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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
Page 497 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.

until after 9 p.m., but no decided result was gained. Part of the troops were withdrawn to their original positions, others remained on the open field, and some rested within a hundred yards of the batteries that had been so bravely but vainly assailed. The general conduct of the troops was excellent-in some instances heroic. The lateness of the hour at which the attack necessarily began gave the enemy the full advantage of his superior position and augmented the natural difficulties of our own.

After seizing the York River Railroad on June 28 and driving the enemy across the Chickahominy, as already narrated, the cavalry under General Stuart proceed down the railroad to ascertain if there was any movement of the enemy in that direction.

He encountered but little opposition, and reached the vicinity of the White House on the 29th. At this approach the enemy destroyed the greater part of the immense stores accumulated at that depot and retreated toward Fort Monroe. With one gun and some dismounted men General Stuart drove off a gunboat which lay near the White House and rescued a large amount of property, including more than 10,000 stands of small-arms partially burned. Leaving one squadron at the White House, in compliance with his orders, he returned to guard the lower bridges of the Chickahominy.

On the 30th he was directed to recross and co-operate with General Jackson. After a long march he reached the rear of the enemy at Malvern Hill on the night of July 1 at the close of the engagement.

On July 2 it was discovered that the enemy had withdrawn during the night, leaving the ground covered with his dead and wounded, and his route exhibiting abundant evidence of precipitate retreat. The pursuit was commenced, General Stuart with his cavalry in the advance, but a violent storm, which prevailed throughout the day, greatly retarded our progress. The enemy, harassed and closely followed by the cavalry, succeeded in gaining Westover, on James River, and the protection of his gunboats. He immediately began to fortify his position, which was one of great natural strength, flanked on each side by a creek, and the approach to his front commanded by the heavy guns of his shipping, in addition to those mounted in his intrenchments. It was deemed inexpedient to attack him, and in view of the condition of our troops, who had been marching and fighting almost incessantly for seven day under the most trying circumstances, it was determined to withdraw, in order to afford them the repose of which they stood so much in need.

Several days were spent in collecting arms and other property abandoned by the enemy, and in the mean time some artillery and cavalry were sent below Westover to annoy his transports.

On July 8 the army returned to the vicinity of Richmond.

Under ordinary circumstances the Federal Army should have been destroyed. Its escape was due to the causes already stated. Prominent among these is the want of correct and timely information. This fact, attribute chiefly to the character of the country, enabled General McClellan skillfully to conceal his retreat and to add much to the obstructions with which nature had beset the way of our pursuing columns; but regret that more was not accomplished give way to gratitude to the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe for the results achieved. The siege of Richmond was raised, and the object of a campaign, which had been prosecuted after a months of preparation at an enormous expenditure of men and money, completely frustrated. More

32 R R-VOL XI, PT II


Page 497 Chapter XXIII. SEVEN-DAYS' BATTLES.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 11, Part 2 (Peninsular Campaign)
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