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Stonewall Jackson And The American Civil War by G. F. R. Henderson

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"The troops are standing at ease along our line of march. Ride back
rapidly along the line and tell the commanders to advance instantly
EN ECHELON from the left. Each brigade is to follow as a guide the
right regiment of the brigade on the left, and to keep within
supporting distance. Tell the commanders that if this formation fails
at any point, to form line of battle and move to the front, pressing
to the sound of the heaviest firing and attack the enemy vigorously
wherever found. As to artillery, each commander must use his
discretion. If the ground will at all permit tell them to take in
their field batteries and use them. If not, post them in the rear."
Letter to the author.)

The young staff officer to whom these instructions were entrusted,
misunderstanding the intentions of his chief, communicated the
message to the brigadiers with the addition that "they were to await
further orders before engaging the enemy." Partly for this reason,
and partly because the rear regiments of his division had lost touch
with the leading brigades, Ewell was left without assistance. For
some time the error was undiscovered. Jackson grew anxious. From his
station near Old Cold Harbour little could be seen of the Confederate
troops. On the ridge beyond the valley the dark lines of the enemy's
infantry were visible amongst the trees, with their well-served
batteries on the crests above. But in the valley immediately beneath,
and as well as in the forest to the right front, the dense smoke and
the denser timber hid the progress of the fight. Yet the sustained
fire was a sure token that the enemy still held his own; and for the
first time and the last his staff beheld their leader riding
restlessly to and fro, and heard his orders given in a tone which
betrayed the storm within.* (* It may be noted that Jackson's command
had now been increased by two divisions, Whiting's and D.H. Hill's,
but there had been no increase in the very small staff which had
sufficed for the Valley army. The mistakes which occurred at Gaines'
Mill, and Jackson's ignorance of the movements and progress of his
troops, were in great part due to his lack of staff officers. A most
important message, writes Dr. Dabney, involving tactical knowledge,
was carried by a non-combatant.) "Unconscious," says Dabney, "that
his veteran brigades were but now reaching the ridge of battle, he
supposed that all his strength had been put forth, and (what had
never happened before) the enemy was not crushed."* (*Dabney, volume
2, page 194.) Fortunately, the error of the aide-de-camp had already
been corrected by the vigilance of the chief of the staff, and the
remainder of the Valley army was coming up.

Their entry into battle was not in accordance with the intentions of
their chief. Whiting should have come in on Ewell's right, Lawton on
the right of Whiting, and Jackson's division on the right of Lawton.
Whiting led the way; but he had advanced only a short distance
through the woods when he was met by Lee, who directed him to support
General A.P. Hill.* (* Whiting's Report, O.R. volume 11 part 1 page
563.) The brigades of Law and of Hood were therefore diverted to the
right, and, deploying on either side of the Gaines' Mill road, were
ordered to assault the commanding bluff which marked the angle of the
Federal position. Lawton's Georgians, 3,500 strong, moved to the
support of Ewell; Cunningham and Fulkerson, of Winder's division,
losing direction in the thickets, eventually sustained the attack of
Longstreet, and the Stonewall Brigade reinforced the shattered ranks
of D.H. Hill. Yet the attack was strong, and in front of Old Cold
Harbour six batteries had forced their way through the forest.

As this long line of guns covered McGehee's Hill with a storm of
shells, and the louder crash of musketry told him that his lagging
brigades were coming into line, Jackson sent his last orders to his
divisional commanders: "Tell them," he said, "this affair must hang
in suspense no longer; let them sweep the field with the bayonet."
But there was no need for further urging. Before the messengers
arrived the Confederate infantry, in every quarter of the
battlefield, swept forward from the woods, and a vast wave of men
converged upon the plateau. Lee, almost at the same moment as
Jackson, had given the word for a general advance. As the supports
came thronging up the shout was carried down the line, "The Valley
men are here!" and with the cry of "Stonewall Jackson!" for their
slogan, the Southern army dashed across the deep ravine. Whiting,
with the eight regiments of Hood and Law, none of which had been yet
engaged, charged impetuously against the centre. The brigades of A.P.
Hill, spent with fighting but clinging stubbornly to their ground,
found strength for a final effort. Longstreet threw in his last
reserve against the triple line which had already decimated his
division. Lawton's Georgians bore back the regulars. D.H. Hill,
despite the fire of the batteries on McGehee's Hill, which,
disregarding the shells of Jackson's massed artillery, turned with
canister on the advancing infantry, made good his footing on the
ridge; and as the sun, low on the horizon, loomed blood-red through
the murky atmosphere, the Confederate colours waved along the line of
abandoned breastworks.

As the Federals retreated, knots of brave men, hastily collected by
officers of all ranks, still offered a fierce resistance, and,
supported by the batteries, inflicted terrible losses on the crowded
masses which swarmed up from the ravine; but the majority of the
infantry, without ammunition and with few officers, streamed in
disorder to the rear. For a time the Federal gunners stood manfully
to their work. Porter's reserve artillery, drawn up midway across the
upland, offered a rallying point to the retreating infantry. Three
small squadrons of the 5th United States Cavalry made a gallant but
useless charge, in which out of seven officers six fell; and on the
extreme right the division of regulars, supported by a brigade of
volunteers, fell back fighting to a second line. As at Bull Run, the
disciplined soldiers alone showed a solid front amid the throng of
fugitives. Not a foot of ground had they yielded till their left was
exposed by the rout of the remainder. Of the four batteries which
supported them only two guns were lost, and on their second position
they made a determined effort to restore the fight. But their
stubborn valour availed nothing against the superior numbers which
Lee's fine strategy had concentrated on the field of battle.

Where the first breach was made in the Federal line is a matter of
dispute. Longstreet's men made a magnificent charge on the right, and
D.H. Hill claimed to have turned the flank of the regulars; but it is
abundantly evident that the advent of Jackson's fresh troops, and the
vigour of their assault, broke down the resistance of the Federals.*
(* Porter himself thought that the first break in his line was made
by Hood, "at a point where he least expected it." Battles and Leaders
volume 2 pages 335 and 340.) When the final attack developed, and
along the whole front masses of determined men, in overwhelming
numbers, dashed against the breastworks, Porter's troops were
well-nigh exhausted, and not a single regiment remained in reserve.
Against the very centre of his line the attack was pushed home by
Whiting's men with extraordinary resolution. His two brigades,
marching abreast, were formed in two lines, each about 2000 strong.
Riding along the front, before they left the wood, the general had
enjoined his men to charge without a halt, in double time, and
without firing. "Had these orders," says General Law, "not been
strictly obeyed the assault would have been a failure. No troops
could have stood long under the withering storm of lead and iron that
beat in their faces as they became fully exposed to view from the
Federal line."* (* Battles and Leaders volume 2 page 363.) The
assault was met with a courage that was equally admirable.* (* "The
Confederates were within ten paces when the Federals broke cover, and
leaving their log breastworks, swarmed up the hill in rear, carrying
the second line with them in their rout."--General Law, Battles and
Leaders volume 2 page 363.) But the Confederate second line
reinforced the first at exactly the right moment, driving it
irresistibly forward; and the Federal regiments, which had been hard
pressed through a long summer afternoon, and had become scattered in
the thickets, were ill-matched with the solid and ordered ranks of
brigades which had not yet fired a shot. It was apparently at this
point that the Southerners first set foot on the plateau, and
sweeping over the intrenchments, outflanked the brigades which still
held out to right and left, and compelled them to fall back. Inspired
by his soldierly enthusiasm for a gallant deed, Jackson himself has
left us a vivid description of the successful charge. "On my extreme
right," he says in his report, "General Whiting advanced his division
through the dense forest and swamp, emerging from the wood into the
field near the public road and at the head of the deep ravine which
covered the enemy's left. Advancing thence through a number of
retreating and disordered regiments he came within range of the
enemy's fire, who, concealed in an open wood and protected by
breastworks, poured a destructive fire for a quarter of a mile into
his advancing line, under which many brave officers and men fell.
Dashing on with unfaltering step in the face of these murderous
discharges of canister and musketry, General Hood and Colonel Law, at
the heads of their respective brigades, rushed to the charge with a
yell. Moving down a precipitous ravine, leaping ditch and stream,
clambering up a difficult ascent, and exposed to an incessant and
deadly fire from the intrenchments, those brave and determined men
pressed forward, driving the enemy from his well-selected and
fortified position. In this charge, in which upwards of 1000 men fell
killed and wounded before the fire of the enemy, and in which 14
pieces of artillery and nearly a whole regiment were captured, the
4th Texas, under the lead of General Hood, was the first to pierce
these strongholds and seize the guns."* (* Jackson's Report, O.R.
volume 11 part 1 pages 555, 556.)

How fiercely the Northern troops had battled is told in the outspoken
reports of the Confederate generals. Before Jackson's reserves were
thrown in the first line of the Confederate attack had been
exceedingly roughly handled. A.P. Hill's division had done good work
in preparing the way for Whiting's assault, but a portion of his
troops had become demoralised. Ewell's regiments met the same fate;
and we read of them "skulking from the front in a shameful manner;
the woods on our left and rear full of troops in safe cover, from
which they never stirred;" of "regiment after regiment rushing back
in utter disorder;" of others which it was impossible to rally; and
of troops retiring in confusion, who cried out to the reinforcements,
"You need not go in; we are whipped, we can't do anything!" It is
only fair to say that the reinforcements replied, "Get out of our
way, we will show you how to do it;"* (* Reports of Whiting, Trimble,
Rodes, Bradley T. Johnson, O.R. volume 11 part 1.) but it is not to
be disguised that the Confederates at one time came near defeat. With
another division in reserve at the critical moment, Porter might have
maintained his line unbroken. His troops, had they been supported,
were still capable of resistance.

McClellan, however, up to the time the battle was lost, had sent but
one division (Slocum's) and two batteries to Porter's support. 66,000
Federals, on the south bank of the Chickahominy, had been held in
their intrenchments, throughout the day, by the demonstrations of
28,000 Confederates. Intent on saving his trains, on securing his
retreat to the river James, and utterly regardless of the chances
which fortune offered, the "Young Napoleon" had allowed his rearguard
to be overwhelmed. He was not seen on the plateau which his devoted
troops so well defended, nor even at the advanced posts on the
further bank of the Chickahominy. So convinced was he of the accuracy
of the information furnished by his detective staff that he never
dreamt of testing the enemy's numbers by his own eyesight. Had he
watched the development of Lee's attack, noted the small number of
his batteries, the long delay in the advance of the supports, the
narrow front of his line of battle, he would have discovered that the
Confederate strength had been greatly exaggerated. There were
moments, too, during the fight when a strong counterstroke, made by
fresh troops, would have placed Lee's army in the greatest peril. But
a general who thinks only of holding his lines and not of
annihilating the enemy is a poor tactician, and McClellan's lack of
enterprise, which Lee had so accurately gauged, may be inferred from
his telegram to Lincoln: "I have lost this battle because my force is
too small."* (* Report of Committee on the Conduct of the War.)

Porter was perhaps a more than sufficient substitute for the
Commander-in-Chief. His tactics, as fighting a waiting battle, had
been admirable; and, when his front was broken, strongly and with
cool judgment he sought to hold back the enemy and cover the bridges.
The line of batteries he established across the plateau--80 guns in
all--proved at first an effective barrier. But the retreat of the
infantry, the waning light, and the general dissolution of all order,
had its effect upon the gunners. When the remnant of the 5th Cavalry
was borne back in flight, the greater part of the batteries had
already limbered up, and over the bare surface of the upland the
Confederate infantry, shooting down the terrified teams, rushed
forward in hot pursuit. 22 guns, with a large number of ammunition
waggons, were captured on the field, prisoners surrendered at every
step, and the fight surged onward towards the bridges. But between
the bridges and the battlefield, on the slopes falling to the
Chickahominy, the dark forest covered the retreat of the routed army.
Night had already fallen. The confusion in the ranks of the
Confederates was extreme, and it was impossible to distinguish friend
from foe. All direction had been lost. None knew the bearings of the
bridges, or whether the Federals were retreating east or south.
Regiments had already been exposed to the fire of their comrades, and
in front of the forest a perceptible hesitation seized on both
officers and men. At this moment, in front of D.H. Hill's division,
which was advancing by the road leading directly to the bridges, loud
cheers were heard. It was clear that Federal reinforcements had
arrived; the general ordered his troops to halt, and along the whole
line the forward movement came quickly to a standstill. Two brigades,
French's and Meagher's, tardily sent over by McClellan, had arrived
in time to stave off a terrible disaster. Pushing through the mass of
fugitives with the bayonet, these fine troops had crossed the bridge,
passed through the woods, and formed line on the southern crest of
the plateau. Joining the regulars, who still presented a stubborn
front, they opened a heavy fire, and under cover of their steadfast
lines Porter's troops withdrew across the river.

Notwithstanding this strong reinforcement of 5000 or 6000 fresh
troops, it is by no means impossible, had the Confederates pushed
resolutely forward, that the victory would have been far more
complete. "Winder," says General D.H. Hill, "thought that we ought to
pursue into the woods, on the right of the Grapevine Bridge road; but
not knowing the position of our friends, nor what Federal reserves
might be awaiting us in the woods, I thought it advisable not to move
on. General Lawton concurred with me. I had no artillery to shell the
woods in front, as mine had not got through the swamp. Winder," he
adds, "was right; even a show of pressure must have been attended
with great result."* (* Battles and Leaders volume 2 page 357.) Had
Jackson been at hand the pressure would in all probability have been
applied. The contagion of defeat soon spreads; and whatever reserves
a flying enemy may possess, if they are vigorously attacked whilst
the fugitives are still passing through their ranks, history tells
us, however bold their front, that, unless they are intrenched, their
resistance is seldom long protracted. More than all, when night has
fallen on the field, and prevents all estimate of the strength of the
attack, a resolute advance has peculiar chances of success. But when
his advanced line halted Jackson was not yet up; and before he
arrived the impetus of victory had died away; the Federal reserves
were deployed in a strong position, and the opportunity had already

It is no time, when the tide of victory bears him forward, for a
general "to take counsel of his fears." It is no time to count
numbers, or to conjure up the phantoms of possible reserves; the sea
itself is not more irresistible than an army which has stormed a
strong position, and which has attained, in so doing, the
exhilarating consciousness of superior courage. Had Stuart, with his
2000 horsemen, followed up the pursuit towards the bridges, the
Federal reserves might have been swept away in panic. But Stuart, in
common with Lee and Jackson, expected that the enemy would endeavour
to reach the White House, and when he saw that their lines were
breaking he had dashed down a lane which led to the river road, about
three miles distant. When he reached that point, darkness had already
fallen, and finding no traces of the enemy, he had returned to Old
Cold Harbour.

On the night of the battle the Confederates remained where the issue
of the fight had found them. Across the Grapevine road the pickets of
the hostile forces were in close proximity, and men of both sides, in
search of water, or carrying messages, strayed within the enemy's
lines. Jackson himself, it is said, came near capture. Riding forward
in the darkness, attended by only a few staff officers, he suddenly
found himself in presence of a Federal picket. Judging rightly of the
enemy's morale, he set spurs to his horse, and charging into the
midst, ordered them to lay down their arms; and fifteen or twenty
prisoners, marching to the rear, amused the troops they met on the
march by loudly proclaiming that they had the honour of being
captured by Stonewall Jackson. These men were not without companions.
2830 Federals were reported either captured or missing; and while
some of those were probably among the dead, a large proportion found
their way to Richmond; 4000, moreover, had fallen on the field of
battle.* (* O.R. volume 11 part 1 pages 40 to 42.)

The Confederate casualties were even a clearer proof of the severity
of the fighting. So far as can be ascertained, 8000 officers and men
were killed or wounded.

Longstreet 1850
A.P. Hill 2450
Jackson........ 8700

Jackson's losses were distributed as follows:--

Jackson's own Division 600
Ewell 650
Whiting 1020
D.H. Hill 1430

The regimental losses, in several instances, were exceptionally
severe. Of the 4th Texas, of Hood's brigade, the first to pierce the
Federal line, there fell 20 officers and 230 men. The 20th North
Carolina, of D.H. Hill's division, which charged the batteries on
McGehee's Hill, lost 70 killed and 200 wounded; of the same division
the 3rd Alabama lost 200, and the 12th North Carolina 212; while two
of Lawton's regiments, the 31st and the 38th Georgia, had each a
casualty list of 170. Almost every single regiment north of the
Chickahominy took part in the action. The cavalry did nothing, but at
least 48,000 infantry were engaged, and seventeen batteries are
mentioned in the reports as having participated in the battle.




June 28, 1862.

The battle of Gaines' Mill, although the assailants suffered heavier
losses than they inflicted, was a long step towards accomplishing the
deliverance of Richmond. One of McClellan's five army corps had been
disposed of, a heavy blow had been struck at the morale of his whole
army, and his communications with the White House and the Pamunkey
were at the mercy of his enemies. Still the Confederate outlook was
not altogether clear. It is one thing to win a victory, but another
to make such use of it as to annihilate the enemy. Porter's defeat
was but a beginning of operations; and although Lee was convinced
that McClellan would retreat, he was by no means so certain that his
escape could be prevented. Yet this was essential. If the Federal
army were suffered to fall back without incurring further loss, it
would be rapidly reinforced from Washington, and resuming the
advance, this time with still larger numbers, might render Gaines'
Mill a barren victory. How to compass the destruction of McClellan's
host was the problem that now confronted the Confederate leader; and
before a plan could be devised it was necessary to ascertain the
direction of the retreat.

On the morning of June 28 it was found that no formed body of Federal
troops remained north of the Chickahominy. French, Meagher, and
Sykes, the regulars forming the rear-guard, had fallen back during
the night and destroyed the bridges. Hundreds of stragglers were
picked up, and one of the most gallant of the Northern brigadiers* (*
General Reynolds.) was found asleep in the woods, unaware that his
troops had crossed the stream. No further fighting was to be expected
on the plateau. But it was possible that the enemy might still
endeavour to preserve his communications, marching by the south bank
of the river and recrossing by the railway and Bottom's Bridges.
Stuart, supported by Ewell, was at once ordered to seize the former;
but when the cavalry reached Dispatch Station, a small Federal
detachment retreated to the south bank of the Chickahominy and fired
the timbers.

Meanwhile, from the field of Gaines' Mill, long columns of dust,
rising above the forests to the south, had been descried, showing
that the enemy was in motion; and when the news came in that the
railway bridge had been destroyed, and that the line itself was
unprotected, it was at once evident that McClellan had abandoned his
communications with White House.

This was valuable information, but still the line of retreat had not
yet been ascertained. The Federals might retreat to some point on the
James River, due south, there meeting their transports, or they might
march down the Peninsula to Yorktown and Fortress Monroe. "In the
latter event," says Lee, "it was necessary that our troops should
continue on the north bank of the river, and until the intention of
General McClellan was discovered it was deemed injudicious to change
their disposition. Ewell was therefore ordered to proceed to Bottom's
Bridge, and the cavalry to watch the bridges below. No certain
indications of a retreat to the James River were discovered by our
forces (Magruder) on the south side of the Chickahominy, and late in
the afternoon the enemy's works were reported to be fully manned.
Below (south of) the enemy's works the country was densely wooded and
intersected by impassable swamps, at once concealing his movements
and precluding reconnaissances except by the regular roads, all of
which were strongly guarded. The bridges over the Chickahominy in
rear of the enemy were destroyed, and their reconstruction
impracticable in the presence of his whole army and powerful
batteries. We were therefore compelled to wait until his purpose
should be developed."* (* Lee's Report, O.R. volume 11 part 1 pages
493 and 494.)

During the day, therefore, the Confederate army remained on the
battle-field, waiting for the game to bolt. In the evening, however,
signs of a general movement were reported in rear of the
intrenchments at Seven Pines; and as nothing had been observed by the
cavalry on the Chickahominy, Lee, rightly concluding that McClellan
was retreating to the James, issued orders for the pursuit to be
taken up the next morning.

But to intercept the enemy before he could fortify a position,
covered by the fire of his gunboats, on the banks of the James, was a
difficult operation. The situation demanded rapid marching, close
concert, and delicate manoeuvres. The Confederate army was in rear of
the Federals, and separated from them by the Chickahominy, and, to
reach the James, McClellan had only fourteen miles to cover. But the
country over which he had to pass was still more intricate, and
traversed by even fewer roads, than the district which had hitherto
been the theatre of operations. Across his line of march ran the
White Oak Swamp, bordered by thick woods and a wide morass, and
crossed by only one bridge. If he could transfer his whole army south
of this stream, without molestation, he would find himself within six
miles of his gunboats; and as his left flank was already resting on
the Swamp, it was not easy for Lee's army to prevent his passage.

But 28,000 Confederates were already south of the Chickahominy, on
the flank of McClellan's line of march, and it was certainly possible
that this force might detain the Federals until A.P. Hill,
Longstreet, and Jackson should come up. Magruder and Huger were
therefore ordered to advance early on the 29th, and moving, the one
by the Williamsburg, the other by the Charles City road, to strike
the enemy in flank.

A.P. Hill and Longstreet, recrossing the Chickahominy at New Bridge,
were to march by the Darbytown road in the direction of Charles City
cross roads, thus turning the head waters of the White Oak Swamp, and
threatening the Federal rear.

Jackson, crossing Grapevine Bridge, was to move down the south bank
of the Chickahominy, cross the Swamp by the bridge, and force his way
to the Long Bridge road.

The Confederate army was thus divided into four columns, moving by
four different roads; each column at starting was several miles
distant from the others, and a junction was to be made upon the field
of battle. The cavalry, moreover, with the exception of a few
squadrons, was far away upon the left, pursuing a large detachment
which had been observed on the road to the White House.* (* This
detachment, about 3500 strong, consisted of the outposts that had
been established north and north-east of Beaver Dam Creek on June 27,
of the garrison of the White House, and of troops recently

McClellan had undoubtedly resolved on a most hazardous manoeuvre. His
supply and ammunition train consisted of over five thousand waggons.
He was encumbered with the heavy guns of the siege artillery. He had
with him more than fifty field batteries; his army was still 95,000
strong; and this unwieldy multitude of men, horses, and vehicles, had
to be passed over White Oak Swamp, and then to continue its march
across the front of a powerful and determined enemy.

But Lee also was embarrassed by the nature of the country.* (*
Strange to say, while the Confederates possessed no maps whatever,
McClellan was well supplied in this respect. "Two or three weeks
before this," says General Averell (Battles and Leaders volume 2 page
431), "three officers of the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry, and others,
penetrated the region between the Chickahominy and the James, taking
bearings and making notes. Their fragmentary sketches, when put
together, made a map which exhibited all the roadways, fields,
forests, bridges, the streams, and houses, so that our commander knew
the country to be traversed far better than any Confederate
commander.") If McClellan's movements were retarded by the woods,
swamps, and indifferent roads, the same obstacles would interfere
with the combination of the Confederate columns; and the pursuit
depended for success on their close co-operation.

June 29.

The first day's work was hardly promising. The risks of unconnected
manoeuvres received abundant illustration. Magruder, late in the
afternoon, struck the enemy's rearguard near Savage's Station, but
was heavily repulsed by two Federal army corps. Huger, called by
Magruder to his assistance, turned aside from the road which had been
assigned to him, and when he was recalled by an urgent message from
Lee, advanced with the timidity which almost invariably besets the
commander of an isolated force in the neighbourhood of a large army.
Jackson, whose line of march led him directly on Savage's Station,
was delayed until after nightfall by the necessity of rebuilding the
Grapevine Bridge.* (* Jackson had with him a gang of negroes who,
under the superintendence of Captain Mason, a railroad contractor of
long experience, performed the duties which in regular armies
appertain to the corps of engineers. They had already done useful
service in the Valley.) Stuart had gone off to the White House, bent
on the destruction of the enemy's supply depot. Longstreet and Hill
encamped south-west of Charles City cross roads, but saw nothing of
the enemy. Holmes, with 6,500 men, crossed the James during the
afternoon and encamped on the north bank, near Laurel Hill Church.
During the night the Federal rearguard fell back, destroying the
bridge over White Oak Swamp; and although a large quantity of stores
were either destroyed or abandoned, together with a hospital
containing 2500 wounded, the whole of McClellan's army, men, guns,
and trains, effected the passage of this dangerous obstacle.

June 30.

The next morning Longstreet, with Hill in support, moved forward, and
found a Federal division in position near Glendale. Bringing his
artillery into action, he held his infantry in hand until Huger
should come up on his left, and Jackson's guns be heard at White Oak
Bridge. Holmes, followed by Magruder, was marching up the Newmarket
road to Malvern House; and when the sound of Jackson's artillery
became audible to the northwards, Lee sent Longstreet forward to the
attack. A sanguinary conflict, on ground covered with heavy timber,
and cut up by deep ravines, resulted in the Federals holding their
ground till nightfall; and although many prisoners and several
batteries were captured by the Confederates, McClellan, under cover
of the darkness, made good his escape.

(MAP OF THE SEVEN DAYS: JUNE 26th to JULY 2nd, 1862.)

The battle of Glendale or Frayser's Farm was the crisis of the "Seven
Days." Had Lee been able to concentrate his whole strength against
the Federals it is probable that McClellan would never have reached
the James. But Longstreet and Hill fought unsupported. As the former
very justly complained, 50,000 men were within hearing of the guns
but none came to co-operate, and against the two Confederate
divisions fought the Third Federal Army Corps, reinforced by three
divisions from the Second, Fifth, and Sixth. Huger's march on the
Charles City road was obstructed by felled trees. When he at last
arrived in front of the enemy, he was held in check by two batteries,
and he does not appear to have opened communication with either Lee
or Longstreet. Magruder had been ordered to march down from Savage
Station to the Darbytown road, and there to await orders. At 4.30
P.M. he was ordered to move to Newmarket in support of Holmes. This
order was soon countermanded, but he was unable to join Longstreet
until the fight was over. Holmes was held in check by Porter's Army
Corps, minus McCall's division, on Malvern Hill; and the cavalry,
which might have been employed effectively against the enemy's left
flank and rear, was still north of the Chickahominy, returning from a
destructive but useless raid on the depot at the White House. Nor had
the conduct of the battle been unaffected by the complicated nature
of the general plan. Longstreet attacked alone, Hill being held back,
in order to be fresh for the pursuit when Jackson and Huger should
strike in. The attack was successful, and McCall's division, which
had shared the defeat at Gaines' Mill, was driven from its position.
But McCall was reinforced by other divisions; Longstreet was thrown
on to the defensive by superior numbers, and when Hill was at length
put in, it was with difficulty that the fierce counterblows of the
Federals were beaten off.

Jackson had been unable to participate in the conflict. When night
fell he was still north of the White Oak Swamp, seven miles distant
from his morning bivouac, and hardly a single infantry man in his
command had pulled a trigger. According to his own report his troops
reached White Oak Bridge about noon. "Here the enemy made a
determined effort to retard our advance and thereby to prevent an
immediate junction between General Longstreet and myself. We found
the bridge destroyed, the ordinary place of crossing commanded by
their batteries on the other side, and all approach to it barred by
detachments of sharp-shooters concealed in a dense wood close by...A
heavy cannonading in front announced the engagement of General
Longstreet at Frayser's Farm (Glendale) and made me eager to press
forward; but the marshy character of the soil, the destruction of the
bridge over the marsh and creek, and the strong position of the enemy
for defending the passage, prevented my advancing until the following
morning."* (* O.R. volume 11 part 1 pages 556, 557.)

Such are Jackson's reasons for his failure to co-operate with
Longstreet. It is clear that he was perfectly aware of the importance
of the part he was expected to play; and he used every means which
suggested itself as practicable to force a crossing. The 2nd Virginia
Cavalry, under Colonel Munford, had now joined him from the Valley,
and their commanding officer bears witness that Jackson showed no
lack of energy.

"When I left the general on the preceding evening, he ordered me to
be at the cross-roads (five miles from White Oak Bridge) at sunrise
the next morning, ready to move in advance of his troops. The worst
thunderstorm came up about night I ever was in, and in that thickly
wooded country one could not see his horse's ears. My command
scattered in the storm, and I do not suppose that any officer had a
rougher time in any one night than I had to endure. When the first
grey dawn appeared I started off my adjutant and officers to bring up
the scattered regiment; but at sunrise I had not more than fifty men,
and I was half a mile from the cross-roads. When I arrived, to my
horror there sat Jackson waiting for me. He was in a bad humour, and
said, "Colonel, my orders to you were to be here at sunrise." I
explained my situation, telling him that we had no provisions, and
that the storm and the dark night had conspired against me. When I
got through he replied, "Yes, sir. But, Colonel, I ordered you to be
here at sunrise. Move on with your regiment. If you meet the enemy
drive in his pickets, and if you want artillery, Colonel Crutchfield
will furnish you."

"I started on with my little handful of men. As others came
straggling on to join me, Jackson noticed it, and sent two couriers
to inform me that "my men were straggling badly." I rode back and
went over the same story, hoping that he would be impressed with my
difficulties. He listened to me, but replied as before, "Yes, sir.
But I ordered you to be here at sunrise, and I have been waiting for
you for a quarter of an hour."

"Seeing that he was in a peculiar mood, I determined to make the best
of my trouble, sent my adjutant back, and made him halt the
stragglers and form my men as they came up; and with what I had,
determined to give him no cause for complaint. When we came upon the
enemy's picket we charged, and pushed the picket every step of the
way into their camp, where there were a large number of wounded and
many stores. It was done so rapidly that the enemy's battery on the
other side of White Oak Swamp could not fire on us without
endangering their own friends.

"When Jackson came up he was smiling, and he at once (shortly after
noon) ordered Colonel Crutchfield to bring up the artillery, and very
soon the batteries were at work. After the lapse of about an hour my
regiment had assembled, and while our batteries were shelling those
of the enemy, Jackson sent for me and said, "Colonel, move your
regiment over the creek, and secure those guns. I will ride with you
to the Swamp." When we reached the crossing we found that the enemy
had torn up the bridge, and had thrown the timbers into the stream,
forming a tangled mass which seemed to prohibit a crossing. I said to
General Jackson that I did not think that we could cross. He looked
at me, waved his hand, and replied, "Yes, Colonel, try it." In we
went and floundered over, and before I formed the men, Jackson cried
out to me to move on at the guns. Colonel Breckenridge started out
with what we had over, and I soon got over the second squadron, and
moved up the hill. We reached the guns, but they had an infantry
support which gave us a volley; at the same time a battery on our
right, which we had not seen, opened on us, and back we had to come.
I moved down the Swamp about a quarter of a mile, and re-crossed with
great difficulty by a cow-path."* (* "Jackson himself," writes Dr.
McGuire, "accompanied by three or four members of his staff, of whom
I was one, followed the cavalry across the Swamp. The ford was miry
and deep, and impracticable for either artillery or infantry.")

The artillery did little better than the cavalry. The ground on the
north bank of the Swamp by no means favoured the action of the guns.
To the right of the road the slopes were clear and unobstructed, hut
the crest was within the forest; while to the left a thick pine wood
covered both ridge and valley. On the bank held by the Federals the
ground was open, ascending gently to the ridge; but the edge of the
stream, immediately opposite the cleared ground on the Confederate
right, was covered by a belt of tall trees, in full leaf, which made
observation, by either side, a matter of much difficulty. This belt
was full of infantry, while to the right rear, commanding the ruined
bridge, stood the batteries which had driven back the cavalry.

After some time spent in reconnaissance, it was determined to cut a
track through the wood to the right of the road. This was done, and
thirty-one guns, moving forward simultaneously ready-shotted, opened
fire on the position. The surprise was complete. One of the Federal
batteries dispersed in confusion; the other disappeared, and the
infantry supports fell back. Jackson immediately ordered two guns to
advance down the road, and shell the belt of trees which harboured
the enemy's skirmishers. These were driven back; the divisions of
D.H. Hill and Whiting were formed up in the pine wood on the left,
and a working party was sent forward to repair the bridge. Suddenly,
from the high ground behind the belt of trees, by which they were
completely screened, two fresh Federal batteries--afterwards
increased to three--opened on the line of Confederate guns. Under
cover of this fire their skirmishers returned to the Swamp, and their
main line came forward to a position whence it commanded the crossing
at effective range. The two guns on the road were sent to the
right-about. The shells of the Federal batteries fell into the
stream, and the men who had been labouring at the bridge ran back and
refused to work. The artillery duel, in which neither side could see
the other, but in which both suffered some loss, continued throughout
the afternoon.

Meantime a Confederate regiment, fording the stream, drove in the
hostile skirmishers, and seized the belt of trees; Wright's brigade,
of Huger's division, which had joined Jackson as the guns came into
action, was sent back to force a passage at Brackett's Ford, a mile
up stream; and reconnaissances were pushed out to find some way of
turning the enemy's position. Every road and track, however, was
obstructed by felled trees and abattis, and it was found that a
passage was impracticable at Brackett's Ford. Two companies were
pushed over the creek, and drove back the enemy's pickets. "I
discovered," says Wright, "that the enemy had destroyed the bridge,
and had completely blockaded the road through the Swamp by felling
trees in and across it...I ascertained that the road debouched from
the Swamp into an open field (meadow), commanded by a line of high
hills, all in cultivation and free from timber. Upon this ridge of
hills the enemy had posted heavy batteries of field-artillery,
strongly supported by infantry, which swept the meadow by a direct
and cross fire, and which could be used with terrible effect upon my
column while struggling through the fallen timber in the wood through
the Swamp." (1 O.R. volume 11 part 1 pages 810, 811.)

Having ascertained that the enemy was present in great strength on
the further bank, that every road was obstructed, and that there was
no means of carrying his artillery over the creek, or favourable
ground on which his infantry could act, Jackson gave up all hope of
aiding Longstreet.

That the obstacles which confronted him were serious there can be no
question. His smooth-bore guns, although superior in number, were
unable to beat down the fire of the rifled batteries. The enemy's
masses were well hidden. The roads were blocked, the stream was
swollen, the banks marshy, and although infantry could cross them,
the fords which had proved difficult for the cavalry would have
stopped the artillery, the ammunition waggons, and the ambulances;
while the Federal position, on the crest of a long open slope, was
exceedingly strong. Jackson, as his report shows, maturely weighed
these difficulties, and came to the conclusion that he could do no
good by sending over his infantry alone. It was essential, it is
true, to detain as many as possible of the enemy on the banks of the
Swamp, while Longstreet, Hill, Huger, and Magruder dealt with the
remainder; and this he fully realised, but it is by no means
improbable that he considered the heavy fire of his guns and the
threatening position of his infantry would have this effect.

It is interesting to note how far this hope, supposing that he
entertained it, was fulfilled. Two divisions of Federal infantry and
three batteries--a total of 22,000 men--defended the passage at White
Oak Bridge against 27,000 Confederates, including Wright; and a
detached force of infantry and guns was posted at Brackett's Ford.*

(* General Heintzleman, commanding the Federal 3rd Corps, reports
that he had placed a force at Brackett's Ford (O.R. volume 11 part 2
page 100). General Slocum (6th Corps) sent infantry and a 12-pounder
howitzer (O.R. volume 11 part 2 page 435) to the same point; and
Seeley's battery of the 3rd Corps was also engaged here (O.R. volume
11 part 2 page 106). The force at White Oak Bridge was constituted as

Smith's Division of the 6th Corps.

Richardson's Division....,, 2nd Corps.
Dana's Brigade }

Sully's Brigade Sedgwick's Division, 2nd Corps.

Naglee's Brigade, Peck's Division, 4th Corps.)

On the Confederate artillery opening fire, two brigades were sent up
from near Glendale, but when it was found that this fire was not
followed up by an infantry attack, these brigades, with two others in
addition, were sent over to reinforce the troops which were engaged
with Longstreet. When these facts became known; when it was clear
that had Jackson attacked vigorously, the Federals would hardly have
dared to weaken their line along White Oak Swamp, and that, in these
circumstances, Longstreet and A.P. Hill would probably have seized
the Quaker road, his failure to cross the creek exposed him to
criticism. Not only did his brother-generals complain of his
inaction, but Franklin, the Federal commander immediately opposed to
him, writing long afterwards, made the following comments:--

"Jackson seems to have been ignorant of what General Lee expected of
him, and badly informed about Brackett's Ford. When he found how
strenuous was our defence at the bridge, he should have turned his
attention to Brackett's Ford also. A force could have been as quietly
gathered there as at the bridge; a strong infantry movement at the
ford would have easily overrun our small force there, placing our
right at Glendale, held by Slocum's division, in great jeopardy, and
turning our force at the bridge by getting between it and Glendale.
In fact, it is likely that we should have been defeated that day had
General Jackson done what his great reputation seems to make it
imperative he should have done."* (* Battles and Leaders volume 2
page 381.) But General Franklin's opinion as to the ease with which
Brackett's Ford might have been passed is not justified by the facts.
In the first place, General Slocum, who was facing Huger, and had
little to do throughout the day, had two brigades within easy
distance of the crossing; in the second place, General Wright
reported the ford impassable; and in the third place, General
Franklin himself admits that directly Wright's scouts were seen near
the ford two brigades of Sedgwick's division were sent to oppose
their passage.

General Long, in his life of Lee, finds excuse for Jackson in a story
that he was utterly exhausted, and that his staff let him sleep until
the sun was high. Apart from the unlikelihood that a man who seems to
have done without sleep whenever the enemy was in front should have
permitted himself to be overpowered at such a crisis, we have Colonel
Munford's evidence that the general was well in advance of his
columns at sunrise, and the regimental reports show that the troops
were roused at 2.30 A.M.

Jackson may well have been exhausted. He had certainly not spared
himself during the operations. On the night of the 27th, after the
battle of Gaines' Mill, he went over to Stuart's camp at midnight,
and a long conference took place. At 8.30 on the morning of the 29th
he visited Magruder, riding across Grapevine Bridge from McGehee's
House, and his start must have been an early one. In a letter to his
wife, dated near the White Oak Bridge, he says that in consequence of
the heavy rain he rose "about midnight" on the 30th. Yet his medical
director, although he noticed that the general fell asleep while he
was eating his supper the same evening, says that he never saw him
more active and energetic than during the engagement;* (* Letter from
Dr. Hunter McGuire to the author.) and Jackson himself, neither in
his report nor elsewhere, ever admitted that he was in any way to

It is difficult to conceive that his scrupulous regard for truth,
displayed in every action of his life, should have yielded in this
one instance to his pride. He was perfectly aware of the necessity of
aiding Longstreet; and if, owing to the obstacles enumerated in his
report, he thought the task impossible, his opinion, as that of a man
who as difficulties accumulated became the more determined to
overcome them, must be regarded with respect. The critics, it is
possible, have forgotten for the moment that the condition of the
troops is a factor of supreme importance in military operations.
General D.H. Hill has told us that "Jackson's own corps was worn out
by long and exhausting marches, and reduced in numbers by numerous
sanguinary battles; "* (* Battles and Leaders volume 2 page 389.) and
he records his conviction that pity for his troops had much to do
with the general's inaction. Hill would have probably come nearer the
truth if he had said that the tired regiments were hardly to be
trusted in a desperate assault, unsupported by artillery, on a
position which was even stronger than that which they had stormed
with such loss at Gaines' Mill.

Had Jackson thrown two columns across the fords--which the cavalry,
according to Munford, had not found easy,--and attempted to deploy on
the further bank, it was exceedingly probable that they would have
been driven back with tremendous slaughter. The refusal of the troops
to work at the bridge under fire was in itself a sign that they had
little stomach for hard fighting.

It may be argued that it was Jackson's duty to sacrifice his command
in order to draw off troops from Glendale. But on such unfavourable
ground the sacrifice would have been worse than useless. The attack
repulsed--and it could hardly have gone otherwise--Franklin, leaving
a small rear-guard to watch the fords, would have been free to turn
nearly his whole strength against Longstreet. It is quite true, as a
tactical principle, that demonstrations, such as Jackson made with
his artillery, are seldom to be relied upon to hold an enemy in
position. When the first alarm has passed off, and the defending
general becomes aware that nothing more than a feint is intended, he
will act as did the Federals, and employ his reserves elsewhere. A
vigorous attack is, almost invariably, the only means of keeping him
to his ground. But an attack which is certain to be repulsed, and to
be repulsed in quick time, is even less effective than a
demonstration. It may be the precursor of a decisive defeat.

But it is not so much for his failure to force the passage at White
Oak Swamp that Jackson has been criticised, as for his failure to
march to Frayser's Farm on finding that the Federal position was
impregnable. "When, on the forenoon of the 30th," writes Longstreet,
"Jackson found his way blocked by Franklin, he had time to march to
the head of it (White Oak Swamp), and across to the Charles City
road, in season for the engagement at Frayser's Farm [Glendale], the
distance being about four miles."* (* From Manassas to Appomattox
page 150.)

Without doubt this would have been a judicious course to pursue, but
it was not for Jackson to initiate such a movement. He had been
ordered by General Lee to move along the road to White Oak Swamp, to
endeavour to force his way to the Long Bridge road, to guard Lee's
left flank from any attack across the fords or bridges of the lower
Chickahominy, and to keep on that road until he received further
orders. These further orders he never received; and it was certainly
not his place to march to the Charles City road until Lee, who was
with Longstreet, sent him instructions to do so. "General Jackson,"
says Dr. McGuire, "demanded of his subordinates implicit, blind
obedience. He gave orders in his own peculiar, terse, rapid way, and
he did not permit them to be questioned. He obeyed his own superiors
in the same fashion. At White Oak Swamp he was looking for some
message from General Lee, but he received none, and therefore, as a
soldier, he had no right to leave the road which had been assigned to
him. About July 18, 1862, the night before we started to
Gordonsville, Crutchfield, Pendleton (assistant adjutant-general),
and myself were discussing the campaign just finished. We were
talking about the affair at Frayser's Farm, and wondering if it would
have been better for Jackson with part of his force to have moved to
Longstreet's aid. The general came in while the discussion was going
on, and curtly said: "If General Lee had wanted me he could have sent
for me." It looked the day after the battle, and it looks to me now,
that if General Lee had sent a staff officer, who could have ridden
the distance in forty minutes, to order Jackson with three divisions
to the cross roads, while D.H. Hill and the artillery watched
Franklin, we should certainly have crushed McClellan's army. If Lee
had wanted Jackson to give direct support to Longstreet, he could
have had him there in under three hours. The staff officer was not
sent, and the evidence is that General Lee believed Longstreet strong
enough to defeat the Federals without direct aid from Jackson."* (*
Letter to the author.) Such reasoning appears incontrovertible.
Jackson, be it remembered, had been directed to guard the left flank
of the army "until further orders." Had these words been omitted, and
he had been left free to follow his own judgment, it is possible that
he would have joined Huger on the Charles City road with three
divisions. But in all probability he felt himself tied down by the
phrase which Moltke so strongly reprobates. Despite Dr. McGuire's
statement Jackson knew well that disobedience to orders may sometimes
be condoned. It may be questioned whether he invariably demanded
"blind" obedience. "General," said an officer, "you blame me for
disobedience of orders, but in Mexico you did the same yourself."
"But I was successful," was Jackson's reply; as much as to say that
an officer, when he takes upon himself the responsibility of ignoring
the explicit instructions of his superior, must be morally certain
that he is doing what that superior, were he present, would approve.
Apply this rule to the situation at White Oak Swamp. For anything
Jackson knew it was possible that Longstreet and Hill might defeat
the Federals opposed to them without his aid. In such case, Lee,
believing Jackson to be still on the left flank, would have ordered
him to prevent the enemy's escape by the Long Bridge. What would Lee
have said had his "further orders" found Jackson marching to the
Charles City road, with the Long Bridge some miles in rear? The truth
is that the principle of marching to the sound of the cannon, though
always to be borne in mind, cannot be invariably followed. The only
fair criticism on Jackson's conduct is that he should have informed
Lee of his inability to force the passage across the Swamp, and have
held three divisions in readiness to march to Glendale. This, so far
as can be ascertained, was left undone, but the evidence is merely

Except for this apparent omission, it cannot be fairly said that
Jackson was in the slightest degree responsible for the failure of
the Confederate operations. If the truth be told, Lee's design was by
no means perfect. It had two serious defects. In the first place, it
depended for success on the co-operation of several converging
columns, moving over an intricate country, of which the Confederates
had neither accurate maps nor reliable information. The march of the
columns was through thick woods, which not only impeded
intercommunication, but provided the enemy with ample material for
obstructing the roads, and Jackson's line of march was barred by a
formidable obstacle in White Oak Swamp, an admirable position for a
rear-guard. In the second place, concentration at the decisive point
was not provided for. The staff proved incapable of keeping the
divisions in hand. Magruder was permitted to wander to and fro after
the fashion of D'Erlon between Quatre Bras and Ligny. Holmes was as
useless as Grouchy at Waterloo. Huger did nothing, although some of
his brigades, when the roads to the front were found to be
obstructed, might easily have been drawn off to reinforce Longstreet.
The cavalry had gone off on a raid to the White House, instead of
crossing the Chickahominy and harassing the enemy's eastward flank;
and at the decisive point only two divisions were assembled, 20,000
men all told, and these two divisions attacked in succession instead
of simultaneously. Had Magruder and Holmes, neither of whom would
have been called upon to march more than thirteen miles, moved on
Frayser's Farm, and had part of Huger's division been brought over to
the same point, the Federals would in all probability have been
irretrievably defeated. It is easy to be wise after the event. The
circumstances were extraordinary. An army of 75,000 men was pursuing
an army of 95,000, of which 65,000, when the pursuit began, were
perfectly fresh troops. The problem was, indeed, one of exceeding
difficulty; but, in justice to the reputation of his lieutenants, it
is only fair to say that Lee's solution was not a masterpiece.

During the night which followed the battle of Frayser's Farm the
whole Federal army fell back on Malvern Hill--a strong position,
commanding the country for many miles, and very difficult of access,
on which the reserve artillery, supported by the Fourth and Fifth
Corps, was already posted.

July 1.

The Confederates, marching at daybreak, passed over roads which were
strewn with arms, blankets, and equipments. Stragglers from the
retreating army were picked up at every step. Scores of wounded men
lay untended by the roadside. Waggons and ambulances had been
abandoned; and with such evidence before their eyes it was difficult
to resist the conviction that the enemy was utterly demoralised. That
McClellan had seized Malvern Hill, and that it was strongly occupied
by heavy guns, Lee was well aware. But, still holding to his purpose
of annihilating his enemy before McDowell could intervene from
Fredericksburg, he pushed forward, determined to attack; and with his
whole force now well in hand the result seemed assured. Three or four
miles south of White Oak Swamp Jackson's column, which was leading
the Confederate advance, came under the fire of the Federal
batteries. The advanced guard deployed in the woods on either side of
the road, and Lee, accompanied by Jackson, rode forward to

Malvern Hill, a plateau rising to the height of 150 feet above the
surrounding forests, possessed nearly every requirement of a strong
defensive position. The open ground on the top, undulating and
unobstructed, was a mile and a half in length by half a mile in
breadth. To the north, north-west, and north-east it fell gradually,
the slopes covered with wheat, standing or in shock, to the edge of
the woods, which are from eight to sixteen hundred yards distant from
the commanding crest. The base of the hill, except to the east and
south-east, was covered with dense forest; and within the forest, at
the foot of the declivity, ran a tortuous and marshy stream. The
right flank was partially protected by a long mill-dam. The left,
more open, afforded an excellent artillery position overlooking a
broad stretch of meadows, drained by a narrow stream and deep
ditches, and flanked by the fire of several gunboats. Only three
approaches, the Quaker and the river roads, and a track from the
north-west, gave access to the heights.

The reconnaissance showed that General Porter, commanding the
defence, had utilised the ground to the best advantage. A powerful
artillery, posted just in rear of the crest, swept the entire length
of the slopes, and under cover in rear were dense masses of infantry,
with a strong line of skirmishers pushed down the hill in front.

Nevertheless, despite the formidable nature of the Federal
preparations, orders were immediately issued for attack. General Lee,
who was indisposed, had instructed Longstreet to reconnoitre the
enemy's left, and to report whether attack was feasible. Jackson was
opposed to a frontal attack, preferring to turn the enemy's right.
Longstreet, however, was of a different opinion. "The spacious open,"
he says, "along Jackson's front appeared to offer a field for play of
a hundred or more guns...I thought it probable that Porter's
batteries, under the cross-fire of the Confederates' guns posted on
his left and front, could be thrown into disorder, and thus make way
for the combined assaults of the infantry. I so reported, and General
Lee ordered disposition accordingly, sending the pioneer corps to cut
a road for the right batteries."* (* From Manassas to Appomattox page

4 P.M.

It was not till four o'clock that the line of battle was formed.
Jackson was on the left, with Whiting to the left of the Quaker road,
and D.H. Hill to the right; Ewell's and Jackson's own divisions were
in reserve. Nearly half a mile beyond Jackson's right came two of
Huger's brigades, Armistead and Wright, and to Huger's left rear was
Magruder. Holmes, still on the river road, was to assail the enemy's
left. Longstreet and A.P. Hill were in reserve behind Magruder, on
the Long Bridge road.

The deployment of the leading divisions was not effected without
loss, for the Federal artillery swept all the roads and poured a
heavy fire into the woods; but at length D.H. Hill's infantry came
into line along the edge of the timber.

The intervening time had been employed in bringing the artillery to
the front; and now were seen the tremendous difficulties which
confronted the attack. The swamps and thickets through which the
batteries had to force their way were grievous impediments to rapid
or orderly movement, and when they at last emerged from the cover,
and unlimbered for action, the concentrated fire of the Federal guns
overpowered them from the outset. In front of Huger four batteries
were disabled in quick succession, the enemy concentrating fifty or
sixty guns on each of them in turn; four or five others which Jackson
had ordered to take post on the left of his line, although, with two
exceptions, they managed to hold their ground, were powerless to
subdue the hostile fire. "The obstacles," says Lee in his report,
"presented by the woods and swamp made it impracticable to bring up a
sufficient amount of artillery to oppose successfully the
extraordinary force of that arm employed by the enemy, while the
field itself afforded us few positions favourable for its use and
none for its proper concentration."

According to Longstreet, when the inability of the batteries to
prepare the way for the infantry was demonstrated by their defeat,
Lee abandoned the original plan of attack. "He proposed to me to move
"round to the left with my own and A.P. Hill's division, and turn the
Federal right." I issued my orders accordingly for the two divisions
to go around and turn the Federal right, when in some way unknown to
me the battle was drawn on."* (* Battles and Leaders volume 2 page

Unfortunately, through some mistake on the part of Lee's staff, the
order of attack which had been already issued was not rescinded. It
was certainly an extraordinary production. "Batteries," it ran, "have
been established to rake the enemy's line. If it is broken, as is
probable, Armistead, who can witness the effect of the fire, has been
ordered to charge with a yell. Do the same."* (* O.R. volume 11 part
1 page 677.) This was to D.H. Hill and to Magruder, who had under his
command Huger's and McLaws' divisions as well as his own.

5.30 P.M.

So, between five and six o'clock, General D.H. Hill, believing that
he heard the appointed signal, broke forward from the timber, and
five brigades, in one irregular line, charged full against the
enemy's front. The Federals, disposed in several lines, were in
overwhelming strength. Their batteries were free to concentrate on
the advancing infantry. Their riflemen, posted in the interval
between the artillery masses, swept the long slopes with a grazing
fire, while fence, bank, and ravine, gave shelter from the
Confederate bullets. Nor were the enormous difficulties which
confronted the attack in any way mitigated by careful arrangement on
the part of the Confederate staff. The only hope of success, if
success were possible, lay in one strong concentrated effort; in
employing the whole army; in supporting the infantry with artillery,
regardless of loss, at close range; and in hurling a mass of men, in
several successive lines, against one point of the enemy's position.
It is possible that the Federal army, already demoralised by retreat,
might have yielded to such vigorous pressure. But in the Confederate
attack there was not the slightest attempt at concentration. The
order which dictated it gave an opening to misunderstanding; and, as
is almost invariably the case when orders are defective,
misunderstanding occurred. The movement was premature. Magruder had
only two brigades of his three divisions, Armistead's and Wright's,
in position. Armistead, who was well in advance of the Confederate
right, was attacked by a strong body of skirmishers. D.H. Hill took
the noise of this conflict for the appointed signal, and moved
forward. The divisions which should have supported him had not yet
crossed the swamp in rear; and thus 10,500 men, absolutely unaided,
advanced against the whole Federal army. The blunder met with
terrible retribution. On that midsummer evening death reaped a
fearful harvest. The gallant Confederate infantry, nerved by their
success at Gaines' Mill, swept up the field with splendid
determination. "It was the onset of battle," said a Federal officer
present, "with the good order of a review." But the iron hail of
grape and canister, laying the ripe wheat low as if it had been cut
with a sickle, and tossing the shocks in air, rent the advancing
lines from end to end. Hundreds fell, hundreds swarmed back to the
woods, but still the brigades pressed on, and through the smoke of
battle the waving colours led the charge. But the Federal infantry
had yet to be encountered. Lying behind their shelter they had not
yet fired a shot; but as the Confederates reached close range,
regiment after regiment, springing to their feet, poured a
devastating fire into the charging ranks. The rush was checked. Here
and there small bodies of desperate men, following the colours, still
pressed onward, but the majority lay down, and the whole front of
battle rang with the roar of musketry. But so thin was the
Confederate line that it was impossible to overcome the sustained
fire of the enemy. The brigade reserves had already been thrown in;
there was no further support at hand; the Federal gunners, staunch
and resolute, held fast to their position, and on every part of the
line Porter's reserves were coming up. As one regiment emptied its
cartridge-boxes it was relieved by another. The volume of fire never
for a moment slackened; and fresh batteries, amongst which were the
32-pounders of the siege train, unlimbering on the flanks, gave
further strength to a front which was already impregnable.


Jackson, meanwhile, on receiving a request for reinforcements, had
sent forward three brigades of his own division and a brigade of
Hill's. But a mistake had been committed in the disposition of these
troops. The order for attack had undoubtedly named only D.H. Hill's
division. But there was no good reason that it should have been so
literally construed as to leave the division unsupported. Whiting was
guarding the left flank, and was not available; but Ewell and Winder
were doing nothing, and there can be no question but that they should
have advanced to the edge of the woods directly D.H. Hill moved
forward, and have followed his brigades across the open, ready to
lend aid directly his line was checked. As it was, they had been
halted within the woods and beyond the swamp, and the greater part,
in order to avoid the random shells, had moved even further to the
rear. It thus happened that before the reinforcements arrived Hill's
division had been beaten back, and under the tremendous fire of the
Federal artillery it was with difficulty that the border of the
forest was maintained.

While Hill was retiring, Huger, and then Magruder, came into action
on the right. It had been reported to Lee that the enemy was
beginning to fall back. This report originated, there can be little
doubt, in the withdrawal of the Federal regiments and batteries which
had exhausted their ammunition and were relieved by others; but, in
any case, it was imperative that D.H. Hill should be supported, and
the other divisions were ordered forward with all speed. Huger's and
Magruder's men attacked with the same determination as had been
displayed by Hill's, but no better success attended their endeavours.
The brigades were not properly formed when the order arrived, but
scattered over a wide front, and they went in piecemeal. Magruder's
losses were even greater than Hill's; and with his defeat the battle

Had the Federals followed up the repulse with a strong counter-attack
the victory of Malvern Hill might have been more decisive than that
of Gaines' Mill. It is true that neither Longstreet nor A.P. Hill had
been engaged, and that three of Jackson's divisions, his own,
Whiting's and Ewell's, had suffered little. But Magruder and D.H.
Hill, whose commands included at least 30,000 muskets, one half of
Lee's infantry, had been completely crushed, and Holmes on the river
road was too far off to lend assistance. The fatal influence of a
continued retreat had paralysed, however, the initiative of the
Federal generals. Intent only on getting away unscathed, they
neglected, like McClellan at Gaines' Mill, to look for opportunities,
forgetting that when an enemy is pursuing in hot haste he is very apt
to expose himself. Jackson had acted otherwise at Port Republic.

The loss of over 5000 men was not the worst which had befallen the
Confederates. "The next morning by dawn," says one of Ewell's
brigadiers, "I went off to ask for orders, when I found the whole
army in the utmost disorder--thousands of straggling men were asking
every passer-by for their regiments; ambulances, waggons, and
artillery obstructing every road, and altogether, in a drenching
rain, presenting a scene of the most woeful and disheartening
confusion."* (* Trimble's Report, O.R. volume 11 part 1 page 619.)
The reports of other officers corroborate General Trimble's
statement, and there can be no question that demoralisation had set
in. Whether, if the Federals had used their large reserves with
resolution, and, as the Confederates fell back down the slopes, had
followed with the bayonet, the demoralisation would not have
increased and spread, must remain in doubt. Not one of the Southern
generals engaged has made public his opinion. There is but one thing
certain, that with an opponent so blind to opportunity as McClellan a
strong counterstroke was the last thing to be feared. After
witnessing the opening of the attack, the Federal commander, leaving
the control of the field to Porter, had ridden off to Harrison's
Landing, eight miles down the James, whither his trains, escorted by
the Fourth Army Corps, had been directed, and where he had determined
to await reinforcements. The Federal troops, moreover, although they
had withstood the charge of the Confederate infantry with unbroken
ranks, had not fought with the same spirit as they had displayed at
Gaines' Mill. General Hunt, McClellan's chief of artillery, to whose
admirable disposition of the batteries the victory was largely due,
wrote that "the battle was desperately contested, and frequently
trembled in the balance. The last attack...was nearly successful; but
we won from the fact that we had kept our reserves in hand."* (*
Three horse-batteries and eight 32-pr. howitzers were "brought up to
the decisive point at the close of the day, thus bringing every gun
of this large artillery force (the artillery reserve) into the most
active and decisive use. Not a gun remained unemployed: not one could
have been safely spared." (Hunt's Report, O.R. volume 11 part 2 page
239.)) Nor had McClellan much confidence in his army. "My men," he
wrote to Washington on the morning of the battle, "are completely
exhausted, and I dread the result if we are attacked to-day by fresh
troops. If possible, I shall retire to-night to Harrison's Landing,
where the gunboats can render more aid in covering our position.
Permit me to urge that not an hour should be lost in sending me fresh
troops. More gunboats are much needed...I now pray for time. My men
have proved themselves the equals of any troops in the world, but
they are worn out. Our losses have been very great, we have failed to
win only because overpowered by superior numbers."* (* O.R. volume 11
part 3 page 282.)

Surely a more despairing appeal was never uttered. The general, whose
only thought was "more gunboats and fresh troops," whatever may have
been the condition of his men, had reached the last stage of

The condition to which McClellan was reduced seems to have been
realised by Jackson. The crushing defeat of his own troops failed to
disturb his judgment. Whilst the night still covered the
battle-field, his divisional generals came to report the condition of
their men and to receive instructions. "Every representation," says
Dabney, "which they made was gloomy." At length, after many details
of losses and disasters, they concurred in declaring that McClellan
would probably take the aggressive in the morning, and that the
Confederate army was in no condition to resist him. Jackson had
listened silently, save when he interposed a few brief questions, to
all their statements; but now he replied: "No; he will clear out in
the morning."

July 2.

The forecast was more than fulfilled. When morning dawned, grey,
damp, and cheerless, and the Confederate sentinels, through the cold
mist which rose from the sodden woods, looked out upon the
battle-field, they saw that Malvern Hill had been abandoned. Only a
few cavalry patrols rode to and fro on the ground which had been held
by the Federal artillery, and on the slopes below, covered with
hundreds of dead and dying men, the surgeons were quietly at work.
During the night the enemy had fallen back to Harrison's Landing, and
justification for Lee's assault at Malvern Hill may be found in the
story of the Federal retreat. The confusion of the night march,
following on a long series of fierce engagements, told with terrible
effect on the moral of the men, and stragglers increased at every
step. "It was like the retreat," said one of McClellan's generals,
"of a whipped army. We retreated like a parcel of sheep, and a few
shots from the rebels would have panic-stricken the whole command."*
(* Report on the Conduct of the War page 580. General Hooker's
evidence.) At length, through blinding rain, the flotilla of gunboats
was discovered, and on the long peninsula between Herring Run and the
James the exhausted army reached a resting-place. But so great was
the disorder, that during the whole of that day nothing was done to
prepare a defensive position; a ridge to the north, which commanded
the whole camp, was unoccupied; and, according to the Committee of
Congress which took evidence on the conduct of the war, "nothing but
a heavy rain, thereby preventing the enemy from bringing up their
artillery, saved the army from destruction."* (* Report on the
Conduct of the War page 27.) McClellan's own testimony is even more
convincing. "The army," he wrote on July 8, the second day after the
battle, "is thoroughly worn out and requires rest and very heavy
reinforcements... I am in hopes that the enemy is as completely worn
out as we are...The roads are now very bad; for these reasons I hope
we shall have enough breathing space to reorganise and rest the men,
and get them into position before the enemy can attack again.. It is
of course impossible to estimate as yet our losses, but I doubt
whether there are to-day more than 50,000 men with the colours."* (*
O.R. volume 11 part 1 pages 291, 292.)

As his army of 105,000 men, during the whole of the Seven Days, lost
only 16,000, the last admission, if accurate, is most significant.
Nearly half the men must either have been sick or straggling.

It was not because the Confederates were also worn out that the
Federals were given time to reorganise and to establish themselves in
a strong position. Jackson, the moment it was light, rode through the
rain to the front. Learning that the enemy had evacuated their
position, he ordered his chief of staff to get the troops under arms,
to form the infantry in three lines of battle, and then to allow the
men to build fires, cook their rations, and dry their clothes. By 11
o'clock the ammunition had been replenished, and his four divisions
were formed up. Longstreet's brigades had pushed forward a couple of
miles, but no orders had reached the Valley troops, and Major Dabney
rode off to find his general. "I was told," he writes, "that he was
in the Poindexter House, a large mansion near Willis' Church. Lee,
Jackson, Dr. McGuire, and Major Taylor of Lee's staff, and perhaps
others, were in the dining-room. Asking leave to report to General
Jackson that his orders had been fulfilled, I was introduced to
General Lee, who, with his usual kindness, begged me to sit by the
fire and dry myself. Here I stayed much of the day, and witnessed
some strange things. Longstreet, wet and muddy, was the first to
enter. He had ridden round most of the battle-field, and his report
was not particularly cheerful. Jackson was very quiet, never
volunteering any counsel or suggestion, but answering when questioned
in a brief, deferential tone. His countenance was very serious, and
soon became very troubled. After a time the clatter of horses' hoofs
was heard, and two gentlemen came in, dripping. They were the
President and his nephew. Davis and Lee then drew to the table, and
entered into an animated military discussion. Lee told the President
the news which the scouts were bringing in, of horrible mud, and of
abandoned arms and baggage waggons. They then debated at length what
was to be done next. McClellan was certainly retiring, but whether as
beaten or as only manoeuvring was not apparent, nor was the direction
of his retreat at all clear. Was he aiming for some point on the
lower James where he might embark and get away? or at some point on
the upper James--say Shirley, or Bermuda Hundred--where he could
cross the river (he had pontoons and gunboats) and advance on
Richmond from the south? Such were the questions which came up, and
at length it was decided that the army should make no movement until
further information had been received. The enemy was not to be
pursued until Stuart's cavalry, which had arrived the previous
evening at Nance's Shop, should obtain reliable information.

"Jackson, meanwhile, sat silent in his corner. I watched his face.
The expression, changing from surprise to dissent, and lastly to
intense mortification, showed clearly the tenor of his thoughts. He
knew that McClellan was defeated, that he was retreating and not
manoeuvring. He knew that his troops were disorganised, that
sleeplessness, fasting, bad weather, and disaster must have weakened
their morale. He heard it said by General Lee that the scouts
reported the roads so deep in mud that the artillery could not move,
that our men were wet and wearied. But Jackson's mind reasoned that
where the Federals could march the Confederates could follow, and
that a decisive victory was well worth a great effort."* (* Letter to
the author. Dr. McGuire writes to the same effect.)

July 3.

The decision of the council of war was that the army should move the
next morning in the direction of Harrison's Landing. Longstreet,
whose troops had not been engaged at Malvern Hill, was to lead the
way. But the operations of this day were without result. The line of
march was by Carter's Mill and the river road. But after the troops
had been set in motion, it was found that the river road had been
obstructed by the enemy, and Lee directed Longstreet to countermarch
to the Charles City cross roads and move on Evelington Heights.* (*
Evelington Heights are between Rawling's Mill Pond and Westover.) But
ignorance of the country and inefficient guides once more played into
the enemy's hands, and when night closed the troops were still some
distance from the Federal outposts.

The delay had been exceedingly unfortunate. At 9 A.M. Stuart's
cavalry had occupied the Evelington Heights, and, believing that
Longstreet was close at hand, had opened fire with a single howitzer
on the camps below. The consternation caused by this unlooked-for
attack was great. But the Federals soon recovered from their
surprise, and, warned as to the danger of their situation, sent out
infantry and artillery to drive back the enemy and secure the
heights. Stuart, dismounting his troopers, held on for some time; but
at two o'clock, finding that the Confederate infantry was still six
or seven miles distant, and that his ammunition was failing, he gave
up the Heights, which were immediately fortified by the enemy. Had
the cavalry commander resisted the temptation of spreading panic in
the enemy's ranks, and kept his troops under cover, infantry and
artillery might possibly have been brought up to the Heights before
they were occupied by the Federals. In any case, it was utterly
useless to engage a whole army with one gun and a few regiments of
cavalry, and in war, especially in advanced guard operations, silence
is often golden.* (* The military student will compare the battles of
Weissembourg, Vionville, and Gravelotte in 1870, all of which began
with a useless surprise.) It was not till they were warned by the
fire of Stuart's howitzer that the Federals realised the necessity of
securing and intrenching the Evelington Heights, and it is within the
bounds of possibility, had they been left undisturbed, that they
might have neglected them altogether. McClellan, according to his
letters already quoted, believed that the condition of the roads
would retard the advance of the enemy; and, as is evident from a
letter he wrote the same morning, before the incident took place, he
was of opinion that there was no immediate need for the occupation of
a defensive position.* (* O.R. volume 11 part 3 pages 291 to 292.)

During this day the Valley divisions, crawling in rear of Longstreet,
had marched only three miles; and such sluggish progress, at so
critical a moment, put the climax to Jackson's discontent. His wrath
blazed forth with unwonted vehemence. "That night," says Dabney,* (*
Letter to the author.) "he was quartered in a farmhouse a mile or two
east of Willis' Church. The soldier assigned to him as a guide made a
most stupid report, and admitted that he knew nothing of the road.
Jackson turned on him in fierce anger, and ordered him from his
presence with threats of the severest punishment. On retiring, he
said to his staff, "Now, gentlemen, Jim will have breakfast for you
punctually at dawn. I expect you to be up, to eat immediately, and be
in the saddle without delay. We must burn no more daylight." About
daybreak I heard him tramping down the stairs. I alone went out to
meet him. All the rest were asleep. He addressed me in stern tones:
"Major, how is it that this staff never will be punctual?" I replied:
"I am in time; I cannot control the others." Jackson turned in a rage
to the servant: "Put back that food into the chest, have that chest
in the waggon, and that waggon moving in two minutes." I suggested,
very humbly, that he had better at least take some food himself. But
he was too angry to eat, and repeating his orders, flung himself into
the saddle, and galloped off. Jim gave a low whistle, saying: "My
stars, but de general is just mad dis time; most like lightnin'
strike him!""

July 4.

With the engagement on the Evelington Heights the fighting round
Richmond came to an end. When Lee came up with his advanced divisions
on the morning of the 4th, he found the pickets already engaged, and
the troops formed up in readiness for action. He immediately rode
forward with Jackson, and the two, dismounting, proceeded without
staff or escort to make a careful reconnaissance of the enemy's
position. Their inspection showed them that it was practically
impregnable. The front, facing westward, was flanked from end to end
by the fire of the gunboats, and the Evelington Heights, already
fortified, and approached by a single road, were stronger ground than
even Malvern Hill. The troops were therefore withdrawn to the forest,
and for the next three days, with the exception of those employed in
collecting the arms and stores which the Federals had abandoned, they
remained inactive.

July 8.

On July 8, directing Stuart to watch McClellan, General Lee fell back
to Richmond.

The battles of the Seven Days cost the Confederates 20,000 men. The
Federals, although defeated, lost no more than 16,000, of whom
10,000, nearly half of them wounded, were prisoners. In addition,
however, 52 guns and 35,000 rifles became the prize of the
Southerners; and vast as was the quantity of captured stores, far
greater was the amount destroyed.

But the defeat of McClellan's army is not to be measured by a mere
estimate of the loss in men and in materiel. The discomfited general
sought to cover his failure by a lavish employment of strategic
phrases. The retreat to the James, he declared, had been planned
before the battle of Mechanicsville. He had merely manoeuvred to get
quit of an inconvenient line of supply, and to place his army in a
more favourable position for attacking Richmond. He congratulated his
troops on their success in changing the line of operations, always
regarded as the most hazardous of military expedients. Their conduct,
he said, ranked them among the most celebrated armies of history.
Under every disadvantage of numbers, and necessarily of position
also, they had in every conflict beaten back their foes with enormous
slaughter. They had reached the new base complete in organisation and
unimpaired in spirit.* (* O.R. volume 11 part 3 page 299.)

It is possible that this address soothed the pride of his troops. It
certainly deluded neither his own people nor the South. The immediate
effect of his strategic manoeuvre was startling.

5000 men, the effective remnant of Shields' division, besides several
new regiments, were sent to the Peninsula from the army protecting
Washington. General Burnside, who had mastered a portion of the North
Carolina coast, was ordered to suspend operations, to leave a
garrison in New Berne, and to bring the remainder of his army to
Fortress Monroe. Troops were demanded from General Hunter, who had
taken the last fort which defended Savannah, the port of Georgia.* (*
The forces under Burnside and Hunter amounted to some 35,000 men.)
The Western army of the Union was asked to reinforce McClellan, and
Lincoln called on the Northern States for a fresh levy. But although
300,000 men were promised him, the discouragement of the Northern
people was so great that recruits showed no alacrity in coming
forward. The South, on the other hand, ringing with the brilliant
deeds of Lee and Jackson, turned with renewed vigour to the task of
resisting the invader. Richmond, the beleaguered capital, although
the enemy was in position not more than twenty miles away, knew that
her agony was over. The city was one vast hospital. Many of the best
and bravest of the Confederacy had fallen in the Seven Days, and the
voice of mourning hushed all sound of triumph. But the long columns
of prisoners, the captured cannon, the great trains of waggons, piled
high with spoil, were irrefragable proof of the complete defeat of
the invader.

When the army once more encamped within sight of the city it was
received as it deserved. Lee and Jackson were the special objects of
admiration. All recognised the strategic skill which had wrought the
overthrow of McClellan's host; and the hard marches and sudden blows
of the campaign on the Shenandoah, crowned by the swift transfer of
the Valley army from the Blue Ridge to the Chickahominy, took fast
hold of the popular imagination. The mystery in which Jackson's
operations were involved, the dread he inspired in the enemy, his
reticence, his piety, his contempt of comfort, his fiery energy, his
fearlessness, and his simplicity aroused the interest and enthusiasm
of the whole community. Whether Lee or his lieutenant was the more
averse to posing before the crowd it is difficult to say. Both
succeeded in escaping all public manifestation of popular favour;
both went about their business with an absolute absence of
ostentation, and if the handsome features of the Commander-in-Chief
were familiar to the majority of the citizens, few recognised in the
plainly dressed soldier, riding alone through Richmond, the great
leader of the Valley, with whose praises not the South only, but the
whole civilised world, was already ringing.


The victories in the Valley, the retreat of Banks, Shields, and
Fremont, followed by the victory of Gaines' Mill, had raised the
hopes of the South to the highest pitch.

When McClellan fell back to the James the capture or destruction of
his army seemed a mere matter of time, and it was confidently
expected that a disaster of such magnitude would assuredly bring the
North to terms. But the slaughter of the Confederates at Malvern
Hill, the unmolested retreat of the enemy to Harrison's Landing, the
fortification of that strong position, induced a more sober mood. The
Northern soldiers had displayed a courage for which the South had not
yet given them credit. On the last of the Seven Days they had fought
almost as stubbornly as on the first. Their losses had been heavy,
but they had taught their adversaries that they were no longer the
unmanageable levies of Bull Run, scattered by the first touch of
disaster to the four winds. It was no frail barrier which stood now
between the South and her independence, but a great army of trained
soldiers, seasoned by experience, bound together by discipline, and
capable of withstanding a long series of reverses. And when it became
clear that McClellan, backed by the fleet, had no intention of losing
his grip on Richmond; when the news came that Lincoln had asked for
300,000 fresh troops; and that the Federal Army of the West,
undisturbed by Lee's victories, was still advancing through
Tennessee,* (* After the repulse of the Confederates at Malvern Hill,
and the unmolested retreat of the Army of the Potomac to Harrison's
Landing, Lincoln cancelled his demand for troops from the West.) the
power and persistency of the North were revealed in all their huge

But the disappointment of the Southern people in no way abated their
gratitude. The troops drank their fill of praise. The deeds of the
Valley regiments were on every tongue. The Stonewall Brigade was the
most famous organisation in the Confederacy. To have marched with
Jackson was a sure passport to the good graces of every citizen.
Envied by their comrades, regarded as heroes by the admiring crowds
that thronged the camps, the ragged soldiers of the Shenandoah found
ample compensation for their labour. They had indeed earned the rest
which was now given them. For more than two months they had been
marching and fighting without cessation. Since they left Elk Run, on
April 29, until they fell back to the capital on July 8, their camps
had never stood in the same spot for more than four days in

But neither they nor their general looked forward to a long sojourn
within the works round Richmond. The men pined for the fresh breezes
of their native highlands. The tainted atmosphere of a district which
was one vast battle-ground told upon their health, and the people of
Richmond, despite their kindness, were strangers after all. Nor was
Jackson less anxious to leave the capital. The heavy rain which had
deluged the bivouac on the Chickahominy had chilled him to the bone.
During the whole of the pursuit, from White Oak Swamp to Westover, he
had suffered from fever. But his longing for a move westward was
dictated by other motives than the restoration of his health. No
sooner had it become evident that McClellan's position was
impregnable than he turned his thoughts to some more vulnerable
point. He would allow the enemy no respite. In his opinion there
should be no "letting up" in the attack. The North should be given no
leisure to reorganise the armies or to train recruits. A swift
succession of fierce blows, delivered at a vital point, was the only
means of bringing the colossus to its knees, and that vital point was
far from Richmond.

Before the Confederate troops marched back to Richmond he laid his
views before the member of Congress for the Winchester district, and
begged Mr. Boteler to impress them on the Government. "McClellan's
army," he said, "was manifestly thoroughly beaten, incapable of
moving until it had been reorganised and reinforced. There was
danger," he foresaw, "that the fruits of victory would be lost, as
they had been lost after Bull Run. The Confederate army should at
once leave the malarious district round Richmond, and moving
northwards, carry the horrors of invasion across the border. This,"
he said, "was the only way to bring the North to its senses, and to
end the war. And it was within the power of the Confederates, if they
were to concentrate their resources, to make a successful bid for
victory. 60,000 men might march into Maryland and threaten
Washington. But while he was anxious that these views should be laid
before the President, he would earnestly disclaim the charge of
self-seeking. He wished to follow, and not to lead. He was willing to
follow anyone--Lee, or Ewell, or anyone who would fight." "Why do you
not urge your views," asked Mr. Boteler, "on General Lee?" "I have
done so," replied Jackson. "And what does he say to them?" "He says
nothing," was the answer; "but do not understand that I complain of
this silence; it is proper that General Lee should observe it. He is
wise and prudent. He feels that he bears a fearful responsibility,
and he is right in declining a hasty expression of his purpose to a
subordinate like me."* (* Dabney volume 2 pages 230, 231.)

Jackson was perfectly right in his estimate of the Federal army.
McClellan had 90,000 men, but 16,000 were sick, and he was still
under the delusion that he had been defeated by more than twice his
numbers. His letters to the President, it is true, betrayed no
misgiving. He was far from admitting that he had been defeated. His
army, he wrote, was now so favourably placed that an advance on
Richmond was easy. He was full of confidence. He was watching
carefully for any fault committed by the enemy, and would take
advantage of it. The spirit of his army, he declared, was such that
he felt unable to restrain it from speedily assuming the offensive.
He had determined not to fall back unless he was absolutely forced to
do so. He was ready for a rapid and heavy blow at Richmond. But to
strike that blow he required heavy reinforcements, and while waiting
their arrival he was unwilling to leave his strong position.* (* O.R.
volume 11 part 2 page 306.)

Jackson's views were considered by Mr. Davis. For the present,
however, they were disregarded. The situation, in the opinion of the
Government, was still critical. McClellan might be reinforced by sea.
He might be superseded by a more energetic commander, and the
Federals might then cross to the right bank of the James, cut the
railways which connected Richmond with the South, and turn the line
of fortifications. The losses of the Seven Days had reduced the
Confederate strength to 60,000. Under such circumstances it was not
considered safe to remove the army from the capital. Jackson,
however, was entrusted with a more congenial duty than watching an
enemy who, he was absolutely convinced, had no intention of leaving
his intrenchments.

July 13.

His longing for active work was gratified by an order to march
westward. Lee, finding McClellan immovable, had recourse to his
former strategy. He determined to play once more on Lincoln's fears.
The Army of Virginia, under the command of Pope, defended Washington.
Would the Northern Government, when the news came that Stonewall
Jackson was returning to the Shenandoah, deem this force sufficient
to protect the capital? Would they not rather think it necessary to
recall McClellan? The experiment was worth trying. After some delay
in recovering from the disorganisation caused by the disasters in the
Valley, Pope had assembled his army east of the Blue Ridge, near the
sources of the Rappahannock. Sperryvile, his advanced post, was no
more than forty miles north of the Virginia Central Railway, and his
cavalry was already advancing. It was essential that the railway, the
chief line of supply of the Confederate army, should be protected;
and Jackson was instructed to halt near Gordonsville.

July 16.

On the 16th his leading brigades reached their destination. Their
arrival was opportune. The Federal cavalry, with a strong infantry
support, was already threatening Gordonsville. On learning, however,
that the town was occupied they at once fell back.

Jackson, as soon as his command was up, and he had had time to
ascertain the Federal strength, applied for reinforcements. His own
numbers were very small. The divisions of D.H. Hill and Whiting had
remained at Richmond. The Army of the Valley, reduced to its original
elements, was no more than 11,000 strong. Pope's army consisted of
47,000 men.* (* Sigel, 13,000; Banks, 11,000; McDowell, 18,000;
Bayard's and Bulord's cavalry, 5000.) But the Federals were scattered
over a wide front. Sigel, a German who had succeeded Fremont, was
near Sperryville, and Banks lay close to Sigel. Each of these
officers commanded an army corps of two divisions. Of McDowell's army
corps, Ricketts' division held Warrenton, twenty-five miles east of
Banks; while King's division was retained at Fredericksburg, forty
miles south-east of Ricketts'. Such dispersion seemed to invite
attack. Lee, however, found it impossible to comply with his
lieutenant's request for such aid as would enable him to assume the
offensive. The army covering Richmond was much smaller than
McClellan's, and the Confederates were aware that a large
reinforcement for the latter, under General Burnside, had landed in
the Peninsula. But assistance was promised in case Pope advanced so
far south that troops could be detached without risk to Richmond.
Pope, in fact, was too far off, and Jackson was to entice him forward.

A week, however, passed away without any movement on the part of
McClellan. He knew that Lee's army was diminished; and it was
believed at his headquarters that "Jackson had started towards the
Valley with 60,000 to 80,000 troops."* (* O.R. volume 11 part 3 page
334.) He knew that there was no large force within ten miles of his
outposts, and if the President would send him 20,000 or 30,000 more
men he said that he was ready to march on Richmond. But, as yet, he
had not observed the opportunity for which, according to his own
account, he was so carefully watching. Pope was far more
enterprising. His cavalry had burned the railway depot at Beaver Dam,
destroyed some Confederate stores, cut the line at several points,
and threatened Hanover Junction. Stuart, with his cavalry division,
was immediately sent northwards, and Lee ordered A.P. Hill to

Jackson's letters to headquarters at this period are missing. But
Lee's answers indicate the tenor of the views therein expressed. On
July 27 the Commander-in-Chief wrote:--

"I have received your dispatch of the 26th instant. I will send A.P.
Hill's division and the Second Brigade of Louisiana volunteers to
you...I want Pope to be suppressed...A.P. Hill you will, I think,
find a good officer, with whom you can consult, and by advising with
your division commanders as to your movements, much trouble will be
saved you in arranging details, and they can act more intelligently.
I wish to save you trouble from my increasing your command. Cache
your troops as much as possible till you can strike your blow, and be
prepared to return to me when done, if necessary. I will endeavour to
keep General McClellan quiet till it is over, if rapidly executed."

This letter, besides containing a delicate hint that extreme
reticence is undesirable, evidently refers to some plan proposed by
Jackson. Whatever this may have been, it is certain that both he and
Lee were in close accord. They believed that the best method of
protecting the railway was, in Lee's words, "to find the main body of
the enemy and drive it," and they were agreed that there should be no
more Malvern Hills. "You are right," says Lee on August 4, "in not
attacking them in their strong and chosen positions. They ought
always to be turned as you propose, and thus force them on to more
favourable ground."


At the end of July, about the same time that Hill joined Jackson,
Pope, under instructions from Washington, moved forward. His cavalry
occupied the line of Robertson River, within twenty miles of the
Confederate lines, and it became clear that he intended advancing on
Gordonsville. His infantry, however, had not yet crossed Hazel Run,
and Jackson, carefully concealing his troops, remained on the watch
for a few days longer. His anxiety, however, to bring his enemy to
battle was even greater than usual. Pope had already gained an
unenviable notoriety. On taking over command he had issued an
extraordinary address. His bombast was only equalled by his want of
tact. Not content with extolling the prowess of the Western troops,
with whom he had hitherto served, he was bitterly satirical at the
expense of McClellan and of McClellan's army. "I have come to you,"
he said to his soldiers, "from the West, where we have always seen
the backs of our enemies--from an army whose business it has been to
seek the adversary, and beat him when found, whose policy has been
attack and not defence...I presume that I have been called here to
pursue the same system, and to lead you against the enemy. It is my
purpose to do so, and that speedily...Meantime, I desire you to
dismiss from your minds certain phrases, which I am sorry to find
much in vogue amongst you. I hear constantly of taking strong
positions and holding them--of lines of retreat and of bases of
supplies. Let us discard such ideas...Let us study the probable line
of retreat of our opponents, and leave our own to take care of
themselves. Let us look before and not behind. Success and glory are
in the advance. Disaster and shame lurk in the rear."* (* O.R. volume
12 part 3 page 474.)

Even the Northern press made sport of Pope's "'Ercles vein," and the
Confederates contrasted his noisy declamation with the modesty of Lee
and Jackson. To the South the new commander was peculiarly obnoxious.
He was the first of the Federal generals to order that the troops
should subsist upon the country, and that the people should be held
responsible for all damage done to roads, railways, and telegraphs by
guerillas. His orders, it is true, were warranted by the practice of
war. But "forced requisitions," unless conducted on a well-understood
system, must inevitably degenerate into plunder and oppression; and
Pope, in punishing civilians, was not careful to distinguish between
the acts of guerillas and those of the regular Confederate cavalry.
"These orders," says a Northern historian, "were followed by the
pillaging of private property, and by insults to females to a degree
unknown heretofore during the war." But in comparison with a third
edict they were mild and humane. On July 23 Pope's generals were
instructed to arrest every Virginian within the limits of their
commands, to administer the oath of allegiance to the Union, and to
expel from their homes all those who refused to take it. This order
was preceded by one from General von Steinwehr, a German brigadier,
directing the arrest of five prominent citizens, to be held as
hostages, and to suffer death in the event of any soldiers being shot
by bushwhackers. The Confederate Government retaliated by declaring
that Pope and his officers were not entitled to be considered as
soldiers. If captured they were to be imprisoned so long as their
orders remained unrepealed; and in the event of any unarmed
Confederate citizens being tried and shot, an equal number of Federal
prisoners were to be hanged. It need hardly be added that the
operations north of Gordonsville were watched with peculiar interest
by the South. "This new general," it was said to Jackson, "claims
your attention." "And, please God, he shall have it," was the reply.

Nevertheless, with all his peculiar characteristics, Pope was no
despicable foe. The Federal cavalry were employed with a boldness
which had not hitherto been seen. Their outposts were maintained
twenty miles in advance of the army. Frequent reconnaissances were
made. A regiment of Jackson's cavalry was defeated at Orange Court
House, with a loss of 60 or 70 men, and scouting parties penetrated
to within a few miles of Gordonsville. Even Banks was spurred to
activity, and learned at last that information is generally to be
obtained if it is resolutely sought.* (* "We must constantly feel the
enemy, know where he is, and what he is doing. Vigilance, activity,
and a precaution that has a considerable mixture of audacity in it
will carry you through many difficulties." Such were his instructions
to an officer of the regular army! It was unfortunate he had not
acted on those sound principles in the Valley.) Very little that
occurred within the Confederate lines escaped the vigilance of the
enemy; and although Jackson's numbers were somewhat overestimated,
Pope's cavalry, energetically led by two able young officers,
Generals Buford and Bayard, did far better service than McClellan's
detectives. Jackson had need of all his prudence. Including the Light
Division, his force amounted to no more than 24,000 men; and if Pope
handled his whole army with as much skill as he used his cavalry, it
would go hard with Gordonsville. 24,000 men could hardly be expected
to arrest the march of 47,000 unless the larger force should blunder.

During the first week in August events began to thicken. Stuart made
a strong reconnaissance towards Fredericksburg, and administered a
check to the Federal scouting parties in that quarter. But McClellan
threw forward a division and occupied Malvern Hill, and it became
evident that Pope also was meditating a further advance.

Jackson, for the purpose of luring him forward, and also of
concealing Hill's arrival, had drawn back his cavalry, and moved his
infantry south of Gordonsville. Pope was warned from Washington that
this was probably a ruse. His confidence, however, was not to be
shaken. "Within ten days," he reported, "unless the enemy is heavily
reinforced from Richmond, I shall be in possession of Gordonsville
and Charlottesville."

Although such an operation would carry Pope far from Washington there
was no remonstrance from headquarters. Lincoln and Stanton,
mistrustful at last of their ability as strategists, had called to
their councils General Halleck, who had shown some evidence of
capacity while in command of the Western armies. The new
Commander-in-Chief had a difficult problem to work out. It is
impossible to determine how far Jackson's movement to Gordonsville
influenced the Federal authorities, but immediately on Halleck's
arrival at Washington, about the same date that the movement was
reported, he was urged, according to his own account, to withdraw
McClellan from the Peninsula. "I delayed my decision," he says, "as
long as I dared delay it;" but on August 3 his mind was made up, and
McClellan, just after Hill joined Jackson, was ordered to embark his
army at Fortress Monroe, sail to Aquia Creek, near Fredericksburg,
and join Pope on the Rappahannock. The proposed combination,
involving the transfer by sea of 90,000 men, with all their artillery
and trains, was a manoeuvre full of danger.* (* McClellan had
received no further reinforcements than those sent from Washington.
Burnside, with 14,000 men, remained at Fortress Monroe until the
beginning of August, when he embarked for Aquia Creek, concentrating
on August 5. Hunter's troops were withheld.) The retreat and
embarkation of McClellan's troops would take time, and the
Confederates, possessing the interior lines, had two courses open to

1. Leaving Jackson to check Pope, they might attack McClellan as soon
as he evacuated his intrenched position at Harrison's Landing.

2. They might neglect McClellan and concentrate against Pope before
he could be reinforced.

Halleck considered that attack on McClellan was the more likely, and
Pope was accordingly instructed to threaten Gordonsville, so as to
force Lee to detach heavily from Richmond, and leave him too weak to
strike the Army of the Potomac.

August 6.

On August 6 Pope commenced his advance. Banks had pushed a brigade of
infantry from Sperryville to Culpeper Court House, and Ricketts'
division (of McDowell's corps) was ordered to cross the Rappahannock
at Waterloo Bridge and march to the same spot. Jackson, whose spies
had informed him of the enemy's dispositions, received early
intelligence of Banks' movement, and the next afternoon his three
divisions were ordered forward, marching by roads where there was no
chance of their being seen. "He hoped," so he wrote to Lee, "through
the blessing of Providence, to defeat the advanced Federal detachment
before reinforcements should arrive." This detachment was his first
objective; but he had long since recognised the strategic importance
of Culpeper Court House. At this point four roads meet, and it was
probable, from their previous dispositions, that the Federal army
corps would use three of these in their advance. Pope's right wing at
Sperryville would march by Woodville and Griffinsburg. His centre had
already moved forward from Warrenton. His left wing at Falmouth,
north of Fredericksburg, would march by Bealeton and Brandy Station,
or by Richardsville and Georgetown. As all these roads were several
miles apart, and the lateral communications were indifferent, the
three columns, during the movement on Culpeper Court House, would be
more or less isolated; and if the Confederates could seize the point
at which the roads met, it might be possible to keep them apart, to
prevent them combining for action, and to deal with them in detail.
Pope, in fact, had embarked on a manoeuvre which is always dangerous
in face of a vigilant and energetic enemy. Deceived by the passive
attitude which Jackson had hitherto maintained, and confident in the
strength of his cavalry, which held Robertson River, a stream some
ten miles south of Culpeper Court House, he had pushed a small force
far in advance, and was preparing to cross Hazel Run in several
widely separated columns. He had no apprehension that he might be
attacked during the process. Most generals in Jackson's situation,
confronted by far superior numbers, would have been content with
occupying a defensive position in front of Gordonsville, and neither
Pope nor Halleck had gauged as yet the full measure of their
opponent's enterprise. So confident was the Federal
Commander-in-Chief that General Cox, with 11,000 men, was ordered to
march from Lewisburg, ninety miles south-west of Staunton, to join
Pope at Charlottesville.* (* Battles and Leaders volume 2 page 281.)

Jackson's force was composed as follows:--

Jackson's Own Division (commanded by Winder) 3000

Ewell 7550

A.P. Hill (The Light Division). 12,000

Cavalry 1200


Jackson was by no means displeased when he learned who was in command
of the Federal advance. "Banks is in front of me," he said to Dr.
McGuire, "he is always ready to fight;" and then, laughing, he added
as if to himself, "and he generally gets whipped."

The Confederate regiments, as a rule, were very weak. The losses of
the Seven Days, of Winchester, of Cross Keys, and of Port Republic
had not yet been replaced. Companies had dwindled down to sections.
Brigades were no stronger than full battalions, and the colonel was
happy who could muster 200 muskets. But the waste of the campaign was
not altogether an evil. The weak and sickly had been weeded out. The
faint-hearted had disappeared, and if many of the bravest had fallen
before Richmond, those who remained were hardy and experienced
soldiers. The army that lay round Gordonsville was the best that
Jackson had yet commanded. The horses, which had become almost
useless in the Peninsula, had soon regained condition on the rich
pastures at the foot of the South-west Mountains. Nearly every man
had seen service. The officers were no longer novices. The troops had
implicit confidence in their leaders, and their morale was high. They
had not yet tasted defeat. Whenever they had met the enemy he had
abandoned the field of battle. With such troops much might be risked,
and if the staff was not yet thoroughly trained, the district in
which they were now operating was far less intricate than the
Peninsula. As the troops marched westward from Richmond, with their
faces towards their own mountains, the country grew more open, the
horizon larger, and the breezes purer. The dark forests disappeared.
The clear streams, running swiftly over rocky beds, were a welcome
change from the swamps of the Chickahominy. North of Gordonsville the
spurs of the Blue Ridge, breaking up into long chains of isolated
hills, towered high above the sunlit plains. The rude tracks of the
Peninsula, winding through the woods, gave place to broad and
well-trodden highways. Nor did the marches now depend upon the
guidance of some casual rustic or terrified negro. There were many in
the Confederate ranks who were familiar with the country; and the
quick pencil of Captain Hotchkiss, Jackson's trusted engineer, who
had rejoined from the Valley, was once more at his disposal.
Information, moreover, was not hard to come by. The country was far
more thickly populated than the region about Richmond, and,
notwithstanding Pope's harsh measures, he was unable to prevent the
people communicating with their own army. If the men had been
unwilling to take the risk, the women were quite ready to emulate the
heroines of the Valley, and the conduct of the Federal marauders had
served only to inflame their patriotism. Under such circumstances
Jackson's task was relieved of half its difficulties. He was almost
as much at home as on the Shenandoah, and although there were no
Massanuttons to screen his movements, the hills to the north,
insignificant as they might be when compared with the great mountains
which divide the Valley, might still be turned to useful purpose.

August 7.

On August 7, starting late in the afternoon, the Confederates marched
eight miles by a country track, and halted at Orange Court House.
Culpeper was still twenty miles distant, and two rivers, the Rapidan
and Robertson, barred the road. The Robertson was held by 5000 or
6000 Federal cavalry; five regiments, under General Buford, were near
Madison Court House; four, under General Bayard, near Rapidan
Station. East of the railway two more regiments held Raccoon Ford;
others watched the Rappahannock as far as Fredericksburg, and on
Thoroughfare Mountain, ten miles south-west of Culpeper, and
commanding a view of the surrounding country as far as Orange Court
House, was a signal station.

August 8.

Early on the 8th, Ewell's division crossed the Rapidan at Liberty
Mills, while the other divisions were ordered to make the passage at
Barnett's Ford, six miles below. A forced march should have carried
the Confederates to within striking distance of Culpeper, and a
forced march was almost imperative. The cavalry had been in contact;
the advance must already have been reported to Pope, and within
twenty-four hours the whole of the Federal army, with the exception
of the division at Fredericksburg, might easily be concentrated in a
strong position.

Still there were no grounds for uneasiness. If the troops made
sixteen miles before nightfall, they would be before Culpeper soon
after dawn, and sixteen miles was no extraordinary march for the
Valley regiments. But to accomplish a long march in the face of the
enemy, something is demanded more than goodwill and endurance on the
part of the men. If the staff arrangements are faulty, or the
subordinate commanders careless, the best troops in the world will
turn sluggards. It was so on August 8. Jackson's soldiers never did a
worse day's work during the whole course of his campaigns. Even his
energy was powerless to push them forward. The heat, indeed, was
excessive. Several men dropped dead in the ranks; the long columns
dragged wearily through the dust, and the Federal cavalry was not
easily pushed back. Guns and infantry had to be brought up before
Bayard's dismounted squadrons were dislodged. But the real cause of
delay is to be found elsewhere. Not only did General Hill
misunderstand his orders, but, apparently offended by Jackson's
reticence, he showed but little zeal. The orders were certainly
incomplete. Nothing had been said about the supply trains, and they
were permitted to follow their divisions, instead of moving in rear
of the whole force. Ewell's route, moreover, was changed without Hill
being informed. The lines of march crossed each other, and Hill was
delayed for many hours by a long column of ambulances and waggons. So
tedious was the march that when the troops halted for the night,
Ewell had made eight miles, Hill only two, and the latter was still
eighteen miles from Culpeper. Chagrined by the delay, Jackson
reported to Lee that "he had made but little progress, and that the
expedition," he feared, "in consequence of his tardy movements, would
be productive of little good."

How the blame should be apportioned it is difficult to say. Jackson
laid it upon Hill. And that officer's conduct was undoubtedly
reprehensible. The absence of Major Dabney, struck down by sickness,
is a possible explanation of the faulty orders. But that Jackson
would have done better to have accepted Lee's hint, to have confided
his intentions to his divisional commanders, and to have trusted
something to their discretion, seems more than clear. In war, silence
is not invariably a wise policy. It was not a case in which secrecy
was all-important. The movement had already been discovered by the
Federal cavalry, and in such circumstances the more officers that
understood the intention of the general-in-chief the better. Men who
have been honoured with their leader's confidence, and who grasp the
purpose of the efforts they are called upon to make, will co-operate,
if not more cordially, at least more intelligently, than those who
are impelled by the sense of duty alone.

As it was, so much time had been wasted that Jackson would have been
fully warranted in suspending the movement, and halting on the
Rapidan. The Federals were aware he was advancing. Their divisions
were not so far apart that they could not be concentrated within a
few hours at Culpeper, and, in approaching so close, he was entering
the region of uncertainty. Time was too pressing to admit of waiting
for the reports of spies. The enemy's cavalry was far more numerous
than his own, and screened the troops in rear from observation. The
information brought in by the country people was not to be implicitly

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