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This untoward event rendered it necessary to find a new commander for the army without loss of time. General Lee had returned some time before from the South, and to him all eyes were turned. He had had no opportunity to display his abilities upon a conspicuous theatre--the sole command he had been intrusted with, that in trans-Alleghany Virginia, could scarcely be called a real command--and he owed his elevation now to the place vacated by General Johnston, rather to his services performed in the old army of the United States, than to any 54 thing he had effected in the war of the Confederacy.
The resolute spirit of Mrs. Lee is indicated by an incident which followed. She took refuge with her daughters in a friend's house near Richmond, and, when a Federal officer was sent to search the house, 56 handed to him a paper addressed to "the general in command," in which she wrote: "Sir: I have patiently and humbly submitted to the search of my house, by men under your command, who are satisfied that there is nothing here which they want. All the plate and other valuables have long since been removed to Richmond, and are now beyond the reach of any Northern marauders who may wish for their possession.
On the Confederate right, near "Seven Pines," the Federal line was broken and forced back; but, on the left, at Fair Oaks Station, the Confederates, in turn, were repulsed. Night fell upon a field where neither side could claim the victory. The most that could be claimed by the Southerners was that McClellan had received a severe check; and they sustained a great misfortune in the wound received by General Johnston. He was struck by a fragment of shell while superintending the attack at Fair Oaks, and the nature of his wound rendered it impossible for him to retain command of the army.