 After reporting the battle of the previous day, he said: “ Had I 20,000 or even 10,000 fresh troops to use to maneu ver, I could take Richmood; but I have not a ma: in reserve, and shall be glad to cover my retreat and save the material and personnel of the army. If we have lost the day, we have yet preserved our honor, and no one need blush for the Army of the Potomac. I have lost this battle because my force was too small. I again repeat, that I am not responsiblo for this, and I say it with the earnestness of a general who feels in his heart the loss of every brave man who has been needlessly sacrificoil." He told the Secretary that he hoped to retrieve the fortunes of the day, but to do it he must send “very large re-enforcements, and send them at once." Then, repeating the assertion that the Government must not hold him responsible for the result, he said: “I feel too earnestly to-night. I have seen too many dead and wounded comrades to feel otherwise than that the Government has not sustained this army. If you do not do so now the game is lost. If I save this arıny now I tell you plainly that I owo no thanks to you or any other persons in Washington. You have done your best to sacrifice this army."
Military history may be searcled in vain for an instance where such lan zuage of an officer to his superior was not followed by arrest or instant dis nissal from thy service. It appears utterly inercusable, judged by General McClellan's official report made more than a year afterward, in which it is repeated, and especially in the clear light of subsequent investigation. It was a precedent for the most mischievous insubordination thronghout the army. Had General Casey, when, after the Battle of Seven Pines, he looked sadly upon one-third of his entire division killed or maimerl, and felt keenly the injustice of his con:nander's stinging words of censure, sent a note to the Cominander-in-Chief, saying (:ind with more reason): “Because of your wretched blunder in placing me in the position I was in, without adequate support, I lost the day, you and not I must be hell responsible; if any of my division are saved, I tell yon plainly I owe no thanks to you-you have done your best to sacrifice it,” he would probably have been arrested on a just charge of most dangerous insubordination, and perhaps tried by a drum head court-martial, and shot before sunset by the order of his chief, as an examplo to the army. The act would have been justified by military discipline and precedent. But the patient and forbearing President, who was specially insulted by the dispatch, only replied, after telling the irate general that re-enforcements should be sent to him as fast as possible: " If you have had a drawn battle or a repulse, it is the price we pay for the enemy not being in Washington. We protected Washington, and the enemy concentrated on you. II1d we stripped Washinzton, he would have been upon us before the troops sent could have got to you. Less than a week ago, you notified us that re-enforcements were leaving Richmond to come in front of us. It is the nature of the case, and neither you nor the Govern:nent is to bla:ne"
BATTLE OF SAVAGE'S STATION,
warded, but these were withdrawn when it was ascertained that the Nationals in their works were only a covering party for the retreating army. Magruder accordingly made dispositions to attack them. Unfortunately Heintzelman, on Sumner's left, who had been directed to hold the Williamsburg road, had mistaken the order and fallen back entirely across the White Oak Swamp, leaving a gap of three-fourths of a mile between Sumner and Franklin, and placing his own troops too distant to be of immediate service.
Magruder perceived this weakness, and at about four o'clock in the afternoon he fell upon his enemy with great violence. He was gallantly met and repulsed by the brigade of General Burns, supported by those of Brooke and Hancock. The Sixty-ninth New York also came up in support, while the batteries of Pettit, Osborn, and Bramhall took an effective part in the action. The conflict raged furiously until between eight and nine o'clock in the evening, when Magruder recoiled. He had expected aid from Jackson, but the latter had been too long delayed in re-building the Grape Vine bridge. Darkness put an end to the fight, and thus ended THE BATTLE OF SAVAGE's STATION.' Covered by French's brigade as a rear-guard, the National troops all fell back to White Oak Swamp that night, according to McClellan's original order (now repeated), and by five o'clock on the following
morning* they were beyond the creek, and the bridge over which a June 30, almost the entire Army of the Potomac and its trains had
passed was destroyed behind them. Twenty-five hundred wounded men had been left at Savage's Station, by order of the Commanding General. It was a sad necessity, for many of them were afterward intense sufferers in Confederate prisons.
On the morning of the 30th McClellan had reached Malvern Hills, which he considered the key to his contemplated new position, and made the mansion-house on the estate that covered their southern extremity his head-quarters. There he made arrangements with Major Myer, the Chief of the Signal Corps, for instant communication with his army and the gunboats, and then went on board the Galena, to confer with Commodore Rodgers. By this time a greater part of the army had emerged from the White Oak Swamp into the high open region of Malvern Hills, well covered
1 Speaking of this battle, an eye-witness said that, as usual, the Confederates had hurled heavy bodies of troops against the National line here and there, for the purpose of breaking it. Sometimes the troops would recoil, but there was General Burns," said the narrator, * who, with clothes and hat pierced, and face covered with blood, still rallied and cheered his men." On one occasion, two exposed companies commenced to march off the field. “ The General expostulated, entreatedl, cominanded them, all in vain. At length, taking off his torn hat and throwing it down, he besonght them not to disgrace themselves and their general. This last appeal was successful. They returned and fought more desperately, to wipe out the cowardice of a moment." The same writer says" After the enerny was repulsed at Savage's Station, General Sumner sent to General McClellan for, as he expressed himself, orders to push the enemy into the Chickahominy' The General's reply was, • The rear-guard will follow the retreat of the main body of the army.' On the reception of this command, the greatest contternation and displeasure reigned among both officers and men. Many openly rebelled--they wished to sacrifice themselves in any way rather than by a disgraceful retreat."--Dr. Marks's Peninsula Campaign, page 254
* The picture on page 429 shows the appearance of the honse when the writer visited it, at the close of Mar, 1966. It was upon the southern extremity of the Malvern Hills, and from the lawn in front of it there was a comprehensive view of the lowlanris and the James River, in the vicinity of Turkey Bend. The view southward was bounded by City Point in the distance. The old mansion was of brick, and had a modern addition of wool. During the old war for independence, the estate was owned by one of the Randolph family. It was the headquarters of Lafayette while he was pursning Cornwallis down the Peninsula. The writer has in his possession two autograph letters by the Marquis, dated at “ Malvern Hills," in the year 1781.
BATTLE IN WHITE OAK SWAMP.
in the movement by a rear-guard under Franklin, and very soon the van reached the vicinity of the river at Turkey Bend. The supply trains were pushed forward to Haxall's plantation, and the artillery parks were on Malvern Hills.
This position had not been gained without a severe struggle. Franklin had been left with a rear-guard' to hold the passage of White Oak Swamp Bridge, and cover the withdrawal of the trains from that point.
MOLELLAN'S HEAD-QUARTERS ON MALVERN HILLS. The pursuit was in two columns : one, composed of the corps of Longstreet and A. P. Hill, which was joined by Jackson's command, followed directly on the track of the fugitive army; the other, under Magruder and Huger, pushed along the Charles City road to the right of the retreating troops. Jackson had been ordered on the morning of the 30th to sweep around toward the Chickahominy, so as to gain their left and rear, but was checked by the destruction of a bridge; and when, at noon, he sought to cross the White Oak Swamp Bridge, he found it destroyed, and was there met by Smith, Richardson, and Naglee, and the batteries of Ayres and IIazard, who kept him at bay during the day and evening. Hazard was mortally wounded, and his force was so cut up that his battery was withdrawn. Ayres kept up a cannonade with great spirit all the afternoon. The Nationals retired during the night, leaving three hundred and fifty sick and wounded behind, and some disabled guns, as spoils for the Confederates next morning. While this contest for the passage of the bridge was in progress, a very severe
battle occurred at Glen-
1 Composed of his own corps, the division of General Richardson, and Naglee's brigade. Slocum's division was on the right of the Charles City road.
? This was the appearance of the building and its surroundings when the writer sketched it, at the close of Nay, 1866. It is a few rods from the scene of the hottest of the battle of Glendale or Frazier's Farın, in a beantiful grove, where the tents of a burial-party were pitched. It was founded by “ Father Willis" of the Methodist Church, and was built just before the war.
BATTLE OF GLENDALE.
a June 30.
that of Reynolds (who was a prisoner), under Colonel S. G. Simmons, of the Fifth Pennsylvania, in reserve. The artillery was all in front of this line. Randall's regular battery was on the right, Cooper and Kerns's opposite the center, and Dietrich's and Kennerheim's (20-pounder Parrotts) on the left. Sumner was some distance to the left, with Sedgwick's division; Hooker was at Sumner's left, and Kearney was at the right of McCall.
Longstreet and Hill had hurried forward to gain this point before McClellan's army could pass it, hoping there to cut that army in two and destroy it. But they were a little too late. When Longstreet (who was accompanied by Lec and Jefferson Davis) found himself confronted there, he waited for Magruder to come up, and it was not until between three and four o'clock in the
afternoon that he began an attack. He fell heavily upon McCall, whose force (Pennsylvania Reserves), when he reached the
Pamunkey, was ten thousand, but had been reduced by sickness, fatigue, and fighting, to six thousand. The Confederates attempted by the weight of their first blow to crush his left, but were repulsel by a charge of the Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Pennsylvania Reserves, led by Colonel Simmons, who captured two hundred of them and drove the remainder back to the woods. Then the fugitives turned, and by a murderous fire made the pursuers recoil, and flee to the forest in the rear of their first position. In that encounter the slaughter was dreadful. Simmons was mortally wounded, and the dead or maimed bodies of hundreds of his comrades strewed the field.
This first struggle was quickly followed by others. Backward and forward the contending lines were swayed by charges and counter-charges, for two hours. To break the National line and to capture its batteries seemed to be the chief object of the assailants. Cooper's battery, in the center, was taken, and then retaken, together with the standard of an Alabama regiment; and this was followed by the appearance of General Meagher, with his Irish brigade, who made a desperate charge across an open field, and drove the Confederates to the woods. By a gallant charge of a brigade (Fifty-fifth and Sixtieth Virginia), Randall's battery on the right was also captured, and the greater portion of its supporting regiment was driven back, when McCall and Meade rallied their infantry for its recapture. A terrible handto-hand fight ensued, and the reserves were repulsed, but they carried back with them their recovered guns. In this encounter, just at dark, Meade was severely wounded, and McCall, who had lost all of his brigadiers and was reconnoitering, was captured. Then the command devolved upon Seymour. The noise of battle had brought some of the troops of IIooker and Kearney to the field of action just at dark, and soon afterward the sound of cheering from the First New Jersey brigade (General Taylor) startled the wearied and broken Confederates, and they fell back to the woods. These fresh troops recovered a part of the ground lost by the Reserves. So ended The BATTLE OF GLENDALE."
1 The Confederates call it the Battle of Frazier's Farm, it having been fought on a part of Frazier's and a part of Nelson's farms. The battle was fought desperately by both sides; on the part of the Nationals, in accordance with the judgment and discretion of the corps commanders, for the General-in-Chief was entirely ignorant of what was going on until - very late at night," as he said in his Report (page 138). when his aids returned to give him “the results of the day's fighting along the whole line, and the true position of affairs." He bad been a part of the day on board of a gun-boat in the es River, according to his report, and another
THE NATIONAL TROOPS ON MALVERN HILLS.
While the Confederates were waiting for the dawn to renew the battle, the National troops were all silently withdrawn; and early the next day" the Army of the Potomac, united for the first time
a July 1, since the Chickahominy first divided it, was in a strong position on Malvern Hill, and its communication with a new base of supplies on the James assured. Terrible had been the experience of that army during the preceding seven days—terrible indeed had been its losses, and other afflictions. The high and dry land of Malvern Hills, and the sight of the James River, inspired the worn and wearied soldiers with gladness and hope; for they believed that they might now change front, repel their pursuers, rest a little, and then be called upon to march victoriously upon Richmond.
The troops were posted, under the direction of General Barnard, in a strong position, on the 1st of July. Porter had reached Malvern Hills the day before, and placed his troops so as to command all the approaches to it from Richmond and the Swamp. The last of the trains and reserve of artillery arrived at about four o'clock in the afternoon, and at about that hour
BURKEY General Holmes, who had been summoned to Richmond from the south side of the James, and had marched down the river road with his brigade and a part of Wise's, appeared on the left of Porter (he having changed front, with his face toward Richmond), and opened fire upon him with artillery. Holmes soon found himself overmatched, for Porter had ample artillery at command, and withdrew so hastily that he left two of his guns behind. When the army had all arrived the next day, it was posted with its left and center resting on Malvern Hills, while the right curved backward through a wooded country, toward a point below Haxall's, on the James.
Malvern Hills form a high plateau, sloping toward Richmond from bold
part of the day at his quarters, only two or three miles from the scene of strise, the din of which, it would seem, was calculated to draw every interested sonl into the vortex of the struggle, for it was a decisive point. The subordinate commanders well knew that if the army should be beaten there it would be ruined, and so they fought desperately for victory and won it, and then made arrangements, without the knowledge of the com. manding General, to save it, by silently withdrawing during the night. All this bad been accomplished before, McClellan's aids (as he said) had informed him of the true position of affairs.” General Barnard, McClellan's Engineer-in-Chief, anys, in speaking of this fict given in the General's Report: “It may well he doubted whether, in all recorded reports or dispatches of military commanders, a parallel to this extraordinary avowal can be found. We suppose it the especial business of a general to know at each moment 'the true position of affairs,' and to have some agency in ruling it."