Moving on

The Union army retreated to Westover, on the James River, which allowed the Confederates to claim victory in the 1862 Seven Days battles, despite their July 1 defeat at Malvern Hill.

Both sides spent the next few weeks recovering. Gen. Lee reorganized the AoNV’s leadership, sending Gen. Magruder to Galveston, Texas, and putting Gen. Lafayette McLaws in his place as division commander over Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade and three others. As McLaws told his son in a letter, according to the 2002 history A Soldier’s General, by John C. Oeffinger:

“After every great battle there is always a long silence. Both parties are in a great measure exhausted and retire to recuperate their strength. Our army was very much worn out by the week of continued exertion against the enemy, but we had been victorious and therefore were only fatigued, we only required rest.”

Perhaps because he was writing a child, McLaws never mentioned the Rebel demoralization noted by others.

The Saturday after the Tuesday, July 1, battle, the 13th “moved all the sick that were in the camp on the York River R.R., up to the wagon yards at the Fairfield Racetracks near Richmond,” quartermaster clerk William H. Hill recorded in his diary.

The following Wednesday, July 9, Hill said the regiment moved back from Malvern Hill to their old camp along the railroad where they heard preaching on July 13 by their new chaplain, Thomas Sterling West. The next day they marched to the racetracks near Richmond to be reviewed late in the afternoon by their new division commander Gen. McLaws.

And all this time, the effects of Malvern Hill were still being felt by all. As Hill noted in his diary: “The wounded are dying very fast.”

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About Dick Stanley

Retired Texas daily newspaperman
This entry was posted in Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade, Battles: Malvern Hill, Battles: The Seven Days, The Commanders, William H. Hill Diary and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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