Page:History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 2.djvu/116

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than 150,00 men, had, at last, when the patience of the Administration and the country was exhausted, started by the longest possible route for Richmond. Moving, about the first of April, by way of the Potomac and Fortress Monroe, McClellan laid siege to Yorktown, and by the 24th of May reached the Chickahominy, within striking distance of the Confederate Army, 50,000 strong, under General J. E. Johnson, guarding the roads to Richmond. McClellan’s army now numbered about 110,000 effective men. Two corps were sent across the river, taking positions at Seven Pines and Fair Oaks, from “Seven Days’ Battles,” in which McClellan lost nearly 20,000 men in killed, wounded and prisoners, and retreated to the protection of our gun boats on the James River. This ended the most disastrous campaign of the war. Another large army was hastily gathered in Virginia to interpose between General Lee, now commanding the Confederate forces, and Washington. General Pope was called from the West and placed in command of the Union Army. After fighting several battles, he was defeated with heavy loss and his army driven into the intrenchments on the south bank of the Potomac, which defended Washington. His losses during the campaign were more than 15,000 men. Three great armies, equipped with all of the best modern appliances of war, had within little more than a year, under the distinguished commanders, attempted to crush the Rebel armies of Virginia, and capture Richmond. All had been disastrously defeated and General Lee was preparing to cross the Potomac and invade the North. More than half a million men had left their northern homes and entered the Union armies to crush the Rebellion; nearly 100,000 of them had perished in battle and of disease, or were disabled by wounds or sickness, or languished in loathsome prisons. No progress had been made against the great central armies of the Confed-