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were sharply attacked in White Oak Swamp, to which point the Confederate generals had brought a large force of artillery. They fell back step by step. Later in the day Heintzelman also was attacked at the Cross-roads. Here the battle raged with varying fortune, in the woods. The divisions of McCall suffered severely, and its commander was made prisoner; but Hooker and Kearney, coming to his help, repulsed the assailants with great loss. They did not, however, succeed in rescuing the general, who was sent into Richmond to join Reynolds.
"Finally, a third attack upon the corps of Fitz-John Porter failed utterly under the combined fire of the field artillery, and the gunboats. Porter occupied a superb position at a place called Turkey Bend, by some persons, and Malvern Hill by others. This position was a lofty open plateau, sloping gradually down to the roads by which the enemy must debouch. The left rested upon the river, where lay the Galena, the Monitor, and the flotilla of gunboats. The Federal army then had nothing to fear from this side, and had consequently only one flank to protect, which was easily done with abattis and field works. On the evening of the 30th, all the divisions of the army were united in this strong position, and here the whole train, including the siege guns, was sheltered. The army was in communication with its transports and supplies. The grand and daring movement by which it had escaped a serious danger, and changed an untenable base of operations for one more safe and sure, had been accomplished; but after so prolonged an effort the troops were worn out; for five days they had been incessantly marching and fighting. The heat had added to their excessive fatigue; many men had been sun-struck; others quitted the ranks and fell into the lamentable procession of sick and wounded, which followed the army as well as it could, and as fast as it could. Doubtless, during this difficult retreat, there had been moments of confusion and disorder, but of what army in like circumstances would not
this have been true? This one fact remained unassailable: that, attacked in the midst of a difficult and hostile country by twice its own force, the Army of the Potomac had succeeded in gaining a position in which it was out of danger, and from which, had it been properly reinforced, had the concentration of the enemy's forces been met by a like concentration, it might have rapidly resumed the offensive.
"As we have said, each of its necessarily scattered sections had for five days been called upon to resist the most furious assaults, and had done so with vigor. Now that it was assembled as a whole upon Malvern Hill, the Confederate army, also reunited, might possibly make a last effort against it. So in the night of the 30th of June and 1st of July, McClellan prepared himself for this eventuality. He put his whole artillery, at least three hundred guns, into battery along the heights, arranging them in such wise that their fire should not interfere with the defence by the infantry of the sort of glacis up which the enemy would be obliged to advance to the attack. The artillery fire was to be reinforced by the 100pounders of the gunboats, which were ordered to flank the position. It was mere madness to rush upon such obstacles; but the Confederates attempted it. Again and again, during the day of the 1st of July, they undertook to carry Malvern Hill, but without the slightest chance of success. The whole day for them was an idle butchery. Their loss was very heavy; that of the Federals insignificant. This success was due to two causes: First, to the fortunate foresight of the general, who, in spite of numerous natural obstacles to the passage of artillery, had spared nothing to bring his on, and next to the firmness of his troops. Men do not make such a campaign, and go through such experience as they had endured, without coming out more or less formed to war. If their primitive organization had been better, the survivors of this rude campaign, I do not fear to assert, might be regarded as the equals of the best soldiers in the world.
"On the evening after this battle, the exhausted enemy retired to appear no more, and the Army of the Potomac took up a position and sought rest at Harrison's Bar, a spot chosen by the engineers and the navy as the most favorable for defence and for receiving supplies. The campaign against Richmond had ended without success, but not without honor. The honor of the army was safe; but those who had looked to success for the early restoration of the Union under an impulse of generous and patriotic conciliation, saw their hopes unhappily fade away."
CLOSE OF THE PENINSULA CAMPAIGN. THE ARMY ORDERED TO
Of the military qualities revealed by General McClellan in the conception and the execution of the brilliant and daring movement by which the Army of the Potomac was swung away from the overwhelming attack of the confederates on the line of the Chickahominy, and re-established upon the new base of the James River, but one opinion has ever been expressed by competent critics. Dazzled by the vastness of the area over which the present war is fighting out, by the numbers of men arrayed in it "for mutual slaughter," and by the transcendent importance to ourselves, at least, of the issues involved, we are apt to forget what is nevertheless the fact, that the bloody record of the past few years in America is, for the most part, a record rather of desperate and indomitable fight. ing than of striking strategic skill. It has been marked by many fierce encounters of hostile armies, but by few great battles. It is not necessary here to enter into an elaborate analysis of the causes of this fact, causes which are to be looked for as well in the topographical conditions of the war as in the constitution of the armies engaged.
The fact itself is unquestionable, and if, rejecting that sound Roman maxim that victories won in civil strife should be looked back upon with a solemn sadness rather than with the glow of pride naturally kindled by the recollection of triumphs snatched from a foreign foe, the Americans of the next generation shall seek to measure the skill in arms and the
military virtue of their fathers by the highest standards of civilized war, there will be found few passages of the great conflict for the Union on which such stress may be safely laid as can be borne by the story of the retreat to the James.
To the general who led that great retreat, his brave army, at least, anticipating history, has already done such justice as only an army can do to its general.
On the 28th of June, being then at Savage's Station, surrounded by the columns of his heroic army, shattered by the terrible battle of Gaines' Mill, but undaunted and firmly fronting still the foe; and shocked into a rare outburst of profound and passionate indignation by the fatal confirmation of all that he had feared and vainly fought against, as the almost inevitable consequence of the conduct of the administration, General McClellan had telegraphed to the secretary of war at Washington.
"If we have lost the day we have yet preserved our honor, and no one need blush for the Army of the Potomac. I have lost this battle because my force was too small. I again repeat that I am not responsible for this, and I say it with the earnestness of a general who feels in his heart the loss of every brave man who has been needlessly sacrificed to-day. I still hope to retrieve our fortunes, but to do this the government must view the matter in the same earnest light that I do. You must send me very large reinforcements, and send them I feel too earnestly to-night. I have seen too many dead and wounded comrades to feel otherwise than that the government has not sustained this army. If you do not do so the game is lost. If I save this army now, I tell you plainly that I owe no thanks to you or to any other person in Washington. You have done your best to sacrifice this army."
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Stern and terrible words! such words as no man speaks or can speak save under the strain of a reality as stern and terri