Page:Boissonnas, Un Vaincu, English, 1875.djvu/76

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CHAPTER NINE - LEE, COMMANDER IN CHIEF
COLD HARBOR - THE SEVEN DAY FIGHTING

It was on the 31st of May, 1862 that the Confederate Army, commanded by General Johnson was able to set forth and march towards the firing line. It′s organization was far from being completed. The very morning of the first encounter, General Lee was still dispatching to the army the company of cavalry which was going to prove itself very useful. It numbered 300 men, and so great was the lack of armaments that it had been necessary to give them rifles of seven different models.

Stopped several times by deluging rains that had turned the region into an immense swamp, General McClellan was arriving too late to surprise Richmond.

However incomplete it was, Johnson′s army was, nevertheless, an obstacle with which one had to reckon. The first clash took place at Fair Oaks.[1] During the whole day, the efforts and the skill of McClellan failed against the steadiness of the Southerners. Near the evening, General Johnson was seriously wounded by a shell burst. He had to be taken away from the battlefield ; and his disappearance at the most crucial time of the action caused a disorder, then a

movement of retreat on the left. There was not a minute to


  1. Fair Oaks is the name adopted by the North. The South called it Seven Pines.