James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
and were driven back. At two oclock in the afternoon, Porter called for reënforcements and McClellan, who did not visit the field of battle that day but remained at the headquarters on the south side of the Chickahominy, sent a division of 9000 men to his support. Cool and collected as on parade,1 his tactics seemingly without defect even in the heat of the contest, Fitz-John Porter was everywhere inciting his officers and men to supreme efforts; he succeeded in repelling the assaults of nearly double his numbers, directed by the genius of Lee and Stonewall Jackson and led by the courage and determination of the Hills and Longstreet. Higher praise no general can receive than that which Lee and Jackson unconsciously gave Porter in their reports. The principal part of the Federal army was now on the north side of the Chickahominy, wrote Lee; both speak of the superior force of the enemy.2 All accounts agree as to the discipline and bravery of the soldiers of both armies. The impetuous attack of the Confederates may be described in the words that Jackson used of one of his regiments as an almost matchless display of daring and valor; he well characterized the defence as stubborn resistance and sullen obstinacy. George G. Meade and John F. Reynolds, commanders of brigades, made their mark that day.
From Lees statement, the principal part of the Federal army was now on the north side of the Chickahominy, the inference is clear that, had he been in McClellans place, he would have had it there. McClellans error was due to his overestimate of the Confederate force. Relying upon the report of the Chief of the Secret Service corps, he believed it