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Chapter
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
R. E. Lee: A Biography

by Douglas Southall Freeman

published by Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York and London, 1934

The text, and illustrations except as noted, are in the public domain.


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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

Vol. II
p220
Chapter XVIII

"The Federal Army Should Have Been Destroyed"

A heavy mist as wet as rain hung over the battlefield when July 2 dawned. From the Confederate side it was impossible to tell whether the enemy still held Malvern Hill or had retired.1 Lee's brigades were still hopelessly confused. Commanders did not know where their men were; men could not find their officers.2 As it grew lighter, three thin regiments of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Early's brigade were visible near the centre in the open field. To their right lay not more than a dozen weary men, Armistead among them. A little farther around the Crew house hill, with their faces still toward the enemy, were the remnants of Wright's and Mahone's brigades, stoutly holding the ground they had won under the muzzles of the Federal guns.3 Elsewhere, over the field of the charge, the only victims of the slaughter were to be seen amid the debris of the battle. "A third of them were dead," attested a Federal officer who stood not far away, "but enough were alive and moving to give the field a singular crawling effect. The different stages of the ebbing tide are often marked by the lines of flotsam and jetsam left along the seashore. So here could be seen three distinct lines . . . marking the last front of three Confederate charges of the night before."4

On the crest of the hill a mixed Federal force of cavalry and infantry was waiting. It made a show of advance, but drew back at the first fire of scattered Confederates. A few score of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Huger's men came up about this time and at Early's instance reported to Armistead. From the woods the ambulance details began to trickle slowly out; officers rode forward; soon an informal truce prevailed and thousands of hungry, restless men emerged from the woods to search for missing comrades or to look for food in the p221 haversacks of the fallen.5 Shattered bodies were everywhere and dead men in every contortion of their last agony. Weapons and the keepsakes of soldiers, caps and knapsacks, playing-cards and pocket testaments, bloody heads with bulging eyes, booted legs, severed arms with hands gripped tight, torsos with the limbs blown away, gray coats dyed black with boys' blood — it was a nightmare of hell, set on a firm, green field of reality, under a workaday, leaden, summer sky, a scene to sicken the simple, home-loving soldiers who had to fight the war while the politicians responsible for bringing a nation to madness stood in the streets of safe cities and mouthed wrathful platitudes about constitutional rights.

Toward 10 o'clock, after the mist had turned into a cold and drenching rain,6 the last of the Federals disappeared. At the Poindexter house, where he probably had spent the night, Lee received reports. Once again he had to ask the question, where had McClellan betaken himself? An immediate Federal offensive against Richmond could of course be left out of consideration, inasmuch as the Federals were in retreat. Eliminating that, there were three possibilities: The enemy might be nearby, preparing to refit and again offer battle; he might be retiring farther down the river to take ship and renew the struggle on some other front; or, lastly, he might be about to pass over the James, as he had crossed the Chickahominy, unite with Burnside's army from North Carolina, capture Drewry's Bluff and open the way for his men-of‑war to reach Richmond. There had been some disquieting and rather mysterious activity on the James during the battles of the Seven Days. The War Department was concerned, especially as Drewry's had been almost stripped of men when Holmes had been moved to the north side of the James.7

Canvassing these possibilities, Lee determined: (1) to send the cavalry immediately in pursuit; (2) to move a part of the army down the James to be at hand if the enemy proved aggressive, and (3) to return Holmes to Drewry's Bluff at once. Orders were p222 issued accordingly, and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.President Davis was so advised by letter.8

As Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Jackson was nearest the line of the Federal retreat and had suffered least in the campaign, he was ordered to leave Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.D. H. Hill's battered division at Malvern Hill and to move against the enemy with the rest of his force.9 Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Longstreet and A. P. Hill were to follow.10 The remaining units of the army were to remain for the time in their positions, burying the dead, caring for the wounded, and collecting arms and accoutrements from the field.11

The rain was falling very heavily by the time these orders were issued. Every officer who came to report was streaming. The downpour already was changing the bottom-lands into a miry pond, miles wide.12 Jackson's men were ready but wet and had been directed to build fires, to cook, and to dry their clothing.13 Longstreet and A. P. Hill were preparing to make their way through the still-disorganized forces on the Confederate centre. The enemy also must be suffering. Persons in the neighborhood whom Jackson had interviewed earlier in the morning told him that the Federals were retreating down the River road in the greatest demoralization. He so reported to Lee, when he called at the Poindexters'.14 Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Stuart's information was to the same effect.15 The opportunity seemed great if the endurance of the men sufficed and the deluge did not prevent pursuit.

Jackson remained with Lee by the fire in the dining room of the plantation house until his men could take the road. Presently Longstreet came in. Lee was dictating to Taylor at the moment, but he was interrupted by the newcomer.

"General," said Longstreet, brusquely, "are you sending any one to Richmond today?"

"Yes," answered Lee, "an orderly will set out soon; can we do anything for you?"

"Yes, send Mrs. Longstreet word I am alive yet; she is up at Lynchburg."

p223 Lee was a little embarrassed: it did not accord with his ideas of the social amenities to have a message to the wife of a high officer telegraphed by an orderly. "Oh, General Longstreet," he said in his most polished tones, "will you not write yourself? Is it not due to your good lady after these tremendous events?"

Longstreet threw himself into a chair and dashed off a few lines, which he duly delivered.

Lee resumed the conversation: "General, has your morning's ride led you to see anything of the scene of awful struggle of the afternoon?"

"Yes, General, I rode over pretty much all of the line of the fighting."

"What are your impressions?" Lee inquired.

"I think you hurt them about as much as they hurt you."

That was not to Lee's liking: equal losses were not gain. There was a bit of irony, almost a twang, in his voice as he replied, "Then I am glad we punished them well, at any rate."16

Longstreet was not cheerful, however, despite his claim. The weather and the condition of the troops both depressed him. After awhile he sloshed out in his wet garments. Lee was left with Jackson and a few officers of their staffs, pondering still the plan of pursuit.

Soon another visitor came in — the President, attended by his brother, Colonel Joseph Davis. The chief executive had been scouring the country in an effort to find whiskey for the wet and exhausted men,17 and his coming was so unexpected that Lee forgot part of his usual address.

"President," he said (not Mr. President), "I am delighted to see you."

They shook hands; Davis looked about him; his glance rested on Jackson, whom he had never met. "Stonewall" bristled at the sight of the President, because he considered Davis had been unjust to him in the controversy over the Romney expedition. All that Jackson did, after rising, was to stand stiffly at attention.

"Why," said Lee, "President, don't you know General Jackson? This is our Stonewall Jackson."

p224 Davis saw that the General was not disposed to accept advances, so he merely bowed. "Old Jack" saluted and said nothing.18

Sitting down with the President at the table, Lee reviewed the military outlook. When Davis made what seemed to be an impracticable proposal, Lee listened courteously and then explained why it could not be carried out. To Jackson's staff officers, treated to this rare sight of a confidential discussion between the commander-in‑chief and the commanding general of the army, it seemed that Lee had an easy ascendancy over the mind of Davis.19

As the two talked, the rain continued mercilessly, a heavier downpour than ever. The more the situation was considered, the more confused it appeared. At last Lee and Davis agreed that the weather and the uncertainty of the army made effective pursuit impracticable that day.20 Jackson sat silent as the reasons for this regrettable decision were canvassed, and when he was asked for his opinion, he only remarked quietly, "They have not all got away if we go immediately after them."21 But his eyes were flashing and his military instincts were in rebellion.22 He believed that the enemy could and should be pursued, for his experience with a retreating enemy persuaded him that McClellan was beaten and not merely retiring for new manoeuvres.

Undoubtedly Jackson was right regarding the condition of the enemy, but insistence on a swift pursuit, in such weather, was the counsel of perfection.23 The Army of Northern Virginia, at the close of the action at Malvern Hill, was in the condition in p225 which both it and the Army of the Potomac were to find themselves after nearly every major engagement of the next two years. The adversary put up so good a battle, winning or losing, that the opposing army was exhausted and incapable of pursuit. The margin of superiority was so narrow, on either side, that a victory could rarely be developed into a triumph. The best evidence that this was the case after Malvern Hill is the fact that Longstreet and A. P. Hill, who certainly could not be accused of slacking at any stage of the campaign, were able to make only two miles across the front through the storm of July 2.24

The rain ceased on the morning of July 3,25 and the pursuit began down the New Market-River road. It had hardly started before Lee learned from Stuart that the Federals had already reached Harrison's Landing, eight miles down the James from the Confederate position at Malvern Hill. The main road was muddy, horribly cut up, exposed for part of the way to possible fire from Federal gunboats in the James, and was said to have been obstructed by the enemy. From the north, the approach was so much better in every respect that Lee determined to change his line of advance, to avoid the New Market-River road as far as possible, and to carry his columns back up the Willis Church road for a distance of two and a half miles. Jackson was in advance, with Longstreet following, but as Longstreet had consistently outmarched Jackson during the campaign, Lee ordered Jackson to halt and to give the road to Longstreet.26

Lee remained at the Poindexter house to await developments. Rumors were current that McClellan was preparing a great shift across the James, but Stuart's dispatches, arriving every few hours, indicated no such movement on the enemy's part.27 Lee's judgment was on the side of Stuart's observation. The misgivings he p226 had felt on the 2d disappeared almost entirely, and he concluded that it was hardly possible for McClellan to effect a crossing and to organize a new advance on the south side of the James. However, as it was doubtful whether the whole of the army could be employed against McClellan in his new position, Lee decided to hold most of the troops of Huger, of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Magruder, and of D. H. Hill at Malvern Hill, whence they could be moved easily down the James or, if needed, to the right bank of that stream.28 The reserve artillery was ordered back to positions nearer Richmond.29 It was useless where it was and could not be conveniently furnished with supplies.

After reporting to the President on the state of affairs, Lee on July 3 made only one or two minor detachments of force. He dispatched a few troops to the vicinity of his mother's nearby girlhood home, Shirley, probably in answer to a message from Colonel T. R. R. Cobb of the cavalry, who sent word that, if he were reinforced, he believed he could cut off the rear wagon train of the Federals. Unfortunately, the troops sent to support him did not establish contact with the cavalry.30 Another detachment was ordered in the same direction to collect the arms the Federals had discarded.31 Later in the afternoon, Stuart announced that he had held the high ground north of the Federal position until driven off about 2 P.M. by a superior force. He had hoped that Longstreet and Jackson would come up in time to occupy the position in force but they had not arrived.32 Longstreet, as a matter of fact, had missed his road but he reached the front of the enemy before nightfall. Jackson, following Longstreet, could only cover three miles that day — proof enough that he was mistaken in his belief on the 2d that a rapid pursuit was practicable.33

Lee's first care on the morning of July 4 was to send D. R. Jones's division of Magruder's command down the river to Longstreet's support.34 This done, Lee rode forward to examine McClellan's position. He had not gone far before he received an p227 urgent request from Longstreet to join him.35 On arrival he found part of the army drawn up in line of battle — A. P. Hill on the right and Jackson in the centre, with Longstreet in support. D. R. Jones, as his men came up, was taking position on the left. Longstreet, as senior division commander, had made these dispositions, with the intention of recovering the high ground, known as Evelington Heights, which Stuart had been forced to give up the previous day. The Federal skirmishers had been driven in, but Jackson had protested that his men were in no condition to attack and had requested that the advance be not ordered till Lee could be consulted.36

Lee was much disappointed to learn that no opportunity of striking the enemy had been found,37 and he proceeded at once and on foot to reconnoitre.38 The Federals' ground had been chosen with the same care that had been displayed in the selection of all McClellan's defensive positions during the campaign. Harrison's Landing was on a long, low promontory extending into the James River. On the west was a small stream known as Kimmage's Creek. From a point about a mile east of this stream, Herring Creek meandered eastward for some three miles through a swamp and thence turned southward into the James. Opposite the low ground, along the two creeks, Federal gunboats lay in the river, with the batteries trained across the meadows. North of Herring Creek the River road39 ran from east to west across a ridge that dominated the fields where the Union troops were resting. This ridge was Evelington Heights, for the recovery of which Longstreet had prepared his line of battle.40 Stuart had learned on the night of the 2d that the Federals had incautiously neglected to occupy the heights in strength, and on morning p228 of the 3d he had seized them. Instead, however, of concealing his cavalry until the infantry arrived, he had boldly opened fire with the solitary howitzer attached to his command. This, of course, had given the alarm without inflicting any appreciable damage on the enemy. By 2 o'clock Stuart had been driven off. Federals had at once occupied the ridge. Lee now learned all the facts for the first time, and as he examined the ground he found the heights crowned with Union artillery and ample infantry support.41 In the light of reality, Stuart's message of the previous afternoon, announcing his evacuation of the position, took on an unhappy significance. The only opportunity of winning decisive victory after the battle of Frayser's Farm had been thrown away for the pleasure of annoying the enemy with one howitzer!


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Vicinity of Harrison's Landing,
showing the strength of McClellan's position.º

Longstreet was chafing to attack; Jackson's judgment was p229 against it; Lee did not attempt a decision until he had thoroughly surveyed every line of approach. Finding at last that the Federal position was protected on all sides, except for a narrow stretch on the northwest, he concluded most unwillingly that an offensive was not justified.42 "As far as I can now see," he wrote the President, "there is no way to attack [the enemy] to advantage; nor do I wish to expose the men to the destructive missiles of his gunboats. . . . I fear he is too secure under cover of his boats to be driven from his position."43

This decision in reality marked the end of the campaign.44 Later reconnaissance confirmed Lee's judgment of the impracticability of an attack without heavy loss of life. Mr. Davis concurred in Lee's decision with much inward distress that a coup de grâce could not be administered the foe,45 and on July 5 he issued a congratulatory order that was in itself a recognition that a further development of the Confederate success was not expected.46

The aftermath was brief. Lee organized an artillery expedition to bombard the Federal shipping from a point below Harrison's Landing, but achieved no large results.47 Signs multiplied that the enemy was being reinforced and was digging in at Harrison's Landing, apparently with the intention of remaining there until he decided upon some new plan of action.48 Lee established headquarters at the Phillips House, near Salem Church, about four miles north of Evelington Heights, and there awaited developments.49 More than once he was tempted to strike, but, as he told President Davis, "in the present condition of our troops I did not think it proper to risk an attack, on the results of which so much depended."50º If this was the case, nothing was to be gained by keeping the infantry huddled together in front of Harrison's Landing. They could rest and reorganize far more readily away from the strain of close contact with the enemy. On July 7, Lee p230 published his order thanking the army for its service;51 the next day he prepared for the move, and on July 9, leaving the cavalry to watch McClellan, he put the columns on the march back toward camps near Richmond.52 His own headquarters were re-established at the Dabbs house.53

The tangible results of the campaign were for every man's reckoning. The whole plan of Federal operations in Virginia had been disrupted after its success had seemed inevitable. On June 26, McClellan's army of 105,000 effectives54 had been like a sharpened sickle, ready to sweep over Richmond. His outposts, five miles from the city, could see its highest spire. The farthest Union infantry had been less than eight miles from the capitol itself. Now his diminished and disorganized army, with its equipment in chaos, was crowded into an entrenched camp eighteen miles away.55 Fifty-two fine Federal guns were in Confederate hands. Ten thousand prisoners had been captured,56 and upwards of 31,000 needed small arms were gleaned from the fields.57 "The siege of Richmond was raised," Lee reported, "and the object of the campaign, which had been prosecuted after months of preparation at an enormous expenditure of men and money, completely frustrated."58

Yet too many Confederate dead were buried between Mechanicsville and Malvern Hill, and too many men lay wretched in the hospitals for Lee to feel any elation. Of the 85,000 men with whom he had opened the campaign, 3286 were dead, 15,909 were wounded, and 946 were missing, a total of 20,141.59 Half the p231 wounded, roughly, were doomed to die or to be permanently incapacitated for field duty. In other words, 11,000 men, the "first line" of the South, had been lost to the Confederacy for all time. Some brigades had been reduced by half their strength. Ripley, for example, had seen 45 officers and 846 men sacrificed in a total of 2366.60 Those artillerists who had been able to get into action had been decimated. In Pegram's gallant battery, 60 of his 80 men were among the fallen.61 The loss of officers was staggering. The leading men in every community, the trained, the intelligent and the martial-minded, had been chosen to command in 1861; many of them had been re-elected in 1862. Recklessly charging at the head of their soldiers, they had been slain by scores. Many of those who were already displaying talent that would have made them brigade and division commanders in 1863‑64 died on the hills or in the swamps along the Chickahominy. The potential excellence of the field command of the Army of Northern Virginia was impaired in proportion. Federal losses were assumed to be higher,62 but actually they were less by nearly 4300.63

The heavy casualties were not the only reason why Lee viewed the outcome of the campaign without any of the exhilaration of triumph. He had achieved less than he had hoped, less than he believed he should have accomplished. "Under ordinary circumstances," he stated in his report, "the Federal army should have been destroyed." He did not write this until March, 1863, when some of the division commanders of the Seven Days had left the army, and when Jackson had gloriously redeemed his inaction in front of Richmond. This fact, coupled with Lee's unfailing consideration for the feelings of others, prompted him to pass lightly over blunders and omissions that would have explained why the Federal army escaped envelopment and capture. In his official summary of the reasons why complete success was not attained, he merely stated which moves were not completed, without assigning the reasons or placing the blame. Of the wreck of his plan on the critical 30th of June, for example, he simply said, "Huger not coming up, and Jackson having been unable to force p232 the passage of White Oak Swamp, Longstreet and Hill were without the expected support."64 He particularized only in one respect concerning the reasons for McClellan's escape: "Prominent among these," he said, "is the want of correct and timely information. This fact, attributable chiefly to the character of the country, enabled General McClellan skillfully to conceal his retreat and to add much to the obstructions with which nature had beset the way of our pursuing columns; but regret that more was not accomplished gives way to gratitude to the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe for the results achieved."65

But if Lee did not deem it expedient to state why he failed to destroy the Federal army, the causes were plain and, to the student of war, are the most instructive aspect of the campaign. Many of them are informative and monitory in a different tactical era. "The want of correct and timely information," which Lee emphasized was, first of all, a matter of cartography in a country by nature so difficult for military operations that a leader without an accurate map was almost helpless. The absence of reliable maps proved as serious throughout the campaign as it had been in the instances already cited, at Mechanicsville and at Frayser's Farm. A better knowledge of the country might have shown Lee how he could have avoided the bloody battle of Gaines's Mill by striking directly for Dispatch Station.66 Unfamiliarity with the roads slowed down the march and confused the division commanders, in particular General Jackson, who was entirely unacquainted with the country.67 Bad maps put Magruder on the wrong road on July 1, and bad maps delayed pursuit on July 3. D. H. Hill summed up the case when he said, "Throughout this campaign we attacked just when and where the enemy wished us to attack. This was owing to our ignorance of the country and lack of reconnaissance of the successive battlefields."68

Nearly all the mistakes due to lack of acquaintance with the country affected seriously the outcome of the campaign. This, therefore, is a pertinent question: To what extent can Lee be held accountable for the failure to produce good maps of the country p233 below Richmond? The responsibility is not altogether his, assuredly, for he was not in charge of operations until March, 1862. There were only thirteen engineer officers in the Confederate service who had belonged to the engineering corps of the United States army at the outbreak of the war. Engineers of the Confederate provisional army, who had come from civil pursuits, numbered no more than ninety-three.69 The field commanders were continually asking for more engineering assistance. Topographical engineers were almost unprocurable. Among all the published documents on the preliminaries of the Seven Days, there is no mention of maps, good or bad. As Lee was himself an engineer, whose experience at Puebla in collecting topographical data had shown him their value, it is inconceivable that he did not realize the necessity of having an accurate map. He doubtless knew that a map was being prepared; he did not know, and he could not know until it was checked on the ground, that the one supplied him was so full of errors as to be worthless.70 President Davis blamed General Johnston for failure to reconnoitre the roads and attributed to his negligence the embarrassment of Lee,71 but the conditions that impeded the engineers while Lee was in command applied equally, perhaps even more, while Johnston was responsible for army administration.

Amateurish and incompetent staff work was a second factor in denying the army commanders "correct and timely information." Colonel Wolseley, later Field Marshal Lord Wolseley, who visited Lee's headquarters in the autumn, remarked that the "staff-organization in the Confederacy was not as well established [during the Seven Days] as it is now. . . . Every one in the South will tell you that McClellan's army was saved, first by General Lee's orders not being accurately executed, and, secondly, by his gunboats. . ."72 The first part of this statement is a very conservative summary of the case. The campaign will always p234 remain a tragic monument to defective staff work. Following it stage by stage, battle by battle, one gets a singular impression of Lee's detachment. He was responsible for the outcome yet in the dark respecting the most important movements of some of the commanders charged with important duties. There were long hours in the campaign when Lee knew scarcely more of the whereabouts of his troops than McClellan did.73 The condition was so glaring and so continuous that a detailed list of the errors of the staff would be a review of the campaign. None of the battles began until late afternoon, because the staff could not get the columns up earlier; there was no satisfactory liaison between Jackson and Lee or between A. P. Hill and Jackson on June 26; although operating in a friendly country, where almost every farmer was potentially a Confederate spy, Lee's intelligence service was nearly non-existent. He thought, for example, that virtually the whole of the Federal army was in his front on June 27, when, in reality, he faced only Fitz John Porter's corps until nearly the close of the action at Gaines's Mill. The failure of the staff to effect co-ordination in the attack that day speaks for itself. Again, on June 30, Huger's movements for some hours were unreported, either by Lee's staff officers or by Huger's, in spite of the fact that Huger could hear the fire of Longstreet's guns at Frayser's Farm and Lee could hear those of Huger on the Charles City road; the lack of contact with Jackson on June 30 was almost complete; it is not certain that Lee knew of Holmes's advance until late on the 29th of June. As for Malvern Hill, there might as well have been no headquarters staff for all the good it did in seeing that the senior officer on each part of the line was familiar with the general situation and knew what was expected of him.

Some of Lee's staff officers were men of ability, who later were to prove invaluable to him, but in this campaign they functioned simply as the inexperienced staff of the average division commander might have done.74 The reasons for this were in part a lack of training and in part a bad organization. Lee had brought back with him from South Carolina only Captain Walter H. Taylor,75 and he had recalled Major T. A. Washington about p235 April 376 and Major A. L. Long in May.77 Under the act of March 25 which provided him with a staff of a colonel as military secretary and four aides ranking as major,78 Lee had named Long as military secretary, had retained Taylor,79 and for the other vacancies had chosen Major Charles S. Venable, Major Charles Marshall, and Major T. M. R. Talcott, son of his old friend Captain Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Andrew Talcott.80 Major Washington had left the staff late in April. On assuming command of the Army of Northern Virginia on June 1, Lee had continued Captain A. P. Mason, of Johnston's staff, as assistant adjutant general.81 On June 4 Lieutenant Colonel Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.R. H. Chilton, a comrade of Lee's Texas days, had reported to Lee as assistant adjutant and inspector general, and had been announced as chief of staff.82

At first Lee had somewhat awkwardly called his staff about him every morning, and had distributed routine papers among them, with a verbal outline of the answers, but he had soon discarded this arrangement and had designated Major Taylor as assistant adjutant general, to care for all the regular correspondence.83 That had been about the extent of the personal staff. Colonel Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Chilton, a West Pointer, was somewhat of a misfit, more than an aide but less than a chief of staff. Major Taylor was an admirable officer, young and diligent, whose only weakness was a longing for field service. Whenever opportunity offered — at Seven Pines on June 1, on the Rapidan in 1863, in the Wilderness on May 10, 1864, and at Petersburg on March 31, 1865, he took advantage of presence at the scene of action to lead desperate charges with conspicuous valor. Marshall, a Baltimore lawyer, was excellent in drafting papers, Talcott was an able engineer, and Venable a man of most superior intellect, but none of the staff, except Taylor and Long, had been with Lee for more than a few months when this campaign opened, and Chilton had been at headquarters only a few weeks. The general staff officers, inherited from Johnston, were more experienced and were strengthened conspicuously on the eve of the campaign by the addition of p236 Lieutenant Colonel James L. Corley, assistant quartermaster general,84 but these officers were not in close touch with the commanding general. Lee, for that matter, was scarcely more adept in handling a staff at this time than the officers were in serving him.

In the sense, then, that General Randolph B. Marcy acted for McClellan, Lee had no chief of staff. A comparison between Chilton and Marcy is typical of the difference in the staff work of the two armies as a whole during this campaign and measures Lee's burden in this respect with approximate accuracy. The Federals in 1861 had the immense advantage of beginning the war with all the divisions of the staff organized and operating. Except in their intelligence service, which was wretched, the Union armies were still enjoying this advantage at the time of the Seven Days' battles. The Federal staff work during the change of base was well-nigh flawless. McClellan had felt it necessary to maintain troops north of Chickahominy to defend the Richmond and York River Railroad85 but his eyes had been opened by Stuart's raid of June 13‑15 to the possible necessity of having to abandon the base at the White House and on June 18 he ordered transports and supplies up the James.86 Until the afternoon of the 27th the activity of Lee's army on the staff side of the Chickahominy was so deceptive that McClellan was not certain where the major blow would fall.87 That day, while the battle was raging at Gaines's Mill, Marcy hinted at a change of base in a dispatch to Secretary E. M. Stanton.88 The same evening it was determined upon, after brief consideration of the alternative of an advance on Richmond up the south side of the Chickahominy, which on June 23 had been discussed.89 At 2 A.M., June 28, General Morrell marched his weary, shattered brigades across the Chickahominy.90 From that time until the morning of p237 July 3 some part of the army was continuously on the road with an immense train that included 3450 wagons, 2518 beef cattle, fifty-two field batteries, and all the reserve artillery.91 Much was destroyed before the retreat began and much was thrown away by the soldiers on the march, but the withdrawal was orderly except at White Oak Swamp bridge on the night of June 29 and on the road from Malvern Hill to Harrison's Landing, July 1‑2. It is hardly too much to say that McClellan owed his escape primarily to the excellence of his staff and to the inefficiency of Lee's. If McClellan had not relied upon an intelligence service that was immeasurably worse than none, deceiving him with wild lies and wilder guesses regarding the strength of the Confederate forces opposing him, the difference in the two staffs might have been the difference between failure and success, despite the strategy of Lee and the almost incredible timidity of McClellan.

But Lee's lack of "correct and timely information" was due, in part, to something besides poor maps and bad staff work. A third and not inconsiderable factor was the faulty employment of the cavalry during the closing days of the operations. At the outset the mounted men were well located and handled. Stuart was most needed to cover Jackson's advance, and was most successful in doing so. No fault can be found with the tactical use of the cavalry on June 26. The next day brought little opportunity for employing that arm in the wooded country around Cold Harbor. When McClellan "sealed the front" of the Chickahominy on June 28 it was proper to send Stuart down the left bank to see if the Army of the Potomac intended to cross that stream in a withdrawal down the Peninsula. Again, the discovery that communications with the White House had been abandoned by the enemy made it desirable that the cavalry destroy the supplies at the base. This was done. But from that time until the morning of July 1 Stuart was useless to the army. His troopers remained beyond Chickahominy, resting and observing the crossings, when they could have been scouting or assailing the wagon trains moving southward. Had the cavalry been divided on June 29 and half of it returned to Lee, it is not likely that the line of the enemy's retreat to the James would have been in doubt, or that p238 the prospect of a concentration at Malvern Hill would have gone unreported.92

Aside from these three conditions, that cost Lee "correct and timely information," there were other reasons why the Army of Northern Virginia failed to achieve the full triumph Lee believed it should have won. The poor use made of the Confederate artillery, in comparison with the admirable employment of that arm by the Federals, was one of these reasons. To this was due the prolongation of several of the battles when speed might have enlarged a victory. Costly casualties were piled up in infantry charges on batteries that massed artillery preparation might have silenced. "It was one of the greatest errors of the early days of the Confederacy," wrote Captain Francis W. Dawson, "that batteries were allowed to be knocked to pieces in detail when, by massing a dozen batteries, the enemy could have been knocked quickly out of time and many lives saved."93 Gun for gun the Confederate ordnance was far inferior to the Federal in range and in precision. Lee's one hope of winning equality, not to speak of gaining superiority, depended on better tactical employment. Yet what were the facts? At Mechanicsville the few Confederate batteries that got into action made no impression on the well-placed Federal guns; A. P. Hill used little artillery at Gaines's Mill, and Jackson could not mass his pieces soon enough to protect his infantry; at Frayser's Farm the Confederate artillerists had little opportunity; Malvern Hill was comparable only to Sharpsburg, the Southern gunners' hades. Only in Jackson's operation at White Oak Swamp bridge was there any effective massing of ordnance — and the temporary advantage gained there was not followed up soon enough by a strong infantry attack.

Some of the circumstances responsible for this poor showing by the Confederate artillery were of a sort not easily overcome: the Federals had chosen and had prepared the better positions. The actions at Mechanicsville and at Gaines's Mill had been joined before the artillery could be brought up in adequate strength. Unknown roads, troublesome marshes, and dense forests had to be passed before the faithful gunners could bring p239 their poor pieces to bear on the excellent Federal batteries. The reserve artillery rendered little service. Apart from all this, however, as the campaign is reviewed, one feels that Lee and all his division commanders except Jackson failed to put a proper valuation on the co-ordination of the infantry and the artillery. Reliance was placed, at cruel cost, on the naked valor of the infantry.94

General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Pendleton had not shone in the Seven Days, but he appraised the failure of his arm with absolute candor in his report: "Too little was thrown into action at once," he said, "too much was left in the rear unused. . . . We needed more guns taking part, alike for our own protection and for crippling the enemy. With a powerful array opposed to his own, we divide his attention, shake his nerves, make him shoot at random, and more readily drive him from the field worsted and alarmed. A main cause of this error in the present case was no doubt a peculiar intricacy in the country, from the prevalence of woods and swamps. We could form little idea of positions, and were very generally ignorant of those chosen by the enemy and of the best modes of approaching them."95 The Federals were conscious of their advantage, despite the loss of fifty-two guns. One newspaper correspondent went so far as to say, "Our superiority in artillery has saved the army from annihilation."96

Another reason for Lee's failure to win a decisive victory during the campaign was his disposition to rely too largely on subordinates, some of whom failed to measure up either to their responsibility or to their opportunities. Longstreet realized this. Self-opinionated as he was and vain as he became, he wrote after the war, "Lee depended almost too much on his officers" for the execution of his orders.97

Here again the explanation is fairly simple. Lee had been trained in the school of Scott, who conceived it to be the function of the commanding general to devise the strategic plan, to bring the troops on the field at the proper time and place, and then to leave tactics and combat to the division commanders. Lee rarely p240 departed in this respect from his practical instruction in Mexico. In the second place, Lee's consideration for the sensibilities of others, that refined quality so often mentioned in these pages, made it temperamentally difficult for him to dominate a field. Moreover, it must again be remembered that he was a newcomer among commanders who had an esprit de corps of a kind and were jealous of their authority. In the case of Jackson, his popular reputation at the time was higher than that of Lee himself. The victor of Cross Keys and Port Republic had to be treated deferentially. Had the personal equation been different — had Lee been disposed to deal sternly — it is doubtful if the staff could have functioned to see that his orders were promptly and literally enforced. Besides, the troops he led during the Seven Days were not a united force, accustomed to working together, but consisted of four separate armies, met together for the first time on the field of battle — Johnston's old Army of the Potomac, the Valley army of Jackson, Huger's command from the Norfolk front, and Magruder's brigades, which might be styled the Yorktown army.98 One result of this conglomerate organization was that Mechanicsville was A. P. Hill's battle, Savage Station was Magruder's, and Frayser's Farm was Longstreet's. Malvern Hill was nobody's. Only at Gaines's Mill, and then only for part of the day, was the action really Lee's own.

Finally, the campaign did not lead to the destruction of the enemy because Lee faced an army that was so handled on the field of battle as to make the most of its of excellent personnel. Writing long after the war, with most of the essential evidence before him, Colonel Walter Taylor placed high among the causes preventing a more complete victory "the character and personality of the men behind the guns on the Federal side." He added: "The army under General McClellan was made up largely of the flower of the manhood of the Northern and Eastern states, and his lieutenants were men and soldiers of a very high type."99 This is no more than justice.100 In nearly every clash during the p241 Seven Days, when infantry was matched against infantry, the already terrible footmen of the Army of Northern Virginia showed their superiority, but it was not by a wide margin, nor was it with the aid of superior tactical dispositions on the part of their general in chief. Lee showed no genius of this sort at any time during the Seven Days. Mechanicsville was not tactically well fought from the Confederate point of view. At Gaines's Mill, for a multitude of reasons, Lee's numerically superior forces were very poorly fed into action and some of his units were in danger of being destroyed in detail. Malvern Hill was tactically about as bad as it could have been. In the intelligent employment of the forces at hand, Frayser's Farm was the best battle of the Confederates waged during the campaign, futile though that action was. And there, it must in candor be recorded, the guiding hand was not Lee's but Longstreet's.

To summarize, then, the Federal army was not destroyed, as Lee had hoped it would be, for four reasons: (1) The Confederate commander lacked adequate information for operating in a difficult country because his maps were worthless, his staff work inexperienced, and his cavalry absent at the crisis of the campaign; (2) the Confederate artillery was poorly employed; (3) Lee trusted too much to his subordinates, some of whom failed him almost completely; and (4) Lee displayed no tactical genius in combating a fine, well-led Federal army.

When these four factors are given their just valuation, the wonder is not that an honest commander had to admit that he had failed to realize his full expectation. Rather is the wonder that so much of success was attained. In the face of obstacles and failures, how was Lee able to break the grip of McClellan on Richmond and to pen up that splendid Federal army in the entrenched camp at Harrison's Landing?

There would seem to be three major explanations. The first, of course, was the fundamental soundness of Lee's strategy. It has been developed stage by stage in these chapters and it need not be recapitulated here. The campaign may well be cited as a p242 text-book example of the manner in which the highest type of strategy, if consistently followed, will sometimes overcome difficulties and atone for tactical blunders.

Secondly, Lee accomplished the major object of his campaign because the valor of his infantry was neither shaken by losses nor impaired by long campaigning. The reckless courage of Ripley's green troops at Mechanicsville, the steady advance of Lawton's Georgians, the charge of the 20th North Carolina, and the magnificent behavior of Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Hood's brigade at Gaines's Mill, the persistence of the struggle for Randol's and Cooper's guns at Frayser's Farm, the desperate determination of Wright's and Mahone's men in clinging to the hillside at the Crew house even after a great assault had failed to materialize at Malvern Hill — these and like achievements show that Lee had magnificent material at the outset, however much he improved its morale by his successful and brilliant strategy. Through the worst hardships of the campaign, the men remained wholly confident of victory and convinced that they would soon end the war.101

The final explanation of the outcome of the campaign was the singular temperament of Lee's chief opponent. It is beside the purpose of this biography to discuss whether McClellan or the administration was chiefly to blame for the exposure of the right flank of the Army of the Potomac at Mechanicsville after all immediate hope of reinforcement by McDowell was past. Neither is it necessary to argue here whether Fitz John Porter was right in affirming that if McClellan had not moved to the James, after the battle of Gaines's Mill, he would have had no alternative to hasty abandonment of his attack on Richmond, with a retirement by the route he had followed up the Peninsula.102 These and the intriguing questions of what a different man would have done on the morning of June 28, or how he would have moved after he had repulsed Lee's attack at Malvern Hill, belong to the general military history of the War between the States. What is of bearing here is that though General McClellan was certainly the ablest organizer and probably the best military administrator developed in the North during the war, possessing his men's p243 affection as did no other Federal general in chief, he was not far from panic during the Seven Days. This may have been due to the feeling that the clique opposed to him had wrought his ruin by withholding McDowell. It may have been that in dealing with Lee he was still a lieutenant of engineers in Mexico. Perhaps the main reason was that he had been deceived by his incompetent spies into believing that Lee vastly outnumbered him.103 It is impossible to state the precise cause or combination of causes for his condition. Whatever it may have been, it aided Lee to a degree past all reckoning. On the night of June 27 McClellan was so convinced he had to make a general and immediate retreat that he contemplated issuing an order for the destruction of officers' baggage and perhaps of camp equipage, calling on the men at the same time to endure privation for a few days.104 On the evening of the battle of Frayser's Farm he telegraphed Stanton, "If none of us escape, we shall have done honor to our country."105 During most of the retreat he was in advance of the army, seeking defensive positions and a safe refuge for his men. Yet on July 2 he was boasting to President Lincoln that he had lost only one gun and one wagon,106 and on July 9 he jubilantly reported to Washington that the enemy was in "full retreat."107 His private letters, even after he had edited them for publication, were a curious medley of fears and bravado.108 Lee could not have asked for a more favorable state of mind on the part of his adversary, or for a temper more certain to bewilder an administration that had to deal with such a man.

So appears the campaign after seventy years. At the time, it provoked conflicting opinions. Hostile critics of President Davis and of General Lee, balancing successes against failures, professed disappointment with Lee's generalship and with the results obtained. Said The Charleston Mercury, "Much as we praise the strategy, projected as we hear, by General Johnston, some time since, by which McClellan has been beaten on the Chickahominy, the blundering manner in which he has been allowed to get away, the desultory manner in which he has been pursued by p244 divisions instead of our whole force, enabling him to repulse our attacks, to carry off his artillery, and, finally, to make a fresh stand with an army reinforced are facts, we fear, not very flattering to the practical generalship of General Lee."109 Some of General Johnston's friends jealously grumbled that their hero would have made a better showing than Lee if he had been supported by the administration in concentrating as large an army as Lee had.110 Robert Toombs wrote Vice-President Stephens that Lee was "far below the occasion."111 And so for other critics less distinguished.

But the public saw the successes, not the shortcomings. Especially in Richmond, press and people did not judge the Seven Days as a series of close battles but in their proper light, as a campaign of strategy that began with the first move to transfer Jackson from the Valley and ended when McClellan was caged and impotent at Harrison's Landing, with his plan of operations hopelessly shattered. They remembered the panic of May; they did not forget how they had seen the glow of bombardment and had heard above the anxious beating of their own hearts the defiant challenge of the enemy's guns. And in the contrast between June 1 and July 4, they read a mighty achievement. "The people at large," one observer testified, "greeted Lee as the author of a great deliverance worked out for them."112 Some were most eulogistic. "The operations of General Lee . . .," The Richmond Dispatch affirmed, "were certainly those of a master. No captain that ever lived could have planned or executed a better plan. . . . Its success places its author among the highest military names."113 A correspondent of The Richmond Enquirer insisted, "Never has such a result been achieved in so short a time and with so small cost to the victors. I do not believe the records of modern warfare can produce a parallel when the battle is considered in this aspect."114 Lee, said The Richmond Whig, "has amazed and confounded his detractors by the brilliancy of his genius, the p245 fertility of his resources, his energy and daring. He has established his reputation forever, and has entitled himself to the lasting gratitude of his country."115 Thoughtful men saw in the outcome a vindication of the President's policy116 and the hope of a long period of successes in arms.117

More important, far, than popular acclaim was the confidence and admiration aroused among the soldiers in the ranks. Within a month the "King of Spades" became the father of his men, trusted and idolized. He gave them the causerie de bivouac that Napoleon considered essential to the morale of a victorious army. Stories of his simplicity, of his devotion, and of his humility began to go the rounds.118 The troops already felt that he was superior to the best general the enemy had, and that their lives and their cause were safe in his hands. After this first campaign, their faith in him was unbounded.119


[image ALT: zzz]
LIEUTENANT GENERAL JAMES LONGSTREET
— "OLD PETE" — AFTER A PHOTOGRAPH
TAKEN PROBABLY IN 1863 OR 1864
At the time of the Seven Days' battles,
he was still a Major General.
Back in his old headquarters at the Dabbs house, Lee gave little time and less thought to the reading of the newspapers that were discounting his performance or sounding his praises. The many evidences of the good-will of the army and the marked deference now shown him by officers who had been slightly superior in manner wrought no change in his treatment of them. He had passed through the most fruitful period of his military education, barring perhaps those months under Scott in 1847 on the road to Mexico City, and he was determined to profit by it in correcting his own mistakes and in overcoming, so far as he could, the defects his subordinates had disclosed. His immediate task was to reorganize the army for the campaigns he knew were before him. The most pressing part of that task, of course, was to provide better divisional leadership. Longstreet had emerged as the most dependable man, at the moment, among his lieutenants.120 He did not fail to put a high estimate on his opinions and he did not hesitate to express his theories of strategy, but he had exhibited, as yet, no stubbornness. His movements had been prompt and p246 his discipline good. In battle, he had displayed a brusque cheerfulness and a quick understanding of troop-movements and positions. More fully than any other division commander he had shown himself worthy of trust with a larger command. D. H. Hill was caustic and critical, but in action he had been admirable. A. P. Hill was too impetuous, but he had marched well and had fought hard. His conduct at Frayser's Farm had been above criticism. A little more seasoning under the guidance of a steadier man would make him an efficient divisional commander. Magruder, brave and loyal for all his pompous manner, was too excitable for such fighting as lay ahead. Fortunately, the question of disposing of him had been solved in advance: he had been offered command in the Trans-Mississippi department, was anxious to go there, and waited only long enough to defend himself against whispered imputations of poor generalship at Malvern Hill.121 His large force was promptly broken up: D. R. Jones's division was placed with Longstreet's command, and Magruder's own small division was consolidated with Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McLaws's, under the command of McLaws.122 Neither Jones nor McLaws had been sufficiently tested to show his qualities. Huger's failure had been unrelieved and was irredeemable. Circumstances and perhaps design had placed most of his troops under Magruder during the action at Malvern Hill. Quietly and with the utmost consideration, he was now named inspector of artillery and ordnance for the army of the Confederacy and was to appear no more with Lee. His division was assigned to R. H. Anderson of South Carolina, who was promoted major general. His abilities were good and his weakness for strong drink was believed to have been overcome.123 This was a change that Lee had desired to make before the opening of the campaign.124 Holmes had not exhibited brilliance and was slow and deaf, besides, though a competent routine administrator. Like Magruder, he was given command in the Trans-Mississippi department.125 D. H. Hill was assigned in his place, with an eye to semi-independent service in his native North Carolina.

p247 There remained Jackson — what should be done about him? By every test, Jackson had failed throughout the Seven Days. He had not turned Beaver Dam Creek, though he had fulfilled the letter of his orders. At Gaines's Mill he had done no more than the others, if as much. His failure to support Magruder at Savage Station had been inexplicable, and the reasons for his failure to cross White Oak Swamp were at best debatable. In the battle of Malvern Hill his division had achieved little. Although the army was so much elated that there was little disposition to find fault,126 ugly tales about Jackson were in circulation. He was reported to have said he did not intend his men should do all the fighting.127 Without stopping to ask whether the figures might not have some other explanation, critics may have thought this rumor was verified by the fact that Jackson's and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Ewell's divisions, the original Army of the Valley, had sustained less than 6 per cent of the casualties of the campaign.128

Had Jackson fought as hard and done as well as Longstreet and A. P. Hill, there would have been a different tale to tell. Lee may have felt this. He never had the slightest doubt concerning Jackson's ability, his discretion, or his daring independent command, but he may have feared that Jackson was ambitious and ill-disposed to fight under another. A certain letter that will be quoted in describing the reorganization of the army after the battle of Sharpsburg gives color to this view. Yet Jackson had done well during the early months of the war, as Lee well knew, and he had to his credit the amazing campaign in the Valley that had shown of what he was capable. Lee could not overlook past performance. He may have been aware, also, of Jackson's physical condition.

There is not a line in any letter, or a hint in the gossip of the time, so far as it has been preserved, to indicate that Lee criticised Jackson, much less that he considered quietly of disposing of him, as he did of Huger, of Holmes, and of Magruder. He retained his faith in Jackson, but he made a significant change in the organization of the army. He left Lawton's brigade to fill out p248 Jackson's old division and he retained Ewell under the control of Jackson. Thus, if required for separate use, the Army of the Valley was intact. Whiting's division was joined with Holmes's former force under D. H. Hill. The rest of the infantry, Longstreet's, A. P. Hill's, D. H. Hill's, R. H. Anderson's, and McLaws's divisions were entrusted to Longstreet. In short, Jackson fought the Seven Days with fourteen brigades; in the reorganization, he was allotted seven. Longstreet had carried six brigades across the Chickahominy; he soon had twenty-eight. The changes were made gradually and quietly, and seem to have attracted little or no attention,129 especially as D. H. Hill's subordination to Jackson had been recognized as temporary and due solely to the arrangement made on June 27 for the pursuit of McClellan. Nevertheless, the disproportion in the size of Longstreet's and Jackson's command must reflect, to some extent, Lee's belief at the time regarding the comparative willingness of the two men to co-operate. If Jackson was to return to independent command, his great abilities could of course be trusted, but if he was to remain with the Army of Northern Virginia and was to prove recalcitrant, his power to thwart the general strategy of the army was to be limited. This seems a safe inference from the facts.

What did Jackson think of all this? He never told any one, so far as the records show, that he felt he had failed to do his part in the campaign. His report, when written months afterward, contained no apologies. If he did not blame himself, however, it is certain he did not blame Lee or criticise the distribution of force. The one reference he is known to have made to his chief immediately after the campaign was as full of praise as it was sincere: ". . . His perception is as quick and unerring," he said of Lee in a conversation to be quoted more fully in Chapter XX, on page 261, "as his judgment is infallible. . . . So great is my confidence in General Lee that I am willing to follow him blindfolded."130

The subject of this encomium was as quick to apply one of the lessons of the campaign to himself as he was to protect the army p249 against errors by incompetent subordinates or possible mistakes by men of whom he was not yet certain. He abandoned the "grand strategy" of converging columns and envelopment for simpler methods that inexperienced brigade commanders and a green staff could be expected to employ more readily. Here, again, there is no direct evidence to cite. Lee's determination is to be read in what he did thereafter, not in what he then said. He was learning the duties of his position, as his subordinates were learning theirs — by experience. Never again did he attempt any such complicated manoeuvring as that by which he had tried to trap McClellan at Frayser's Farm. Flank attacks, quick marches to the rear, and better tactics took the place of great designs of destruction.

Beyond this, Lee did not go in correcting the weaknesses the campaign disclosed. So far as the records show, he had no official part in urging the preparation of maps. Little was done in this respect during 1862.131 No reorganization of the artillery was undertaken. The general staff was not modified, and Lee's personal staff was not changed. As Colonel Chilton failed to develop the qualities of an efficient chief of staff, Lee came gradually to act as his own chief staff officer. Perhaps, as an engineer who had worked almost alone on many projects, it was both his impulse and his preference to do this. Increasingly, after the Seven Days, Lee personally drafted his important dispatches to the President. Where they were not strictly confidential, he had them copied in his official letter-book. Many of the most important of those addressed to the President were forwarded without being transcribed.132 It seems strange, at first glance, that a man so mindful of the value of military details should have done so little to prepare maps, to make his artillery more efficient, and to build up the staff. Perhaps more might have been done. Lee, however, had already realized that Confederate success depended on utilizing the means at hand, without waiting to perfect them in competition with an enemy whose resources were so much greater than those of the Confederacy that the North would be certain to gain most by delay. Conditions had changed since 1861 and the p250 early spring of 1862: whatever the Southern States could hope to do must be done quickly. Lee had to leave much to chance and more to the accumulating experience of the army, as he prepared for a dramatic new stage of the war in Virginia.


The Author's Notes:

1 Dabney, 474; Long, 176; 2 B. and L., 431.

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2 O. R., 11, part 2, p619.

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3 Early, 82‑83.

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4 General W. W. Averell in 2 B. and L., 432.

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5 O. R., 11, part 2, p613; Early, 84; 2 B. and L., 432.

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6 O. R., 11, part 2, p383; Early, 85; 2 B. and L., 432; Livermore, 99; W. W. Chamberlaine, 26. McClellan stated (O. R., 11, part 1, p72) that where he was, on James River, the storm began at 4 A.M.

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7 O. R., 11, part 3, p623 ff.

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8 Lee's Dispatches, 22‑24.

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9 O. R., 11, part 2, p559.

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10 O. R., 11, part 2, p760.

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11 Longstreet, op. cit., 146, said that Magruder and Huger were to follow Jackson, but there is no confirmation of this. The report of Colonel James D. Nance of Kershaw's brigade, Magruder's division (O. R., 11, part 2, p739) and that of General Armistead of Huger's division contain no mention of any orders to move until July 3. The other reports are silent.

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12 O. R., 11, part 2, p218.

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13 Dabney, 474.

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14 Dabney, 474‑45.

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15 O. R., 11, part 2, p519.

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16 Memorandum of R. H. Dabney for G. F. R. Henderson, May 7, 1896, MS. — McGuire Papers.

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17Davis, 149.

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18 H. H. McGuire to Jed Hotchkiss, May 28, 1896, MS. — McGuire Papers.

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19 McGuire Papers, loc. cit.

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20 Dabney Memorandum, loc. cit.

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21Davis, 150.

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22 McGuire Papers, loc. cit.

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23 Had pursuit been practicable, there is little doubt that McClellan might have been subjected to heavy losses, even though the proximity of his gunboats would have prevented any such Confederate triumph as was later pictured by those who were wise after the event. A large part of the Union wagon train was still moving. Many of the Federal troops were badly demoralized. Examination made the next day of the route of their retreat showed greater evidence of disorganization and panic than after any other battle of the Seven Days. The hurrying soldiers trampled flat a field of standing wheat at Shirley, in their haste to avoid delay on the crowded road, and in this same field they threw away 925 rifles (O. R., 11, part 2, p739). "It was like the retreat of a whipped army," General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Joseph Hooker subsequently testified, ". . . and a few shots from the rebels would have panic-stricken the whole command" (1 Committee on the Conduct of the War, 580; cf. O. R., 11, part 2, pp629, 678‑79). But this was the condition of only a part of the army. Heintzelman's Corps had suffered heavily but it reached the shelter of the guns early on the 2d, without the loss of a wagon (O. R., 11, part 2, p195). Although Keyes's wagon train was still exposed, he affirmed that his men were never more formidable than in this last phase of the retreat (O. R., 11, part 2, p195). Sumner's (p225)corps was on the James by daylight on July 1 and only two of his brigades were in action that day (O. R., 11, part 2, p52). Franklin's corps was already safe (O. R., 11, part 2, p431).

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24 O. R., 11, part 2, p760.

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25 Early, 85.

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26 Dabney, op. cit., 475‑76, explained the change of route but did not give all the reasons for it. Longstreet, op. cit., 146, indicated that his march on July 2 was via the northern roads, but his position on the night of July 2 (O. R., 11, part 2, p760) would make it appear that he was mistaken.

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27 Cf. O. R., 11, part 2, p520.

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28 Lee's Dispatches, 24‑25.

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29 O. R., 11, part 2, p537.

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30 O. R., 11, part 2, pp524, 819.

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31 O. R., 11, part 2, p739.

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32 Cf. O. R., 11, part 2, p520.

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33 Dabney, 476; O. R., 11, part 2, p761. There seems to be no justification for the strictures Hotchkiss makes in 3 C. M. H., 301, on Longstreet's march. Major Hotchkiss was mistaken regarding some of the facts.

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34 O. R., 11, part 2, p713; cf. Longstreet, 146. In his report, Jones did not mention this advance.

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35 O. R., 11, part 2, p761.

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36 Longstreet, 146. Jackson stated in his report (O. R., 11, part 2, p559), that he "arrived near the landing and drove in the enemy's skirmishers" on the morning of the 3d, but this is clearly a lapsus. All the other reports that mention dates give the 4th (cf. O. R., 11, part 2, pp568, 587, 588, 590, 607, 619, 622). The reason Jackson protested that his men were not in condition to attack doubtless was that they had been marching since dawn. A hard march was necessary to bring them into position early in the day.

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37 Dabney, 476.

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38 2 Henderson, 472. Colonel Henderson, following Jackson's report, was one day in error in his chronology.

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39 In his reports, Lee called it the Charles City road.

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40 The best general description of the ground is that of General J. G. Barnard in 1 Report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, 409 ff.

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41 O. R., 11, part 2, pp295, 519‑20, Fitz Lee, 165; Taylor's Four Years, 42‑44; Taylor's General Lee, 82. The defense of Stuart's action will be found in H. B. McClellan, 82 ff.

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42 Taylor's General Lee, 82.

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43 Lee's Dispatches, 25‑27.

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44 The enemy, however, continued to expect an attack (O. R., 11, part 3, p300).

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45 O. R., 11, part 3, p362. Richmond had believed on the night of July 1 that McClellan was surrounded, despite the roar of guns (C. S. Anderson in Locomotive Engineering, October, 1892, p371).

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46 McCabe, 168‑69.

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47 O. R., 11, part 2, pp924‑25.

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48 O. R., 11, part 3, p635.

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49 Cf. O. R., 11, part 2, p635; Heros von Borcke: Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence (cited hereafter as von Borcke), 1, 76.

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50 Lee's Dispatches, 29.

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51 O. R., 11, part 2, p500.

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52 O. R., 11, part 3, pp636‑37; Lee's Dispatches, 30‑31.

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53 Lee's Dispatches, 31‑32; O. R., 11, part 3, p637.

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54 His total strength, not including Dix's force at Fort Monroe, was 117,000 (O. R., 11, part 3, p238).

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55 On the day when Stuart so imprudently bombarded the camp from Evelington heights, the demoralized McClellan wrote President Lincoln that he doubted if he had 50,000 men with their colors — a panicky underestimate — and that he would need more than 100,000 additional troops if he was to take Richmond and end the war (O. R., 11, part 3, p292).

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56 The unwounded prisoners numbered 6053 (Alexander, 171).

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57 O. R., 11, part 2, p498. Lee put the small arms at 35,000. The figure here used is that of the ordnance bureau, ibid., 51.

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58 O. R., 11, part 2, p497.

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59 Alexander, 171. Alexander computed the casualties for the separate battles — the actual figures not being completely given in O. R., 11, part 2, p973 ff. — as follows: Mechanicsville, 1350; Gaines's Mill, 8358; Savage Station, 441; Frayser's Farm, 3305; Malvern Hill, 5590; "other affairs," chiefly the actions of June 25, 27, and 28 on the southside of the Chickahominy, 1124.º

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60 Seven of his eleven field-officers had been killed or wounded (O. R., 11, part 2, p651). The tabulated summary in ibid., 676‑77, put Ripley's loss at 908.

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61 O. R., 11, part 2, p843.

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62 O. R., 11, part 2, p498.

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63 Killed, 1734; wounded, 8062; missing, 6053, total 15,489 (O. R., 11, part 2, p37). About 4000 of the wounded became prisoners of war.

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64 O. R., 11, part 2, p495.

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65 O. R., 11, part 2, p497.

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66 Cf. D. H. Hill in 2 B. and L., 361.

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67 Major Hotchkiss noted (3 C. M. H., 287) that Jackson had expected to be supplied with maps and had sent him back to the Valley to prepare a good map of that area.

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68B. and L., 395. Cf. E. M. Law in Southern Bivouac, April, 1887, p655.

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69 IV O. R., 2, p259‑60. Cf. O. R., 12, part 3, p945.

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70 It has been mistakenly assumed, even by so competent an authority as General Maurice, see his footnote in Marshall, 117‑18, that Lee knew the Cold Harbor district well by reason of his frequent visits to the White House plantation. As a matter of fact, Lee had gone to the White House but seldom and then most probably by the Old Church and Piping Tree roads, rather than via Cold Harbor, if, indeed, he journeyed by Richmond at all.

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71 O. R., 47, part 2, p1306.

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72 G. Wolseley: A Month's Visit to the Confederate Headquarters (cited hereafter as Wolseley), Blackwood's Magazine, 1863, p12.

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73 Cf. W. W. Chamberlaine, 135.

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74 Cf. Wilson: John A. Rawlins, 197‑98.

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75 Taylor's General Lee, 42; Taylor MSS.

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76 O. R., 6, 406‑7; O. R., 11, part 3, p419.

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77 Long, 143. He signed as military secretary after May 15.

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78 IV O. R., 1, 1021. Cf. ibid.,] 997, 998.

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79 Taylor's General Lee, 42.

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80 O. R., 51, part 2, pp548, 554; Marshall, 3, 8.

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81 Taylor's General Lee, 55.

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82 O. R., 11, part 3, p574.

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83 Taylor's General Lee, 56.

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84 O. R., 51, part 2, p576.

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85 1 Report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, 624.

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86B. and L., 178.

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87B. and L., 181; O. R., 11, part 3, p264; McClellan's Own Story, 419.

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88 O. R., 11, part 3, p265.

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89 O. R., 11, part 2, p98; ibid., part 3, p247; Comte de Paris: History of the Civil War in America, 2, 105‑6; 1 Report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, 355, 592.

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90 O. R., 11, part 2, p274.

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91 2 D. H. Hill, 131; McClellan's Own Story, 423.

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92 Stuart's report is in O. R., 11, part 2, p515 ff. A good critique of the cavalry in the campaign appears in Dabney, 480 ff.

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93 F. W. Dawson, 48.

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94 For a full and intelligent discussion of the employment of the Confederate artillery in this campaign, Wise, 1, 207 ff.

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95 O. R., 11, part 2, p537.

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96 C. A. Page: Letters of a War Correspondent, 22.

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97B. and L., 405.

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98 Holmes's division might have been counted a fifth army, but most of its units had originally come from Johnston in northern Virginia.

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99 Taylor's General Lee, 84.

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100 It was indicative of the spirit of the Army of the Potomac in June 1862, that officers and men scarcely concealed their contempt for Diederich's and Knieriem's artillery which gave so poor an account of themselves at Frayser's Farm (see supra, p186). Although (p241)the men who served those ill-fated guns were native-born Pennsylvanians of German extraction, the ardent Union soldiers of native stock looked down on them as the "Dutch batteries." The time was to come within a year when there were entire "Dutch divisions" in the army of the United States.

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101 Chaplain Marks (op. cit.) noted this time and time again as he conversed with Confederate soldiers while watching over Federal wounded.

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102 O. R., 11, part 2, p22.

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103 Cf. Joel Cook, 302, 347.

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104 1 Report of the Committee on the Conduct of the War, 592.

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105 O. R., 11, part 3, p280.

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106 O. R., 11, part 3, p287.

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107 O. R., 11, part 3, p309.

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108 McClellan's Own Story, 441 ff.

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109 Charleston Mercury, July 8, 1862. Cf. 1 R. W. C. D., 141.

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110 For Johnston's own view, see Johnston's Narrative, 145‑46, fully answered in 2 Davis, 156.

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111 Toombs, etc., Correspondence, 601.

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112 Cooke, 96.

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113 Richmond Dispatch, July 9, 1862, p2, col. 1.

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114 "Justice," quoted from The Enquirer of July 1, 1862, in The Richmond Whig, July 2, 1862, p2, col. 2.

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115 Richmond Whig, July 15, 1862, p1, col. 1.

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116 O. R., 51, part 2, p587.

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117 1 R. W. C. D., 142.

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118 Cf. the anecdote in Jones, 162‑63, of the manner in which he was said to have moved his headquarters during one of the battles of the Seven Days in order to give place to the wounded.

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119 Eggleston, 42.

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120 Cf. Robert Toombs to A. H. Stephens, July 2, 1862; Toombs, etc. Correspondence, 601.

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121 O. R., 11, part 2, p674 ff., ibid., part 3, p630; O. R., 13, 845.

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122 O. R., 11, part 3, p630.

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123 O. R., 11, part 3, pp640, 642; Lee's Dispatches, 10.

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124 Lee's Dispatches, 14.

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125 O. R., 9, p713; O. R., 13, pp855, 860.

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126 W. H. Taylor to E. P. Alexander, Aug. 26, 1902 — Taylor MSS.

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127 Alexander, 152.

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128 Excluding Lawton's brigade and Whiting's division which had not fought in the Valley, Jackson's casualties were 1195 (O. R., 11, part 2, pp973 ff.).

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129 Compare the organization as of June 26, 1862, O. R., 11, part 2, pp483 ff., with that of July 23, 1862, ibid., part 3, pp648 ff.

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130 Colonel A. R. Boteler, in 40 S. H. S. P., 181. The same remark in substance is quoted in Jones, 156 and in Cooke, 264‑65.

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131 IV O. R., 2, p262.

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132 Most of those sent in this manner found their way into the De Renne collection and were issued in 1915 under the title Lee's Dispatches, edited by D. S. Freeman.


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