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By Ted Ballard

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41–45. Page 32 combined with Jackson for a movement against Washington.  Thus a Confederate army of fifty thousand confronted the Union hundred thousand.  At Norfolk on the south side of the James was Benjamin Huger with perhaps ten thousand men.  Smith commanded the reserve.  Then he would advance on Richmond.  448.  Longstreet had been entirely right in his prediction that McClellan would do nothing before the first of May.  Longstreet found himself in the rear of the retreat.  It thus became necessary for Longstreet to halt and hold off the pursuers until that groaning, creaking, mud­covered caravan of farm wagons conveying the Confederate stores was out of danger.

The latter plan recommended itself to him particularly, since it would involve a shorter land passage and fewer streams to cross, but it did not meet with the approval of Lincoln, who viewed with concern the fact that the removal of the Union army to Hampton would leave Washington open to attack by the Confederates.  And on the rock of this provision the campaign foundered.  There he would be in condition to move quickly if the Unionists should decide to come down the line of central Virginia to Culpeper, or to repair to the defense of Richmond if the capital were threatened from the east.

Longstreet had been entirely right in his prediction that McClellan would do nothing before the first of May.  Longstreet found himself in the rear of the retreat.  It thus became necessary for Longstreet to halt and hold off the pursuers until that groaning, creaking, mud­covered caravan of farm wagons conveying the Confederate stores was out of danger.  The Peninsula is eight miles wide here but the ground near the York is very broken; thus the actual defensive line was not so wide as might be supposed.

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