The Peninsula Movement to (and from) Savage's Station

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Nov 10, 2006
Check Heintzelman's journal, I find McClellan gave his commanders north of the White Oak definite positions to occupy the next day. They were:
  • Heintzelman's 3rd Corps to reoccupy their positions before the Oak Grove advance.
  • Sumner's 2nd Corps to form on Heintzelman's right and "thrown back a little"
  • Smith's division "extending around and beyond Dr. Trent's house".
Heintzelman promptly moved back around sunrise. Sumner didn't move, placing a 1200 yard gap in the Federal line. At 1100 Magruder put in a probing attack on Sumner, and was repulsed. Franklin sent a note to McClellan. The orders to Sumner to pull back were reiterated, and at 1400 he arrived at Savage's Station, far south of where he should have been and began arranging his lines, behind Heintzelman.

Heintzelman, finding his right flank was now hanging, ordered the troops back around 1430. Around 1600, having extracted themselves from in front of Sumner, began peeling off to move south. Of course, Magruder put another attack in on Sumner, and Sumner refused to withdraw. McClellan issued a sealed order placing him under arrest.

It seems McClellan had intended a much slower withdrawal than occurred. This probably explains why the wounded were captured, as Sumner was supposed to be blocking the route to the hospital at Trent's House, but he pulled back way beyond it, allowing it to be captured.