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THE CONTENDING ARMIES.
banks toward the river, and bounded by deep ravines, making an excellent defensive position. Yet it was not considered a safe one for the army to halt, for it was too far separated from supplies. So, on the morning of the first, McClellan again went on board the Galena, to accompany Captain Rodgers, to “sclect the final location for the army and its depots.” This
was fixed at Harrison's Bar, a short distance down the river. While he was there a heavy cannonade was commenced on Malvern Hills.
The National line of battle was formed with Porter's corps on the left, near Crew's house (with Sykes's division on the left and Morell's on the right), where the artillery of the
reserve, under Colonel Hunt, was so disposed on high ground that a concentrated fire of sixty guns could be brought to bear on any point on his front or left; and on the highest point of the hill Colonel Tyler had ten siege-guns in position. Couch's division was placed on the right of Porter; next on the right were Kearney and Hooker; next Sedgwick and Richardson; next Smith and Slocum; then the remainder of Keyes's corps, extending in a curve nearly to the river. The Pennsylvania Reserves were in the rear of Porter and Couch, as
The left, where the weight of attack was expected, was very strong, and the right was strengthened by slashings,' and its flank covered by gun-boats. The map on page 431 shows the positions. Lee concentrated his troops near Glendale on the morning of the
1st ;but owing to the nature of the country, and his lack of infora July, 1862
mation concerning it, he did not get his line of battle formed and ready for attack until late in the afternoon, but had kept up an artillery fire here and there, after ten o'clock. He formed his line with the divisions of Jackson, Ewell, Whiting, and D. II. Hill, on the left (a large portion of Ewell's in reserve), and those of Magruder and Huger on the right, while A. P. Hill's and Longstreet's were held in reserve on the left, and took no part in the engagement that followed.
Lee resolved to carry Malvern Hills by storm, and for that purpose massed his troops on his right. He posted his artillery so that by a concentrated fire he expected to silence those of the Nationals, when Armistead's brigade of Huger's division was to advance with a shout and carry the bat. tery immediately before it. That shout was to be the signal for a general advance with fixed bayonets to “drive the invaders into the James.” This BATTLE OF MALVERN IIILLS.
1 Trees cut so nearly off that they fall, but still adhere to the stump, and thus form a very strong kind of abatis.
movement was more easily planned than executed. Unforeseen contingencies arose; and when, between three and four o'clock in the afternoon, a heavy fire of artillery was opened upon Couch and Kearney, and D. H. Hill, believing that he heard the proposed signal-shout for a general advance, pushed forward upon Couch's front, he found his troops almost unsupported. “ Instead of ordering up one or two hundred pieces of artillery to play on the Yankees," he said, " a single battery (Moorman's) was ordered up and knocked to pieces in a few minutes; one or two others shared the same fate of being beat in detail.” The Confederates were repulsed by cannon and musket, and driven back in confusion to the woods near the Quaker road. Then the National right, on the hills resting near Binford's, was advanced several hundred yards to a better position.
Meanwhile Magruder and Huger had made a furious attack on Porter at the left. The brigades of Kershaw and Semmes, of McLaw's division, charged through a dense wood nearly up to Porter's guns; and a similar dash was made by Wright, Mahone, and Anderson, farther to the right, and by Barksdale, nearer the center. But all were repulsed, and for a while fighting nearly ceased. It was only a lull in the storm. With a recklessness or desperation equaled only by his blunders in arrangements for the battle,
Lee ordered another assault on the “tier after tier of batteries grimly visible on the plateau, rising in the form of an amphitheater, one flank of the Yankees protected by Turkey Creek, and the other by gun-boats." His shat
1 Reports of the Army of Northern Virginia, i. 186.
? There was much dissatisfaction felt in the Confederate Army with Lee's management of it. especially on the day of the battle of Malvern IIills. But Lee being a Virginian, with the prestige of an honorable family name anıl connections, and withal a speciul favorite of Jefferson Davis—whose will bad now become law in the Confederacy, that commander's incompetency as the leader of a great army, which was apparent from time to time throughout the wir, was hidden as much as possible, and no one was allowed to publicly find fault because of his military blunders, such as his invasions of Maryland and Pennsylvania. But on the occasion we are now considering, the outspoken D. H. IIil, in his report to the Assistant Adjutant-General, ventured to say* Notwithstanding the tremendous odds against ns, and the blundering arrangements of the battle, we inflicted heavy loss upon the Yankees." The olds were indeed against the Confederates, for the Nationals doubtless had more troups, and certuinly a better position than they.
3 This is a view from Crew's house, near which some of Porter's batteries were planted, overlooking the fields where the Confederates advanced to the charges on Porter and Conch. In the distance is seen the line of the dark pine-woods near Glendale, from which the assailing columns emerged. This was the appearance of the spot when the writer inade the sketch, at the close of May, 1566. 4 D. H. Hill's Report.
RETREAT TO IIARRISON'S LANDING.
tered columns were re-formed in the dark pine-forest, not more than half a mile in front of the National line, and at about six o'clock in the evening he opened a general artillery fire upon Couch and Porter, and his infantry rushed from their covering at the double-quick, over the open undulating fields, to storm the batteries and carry the hill. They were met by a most withering fire of musketry and great guns; but as one brigade recoiled, another was pushed forward, with a culpable recklessness of human life, under the circumstances. Finally, at about seven o'clock, when a heavy mass of fresh troops, under the direction of Jackson, were charging Couch and Porter, and pressing them sorely, Sickles's brigade of Hooker's division, and Meagher's Irish brigade of Richardson's division, were ordered up to their support, and fought most gallantly. At the same time, the gun-boats in the river were hurling heavy shot and shell among the Confederates, with terrible effect, their range being directed by officers of the Signal corps stationed upon a small house a short distance from McClellan's quarters. The conflict was furious and destructive, and did not cease until almost nine o'clock in the evening, when the Confederates were driven to the shelter of ravines, and woods, and swamps, utterly broken and despairing.'
So ended THE BATTLE OF MALVERN Hills. The victory for the Nationals was decisive, and it was clear to every officer in the Army of the Potomac, that a vigorous movement toward Richmond in the morning (only about a day's march off) would not only lead to its immediate possession by that army, but the dispersion or capture of Leo's entire force. But other counsels prevailed. McClellan had been nearly all day on the Galena, and at times made somewhat anxious by the roar of battle. Ile was sent for toward evening, and reached the right of the army while the battle was raging furiously on the left, at the time of the final struggle just recorded. Immediately after the repulse of the assailants, he issued an order for the victorious army to "fall back still farther" to IIarrison's Landing, a point
1 According to the testimony of some of Lee's officers (see Reports of the Army of Northern Virginis, volume I.), the whole ('onfederate army was in the greatest disorder on the morning after the battle-" thou. Bands of straggling men asking every passer-by for their regiment; ambulances, wagons, and artillery obstructed every road."
y Reports of General McClellan and his subordinate officers; nlso of General Lee and his slibordinates; published narratives of eye-witnesses and participants in the battles, and oral and written statoinents to the author by officers and solliers of the Potomac army.
The aggregate l'oss during the 8.ven duys' contest before Richmond, or froin the battlo at Mechanicsville until the posting of the army at Ilarrison's Lar, was reported by McClellan at 1.052 killeri, 7,709 wounded, and 5,953 missing, inaking a total of 15,249. Lee's lossis were never reportel. Ho declared that he crptured 10,000 prisoners, and took 52 pieces of cannon anıl 35,000 small arms.
3 Dr. R. E. Van Griesun, Surgeon of the Galena, kept a diary of events at that tiine, in which he recorder! that General McClellan went o: baril of th.it ressel at nine o'clock in the morning, and retired to the cabin - for a little sleep." They arrived at larrison's Bar at noon, when Generals McClelian and Franklin went ashore and remained about an hour. On their return, the Gillena started up the river. “ As we pass up,' says the diary, “ we can hear heavy firing. After passing Carter's Landing, it incríases to a perfect roar. McClellan, though quietly smoking a cigar on the quarter-deck, seenis a little anxious, and looks now and then inquiringly at the signal officer, who is receiving a message from shore. After a while the signal officer reports, 'Ileavy firing near Porter's division; nest came a messa denanding his presenco on shore. A bout is manned, and McClellan left." That message, according to Dr. Marks, was froin IIeintze'man, who sent him word that the troops - noticed his absence, and it was exerting a depressing influence over them, and he could not be answerable for the consequences of ho longer held hiinzelf aloof from the scene of action and danger."— The Peninsula Campuign in Virginia, page 299. When asked by the "Committee on the Conduct of the War" (Report, i. 436) whether he was on board a gun-boat during any part of that day, McClellan replied: "I do not renernber; it is possible I may have been, as my camp was directly on the river."
. General McClellan's Report, page 140.
POSITION OF THE ARMY ON TIE JAMES.
on the James a few miles below, and then returned to the Gulona.' This order produced consternation and the greatest dissatisfaction, for it seemed like snatching the palm of victory from the hand just opened to receive it.' However, it was obeyed, and by the evening of the 3d of July,“
• 1862. the Army of the Potomac was resting on the James; and on the 8th, what was left of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was behind the defenses at Richmond. McClellan made his head-quarters in the mansion at Berkeley, the seat of the Ilarrison family, near Harrison's Landing, and began calling loudly for re-enforcements, to enable him “to accomplish the great task of capturing Richmond and putting an end to the rebellion.”+ Thus ended the campaign against Richmond.
The writer, accompanied by his two Philadelphia friends already alluded to, visited the theater of events recorded in this chapter at the close of May, 1866. After a delightful railway-journey of about two days from Greenville, in East Tennessee, stopping one night at Lynchburg, we arrived at Richmond on the 26th. When the object of our journey was made known
TUE HARRISON MAXSION.
Dr. Grieson's Diary, cited in Greeley's American Conflict, ii. 167.
?" Even Fitz-John Porter's devotion to his chier was teinporarily shaken by this oriler, which elicited his most indignant protest."-Grveley's American Conflict, note 43, page 167. General Kearney said, in tho presence of several officers --" I, Philip Kearney, an old soldier, entir my solemn protest against this order for a retreat. We ought, instead of retreating to follow up the enemy and take Richmond ; and in full view of all the responsibilities of such a declaration, I say to you all, such an order can only be prompted hy cowardice or treason."—-Dr. Marks's Peninsula Campaign, page 294. 3 The picture above shows the appearance of the mansion at the time the writer was there, in the spring
of 1565, when it was il signal-station. It was the residence of Dr. Starke when the war broke out. It is about five miles below City Point, on the opposite side of the river. There President Ilarrison was born. The estate was called Berkeley. A short distance below it, on the samo side of the river, is the old family mansion of the Westover estatc, that belonged to the Byrds in colonial times. It was famous as the center of a refined social circle on the Vir
ginia Peninsula, and became noted WESTOVER. -POPE'S HEAD-QUARTERS.
in connection with Benedict Ar.
noli's morcinents in Virginia after he took up arms against his country. The annexed picture shows its appearance in the spring of 1565. It was then the property of John Seldon. Its landing, one of the best on the James, was made the chief depot of supplies while the Army of the Potomac lay between it and Berkeley, well sheltered by Herring Creek and a swain.
4 On the morning of the battle of Malvern Hills, McClellan telegraphed to Washington for fresh troops, and saying he should fall back to the river, if possible. The President iinmediately replied, that if he had a million of men it would be impossible to get them to him in time for the emergency. Ile frankly informed McClellan that there were no inen to send, and implored hiin to save his arıny, even if he should be compelled to fall back to Fortress Monroe, adding, with faith—"We still have strength enough in the country, and will bring it out.” On the next dar, McClan telegraphed for fifty thousand fresh troops, when the President assured him that there were not at his disposal sufficient troops by 15,000 men to make the estimated sufficient guard for the National Capital. He begged the General not to ask of himn inpossibilities, and told him that if he thought he was not strong enough to take Richmond, ho did not ask him to do it then. Utterly unmindful of the kind and candid statements of the President, the General telegraphed on the 3d for 100,000 men, " more rather than less," with which to “take Richmond and end the rebellion;" and on the 4th he
VISIT TO THE BATTLE-FIELDS NEAR RICHMOND.
to Major-general Alfred H. Terry, then in command at Richmond, he kindly furnished us with every facility for an exploration of the battle-grounds in that vicinity. He placed his carriage and four horses at our disposal for several days; and we had competent guides as well as most genial companions in Colonels Martin, Graves, and Sullivan, of General Terry's Staff, who had participated in the stirring military events between Old Point Comfort and Richmond.
Our first trip was made on a wet day, which gave us a realizing sense of that “altogether abnormal state of the season of which the commander of the Army of the Potomac wrote, four years before, when waiting for fairer skies and drier earth to permit him to take Richmond. We rode out to Mechanicsville, passing through the lines of heavy fortifications constructed by the Confederates along the brow of a declivity, on the verge of a plain that overlooked the Chickahominy. We passed that stream and the swamps that border it (see picture on page 419) without difficulty, and were soon in Mechanicsville, a hamlet of a few houses, seated around a group of magnificent oak trees, which bear many scars of battle. At Mechanisville we turned in the direction of Cool Arbor, passing and sketching Ellison's Mill, and the battleground around it. A little farther on we came to a beautiful open wood, mostly of hickory trees, in which was the Walnut Grove Church, a neat wooden structure, painted white, wherein the wounded of both parties in the strifes in that vicinity had found shelter from sun and storm. Soon afer passing the ruins of Gaines's Mills (sce picture on page 424), a
little farther eastward, we found the country
miles. As we approached the site of the New Cool Arbor tavern, we came to the heavy works thrown up by the Confederates at a later period of the war, and saw between these and others, constructed by the Nationals, a mile farther on, in the scarred and broken