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1862 June 25: News from “Before” the Confederate Capital

June 26, 2012

From The Prescott Journal of June 25, 1862.

Our Army Before Richmond.



&c.,               &c.,               &c.

                         McCLELLAN’S HEADQUARTERS, June 14.

The rebels yesterday, after driving from Old Church a squadron of the 5th cavalry, proceeded to Garlick’s Landing, on the Pamunky river, about four miles above White House, and here they burned two schooners and some wagons, and drove off the mules.  Their conduct is represented as barbarous, having killed several of our teamsters without any necessity.  Those who failed to make their escape were taken prisoners.  From here they proceeded to Tunstall’s station, four miles from White House,1 with the view of burning a Railroad bridge.

A train which was passing down at the time was fired into, killing two and wounding several.  A Colonel belonging to the Excelsior Brigade was there taken prisoner, but succeeded in making his escape during the night; paymaster jumped from the train and hid himself in the woods until morning, leaving $125,000 in the cars.

The train never stooped, but passed on to White House.  After destroying telegraph wires, they proceeded to Ball’s Cross Roads, near New Kent, C. H., on the way to Richmond, crossing the Chickahominy between Bottoms bridge, Dawe’s river, at almost 2 o’clock this morning.

The force that accomplished this was composed of 1,600 cavalry and six pieces of artillery, under Gen. Stewart [sic],2 most of whom were residents of this locality and knew the roads.  At Old Church the rebels had in reserve six regiments of infantry with artillery.  As soon as these facts were known pursuit by cavalry was immediately ordered, but the enemy having too much of a start, only five were captured.  Several arrests have been made to-day of citizens within our lines, on the supposition of their giving information to the enemy.



NEW YORK June 19.

A report from Richmond direct, states that the rebels estimated the army of Richmond at 180,000 men.  It cannot amount to less than 150,000, and that though largely made up of conscripts, is well disciplined and effective, and has undoubted confidence in Gen. Joe Johnston [Joseph E. Johnston].  The rebel solders still believe that the tide will be turned against Gen. McClellan [George B. McClellan, and then war will be carried across the Potomac into Maryland and the north.  The army of Johnston is constantly receiving reinforcements, and he at least expects to hold our army in check until the impatience of England and France in reference to Southern cotton and tobacco shall result in bringing those nations to the rescue.

The rebels still incline to the delusion that their rebel armies have only temporarily abandoned such places as New Orleans, Norfolk, Nashville, and Memphis, and no doubt will until the veil is lifted from their eyes with our occupation of Richmond.

The rebel leaders are aware, however, that all their deceptions of military strategy will be exposed with the loss of Richmond, and hence their desperate efforts and labors to hold it.  They can never explain their retreat from, or defeat at Richmond.

1.  This refers to the community of White House, in New Kent County, Virginia, on the south shore of the Pamunkey River.
2.  J.E.B. Stuart.  General Robert E. Lee requested that Stuart determine whether the Union army’s right flank was vulnerable and Stuart had just set out on June 12 with 1,200 troops. His men met no serious opposition from the Union cavalry, which coincidentally was commanded by his father-in-law, Colonel Philip St. George Cooke.

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