bank to protect the communica- handed with the combined forces of tions with White House ; whereas, the Confederacy. were he free to abandon the line That he had not exaggerated the of York river, he could move his perils of his army astride the Chickaright wing behind the left to the hominy, he soon had convincing James by Long Bridge, and so turn proof. On the night of the 30th the dreaded obstacle. Nevertheless, May, the rains had so swelled the admitting the advantages of the stream as to render the bridges movement, and the likelihood that impracticable, and to threaten it would be accomplished, we are their destruction. This opportuof opinion that, for the reasons al- nity Johnston seized, and, issuing ready given, the project of operat- from Richmond on the 31st, threw ing by the James was injudicious. his divisions upon the isolated FedBut we think that though he was eral wing, doubling it up, and drivwrong in wishing M‘Dowell to ing it back, in the action of Fair join him by water rather than by Oaks, with heavy loss. But Sumland, yet he was right in desiring ner on the left bank succeeded in to concentrate the two armies, and completing his bridges, and crossed it is not easy to say how much sub- in time to restore the battle, and to sequent calamity Mr Lincoln caused regain the lost ground, the Confedin retaining M Dowell.

erates retiring to Richmond. SumForced, then, by the President's ner's movement was made just in arrangements to cross the Chicka- time; for, immediately after his hominy on his present front, McClel- passage, the bridges became totally lan set about diminishing the perils useless. of the passage by multiplying bridges While McClellan was fortifying and nullifying the obstacle while his exposed front, and creating waiting for M‘Dowell. And mean- more permanent communications while, to relieve his own right flank, over the river, he was cheered by and to extend a hand to M-Dowell

, the prophecies of Mr Stanton, and he attacked and captured Hanover the advice of the President. Court-House, driving out a division 66 The indications are,”

says of the enemy; whereupon a Con- Stanton,“ that FremontorM'Dowell federate force that had hitherto confronted M'Dowell at Fredericksburg soon as he is disposed

of another

will fight Jackson to-day, and as fell back towards Richmond, thus large body of troops will be at your proving what we lately asserted— service.

All interest now namely, that the Confederates could not advance in force against confidence is entertained of your

centres in your operations, and full M'Dowell until McClellan should brilliant and glorious success.” Mr be disposed of.

Lincoln, without prophesying, sus But a very startling and import- tained his General by such counsels ant element in the combinations as this : had just made itself felt. Banks, rains I am very anxious about the left in the Shenandoah valley to Chickahominy so close in your rea; cover the upper Potomac, had just and crossing your line of communiupon Hanover, sending him towards what in a less docile commander Presidentstopped M‘Dowell's march which McClellan responds, with ly characterises as ." for all the Southern only obstacle in my way for several



With these continuous

a serious and Chickahominy has been almost the McClellan, who, had he been rein- sured that it has not been overforced by M‘Dowell's 40,000, might looked.” have made head against them, but who was now left to contend single- M'Dowell's divisions joined McClel

fatal error ;

On the 12th June another of


lan by water; and on the following the James. But we think that the day a force of Confederate cavalry General speaks much too grandilocame down upon the York river in quently of the operation itself. McClellan's rear, destroyed some of Such a change of base,” he says, his stores, and, making a complete “in the presence of a powerful enecircuit round his army, regained my, is one of the most difficult unRichmond by way of Long Bridge. dertakings in war.” So it is under It is probable that this incident ordinary circumstances that is to warned him of the necessity of pro- say, when an army must make a viding for the transference of his flank march across an enemy's front, depots to the James, an operation to take up a new line of supply, on which was begun on the 18th. On roads to which depots are to be the 25th he had recommenced his transferred from the old line. But movement towards Richmond, but McClellan had, for the evacuation on the same evening he learned that of his stores, a railway which ran Jackson was approaching, and would conveniently behind his line, bringprobably attack his right and rear. ing Immediate supplies, and a floNext day the enemy assailed his tilla which took the rest in perfect right wing on the left bank of the safety to the selected point on the Chickahominy, his assailants being, James, the line to that river being however, not the troops of Jackson, already covered by one wing of his who had not yet come up, but the army, while the enemy, operating forces that had hitherto interposed under the error we have mentioned, between him and Richmond, whose facilitated the concentration of the leader, Lee, certain now of Jack- other. But what McClellan may

son's support, crossed the river, and justly be praised for, and what inE threw himself upon what he believ- deed is his most eminent service, is

ed to be the vital point of attack, the conduct of the retreat under the namely, the line which linked his daily and hourly pressure of a suenemy to the York.

perior and persistent foe. On the McClellan incurred a great deal 27th his right wing received a stun$ of ridicule because he described the ning blow at Gaines' Mill, where he

abandonment of his depots at White lost 22 guns and a number of men House, which appeared to be com- which he does not dare to estimate. pulsory and the result of defeat, as Yet he maintained the order and

strategic movement.” It was spirit of his troops, and, while fallheld by the world to be a weak at- ing back incessantly through woods tempt to veil a disaster. But it is and swamps, was still ready at each evident that the world was wrong halt to oppose his determined purin its judgment. The movement to suers, till he finally found shelter the James had long been meditated beneath the guns of his flotilla. as part of the plan of campaign, and Notwithstanding the great losses would have been executed long be- he had sustained, McClellan's corfore but for the direction of M‘Dow- respondence shows that he never ell's march. That it was compul- lost heart. He continued to regard sory at last is certain; but McClel- his retreat as a temporary measure, lan must have the credit of having and to look forward to another adforeseen and provided for the ap- vance upon Richmond. In fact, proaching necessity. His fore- while sending his sick and encumthought alone prevented the de- brances off by water, finding that the struction of the army. The attacks enemy had almost disappeared from of the Confederates were all found his front, he began again to advance, ed on the supposition that he was and was evidently ready to recomentirely dependent on the line of mence the campaign. But events the York, and their fierce onslaught were occurring elsewhere which on his right in the seven days' fight- speedily demolished his hopes. ing only precipitated his retreat to The troops covering the upper

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Potomac had been combined under of the Potomac had passed out of the unfortunately well-known gen- the hands of McClellan, most of his eral John Pope, and had been troops being sent to reinforce Pope

. pushed southward to take the pres- But after the defeats of August, the sure off McClellan. Their very con- Government officials again turned fident commander, not content with to McClellan for help. First the proclaiming the victories he was President, after saying that “he about to achieve, announced that had always been a friend of his," the Confederates in alarm were besought him to use his influence evacuating Richmond. In the with his late divisional commanders mean time they were really quitting to co-operate cheerfully with Pope. McClellan's front, who, though Next, on the morning of the 2d unassailable, was for the present (Sept.) the President and General incapable of an offensive move- Halleck came to my house, when ment, and concentrating before the President informed me that Pope, whose misfortunes then com- Colonel Kelton had returned from menced, and were crowded into the the front, that our affairs were in briefest possible space. First they bad condition, that the army was defeated' his vanguard at Cedar in full retreat upon the defences of Mountain; then, passing behind the Washington, the roads filled with Blue Ridge, they emerged upon his stragglers, &c. He instructed me rear, seizing his supplies and papers, at once to take steps to stop and and cutting him from the upper collect the stragglers, to place the Potomac ; next they defeated him works in a proper state of defence

, in an action which he reported as a and to go out to meet and take victory; and, lastly, they drove his command of the army when it apwhole army in utter rout upon proached the vicinity of the works, Alexandria, and invaded the Fed- then to put the troops in the best eral States.

position for defence, committing At the first appearance of the everything to my hands." Before Confederate army in Pope's front, following him in his new campaign, McClellan was ordered to embark we will pause to see what claim this his forces, and land them at Acquia “ friend of his” and the GeneralCreek. Against this step he strongly in-Chief, Halleck, had by their preremonstrated ; but as his arguments vious treatment acquired on his were urged in ignorance of the good offices to extricate them from nature of the crisis, they need not their present dilemma. be recapitulated, for he talks of All the indignities we have alPope's and Burnside's forces, all too ready recorded inflicted on him by few to oppose Lee, as if they were the Government, McClellan bad available to reinforce him. General submitted to with singular good Halleck responded in a letter which temper.

Only once had he been conclusively shows, what facts so roused to anything like reproach, soon confirmed, that the only way and then not on personal grounds

. to unite the

armies for the defence The losses he had suffered in the of the capital was to withdraw disaster of Gaines' Mill deeply McClellan from the Peninsula. Ac- moved him, and he wrote to Mr cordingly he began to embark his Stanton : "I feel too earnestly to divisions, and on the 26th August night. I have seen too many arrived in Alexandria, where he was and wounded comrades to feel ordered to take the entire direction otherwise than that the Governof the despatch of troops to aid

troops to aid ment has not sustained this army. Pope, the communications with If I save the army now, I tell you whom were presently cut by Lee, plainly that I owe no thanks to you, and placed in command of the forces destined to defend the capital.

or to any other persons in Washington.

You have done your best to Thus the command of the Army sacrifice this army.” But he speedily

[ocr errors]


recovered his equanimity, and went further delay in your movements. on writing and telegraphing in the That which has already occurred most cheerful spirit. It was while, was entirely unexpected, and must at Harrison's Bar, he was resting his be satisfactorily explained. Let army and restoring its confidence not a moment's time be lost, and and spirits after the disastrous seven telegraph me daily what progress days, that General Halleck tele- you have made in executing the graphed to him, 2d August, thus: order to transfer your troops.” “ You have not answered my tele- And on the 12th August—“The gram about the removal of your Quartermaster-General informs me sick. Remove them as rapidly as that nearly every available steam possible, and telegraph me when vessel in the country is now under

they will be out of your way. The your control. To send more from · President wishes an answer as early Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New as possible."

York would interfere with the McClellan explains that the tele- transportation of army supplies, gram which he was blamed for not and break up the channels of travel

answering, required him " to send by which we are to bring forward · away his sick, and to notify the Gene- the new troops. Burnside moved

ral-in-Chief when they were removed.nearly 13,000 troops to Acquia

As the removal was not completed Creek in less than two days, and : he had not, of course, replied. his transports were immediately

Aug. 4th.---After remonstrating sent back to you.” Respecting against the removal of his army which taunt about Burnside's com6 from the James, McClellan receives parative diligence, McClellan ex

the following from Halleck : “My plains that Burnside “was not entelegram to you of yesterday will cumbered with sick or wounded satisfy you in regard to future men-he had no cavalry, artillery operations. It was expected that waggons, or teams. His force conyou would have sent off your sisted of infantry alone, with a few sick as directed, without waiting ambulances and officers' horses; his to know what were or would be baggage was already on the transthe intentions of the Government ports, where it had remained since respecting future movements. The his arrival from North Carolina, President expects that the instruc- and his men had only to resume tions which were sent to you their places on board. I may also yesterday with his approval will repeat that the vessels used by Genebe carried out with all possible ra] Burnside had not returned from despatch and caution;" and on Acquia when the army left HarriAugust 5th he receives, in reply to son's Bar.” All which facts ought a request for troops, the still more unquestionably to have been known laconic telegram—“I have no rein- to the General-in-Chief, who was

forcements to send you.-H. W. thus free and brusque in censuring i Halleck, Major-General.” Again, the commander of the principal

Aug. 9th, “Considering the amount army. of transportation at your disposal, But that he might have a fuller your delay is not satisfactory. You and readier communication with must move with all possible celeri- Halleck than could be obtained by ty." McClellan replies, explaining sending a despatch seventy miles that Halleck is under a mistake, to the nearest telegraph office, and and that the order for embarkation waiting ten hours for a reply, is being executed as rapidly as McClellan journeyed himself to the possible. Nevertheless, on the station and telegraphed to Halleck, 10th, Halleck says,

“Please come to office-wish to is crossing the Rapidan in large talk to you. What news from force. They are fighting General Pope ?” and again, next day (Aug. Pope to-day; there must be no 14), “ Started to Jamestown Island

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

" The enemy

to talk with you ; found cable ply was received to this communibroken, and came here. Please cation, and no order was issued by read my long telegram,” &c. To the General-in-Chief, I conclude which Halleck replied, “I have that my suggestion did not meet read your despatch. There is no with his approbation. change of plans. You will send Of course the officials who treated up your troops as rapidly as possi- McClellan thus did not imagine they ble. There is no difficulty in land- should have any further occasion ing them. According to your own for his services. They calculated, accounts there is now no difficulty no doubt, that, as an unsuccessful in withdrawing your forces. Do so leader, he would, by popular conwith all possible rapidity."

sent, be consigned to the inevitable “Before I had time,” says McClel- limbo destined for all who should lan, “to decipher and reply to this disappoint the expectations of the despatch, the telegraph operator in country. On arriving at WashingWashington informed me that Gene- ton he was deprived of his troops, ral Halleck had gone out of the of- who were sent forward as they fice immediately after writing this arrived to help Pope; and had that despatch, without leaving any inti- incapable braggart defeated Lee, mation of the fact for me, or wait McClellan would have been at once ing for any further information as set aside. But, as fugitives came to the object of my journey across pouring into Washington with tidthe bay. As there was no possibil- ings of disaster, it began to be clear ity of other communication with that McClellan, unsuccessful as he him at that time, I sent the follow- was, still possessed the confidence ing despatch, and returned to Har- of his men, and that he alone could rison's Landing : • Your orders be trusted to lead them against the will be obeyed. I return at once.

enemy. And when the wreck of I had hoped to have a longer the Federal corps sought shelter and fuller conversation with you from Lee behind the works of the after travelling so far for the pur- capital, and the scared Government pose.'

besought him to save the country, There was not much encourage- this good citizen, forgetting all in. ment to continue a correspondence juries and affronts, at once assumed with the official personage who, the command, and, promptly reafter the curtest reply, walked away, organising the broken host, led it leaving his anxious interlocutor to against his redoubtable opponent. pour forth his questions to the Lee, crossing the Potomac high up empty air. Yet McClellan, touched the stream, had moved his columns by the fidelity and misfortunes of towards Pennsylvania, his flank behis army, once more addressed the ing sheltered on the side of Washing: great man in its behalf. “ Please ton by the mountains, the passes say a kind word to my army," he which he held. McClellan moved says on the 18th August, “ that I towards these passes. Of course can repeat to them in general orders the nearer to the Potomac he could in regard to their conduct at York- deliver a blow, the more effectual town, Williamsburg, &c. . . . No it would be. But he did not move one has ever said anything to cheer on the pass which is on the very them but myself. Say nothing about bank of the river, because the space me; merely give my men and offi- between the mountain and the water cers credit for what they have done. was too narrow to allow of the forIt will do you much good, and will mation of a line of battle, and was strengthen you much with them, if swept by Confederate artillery on you issue a handsome order to them both sides of the stream. At South in regard to what they have accom- Mountain he attacked the next gap plished. They deserve it.'

in the ridge and forced it, while the centre and right from Frederick


[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

In his report he says,

[ocr errors]

As no re

« ElőzőTovább »