« EelmineJätka »
THE WAR IN VIRGINIA.
Port Hudson and Vicksburg were now the only important fortified points on the Mississippi still held by the Confederates. If they could be taken, the great river of the West would once more be open from its source to the sea. But both Port Hudson and Vicksburg stood on immensely high bluffs, out of the reach of the guns of the war-vessels, so that it would be exceedingly difficult, if not indeed absolutely impossible, to capture them by an attack from the river alone. For this reason an expedition against them had to be put off until a land force, as well as one by water, could be sent to make the attack.2
333. The War in Virginia ; McClellan's Advance on Richmond; the Peninsular Campaign; the Weather. — Before
Farragut had taken New Mechanicsville
Orleans, General MCClellan with one hundred thousand men, leaving about as many to defend Washington, had begun
an advance on RichJektrom, Bridge
mond from Fortress Monroe. His plan was
to march up the Peninb F Darling
sula — as the Virginians Harrison
call the long and rather narrow strip of land between the James and York rivers. The Con
federates did everything TO
in their power to check
his advance at Yorktown and Williamsburg, and, later, at Seven Pines and Fair
i The banks of the river at Port Hudson and Vicksburg are about two hundred feet high.
2 Captain Farragut, after taking New Orleans, went up the river, captured Baton Rouge and Natchez, and attempted, but in vain, to take Vicksburg. He was now made rear-admiral.
Oaks. Meanwhile heavy rains compelled McClellan's army to wade, rather than march, forward through mud and water. To increase his difficulties the Chickahominy River had overflowed its banks; and as part of his army was on one side of it and part on the other, they could not act together to advantage ; in fact, both parts were foundering about for weeks in a swamp, spending much of their time in building roads and bridges, and fighting the weather rather than the enemy. An immense number of men were lost by sickness.
334. “Stonewall" Jackson's Raid ; Stuart's Raid ; Results of the Peninsular Campaign. — Early in June (1862) General Leel took command of the Confederate forces. He sent “Stonewall” Jackson to drive General Banks' Union army out of the Shenandoah Valley, in Western Virginia, and make the authorities in Washington think that the capital was in danger of immediate attack.
Banks and his nine thousand men had to run for their lives to the Potomac to escape “Stonewall” with his seventeen thousand. Then Lee sent General Stuart out with a dashing body of cavalry to see what mischief they could do. They rode clear round McClellan's army, tore up the railroads, burned car-loads of provisions, and made matters very awkward and uncomfortable for that general.
From June 25 to July 1 (1862), Lee and McClellan were engaged in a number of desperate fights around Richmond, known as the “Seven Days' Battles" ;4 they ended in the retreat of the Union forces to James River, and McClellan and his army soon after returned to the neighborhood of Washington. Fifteen
1 See Paragraph 321, note 3.
2 General Joseph E. Johnston had been in command since the battle of Bull Run, July, 1861. He was wounded at the battle of Seven Pines, May 31, 1862, and Lee then took command.
3 See page 293, note 1. 4 In the last of these battles, that at Malvern Hill, Lee's forces were driven back with heavy loss. During the Peninsular campaign the armies of Frémont, Banks, and McDowell were united under the name of the Army of Virginia, and the command of this force was given to General Pope, who had been successful in the West
THE SECOND BATTLE OF BULL RUN.
thousand men had been lost on each side, but nothing decisive had been accomplished. The Union army had been within sight of the spires of the Confederate capital, and of the wooden or
Quaker guns” which helped to guard it. Once the alarm there was so great that a niece of Jefferson Davis wrote to a friend, “Uncle Jeff thinks we had better go to a safer place than Richmond.” On the other hand, President Lincoln called for additional volunteers; and new forces, shouting, “We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more," began to go forward to the aid of the government.
335. The Second Battle of Bull Run; Lee's Advance across the Potomac; Battle of Antietam. Near the last of August (1862), the second battle of Bull Run was fought between “Stonewall” Jackson and General Pope. Jackson had the advantage in numbers. He completely defeated Pope, and sent him whirling back to the fortifications at Washington.
Not long after, Lee crossed the Potomac above Washington, his men singing exultingly, “Maryland, my Maryland.” Lee believed that thousands of the Maryland people would welcome him as their deliverer, and would join him in a march against Philadelphia. In this he was sorely mistaken. In the middle of September, “Stonewall” Jackson captured Harper's Ferry, and thus obtained a quantity of arms and some provisions. McClellan now advanced to meet Lee. At Antietam Creek (or Sharpsburg) one of the bloodiest battles of the war was fought (September 17, 1862); and the bodies of the "boys in blue" and of the "boys in gray" lay in ranks like swaths of grass cut by the scythe. The result of
1 One of the humorous features of the war was the use of wooden cannon by the Confederates in their fortifications at Manassas, Richmond, and elsewhere. It was some time before the Union army found out this clever trick of the “ Quaker guns," which, as a contraband" said, were “just as good to scare with as any others."
2 Antietam (An-tee'tam). 8 Union forces at Antietam, 55,000 (of which it is said only about 30,000 were actually engaged in the battle); Confederates, 40,000. Loss nearly 13,000 on each side. Authorities differ about the strength of the two armies. “Loss" in all these cases is understood to include wounded as well as killed.