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hominy was from forty to fifty miles, and the army was about two weeks in moving that distance."
When Gen. Johnston arrived before Richmond, that city, as we have seen, was threatened from several directions. McClellan was before it with a force of all arms, not far short of 150,000 strong; McDowell was at Fredericksburg with an army of 30,000; Banks in the lower Valley with 16,000; and Fremont making way into the upper Valley with 15,000 men. The entire force of Johnston, near and distant, including Jackson and Ewell, did not much exceed 60,000 fit for duty; of whom rather more than 50,000 were immediately with him. It was of the utmost importance that a diversion should be created by which the auxiliary armies not yet with McClellan should be occupied and detained at a distance. For this purpose Johnston had some time before given an order to Gen. Jackson to enıploy his discretion as to the manner of best accomplishing the object, but to keep the Washington authorities in such alarm by his operations in the Valley for the safety of their capital, as to fix as considerable a number as possible of Federal troops within call of that city, and prevent their coming to McClellan. It has been abundantly stated elsewhere with what consummate skill and success this service was performed by Jackson ; but Johnston's share in the glories of this campaign, as its author, although popularly overlooked, is none the less to be recognized in the just text of history. These glories are ample enough for distribution, and, after the sovereign chaplet is gathered for Jackson, “the Sword of the Confederacy,” there is enough to adorn the genius of Johnston that also shone in the splendid story, and claims a portion of its honours.
An opportunity soon occurred, notwithstanding the excessive caution of McClellan, for Johnston himself to strike an important blow. In choosing the Pamunkey river as his base of action against Richmond, McClellan had thrown himself upon a field of operations which was divided from his base by the Chickahominy, a river of peculiarly difficult passage for military purposes, being flanked by wide marshes covered with thick smallgrowth. In bringing his army before the lines which defended the city, he had by the 30th May thrown two of his corps—those of Keyes and Heintzelman-over upon the right bank of the river, while his three remaining corps were still on the left bank.
For the passage of one of these corps, that of Sumner, two bridges had been constructed; and there was no practicable means by which the other two corps could effect the crossing except by a détour of twenty-three miles.
The opportunity thus presented was not lost by Johnston. He issued orders on the 30th for a battle on the next day. Huger was to assail the enemy on his left flank; Longstreet and D. H. Hill in front, and G. W. Smith on the right flank. But Longstreet and Hill were not to move until Huger should have got into position; and G. W. Smith's movements, after getting into position, were to be contingent upon Longstreet’s. A heavy rain fell on the night of the 30th, which Johnston regarded as highly favourable, as tending to assure the impracticability of reinforcements being sent to the enemy from across the river; though, by swelling the smaller streams and softening the earth, it materially impeded the movement of his own columns.
On the 31st the attack was accordingly made; but made after a delay of several hours. Gen. Huger was prevented by high water from reaching the position assigned him; and Longstreet and Hill, after waiting several hours for his arrival as their signal for action, moved upon the enemy's position without it. Though the flank movement failed to be made, the front one was as successful as gallant, and the enemy's positions were carried with heavy loss to them. The delay of the attack in front had postponed Smith's movement npon the enemy's right flank until the afternoon. It was then made, but was robbed of its results by the arrival from beyond the river of a part of Sumner's corps, that had crossed on one of the bridges already mentioned; the other having been swept away by the swollen waters of the Chickahominy. Thus a victory was won, but the two corps were not destroyed, and so the object of the engagement failed. The behaviour of the Confederate troops was excellent. McClellan reported his loss at somewhat less than 6,000, but it was nearer ten thousand. The Confederate loss was four thousand; but among the dangerously wounded was Gen. Johnston himself, who was struck by the fragment of a shell upon the chest, which broke several ribs, severely contused the lungs, and disabled him for more than twelve months.
The action of the 31st was known as the Battle of Seven
Pines, and was the last which Gen. Johnston was permitted to fight on the soil of his native State. Himself it cost dearly. It cost him his health and bodily strength for more than a year, during part of which time he took upon himself the labour of responsible service. It cost him what he prized far more than health, for he lost the command of the Army of Northern Virginia, to the formation of which he had devoted the most earnest labours of his life.
Gen. Johnston's designs against McClellan.---Why he considered his wound fortun
ate for the Confederacy.-Anecdote of a dinner-party in Richmond.-Gen. Johnston's mission to the West.—True nature of his appointment and powers.Rather a Local Secretary of War than a Commanding-General.-Interesting conference between Gen. Johnston and Secretary Randolph.--He proposes to make one military department of the whole Mississippi Valley.-Gen. Johnston's visit to Bragg's Army.-The defence of Vicksburg.-Antecedents of Gen. Pemberton.-Detailed account of the correspondence and relations between Gens. Johnston and Pemberton.-Gen. Johnston's orders twice disobeyed. His last order, “Hold out," as involving the fate of the Confederacy.-Surrender of Vicksburg, and its train of consequences to the close of the war.
It had been Gen. Johnston's intention to follow up the advantage gained on the 31st May by continuous attack upon the portion of McClellan's army on the right bank of the Chickahominy, giving him no time to intrench. From the experiment made, it had been found that the Confederate troops were in admirable temper for aggressive measures; and that the enemy, just arrived amid strange scenes and in an exposed position, were in a mood very favourable for being beaten. It would scarcely have been practicable for the Federal General-in-chief to send reinforcements across the swollen Chickahominy as rapidly as they would have been required. But dispatch was of the essence of success to Johnston's plans; and his untimely fall brought the campaign which he had so vigorously initiated to an abrupt termination. In the few days of delay incident to a change in the chief command, McClellan had consolidated his army, and placed it beyond danger from assault in detail. He set himself again about his “regular approaches,” in which he was not molested, and from which he was not driven, until a month later, when those brilliant offensive operations occurred, under Lee and his Lieutenants, which will forever shed lustre upon the arms of the Confederacy.
These notable operations were rendered practicable by a rapid concentration of troops in Richmond from all parts of the country; which was effected during the month of June, and which began immediately after the Battle of Seven Pines. A friend who came to Richmond on receiving intelligence of Johnston's injury, and who attended him at his bedside, told him of the activity he had observed on his way, in the movement of troops towards Richmond. Johnston's countenance immediately lighted up with pleasure. “Then,” said hé, “my wound was fortunate; it is the concentration which I earnestly recommended, but had not the influence to effect. Lee has made them do for him what they would not do for me."
It was notorious in the Confederacy that President Davis had conceived a strong dislike of Gen. Johnston. The sturdy independence of the latter, his utter disdain of all personal intermediations, were not to the President's taste; the vigour and mathematical precision of his language had more than once got the better of Mr. Davis' high-flown rhetoric and wounded his vanity; and his severe reprehension of official pragmatism and weakness in Richmond had drawn upon him all the malicious and intriguant spirit then resident in the Confederate capital.
the battle of Seven Pines. “I chanced,” relates this curious and communicative individual, 5 to be invited to a dinnerparty, where some twenty of the most prominent members of the two houses of the Confederate Congress were congregated, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Orr, of South Carolina, and others of equal rank. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was also an invited guest. While the banquet was proceeding, Mr. Benjamin’s gross acts of official misconduct becoming the subject of conversation, one of the company turned to Gen. Johnston, and inquired whether he thought it even possible that the Confederate cause could succeed with Mr. Benjamin as war minister. To this inquiry, Gen. Johnston, after a little pause, emphatically responded in the negative. This high authority was immediately cited in both houses of Congress against Mr. Benjamin, and was in the end fatal to his hopes of remaining in the Department of War.”
The unfortunate wound of Gen. Johnston withdrew him for