Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2, 1862 (Wednesday): Aftermath

Harrison's Landing (

BERKELEY, HARRISON'S BAR, July 2, 1862-5.30 p.m.
(Via Fort Monroe, June 3, 10.40 a.m.)
President of the United States:
    I have succeeded in getting this army to this place on the banks of the James River. I have lost but one gun, which had to be abandoned last night because it broke down. An hour and a half ago the rear of the wagons train was within a mile of camp, and only one wagon abandoned. As usual, we had a severe battle yesterday and beat the enemy badly, the men fighting even better than before. We fell back to this position during the night and morning. Officers and men thoroughly worn-out by fighting every day and working every night for a week. They are in good spirits, and after a little rest will fight better than ever. If not attacked during this day I will have the men ready to repulse the enemy to-morrow. General Ferry is here. Our losses have been very heavy, for we have fought every day since last Tuesday. I have not yielded an inch of ground unnecessarily, but have retired to prevent the superior force of the enemy from cutting me off and to take a different base of operations.
    I thank you for the re-enforcements. Every 1,000 men you send at once will held me much.


July 2, 1862
General PENDLETON, Commanding Artillery:
    DEAR GENERAL: I am just in from night's battle-field, and left General Lee at 12 o'clock last night. We suffered severe loss in artillery horses in Lee's artillery, Magruder's command. The general directed me to send out artillery horses to-day, but I deem it best to advise you of the state of things, and suggest respectfully if it would not be better to send up fresh artillery to relieve Colonel Lee's companies that [suffered] so much yesterday, until they can draw new horses and refit. If I send a lot of unbroken horses over the crowded roads to hunt a division in our army at present, it will be nine to one if they reach their destination in two days.
    I would further remark that General Longstreet ordered up last night the Washington Artillery, to be in position this morning. They are all fresh, not having yet been in.  Please let me have your views by the courier.
    Very respectfully, yours,

Major and Inspector of Transportation.

We had a heavy battle yesterday with heavy loss, without fruit.

A. H. C.

Official Records Series I., Vol. 3, Part 1 (various).

The day after Malvern Hill saw McClellan's army retreating to Harrison's Landing and Lee's badly used up.  Cole's statement "nine to one if they reach their destination in two days" sums up the difficulties attached to a Confederate pursuit.  On the Union side there were no doubt many in the ranks who, having seen the repulse of the rebels at Malvern Hill, must have wondered why they were retreating to begin with.


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