War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0092 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXI.

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and, by securing to the army its transit to the James, left to the enemy a ruinous and barren victory.

The Army of the Potomac was first reduced by the withdrawal from my command of the division of General Blenker, which was ordered to the Mountain Department, under General Fremont. We had scarcely landed on the Peninsula when it was further reduced by a dispatch revoking a previous order giving me command of Fort Monroe, and under which I had expected to take 10,000 men from that point to aid in our operations. then, when under fire before the defenses of Yorktown, we received the news of the with drawl of General McDowell's corps of about 35,000 men. This completed the overthrow of the original plan of the campaign. About one-third of my entire army (five divisions out of fourteen, one of the nine remaining being but little larger than a brigade) was thus taken from me. Instead of a rapid advance, which I had planned, aided by a flank movement up the York River, it was only left to besiege Yorktown. That siege was successfully conducted by the army, and, when these strong works at length yielded to our approaches, the troops rushed forward to the sanguinary but successful battle of Williamsburg, and thus opened an almost unresisted advance to the banks of the Chickahominy. Richmond lay before them, surrounded with fortifications and guarded by an army larger than our own, but the prospect did not shake the courage of the brave men who composed my command. Relying still on the support shish the vastness of our undertaking and the grand results depending on our success seemed to insure us, we pressed forward. The weather was stormy beyond precedent; the deep soil of the Peninsula was at times one vast morass; the Chickahominy rose to a higher stage than had been known for years before. Pursuing the advance, the crossings were seized, and the right wing extended to effect a junction with re-enforcements now promised and earnestly desired, and upon the arrival of which the complete success of the campaign seemed clear. The brilliant battle of Hanover Court-House was fought, which opened the way for the First Corps, with the aid of which, had it come, we should then have gone into the enemy's capital. It never came. The bravest army could not do more under such overwhelming disappointment than the Army of the Potomac then did. Fair Oaks attests their courage and endurance when they hurled back again and again the vastly superior masses of the enemy. But mortal men could not accomplish the miracles that seemed to have been expected of them. But one course was left-a flank march in the face of a powerful enemy to another and better base-one of the most hazardous movements in war. The Army of the Potomac, holding its own safety and almost the safety of our cause in its hands, was equal to the occasion. The seven days are classical in American history-those days in which the noble soldiers of the Union and Constitution fought an outnumbering enemy by day and retreated from successive victories by night through a week of battle, closing the terrible series of conflicts with the ever memorable victory of Malvern, where they drove back, beaten and shattered, the entire eastern army of the Confederacy, and thus secured for themselves a place of rest and a point for a new advance upon the capital from the banks of the James. Richmond was still within our grasp had the Army of the Potomac been re-enforced and permitted to advance; but counsels which I cannot but think subsequent events proved unwise prevailed in Washington, and we were ordered to abandon the campaign. Never did soldiers better deserve the thanks of a nation