mencing a movement towards Fredericksbni-g, unconscious of danger, when,
on the morning of May 22d, Jackson and Ewell, with fourteen thousand
men, were meditating an attack on their rear at Front Royal.
The rear-guard, consisting of the First Maryland Regiment, may be
said to have been almost annihilated. Every man was killed, wounded, or
captui-ed, save fifteen ; nine hundred prisoners were taken on the retreat
towards Strasburg ; and a vast quantity of the enemy's stores was de-
stroyed. At the fii'st shock of the actioTi, Banks had his army in motion
from Strasburg ; he feared that Jackson, moving from Front Royal on the
converging road to Winchester, might cut him off from that supposed place
of safety. His fears were nearly ]-ealized ; for at Middletown Jackson
pierced his main column, took a number of prisoners, demoralized the
retreat, and having driven a part of his rear towards Strasburg, turned
on hot pursuit to Winchester.
On the 24:th of May, Banks' army, in frantic retreat, entered the streets
of Winchester. The citizens received them with shouts of derision. Many
of the fugitives were on the run ; some shots were fired from the windows
274 THE LOST CAUSE.
of houses ; ordnance exploded ; cavalry rode down stragglers ; bands of
plunderers hastily entered houses, bayonetted then- occupants, and in ono
wild scene of unrestrained disorder, fury, and cowardice. Banks' army
passed out of the ancient town, where the enemy had so long ruled in the
insolence cf power.
Banks' army had stood but a few moments before "Winchester, and
had broken under a distant fire of artillery. He had evidently no disposi-
tion to test the substance and strength of the foe by actual collision, and
was only desirous to place the Potomac between himself and the danger
of action. Never was there such a shameful retreat ; such a deliberate
abandonment by a commander of everything but the desire for safety. In
forty-eight hours after he had got the first news of the attack on Front
Royal, Banks was on the shore of the Potomac, having performed thirty-
five miles of the distance on the last day of the retreat.
The fruits of Jackson's two days' operations were immense. Banks had
escaped with the loss of all the material and paraphernalia that constitute
an army. He had abandoned at "Winchester all his comiTiissary and ord-
nance stores. He had resigned that town and Front Boyal to the undis-
puted possession of the Confederates. He had left in their hands four
thousand prisoners, and stores amounting to millions of dollars. It was a
rapid stroke and a splendid success which Jackson had made. Tidings of
his victory were communicated to the Confederate army around Eichmond
in general orders. " The Federal army," wrote Gen. Johnston, "has been
dispersed and ignominiously driven from the Valley of the Shenandoah,
and those who have freed the loyal citizens of that district b}'' their patriotic
valour, have again earned, as they will receive, the thanks of a grateful
country. In making this glorioiis announcement, on the eve of the mem-
orable struggle about to ensue, the Commanding General does not deem it
necessary to invoke the troops of this army to emulate the deeds of their
noble comrades in the Yalley." *
In falling back from Winchester, Gen. Jackson had to run the danger
of being enveloped by the converging columns of Fremont and Shields.
He succeeded (" through the blessing of an ever kind Providence ") in
reaching Strasburg, before the two Federal armies could effect their contem-
plated junction in his rear. On the 5th of June he reached Harrisonburg,
and, passing beyond that town, turned towards the east in the direction
uf Port Republic.
On the movement from Harrisonburg occurred the melancholy incl-
* We may imagine the historical value of Federal official documents on reading Gen. Banks'
report of the events we have related. The drama from Strasburg to the Potomac is thus ej. itemized :
" My command had not suffered an attack and rout, but accomplished a premeditated march (!)
of near sixty miles, in the face of the enemy (!), defeating his plans and giving lum battle wherever
he was found (! !)."
BATTLES OF CKOSS-KEYS AND POKT KEL'VBLIC. 275
dent of tlio deatli of the famous cavalry commander of the Yalle j, Turnci
Ashbj, whose name was connected with nmch of the romance of the war,
and whose gentle enthusiastic courage, simple Christian faith, and royal
passion for danger, constituted him one of the noblest and most beautiful
types of modern chivalry. On the road from Harrisonburg to Port
Republic, the 5Sth Virginia- became engaged with the Peunsyls'^ania
Eucktails. Col. Johnson came up with the Maryland regiment, and by a
dashing charge in flank drove the enemy ofi' with heavy loss. Ashby was
on the right of the 58tli Virginia, and had just commanded a charge of
bayonets upon the enemy, concealed in a piece of woods, when he fell dead
not many yards from a fence where a concealed marksman had sped the
fatal bullet. Gen. Jackson's tribute to the fallen officer, whose active and
daring cavalry had so often co-operated with his arms, was an ejctraordi-
nary one, considering the habitual measure of this great man's words. He
wrote of Ashby : " As a partisan officer I never knew his superionr. His
daring was proverbial ; his powers of endurance almost incredible ; his tone
of character heroic, and his sagacity almost intuitive in divining the pur-
poses and movements of the enemy."
BATTLES OF CKOSS-KEYS AND TOKT REPUBLIC.
On the 7tli of June the main body of Gen. Jackson's command had
reached the vicinity of Port Kepublic. The village is situated in the angle
formed by the junction of the North and South Rivers, tributaries of the
south fork of the Shenandoah. The larger portion of Jackson's command
was encamped on the high ground north of the village, abont a mile from
the river. Gen. Ewell was some four miles distant, near the road leading
from Harrisonburg to Port Republic. Gen. Fremont had arrived with his
forces in the vicinity of Harrisonburg, and Gen. Shields was moving up
the east side of the south fork of the Shenandoah, and was then some
â fifteen miles below Port Republic. Gen. Jackson's position was about
equi-distant from both hostile armies. To prevent a junction of the two
Federal armies, he had caused the bridge over the sonth fork of the Shen-
andoah at Conrad's store to be destroyed.
Fremont had seven brigades of infantry besides numerous cavalry.
Ewell had three small brigades during the greater part of the a(;tion that
was to ensue, and no cavalry at any time. His force was short of five
thousand men. About ten o'clock the enemy felt along his front, posted
liis artillery, and, with two brigades, made an attack on Trimble's brigade
on the right. Gen. Trimble repulsed this force, and, advancing, drove the
enemy more than a mile, and remained on his flank ready to make the
final attack. At a late hour of the afternoon, Gen. Ewell advanced both
276 THE LOST CAUSE.
his wings, drove in the enemy's skiiTnishers, and, when night closed, waa
in possession of all the ground previously held by the enemy.
The victory â known as that of Cross-Keys â had been purchased by a
small Confederate loss : 42 killed and 287 wounded. Gen. Ewell officially
estimated the enemy's loss at 2,000. Gen. Fremont officially gives it at
625 â exhibiting rather more than the usual difference between Federal
and Confederate figures.
Meanwhile Gen. Jackson was preparing to give the final blow to
Shields on the other side of the river; and on the morning after their
victory, Ewell's forces were recalled to join in the attack at Port Republic.
As day broke they commenced their march to the other field of battle
seven miles distant.
The enemy had judiciously selected his position for defence. Upon a
rising ground near the Lewis House, he had planted six guns, which com-
manded the road from Port Republic, and swept the plateau for a consid-
erable distance iu front. As Gen. Winder moved forward his brigade, a
rapid and severe fire of shell was opened upon it. The artillery fire was
well sustained by our batteries, which, liov/ever, proved unequal to that of
the enemy. In the meantime. Winder, being now reinforced by a Louisiana
regiment, seeing no mode of silencing the Federal battery, or escaping its
destructive missiles but by a rapid charge, and the capture of it, advanced
with great boldness for some distance, but encountered such a heavy fire of
artillery and small arms as greatly to disorganize his command, which feU
back in disorder. The enemy advanced across the field, and, by a heavy
musketry fire, forced back our infantry supports, in consequence of which
our guns had to retire.
It was just at this crisis, when the day seemed lost, that Ewell's forces
appeared upon the scene. Two regiments â the 58th and 44th Yirginia â
rushed with a shout upon the enemy, took him in flank and drove him
back, for the first time that day in disorder. Meanwhile Gen. Taylor was
employed on the Federal left and rear, and, his attack diverting attention
from the front, led to a concentration of the enemy's force upon him.
Here the battle raged furiously. Although assailed by a superiour force
in front and flank, with their guns in position within point blank range,
the charge ordered by Taylor was gallantly made, and the enemy's bat-
tery, consisting of six guns, fell into our hands. Three times was this bat-
tery lost and won in the desperate and determined efforts to capture and
recover it. At last, attacked in front and on flank, Taylor fell back to a
skirt of woods. Winder, having rallied his command, moved to his sup-
port, and again opened upon the enemy, who were moving upon Taylor's
left flank, apparently to surround him in the wood. The final attack was
made. Taylor, with the reinforcement, pushed forward ; he was assisted
by the well-directed fire of our artillery ; the enemy fell back ; a few
BATTLES OF CKOSS-KEYS AND TOET REPUBLIC. 277
moments more, and he was in precipitate retreat. Four hundred and fifty
prisoners were taken in the pursuit, and what remained of the enemy's
While the forces of Shields were in full retreat, Fremont appeared on
the opposite bank of the south fork of the Shenandoah, with his army, and
opened his artillery with but little efi'ect. Tlie next day withdrawing his
forces, he retreated down the Valley. The battle of Port Republic closed
the campaign of the Yalley. It had been fiercely contested by the enemy,
and the Confederate loss was quite one thousand in killed and wounded.
But the termination of the campaign found Jackson crowned with an al-
most marvellous success. In little more than two weeks, he had defeated
three Federal armies ; swept the Yalley of Virginia of hostile forces ; thrilled
Washington with alarm ; and thwarted whatever plan the enemy might
have entertained, in other circumstances, of environing Richmond by large
On the 12th of June Jackson encamped near Weyer's Cave. Here the
pious commander paused, to hold divine service in his army in commemo-
ration of his victories. He was to be here but a few days before receiving
orders to move towards Richmond, and to join in the impending contest
for the capital.
THH TARDINESS OF m'cLELLAN. â HOW THE C0NTEDEEATE3 AVAILED THEMSELVES OF IT. â â¢
THKIK CONOENTEATIOX OF FORCES AT EICHMOND. â STRENGTH OF THESE FORCES. â POSI-
TION OF THE TWO ARMIES. â THE CHICKAHOMINY AND THE ROADS CROSSING IT. â BATTLK
OF " SEVEN PINES." â FAILURE OF GEN. HUGER TO ATTACK. â GALLANT CHARGE OF THE
TROOPS OF LONGSTEEET AND HILL. â GEN. JOHNSTON "WOUNDED. â THE AFFAIR OF THE
NEXT DAY. â IMPORTANT CHANGE OF MILITAET COMMAND. â SECRET HISTOEY OF THB
ATTEMPT TO LIMIT THE MILITAEY POWER OF PEESIDENT DAVIS. â A PLAN OF CONFED-
ERATE POLITICIANS. PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT'S POWER. â THE NEW OFFICE OF
COMMANDING-GENERAL OF THE CONFEDERATES. HOW MADE NOMINAL BY PEESIDENT
DAVIS. GEN. EGBERT E. LEE APPOINTED TO THIS OFFICE. HIS APPEARANCE AND MAN-
NERS. â THE SEVEN DAYS' BATTLES AROUND RICHMOND. â LEE's PLAN OF OPERATIONS.
.TACKSON'S WITHDRAWAL FROM THE VALLEY MASKED. BATTLES OF MECHANICSVILLK AND
BEAVER DAM. â REPULSE OF THE CONFEDERATES AT BEAVER DAM CREEK. â JACKSON
FLANKS THE ENEMy's POSITION. m'cLELLAN's RETREAT TO GAINES' MILLS. â ITS STRAT-
EGIC DESIGN. EXTRAORDINARY STRENGTH OF THE NEW POSITION. â GEN. LEE WAITING
FOR THE GREAT BATTLE. BATTLE OF GAINES' MILLS. â HEROIC FIGHT OF IIILl's DIVISION.
THE ENEMY GAINS GROUND. AN URGENT MESSAGE TO LONGSTREET. JACKSON AP-
PEARS. FINAL CHAEGE OF THE DAY. ITS FIERCE GRANDEUR. VICTORY OF THE CON-
FEDERATES. â m'cLELLAN RETREATS TOWARDS THE JAMES RIVER. â FAILURE OF MAGRUDER
AND HUGER TO INTERCEPT HIM. â THE GREAT ERROUR WHICH THEY COMMITTED. â BATTLE
OF SAVAGE STATION. â m'cLELLAN CROSSES WHITE OAK SWAMP.â FAILURE OF HUGEr's
ATTACK. â ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY LOST. â BATTLE OF FRAZIEr's FARM. â HILL AND LONG-
STREET's TROOPS ONLY ENGAGED. â BATTLE OF MALVERN HILL. â m'cLELLAN's POSITION ON
THE HILL. HIS NUMEROUS ARTILLERY. THE ATTACK OF THE CONFEDERATE LEFT NOT
SUPPORTED. â MAGRUDEr's IMPETUOUS AND DESPERATE CHARGE. THE SUBLIME SCENERY
OF THE CONTEST. â FAILURE OF THE ATTACr. m'cLELLAN CONTINUES HIS RETREAT TO
Harrison's landing. â fruits of the confederate success. â gen. lee's explanation
OF m'cLELLAN's escape. â estimate of the victory by lee and stonewall JACKSON.
â RICHMOND ERECT AND EXULTANT.
The tardiness of McClellan afforded opportunity to tlie Confederatea
to recruit tbeir forces, to realize the results of the conscription law, and to
assemble before Kichmond the largest armj they were ever able to put on
a single field in any time of the war. The enemy had had tlie start in tho
preparation of many months. He delayed the advance upon Richmond,
hesitating which line to adopt, when an advance upon either of the pro-
posed lines could hardly have failed of success. A month was lost beibro
THE RICHMOND IJNE8." 279
the advance was begun. Another month was occupied in the siege of
Yorktown, where McClellan was held in check by eleven thousand men.
Three weeks more were taken up in the cautious advance across the Pen-
insula. Thus three full months were lost by the Federal army before it
was fairly in the neighbourhood of Richmond, and every day of these
months was employed by the Confederates in enlarging their resources of
Having reached the Chickahominy, McClellan threw a portion of his
army across the river, and, having thus established his left, proceeded to
pivot upon it, and to extend his right by the right bank of the Pamunkey,
BO as to get to the north of Richmond. "While conducting this manoeuvre
and delaying an attack, the Confederate army was rapidly receiving rein-
forcements, and draM'ing troops from distant points to make a decisive
battle. Iluger's army, from Norfolk, united witli Johnston before Rich-
mond ; forces, under Branch, in Korth Carolina, were rapidly brought for-
ward by rail ; and even as far as Charleston, troops were withdrawn to
match Johnston's numbers as far as possible with those of the enemy.
And in this instance the match of numbers was probably closer than ever
before or afterwards in the great conflicts of the war. With Jackson's
command in the Valley which it was intended to put on the Richmond
lines at the proj)er moment, the force defending the Confederate capital
may be estimated at about ninety thousand men ; and McClellan's, consid-
ering his losses on the Peninsula, could scarcely be more than one hundred
and twenty or thirty thousand men.
In the last days of May the position of the two armies around Rich-
mond is described by the Chickahominy. This stream, tracing through
heavy forests and swamps east of Richmond from a north-westerly to a
Bouth-casterly direction, formed the respective fronts of the two armies â
the Confederates occupying the western, the Federals the eastern banks.
The line occupied by the enemy was nearly a right line from north-west to
south-east. His forces were stretched from a short distance above New
Bridge, where his right rested, to Bottom's Bridge, which constituted his
left. The line was about ten miles long. Across it ran five roads in the
following order, from west to east : the Brook turnpike ; the Mechanics-
ville turnpike, (Mechanicsville being a village on the north side of the
Chickahominy) ; the Nine Mile road ; York River railroad ; the Willlams-
bui-g road ; the Charles City road ; and the Darby town road.
Before the 30th of May, Gen. Johnston had ascertained that McClellan
had thrown his left forward to a point within six miles of Richmond, a
mile in front of a point locally designated the " Seven Pines," where
Casey's division was posted. Couch's division was encamped in his rear,
his right resting in front of Fair Oaks station, about six miles due east of
Richmond. Gen. Kejes commanded both divisions. In front there waa
280 THE LOST CAUSE.
a heavy forest, and a screen of dense imdergrowth. A terrific thunder
storm had taken place on the night of the 29th of May, and floods of rain
spirting in broad jets, had so swollen the Chickahominy in Keyes' rear,
that Johnston indulged the prospect of having to deal with no other troops
than those of this corps. In these circumstances, on the morning of the
30th May, he moved out to annihilate the enemy's left.
BATTLE OF SEVEN PINES.
Gen. Johnston's plan of battle was to embrace an attack at three points.
Gen. D. II. Hill, supported by the division of Gen. Longstreet, (who had
the direction of operations on the right,) was to advance by the Williams-
burg road, to attack the enemy in front ; Gen. Huger, with his division,
was to move down the Charles City road, in order to atack in flank the
troops who might be engaged with Ilill and Longstreet ; Gen. Smith was
to march to the junction of the New Bridge road and the Nine Mile road,
to be in readiness either to fall on Keyes's right flank, or to cover Long-
The greater part of the day was lost in vain expectation of Iluger's
movement â the most important part of the design, as it was to take the
enemy's flank and insure his destruction. The movement was disap-
pointed, as Huger could not cross the swollen stream in his front. At a
late hour in the afternoon Longstreet determined to move upon the enemy
with his own and Hill's division, and accomplish whatever results were
possible in the far-spent day. Gen. Johnston remained with Smith on the
left, to observe the field.
Through the thick woods, on marshy ground, in water in many places
two feet deep, Longstreet's regiments moved on, brushing off occasionally
a cloud of skirmishers that disputed their passage. As they came upon
the enemy's works, a sheet of fire blazed in their faces. It was sharp,
rapid work. Some of the regiments crept tln-ough the low brushwood in
front of the redoubt, and, at a given signal from the flanking parties, made
a rush for the guns, cleared them, and, entering pell-mell into the earth-
work, bayonetted all who opposed them. Line after line of the enemy's
works was carried ; the victorious career of the Confederates swept through
his successive camps and entrenchments ; and as night fell he had been
driven about two miles, and had left a track of retreat through swamp
and water red with carnage.
On the left, where Johnston commanded in person, the enemy held his
position until dark ; Smith's division, with a portion of Whiting's, failing
to dislodge him. On this part of the field Gen. Johnston was disabled by
a severe wound in the shoulder.
BATTLE OF SEVEX PINKS. 281
TliG work of carnage in a few hours of dayliglit had been terrible
The Confederate loss was more than four thousand. That of tlie enemy
was stated in Northern journals to have exceeded ten thousand. McClellan
officially states it at 5,739. The visible fruits of our victory were ten pieces of
cannon, six tliousand stand of arms, one garrison flag, four stand of regiment-
al colors, a large number of tents, besides much camp equipage and stores.
On the following day, June 1, the enemy, having thrown across the
Chickahominy two additional divisions, under command of Gen. Sumner,
attacked the brigade of Gen. Pickett, which was supported by that of Gen.
Pryor. The attack was vigorously repelled by these two brigades, the
brunt of the light falling on General Pickett. This was tlie last demon-
stration made by the enemy. This action, really of no consequence, was
magnilied in McClellan's dispatches as " the Battle of Fair Oaks," thus
giving to the Northern public a new and most undue " sensation " to
counteracr. the defeat of the previous important day.
It must be admitted that the Confederate public was but little affected
by the victory of Seven Pines. It was a splendid feat of arms ; but it
accomplished no important results, and the ground which it gained was
unimjjortant, and was speedily abandoned. Had Huger obeyed orders,
Johnston might have demolished the enemy ; as it was, McClellan's left
was routed and demoralized, and we had gained nothing more substantial
than a brilliant battle, when it had been intended to have embraced an
attack at three points, and probably all along the line, if the enemy had
The disabling wound, wliich Gen. Johnston had received, was the occa-
sion of an important change of military conmiands. The Confederate
Congress had some time ago passed a bill creating the office of command-
ing general, who should take charge of the military movements of the war.
This measure was one of great significance, as the early attempt in the
Confederacy to abolish the bipartite character of the Executive office, and
to supply two agents for the management of the war.
The merits of the proposed reform were long a theme of discussion in
the Confederacy. The President in his Executive capacity was the ser-
vant of Congress, and, therefore, could have nothing of the dictator in his
action ; but as " Im.peraiory or commander-in-chief of the army and navy,
he might be almost despotic in the exercise of his powers. The army regu-
lations would be his " Constitution ; " but with tlie power to till courts-
martial with his creatures, his authority would be limited very much by his
own will, and all appeals from their decisions would be from him the
Imperator to him the civil magistrate. Tlic th.eory of such a power was
evidently on the verge of despotism. Abolish the habeas corpus, and the
President, with his full bipartite powers, would be an autocrat, if he had
the tact to be so without raising the anger of the people until he estab-
282 THE LOST CAUSE.
lislied himself on firm grounds. Experience in the old Union had suf-
ficiently taught the Confederates what little safety to public liberty was
to be expected from the representatives of the people, when Executive
patronage was brought to bear ; and indicated the additional lesson that
even where the Executive officer had not sufticient ability to be danger-
ous, he might become the tool of a prescriptive and tyrannical party.
After the first battle of Manassas, a certain adviser of President Davis,
who had some experience of the Congress at Montgomery, and knew the
numerous efforts to shape the action of the government in favour of local
interests, drew his attention to the bipartite nature of his office, and urged
him to assume more of the Imperator, as the best and speediest manner
of concentrating our forces for decisive action. From a conscientious
regard to the advisory power of Congress, President Davis then declined
to do this. How could he, as the executive officer of Congress, do it ?
Were not the two offices in one person clearly antagonistic ? The conse-
quence was, that before the end of the first year of the war it was manifest
that a clear head and a vigorous will were wanting in the administration
of military matters. The conclusion came to be almost unanimous in the
public mind that the civil and military affairs of the Confederacy could
not be conducted by one head, and should be separated into two distinct
offices. It was argued that this plan involved the least danger to public
liberty ; that the civil and military powers being, each, in the control of
one cleai- head and strong hand, would probably be most effectually exer-
cised in the accomplishment of our independence, and tliat the two heads
would not be as likely to unite for any end injurious to the public liberty