Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 2.djvu/224

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

While the Virginians were thus preparing to defend the Cheat river line, McClellan, having entered Virginia in person, was promising the Washington authorities, as early as June 23d, an attack which should turn the Confederate position. He had issued proclamations and called for abundant reinforcements; had stationed eleven companies on the railroad at Cheat river bridge, a regiment at Grafton, another at Clarksburg, another at Weston, six companies at Parkersburg, six companies at Wirt Court House, had four companies out against a Confederate reconnoissance, had ordered four regiments into the Kanawha valley, and besides all this, "of his active army fifty-one companies and one battery" were at Philippi, under General Morris, "amusing the enemy," while McClellan had with him at Buckhannon six entire regiments of infantry, six detached companies, two batteries and two companies of cavalry, and more than two regiments expected. He repeated on July 5th his promise to advance, adding that he expected to "repeat the movement of Cerro Gordo," and on July 6th he positively promised that his advance guard would move the next day. Official figures of the numerical strength of his army are lacking, but the statement just made from his reports sufficiently indicates its overwhelming character as compared with the troops waiting on the hills under command of Garnett.

General Garnett, a soldier of twenty years' experience in the United States army, had no false confidence in the strength of his position, and gave the government at Richmond no reason to expect anything but disaster if he should be attacked by the enemy in force. He did not greatly fear such an attack, as he believed McClellan had possession of as much of western Virginia as was desired. In this vein General Garnett wrote, and General Lee, in response, expressed his belief that McClellan would attack and endeavor to penetrate Virginia as far as Staunton, a project that Garnett's object should