It was during our halt previous to marching to Brick House
, when, as we have remarked, comrades of the Eighteenth and Twenty-second Massachusetts were in our camp, that McClellan
's main army in its advance from Yorktown
had reached a point near Roper's Church on the Williamsburg
These men belonged to Gen. Porter
's Corps (Fifth), which, with the corps of Generals Sumner
(Sixth), was to form the right wing and to proceed by the way of Cumberland
and of Whitehouse
on the Pamunkey
, striking the Chickahominy
at New Bridge
, while the left wing, consisting of the corps of Heintzelman
, kept the Richmond
road to Bottom's Bridge farther down the Chickahominy Swamp
During the next eight or nine days the advance guards reached these points, May 16, 17, 1862.
The First Division of the Sixth Corps, consisting of twelve regiments of infantry, a regiment of cavalry and four batteries, one of which was the First Massachusetts, about the 17th of May was passing Whitehouse
, hard by the landing which was to be our depot of supplies until the change of base.
Those in the column who were familiar with the story of Martha Custis
's wooing, doubtless looked with interest upon the weatherworn and decaying building; but we fancy that a livelier attraction for the mass of the boys as they moved by in column, presented itself in a unique group of children, perched upon the fence in front of the mansion; the little elves actually had red, curly hair, along with mulatto features and complexion.
Here was a strange phase of physical evolution occurring amid the direful revolution of the social system which produced these little creatures.
Our next camp was in the vicinity of Cold Harbor.
The boys can see it now: a tract of ground sloping northerly from the road down to a swamp, in the edge of which was a spring; stunted pines grew here and there in a sterile soil.
Two years leatr we struck the same ground and spent the night there.
We thus anticipate, for comrades noticed the coincidence in 1864.
By the 20th or 21st of May we had advanced to Gaines' Farm
This place is nearly due west of Cold Harbor, on a broken plateau between the bottom lands of the Chickahominy
; it lies east of north from Richmond
, on the road