necessary to hold it at any cost. When the battle commenced in the afternoon I saw that in the faces and bearing of the men which satisfied me that we were sure of victory.
The attack was made upon our left and left center, and the brunt of it was borne by Porter's corps (including Hunt's reserve artillery and Tyler's heavy guns) and Couch's division, re-enforced by the brigades of Sickles and Meagher. It was desperate, brave, and determined, but so destructive was the fire of our numerous artillery, so heroic the conduct of our infantry, and so admirable the dispositions of Porter, that no troops could have carried the position. Late in the evening the enemy fell back, thoroughly beaten, with dreadful slaughter. So completely as he crushed and so great were his losses, that he has not since ventured to attack us.
Previously to the battle of Malvern I had fully consulted with Commodore Rodgers, and with him made a hasty reconnaissance of the positions on the river. The difficulty of passing our transports above City Point was so great that I determined to fall back upon the position now occupied by the army; a position, too, much less extensive than that of Malvern, and therefore permitting me to give the men the rest they so much needed. Accordingly the army fell back during the night of the 1st and 2nd of July, reaching this place at an early hour on the 2nd. On the 3rd the troops were placed essentially in their present positions.
To the calm judgment of history and the future I leave the task of pronouncing upon this movement, confident that its verdict will be that no such difficult movement was ever more successfully executed; that no army ever fought more repeatedly, heroically, and successfully against such great odds; that no men of any race ever displayed greater discipline, endurance, patience, and cheerfulness under such hardships.
My mind cannot coin expressions of thanks and admiration warm enough or intense enough to do justice to my feelings toward the army I am so proud to command. To my countrymen I confidently commit them, convinced they will ever honor every brave man who served during those seven historic days with the Army of the Potomac. Upon whatever field it may hereafter be called upon to act I ask that it may never lose its name, but may ever be known as "The Army of the Potomac," a name which it never has nor ever will disgrace.
It is not my purpose now to make mention of distinguished services. The names of those who deserve well of their country would swell this report to too great dimensions. I will simply call attention to the invaluable services rendered by the artillery, and say that its performances have fully justified my anticipations,and prove it to be our policy to cherish and increase that army of the service.
I cannot conclude this report without expressing my thanks to the gallant and accomplished Commodore John Rodgers for the valuable assistance rendered this army in various ways, but especially by the fire of a portion of the flotilla upon the flank of the enemy attacking Malvern Hill on the 30th of June and 1st of July. Their fire was excellent and produced very beneficial results.
I am, general, very, respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,
Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.