Horace Greeley.

The American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 online

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^ thi s engagement, my loss was uncommonly
bstry in officers as weU as men. The 14tti
Alabama, bearing the brunt of the struggle,
was neoiiy annihilated. I crossed the Ghicka-
hominy on the 26th, wiih 1,400 men. In the
igfats that foUowed, I suffisred a loss of 849
itflled and wounded, and 11 missing."

OoL J. B. Strange, commanding 3d brigade, 2d
fivision of Longstreet's corps, in his report of
hisfight» says:



" The brigade carried into action 723 musicet^
and of this smaU number the loss was 22S, in-
duding 4 officers killed and 12 wounded."

Gen. C. M. Wilcox reports the loss of his Ala-
bama brigade in this battle at 471. Among the
Rebel wounded were Brig.-Gens. Anderson and
Featherston. It is probable that the respective
losses here were about equaL

"June 30.



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164



THB AMEBIOAN CONFLICT.



all the approaches, but especially
those from Eichmond and the
Swamp. The last of om* trains and
our reserve artillery reached him
about 4 p. M. of this day; about the
time that Holmes's force, moving
down the James, appeared o^ our
left flank (our army having here
fSEfcced about), and opened a fire of
artillery on Warren's brigade, on our
extreme left. He was at once aston-
ished by a concentrated fire from 30
guns, and recoiled in haste, abandon-
ing two of his cannon.

The rear of our wasted, wayworn
army reached the position assigned
it, upon and around Malvern Hill,
during the next forenoon," closely
pursued by the converging columns
of the Bebels. The anxious days
and sleepless nights of the preceding
week; tiie constant and resolute
efforts required to force their 40 miles
of guns and trains over the narrow,
wretched roads which traverse White
Oak Swamp ; their ignorance of the
locality and exposure to be ambushed



and assailed at every turn, rendered
this retreat an ordeal for our men
long to be remembered.** Gen. Mo*
Clellan had reached Malvern the pre-
ceding day. Early this morning,
leaving Gen. Barnard with directions
for posting the troops as they arrived,
he had gone down the river on the
gunboat Galena from Haxall's, to
select a position whereon his retreat
should definitively terminate.

Jackson's corps, consisting of his
own, with Whiting's, D. H. Hill's,
and EweU's divisions, came in the
Kebel advance down the Quaker
Eoad, whereon our army had mamly
emerged from the Swamp; while
Magruder, with most of Hugers
division, advancing on the direct
roads from Kichmond, menaced and
soon assailed our left. Longstreet's
and A. P. Hill's divisions, having
had the heaviest of the fighting thus
far, and been badly cut up, were held
in reserve by Lee in the rear of Jack-
son, and were not brought into
action. It is none the less true, how-



" July I.

^ Mr.£amnel Wllkeson, who shared in this ex-
perience, wrote of it as follows to The New Tork
JHbune:

"Huddled among the wagons were 10,000
stragglers — ^forthe credit of the nation be it said
that four-fifths of them were wounded, sick, or
utterly exhausted, and could not have stirred
but for dread of the tobacco warehouses of the
South. The confusion of this herd of men and
mules, wagons and wounded, men on horses,
men on foot, men by the road-side, men perched
on wagons, men searching for water, men fam-
ishing K>r food, men lame and bleeding, men with
ghostly eyes, looking out between bloody band-
ages, that hid the face — turn to some vivid ao-
*count of the most pitifUl part of Napoleon's re-
treat from Russia, and fill out the picture— 4he
grim, gaunt, bloody picture of war in its most
terrible features.

"It was determined to move on during the
night The distance to Turkey Island Bridge,
the point on James river which was to be
reached, by the direct road was six miles. But
those vast numbers could not move over one
xuuTow road in days; henoe eveiy by-road, no



matter how circuitous, had been searched out by
questioning prisoners and by oavalry excursiooa.
Every one was filled by one of the advandug
columns. The whole fVont was in motion by
seven p. h., Qen. Keyes in command of the ad-
vance.

" I rode with Gen. Howe's brigade of Couch's
division, taking a wagon-track through dense
woods and precipitous ravines winding sinuously
far around to the left, and striking the river
some distance below Turicey Island. Oommeno-
ing at dusk, the march continued until daylight
The night was dark and fearfiiL Heavy thunder
rdled in turn along each point of the heavens, and
dark clouds overspread the entire canopy. We
were forbidden to speak aloud ; and, lest the light
oi a cigar should present a target for an am-
bushed rifle, we were cautioned not to smoke.
Ten miles of weary marching, with frequent
halts, as some one of the hundred vehicles of
the artillery train, in our center, by a slight de-
viation, crashed against a tree, wore away the
hours to dawn, when we debouched into a mag-
nificent wheat-field, and the smoke-stack of the
Gralena was in sight Xenophon's remnant of
the Ten Thousand, shouting, ' The seal the seal*
were not more glad than we."



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THE BATTLE OP ICALVBBN HILL.



165



ever, that the entire Army of Vir-
giiiia was present, engaged in or sup-
porting the attack, and animated by
a sangnine confidence that its re-
sults could differ only in being more
decisive from those of the recent
bloody conflicts. But much time
was consumed in getting into position
and bringing up the artillery neces-
sary to respond to our heavy and
weU-placed batteries, so as to cover
the advance of assaulting columns of
infantry.

Jackson, at 3 p. ic, pushed forward
D. H. Hill's division on his right,
and Whiting's on his left, with part
of Ewell's in the center, holding his
own division in reserve; Huger
simultaneously advancing on their
right, with Kagruder's three divi-
sions on his right, under general
orders to break our lines by a con-
centric fire of artillery, and then
" charge with a yell" on our entire
firont with columns of infantry,
which, however torn and thinned by
our fire, should rush right over our
defenses, as they did in the final as-
sault at Gaines's Mill, and drive our
fagitive army into the James far more
hurriedly than Porter's wing had been
driven across the Chickahominy.

The in&ntiy attack, after a brief
cannonade, was made accordingly, and
for the most part with great intrepid-
ity ; and, though the carnage was fear-
fid, some ground was gained by Ma-
gruder on our left, where Kershaw's
and Semmes's brigades, of McLaws's
division, charged through a dense
wood, nearly up to our guns ; as did
those of "Wright, Mahone, and An-
derson, still farther to their right,
and Barksdale, nearer to the center ;
while D. H. Hill, with Jackson's fore-
most division, charged on Couch's



and Griffin's divisions, holding our
advance on the right. Being unsup-
ported, however, by the general ad-
vance which had been ordered. Hill
was hurled back with heavy loss,
though Ewell's and Jackson's own
divisions had meantime been sent
forward to his aid ; |is A. P. Hill's
division was brought up by Long-
street to the aid of Magruder.




MALTXBir HILL.

A Warren^s brigade'

B Bnefaanan*s **

ChapiDftn^s **

D Griffin's ••

S MartindAle*t **

9 BatterfUld** "*

CoQch't dlT
H CMej*s *"

1 Keftrn7*s dlr.
J Hooker's ♦♦
K Sed^wt«k*8 dir.
L BIchudSQii^t *"
M Smith's dir.
H Slocam't •*
O MoGaU*s dir.
P OftTslrjr.



PortAi^B oorps.



EeyM^eorps.
HetntsaliiMn*t coips.
Samnei^s oorpa.
I^raaUln^s oorpsi



Porter, with Sykes's and Morell's
divisions, held our left, with Couch's



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166



THE AMBBIOAK CONFLIOT.



diviBion next, then Kesmy and Hook-
eiTj forming Heintzelman's corps ; next
to these^ Sedgwick and Eichardson,
under Sumner ; with Smith and Slo-
cnm, under Franklin, on our right ;
while McCaH'fl shattered Pennsylva-
nia Eesenres and our cavalry were
posted in the rear, near the river.
Batteries above batteries, along the
brow of the hill, rendered the attack
little less than madness, on any other
presumption than that our men were
cowards, who, if resolutely charged,
would inevitably run. Apart from
the great strength of our position, we
had more men than the Bebels, and
many more and heavier guns ; and
then the battle opened too late in
the day to justify a rational hope of
success : the main assault being made,
after a very considerable pause for
preparation, so late as 6 p. m. ; yet it
was made with such desperation — ^the
sheltering woods enabling the Bebels
to form their columns of assault with-
in a few hundred yards of our bat-
teries, emerging on a full run, and
rushing upon our lines in utter reck-
lessness of their withering fire — ^that
Sickles's brigade of Hooker's division,
and MeaghOT^s, of Richardson^s divis-



ion, were orda*ed up to the support
of Porter and Couch, who held our
right front, which Jackson was charg-
ing ; but not one of our guns was
even temporarily captured or seri-
ously imperiled throughout the figbt,
wherein the losses of the Bebels must
have been at least treble our own.**
Darkness closed this one-sided car-
nage ; though our guns were not all
silent till 9 o'clock, when the Bebels
on our iront had been fairly driven
out of range; though on our left they
sunk to rest in ravines and hollows
somewhat in advance of the ground
they had held when their artillery
first opened. And still, as through-
out the struggle, our gunboats con-
tinued to throw their great missiles
clear over the left of our position,
into the fields and woods occu-
pied by the enemy, probably doing
little positive execution, since that
enemy was not in sight, but adding
materiaUy to the discomforts of his
position. Gen. McClellan, who had
been down to Harrison's Bar in the
Galena, in the morning, landed to-
ward night, and was on the field
during the last desperate charge of
the enemy.** •



^^ Jackson reports the loss of his corps (com-
prising his own, Swell's, Whiting's, and D. H.
mi's divisions) in this fight: 377 killed, 1,746
wounded, 39 missmg; total, 2,162. Magnider
thinks his loss will not exceed 2,900 killed and
wounded, out of 86,000 or 28,000 under his or-
ders. Brig.-Qen. Banaom reports the losses in
his brigade at 499, out of 3,000. Brig.-Gen.
ICahone, of Huger's dlTision, reports a total loss
of 321, out of 1,826. Gen. A. R. Wright reports
the loss of hii already weakened brigade, in
this fight, at 362. D. B. Jones reports the
losses in his division at 833. Among the
wounded in this fight were Brig.-Oen. Jones,
Ya.; CoL Ransom, 36th N. C, sererelj; and
Col Bamseur, 49th H. a

Brig.-Gen. J. K Trimble, of BweU's divis-
ion, giving an account of the conduct of his bri-
gade in this battle, sajs:



" The next morning, bv dawn, I went off to
ask for orders; when I found &e whole armj
in the utmost disorder; thousands of straggling
men aaldng every passer-by for their regiment;
ambulances, wagons, and artQlery, obstructing
every road ; and altogether, in a drenching rain,
presenting a scene of the most woeful and dis-
heartening conAision.**

^ There has been much unseemly controversy
respecting McQdIan*s being or not behig on a
gunboat during this action ; the interest thereof
being heightened by tiiis passage in Gen. }Ls
testimony before the Committee on the Conduct
of the War:

'^Question: Were you down to the river, or on
board the gunboats during any part of that day,
between the time you left the field and your re-
turn to Hf

** Answer: I do not remember ; it is possible I
may have been, as my oan^ was directly on the
I river."



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OUE RETREAT TO HARRISON'S BAR.



167



Our victoriouB army began at once
to evacuate, by order,*' the strong
position wherein they had jnst
achieved bo decided and bloody a
saocesB, leaving their dead nnburied
and many of their wounded to fall
into the hands of the enemy ; mak-
ing a hurried and disorderly** n%ht-
march, over roads badly overcrowd-
ed, to the next position selected by
their commander, at Harrison's Bar,
seven mUes down the James. The
movement was covered by Keyes's
corps, with the cavalry, wliich did



not leave Malvern till after daylight
of the 2d. The last of our wagons
was not in place at the new position
till the evening of the 3d, when the
rear-guard moved into camp, and
the army was at rest. A unall
Rebel force had followed our rear-
guard, and this day threw a few
shells; but was soon driven off by
the response of our batteries and
gunboats.

Qen. McCleUan reports the aggre-
gate losses of his army in the Seven
Days' fighting and retreating, from



The following extract from the Diary of Dr.
R. B. Tan Grieson, then Surgeon of the gunboat
Ghdena, of which the aocuracj is not disputed,
•eems to embodj all the essential facts :

"U. S. Stiambr Galena, Julj 1, 1862.

^9 A. iL HoClellan has just oome on board
again.

'* 10 A. M. Under way down the river, taking
ICcClellan with us; who, being considerably fa-
tigued, has gone into the cabin for a little dleep.
About noon, we came to Harrison^s Bar.

** 13:30 p. IL Tug came alongside, and took
HoOlellan and Franklin to the encampment In
about an hour, MoGlellan returned, when we start-
ed up the river. As we pass on up, we can hear
heavy firing. After passing Garter's Landing, it
iikcreases to a perfect roar. McClellan, though
qideUy smoking a oigar on the quarter-dedc,
seems a little anxious, and looks now and then
Inquiringly at the sigxuJ officer, who is receiving
a message from shore. After a while, the sig-
nal officer reports 'Heavy firing near Porter's
Division.' Next came a message demanding his
pre s e nce on shore. A boat is manned, and Mo-
C3dlan left The firing still oontinuea — ^nearer
asd louder than befbre. About 6 p. iL, we ran
a little farther up^ and threw in a few shell with
goodefibct

*^ 9 p. x. The firing has about ceased. News
CO shore — 'Slaughter immense' — 'Enemy in
fdn retreat'

** 10 p. iL McClellan has just returned with
Gen. Marcy. Mac says 'They took one gun
from us yesterday ; but to-day we have taken
many c^ their guns and oolors.'

**' Yes,' saidMarqy, * we whipped them like the
devU to-day.'

" 12 x. From what I can gather from the
co n versation of McClellan, we may expect to see
the miyor part of the army at Hurison's Land-
ing to-morrow."

Gen. McCleUan, in his report, says:

"I left Haxall's for Malvern soon after day-
tweak. Accompanied by several general officers,
I oooe more made the entire dronit of the j>osi-
tkm, and then retomed to Uaxall's, whence I
moX with C^^t Rodgers to select the finalloca-



tion for the army and its dep6t8. I returned to
Malvern before &e serious fighting commenced ;
and, after riding along the lines, and seeing most
cause to feel anxious about the right, remained
in that vicinity."

The Rebels made no attack on our right, and
it was at no time in action.

**Even Fitz-John Porter's devotion to his
chief was temporarily shaken by this order,
which elicited his most indignant protest

^Gen. Hooker, when examined before the
Conunittee on the Conduct of the War, testified
with regard to this affair as follows :

4* Quea, : Were you in the battle of Malvern 7

"Anatoer: Yes, sirj and at that place we
won a great victory.

" Q, : Could you have gone into Richmond
after that fight?

" A, : I have no doubt we oould. The day
before, I liad had a fight at Glendale ; and, un*
der the orders, I had to leave my wounded be-
hind me, and I left two surgeons to take care of
them. The enemy, in commg to Malvern, had
to march right by my hospital. My surgeons
afterward reported to me that about 3 p. m. on
the day of the battle of Malvern, the enemy
commenced falling back, and kept it up all
night; that they were totally demoralized,
many of the men going off into the woods and
trying to conceal themselves from their officers;
and that they were two days collecting their
forces together.

^ Q. : Had the defeat of the enemy at Malvern
been followed up by our whole force, what
would have been the probable result ?

*'^.; Richmond would have been ours be-
yomd a doubt

" Q, : Instead <^ that, you fell back to Harri-
son's Landing ?

*' -4. ; Yes, sir. We were ordered to retreat ;
and it was like the retreat of a whipped army.
We retreated like a parcel of sheep ; everybody
on the road at the same time; and a few shot^
from the Rebels would have panio-slricken the
whole command.'*



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168



THE AMSBIOAN OONFLIOT.



Mechanicsville to HarriBon's Bar, at
1,682 killed, 7,709 wounded, and
5,968 missing ; total, 16,249." This
may or may not include those aban-
doned to the enemy in hospitals,
most of whom are probably numbered
among the wounded. Lee's report
does not state the amount of his
losses, but says it is contained in
" the accompanying tables ;" which
the Confederate authorities did not
see fit to print with his report. He
sums up his trophies as follows :

" The siege of Richmond was raised ; and
the olijeot of & campaign which had been
prosecuted, after months of preparation, at
an enormous expenditure of men and
money, completely frustrated. More than
10,000 prisoners, including officers of rank,
62 pieces of artillery, and upwards of 85,000
stand of small arms, were captured. The
stores and supplies of every description,
which fell into our hands, were great in
amount and value, but small in comparison
with those destroyed by the enemy. His
losses in battle exceeded our own, as attest-
ed by the thousands of dead and wounded
left on every field; while his subsequent
inaction shows in what condition the sur-
vivors reached the protection to which th^
fled."

The " inaction" thus vaunted was
mutual. Lee did not see fit to re-
peat at Harrison's Bar his costly ex-
periment at Malvern; but, after
scrutinizing our hastily constructed
defenses, and guessing at the num-
bers and spirit of the men behind
them, withdrew ** to Richmond, leav-
ing but a brigade of cavalry to watch
and report any fresh evidences of ac-
• tivity on our side. None being af-
forded, he sent Gen. French, with 43
guns, to approach Harrison's Bar
stealthily on the south side of the



river, during the night,** and open a
fire on our camps and vessels, where-
by we had 10 killed and 15 wounded,
with some little damage to tents, &c
French desisted after half an hour's
firing, or so soon as our guns were
brought to bear upon him, and de-
camfed before daylight. G^n. Mo*
Clellan thereupon occupied and for-
tified Cc^gin's Point, on that side of
the river; and was no farther mo-
lested.




^ V^« <^ 9 MILES



rOSmOH AT HABBUON^S LAlTDIKe.

Even if we raise our actual losses
of men in the Seven Days' to 20,000,
it is doubtful that they much, if at all,
exceeded those of the Rebels, whose



*^ List qfkilUd, wounded and mUHfUf in ihs Army of
ifu Potomac^ from tJu 26^ qf June to ihtlst qf
July^ 1808, ineluHve,



1. IfoCAirs dlTislon.
%. Sumner^B oorp«..
8w HeinteelBuoi'* **..
4. Keyei* "*,.



XUled. ITotmU JfUs'a. Thtal
....268 1,240 1,581 8,074
.... 187 1,076 848 8,111
.... 189 1.061 888 2,078
.... 09 607 201 m



JCiUed. Woun'd, UiM'a, Totak

R Porter's corps 020 2,460 1,198 4.278

6L Franklin's *• 845 1,818 L179 8,787

Engineers. — 8 21 28

Osvalry. 19 60 97 17«



•Total , 1,682 7,709 6,968 15,8I»

^•JuljB. ♦'July 31.



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OUB ABMY AT HARBISON'S BAB.



169



reckless attacks on onr strong posi-
tions at Mechanics ville, Gaines's Mill,
Glendale, and Malvern, being stoutly
resisted, mnst have cost them very
dearly. The official reports of two
corps commanders show an aggre-
gate of 9,336 killed, wounded, and
TnifiBJng ;*• while other *• subordinate
reports indicate heavy losses in other
divisions. On the whole, it is fair to
estimate our total loss at 15,000
killed and wounded, and 5,000 un-
-wounded prisoners; and the Eebel
as at least equal to ours, minus the
prisoners and the guns.



Gen. McClellan had telegraphed
the President from Haxall's, on the
morning of this battle, that : " My
men are completely exhausted, and I
dread the resxdt if we are attacked
to-day by fresh troops.'' Next day
(2d), he telegraphed from Harrison's
Bar that, " As usual, we had a severe
battle yesterday, and beat the enemy
badly ; the men fighting even better
than before." Next day (3d), he
telegraphed again to the Secretary
of War that he presumed he had not
over "50,000 men left with their
colors ;" and that, " To accomplish
the great task of capturing Rich-
mond and putting an end to this Re-
bellion, reenforcements should be sent
to me rather much over than less
than 100,000 men." The President
bad advised him, the day before, that



there, were, in all, east of the Alle-
ghanies, less than 75,000 men not
already on the James, including
those under Gen. Wool at Fortress
Monroe; so that to send him even
50,000 was impossible.

The President went down ** to the
Army at Harrison's Bar, and found
86,000 men there. As 160,000 had
gone into that Army on the Penin-
sula, he wrote for an account of the
residue. Gen. M. replied " that his
force then " present for duty" num-
bered 88,665; absent by authority,
34,472; absent without authority,
3,778 ; sick, 16,619 ; present and ab-
sent, 144,407. Of those absent by
authority, he says that one-half were
probably fit for duty ; but, having got
away on sick leave or otherwise, had
failed to return. The Adjutant-
General's office reported (July 20th)
Gen. McClellan's army as numbering
— Present for duty, 101,691 ; on spe-
cial duty, sick, or in arrest, 17,828 ;
absent, 38,795 ; total, 168,314. This
does not include Gen. Wool's nor
Gen. Bumside's force, then at or
near Fortress Monroe.



Upon a suggestion" firom Gen,
Halleck at Washington that deserters
had reported the Rebels moving
southward of the James, leaving but
a small force in Richmond, G^n.
McClellan ordered Gen. Hooker,
with his own division and Pleasan*



«• EilUtU WowCd, Mimfg. Total

jAckton^s 966 4,417 « 6,446

A.P. Hm^* «1» 8,2T1 — 8,8W



Totol



..1,085 7,688



9^



• Brig.-OeiL B. S. Eipley, Rebel chief of ar-
tiUerj, reports that his brigade entered into
these fights 2,366 strong, including pioneers and
ambulanoe corps, of whom 889 fell at Malyem,
and 3 out oi 4 Colonels were killed. Brig.-Gen.
Oariand reports his loss in all the battles at 192
kSUed, 637 wounded, 16 missing; total, 844.



Howell Cobb reports that his brif^e, of Ma*
gruder*s division, went into bbttle at Sarage^B
Station 2,700 strong; whereof but 1,500 ap«
peared on the battle-field of Malvern, where
nearly 600 of them were killed and woimded.
Among the Rebel officers killed during the
Seven Days were Gen. Griffith, Miss.; Cols. C.
C. Pegues, 5th Ala., Allen, 2d V&, Fulkerson,
commanding Texas brigade, and Lt-CoL Faison,
SdN.O.
•Juljt. •'July 16. "July 30.



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170



THB AMERICAN OONFLIOT.



ton's cavalry, to advance npon^and
seize Malvern HilL Through the
incompetency of his guides, Hooker's
first attempt miscarried ; but it was
renewed the next night/' and, not-
withstanding the ample notice of it
given to the enemy, proved an easy
success; Hooker driving the Bebels
from Malvern with a loss of barely
14, and taking 100 prisoners; Col.
Averill, with part of Pleasanton's
cavalry, pushing north to White Oak
Swamp Bridge, driving thence the
10th Yi]^nia cavaliy and capturing
28 men and horses. This advance,
promptly and vigorously followed up
in force, would doubtless have placed
McOlellan in Richmond forthwith.

But Gen. M. had already received
an order ** directing a withdrawal of
his army by water to Acquia creek,
to support a fresh demonstration on
Bichmond from the Bappahannock ;
which order he began ** most reluct-
antly to obey; of course, recalling
Qen. Hooker from Malvern. He was
now eager to resume the offensive
with far smaller reenforcements than
he had recently pronounced indis-
pensable, and suggested that, in ad-
dition to Bumside's men, they might
be spared him frx>m Pope's army on
the Bappahannock and fix>m the
West. Gen. Halleck — assuming the
correctness of McClellan's own mis-
taken assumption as to the strength
of the Bebel Army of Virginia — ^re-
plied ** with crushing cogency as fol-
lows: •

*^ Allow me to allude to a few of the faets
in the case.

" You and yonr officers at our interview



Online LibraryHorace GreeleyThe American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 → online text (page 23 of 113)