Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Yorktown Evacuated


Gen. McClellan Pursues the Fugitives.

WASHINGTON, Sunday Noon, May 4. – The following report is just received from Fortress Monroe:

Yorktown was evacuated last night. We now occupy the enemy’s works. They left a large amount of camp equipage and guns which they could not destroy for fear of being seen.

Headquarters of the Army of the Potomac
May 4th 1862

TO HON. E. M. STANTON, Sec’y of War:

We have ramparts, guns, ammunition, camp equipage, &c. We hold the entire rebel works which our engineers report very strong. I have thrown all my cavalry and horse artillery in pursuit supported by infantry. I move Franklin’s Division and as much more as can be transported by water, to West Point to-day. No time shall be lost. The gunboats have gone up the York River.

Gloucester is also in our possession. I shall push the enemy to the wall.

(Signed.) G. B. McCLELLAN

Several deserters have come into our lines. – One states that the rebels evacuated owing to the near approach of our parallels – that they feared the success of our gunboats in York and James Rivers which would cut off their communications.

Gen. Johnson gave orders on Thursday to evacuate – to commence the following morning, which was done.

Magruder is said to have strenuously opposed the evacuation saying if they could not whip the Federals here they could not anywhere in Virginia.

Deserters agree that their troops were much demoralized and disheartened when orders to evacuate was [sic] given as all anticipated a fight there.

The rebels had 100,000 men on the Peninsula, also 400 pieces of field artillery.

Gen. Lee, rebel Commander in Chief arrived at Yorktown on Wednesday and examined McClellan’s works minutely after which it is suppose he recommended evacuation, deeming his works impregnable.

It is believed the rebels have fallen back on Chickahominy creek beyond Williamsburgh where it is expected they will make a stand.

Gen. Stoneman’s command, a large force of cavalry and artillery is pursuing the enemy and have probably come up with their rear guard if they remain near Williamsburg.

The gunboats have passed Yorktown and are now shelling the shores on their way up the river following them are a number of vessels loaded with troops to effect a landing.

An official report just received says the enemy left 71 guns in the works at Gloucester Point – guns and ordnance stores were also left.

Deserters just come in report that Jeff Davis came with Lee Wednesday and after consultation with prominent officers all agreed to evacuation except Magruder.

From the army correspondent of the Associated Press at Yorktown:

The enemy’s entire works were occupied at 5 p.m., which their rear deserted four hours before. Everything was found in utter confusion.

About fifty pieces of heavy artillery were spiked. Also found a large amount of medical stores, ammunition, camp equipage and private property. Officers say the rebels threw a large amount of ordnance stores into the river.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, May 10, 1862, p. 4

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