[Richmond Daily Dispatch, July 1, 1862]
The great battle.
Continuation of the fight.
successful Engagement of Magruder.
the enemy still retreating.
&c., &c., &c.
Continuation of the fight.
successful Engagement of Magruder.
the enemy still retreating.
&c., &c., &c.
The intelligent reader will understand, and perhaps appreciate, the difficulties attending an accurate compilation of all the incidents connected with the operations of the armies around Richmond for the past five days. It is almost impossible to afford in detail descriptions of the several engagements which have shed such imperishable lustre upon the arms of the Confederacy, and which have finally resulted in the overthrow, complete and disgraceful, of the hosts marshaled under the banner of subjugation.
|Maj. Gen. J. Bankhead Magruder|
(CDV, M.D. Jones Collection)
Our loss is heavy, both in officers and men. The soil of Virginia, the grand old mother of States is enriched with the best blood of her suffering Southern sisters, and from every State of the Confederacy the martyrs of liberty have united in pouring out the crimson tide as a rich and imperishable libation upon the altar of the one great common cause.--There is no discrimination to be made between the gallant men who constitute the most magnificent army that was ever arrayed in combat. As sons of the Confederacy they fought, and as sons of the Confederacy they conquered. If one corps distinguished itself more than another in this, the greatest battle ever fought on this continent, it was on account of its position on the field.
Our reports thus far published are up to Saturday evening. Sunday skirmishing began at an early hour and continued through the day at different points along the line. The great battle of the day, however, took place in the evening near the York River railroad, some three miles from the battle field of the "Seven Pines."Gen. Magruder commenced the attack about four o'clock, by advancing upon the Yankee entrenchments. The first line was taken after a sharp conflict and the enemy driven to another. Waiting only long enough to get the artillery in position this also was stormed, and so on until seven forts had been occupied, the Yankees fleeing from each in wild confusion. The firing continued until 10 o'clock in the night, when the battle ceased. In this brilliant fight the men of Gen. Magruder's division won great honor and maintained the fighting reputation given them on the Peninsula. The Yankees fought desperately and contested the ground closely, but they could not stand the fierce charges made upon them. The loss was heavy to the enemy, one hundred and seventy-five Yankees were laid dead upon the field, and eight hundred prisoners were taken. Our loss was not heavy, although many a good man was injured.
The advance of our men upon the enemy is described by an eye-witness as exciting in the extreme. From one fortification to another they rushed with an impetuosity that could not be checked. In their advance several magazines were exploded and an immense quantity of stores destroyed. Arms, baggage, overcoats, knapsacks, caps, and h cks, were scattered along the route in profusion. The latest accounts of yesterday represent the Yankee army cut in twain and trying to escape towards the James. After destroying the railroad and telegraph lines and driving the Yankees this side the Chickahominy, Jackson also crossed and is now pressing hard upon them. Yesterday it was said that Generals Long street and Hill were in position in Charles City, and that the last avenue of escape for the "grand army" is cut off. Gen Magruder had gone down to reinforce Gen. Longstreet to assist in checking the retreat, while Jackson and others are steadily driving them on. The only alternative is a heavy fight the James river or an unconditional surrender of McClellan's army.
While Magruder was thus successfully "pushing the enemy to the wall" on the south side of the Chickabominy, the redoubtable Stuart was not less successful in frustrating the plans of the young Napoleon on the north side. Dashing down to the White House, on the Pamunkey, he succeeded in bagging about 2,500 of the grand Union army at that point. A number of these were brought to the city during the day yesterday, and the others we understand, are on route hither. Of this number, there is a large sprinkling of the foreign element, representatives some of them of the "Green Isle of Erin," and' others of the German "Faderland."
Of operations yesterday there is little to be said. They were not destitute of importance, however and their results were of a serious nature to the enemy. The "folds of the anaconda are tightening around him." and it is very evident that the "backbone" of the rebellion has been greatly strengthened. There was some fighting, it is true, resulting more from efforts of the foe to cover his retreat than from any concerted plan for a regular fight. We think it will require greater genius than even McClellan possesses to relieve the invading force from its present unpleasant predicament.
Our troops are still pressing upon the retreating foe, who seems to be effectually demoralized, espcially those constituting the rear of the army.--They are to be seen wandering in every direction through the dense woods near, the Chickahominy, without guns or knapsacks, and many of them without hats, which indicates a thorough state of confusion among them. As an evidence of this we may state the fact that Dr. Thomas Carpenter and two companions succeeded in gathering up upwards of fifty, who, without any organization, were wandering about in apparent bewilderment. Other parties were similarly captured, and during the day small squads of a dozen or more were continually arriving in the city.
During the day, a portion of the cavalry of Gen. Stuart captured and destroyed several transports on the Pamunkey river near West Point. Thus are the means of escape for the enemy being cut off; so that, in any view of the case, there seems to be little probability of their getting off in force.
Early in the day it was stated, with some degree of plausibility, that the forces of Gen. Jackson had succeeded in bagging some forty-five hundred of the enemy; and although we have no positive confirmation of the statement, we are inclined to think it correct in the main. Certain it is, that the vigilance of that distinguished officer, as manifested in his Valley campaign, has not been in the least relaxed in his operations on the Chickahominy.
The enemy fleeing down the River.
At a late hour last night the following dispatch was received from Petersburg, giving further details of the escape of the Yankees. It is highly probable that a portion of the Yankee army may succeed in effecting an escape, but a very large portion of it must fall into our hands:
Petersburg,June 30.--A courier from Bermuda Hundreds, at 6 o'clock, reports that a portion of the Federals have been driven to the river, where, under cover of their gunboats, they are endeavoring to embark. Four transports have passed down the river heavily loaded. Our field pieces on the Chesterfield side engaged the gunboats and poured "hot fire" into them. The gunboats dropped down to Turkey Island, followed by our field pieces. The enemy were fleeing down the river bank, hotly pursued by our troops, and were falling thick and fast at last accounts. The firing was incessant.
In our report of the engagement of Gen. Magruder on Sundayafternoon, as published yesterday, we noticed the capture of Col. Lamar, of Georgia, after receiving a severe wound. We are gratified to be able to state that the gallant Colonel was yesterday recaptured and brought to this city. In addition, some two hundred Yankees were taken at the same point.
The gallant dead.
We learn with much regret that Major Austin E. Smith, of Gen. Whiting's staff, died on Sunday last in this city from the effects of a wound received on Friday, while gallantly leading an assault against one of the enemy's heavy batteries. He was disabled by a fragment of shell which struck him in the shoulder, and amputation was subsequently resorted to, but he died shortly afterwards. Major S. (who was a son of ex-Governor Smith,) occupied the position of Navy Agent in San Francisco under Buchanan's Administration. He left California for Virginia after the State seceded, was arrested in New York and thrown into Fort Warren, where he remained until his exchange was effected. Since his return to Virginia he has been among the most active in the defence of his native soil.
Horrors of War.
In addition to several hundred Confederate soldiers who lay wounded on the battle field yesterday, and of whose situation notice was given the Government authorities, there remained at a point one and a half miles from Dr. Gaines's farm, the scene of the former conflict, (which is the same distance beyond New Bridge,) where a Hospital had been established, 200 badly wounded Yankee prisoners, like our own soldiers, without a guard, no parties to wait on them or provisions to eat. Four of their own Surgeons attended them.--Sixty of their dead lay unburied in their midst, and the stench had begun to be awful. All of them were suffering greatly for want of help. A short distance from the above Hospital was a collection of our own wounded, quite as bad off as we have previously said.
A Yankee Colonel.
Col. Brewster, of the 73d New York regiment arrived in the city yesterday afternoon under military escort. The Colonel is rather a good looking man, and is doubtless a good officer, from the fact that he has made his way to the capital of the Confederacy a few hours in advance of his illustrious Commander-in-Chief.
The Ubiquitous Jackson!--where is he?
A citizen of Richmond was conversing with two wounded Federal officers on a train coming from the battle-field, when one of the latter remarked that McClellan was fully aware of all the movements of the Confederates--that nothing transpired on our lines of which he was not immediately informed. "Ah." said the citizen, "perhaps then you can tell me where Stonewall Jackson is at present.""Oh, yes," replied the Federal, "he is in the Valley, and has been largely reinforced." "Indeed," was the rejoinder; "now what would you say if I was to tell you that Stonewall is now in the rear of your army on the Chickahominy, with a fair prospect of giving McClellan a worse rout than he gave Banks on the Shenandoah?" The Federal started as if he had received another shock from a bomb-shell, and at once subsided into silence.