previous next
[142] prisoners, including wounded, one 12-pound howitzer, many small arms, two railroad trains, and their camp at Hanover Court House captured and destroyed. We lost 53 killed and 344 wounded. The Rebel force thus defeated consisted of Gen. L. O'B. Branch's division of North Carolina and Georgia troops, supposed by Gen. McClellan to be 9,000 strong.

The Chickahominy, opposite Richmond, 20 to 30 miles from its mouth, is a sluggish, oozy mill-stream, three to four rods wide, often fordable, but traversing a swampy, miry bottom, generally wooded, half a mile to a mile wide, bordered by low, irregular bluffs. All the bridges by which it was previously crossed were of course destroyed in their retreat by the Rebels; but Brig.-Gen. H. M. Naglee, of Casey's division, Keyes's (4th) corps, leading our advance on the left, crossed it near Bottom's Bridge1 without difficulty, wholly unopposed; followed by the rest of the corps three days later, the bridge having meantime been rebuilt. During the three following days,2 Naglee made a spirited reconnaissance toward Richmond, and to within two miles of the James, on our left; Couch's division took up,3 by order, a position some miles in advance, at a place known as the seven Pines, on the direct road from Bottom's Bridge to Richmond; which he proceeded hastily to fortify with abatis, rifle-pits, etc., and by building and arming a small redoubt. Meantime, the remaining division (Casey's) of Keyes's corps was advanced to and encamped about the station known as Fair Oaks, on the Richmond and York River Railroad, to the right and rather in advance of Couch's position. Heintzelman's (3d) corps had crossed after Keyes's, and been stationed in his rear, but rather to the left, so as to observe the roads debouching on that side from White Oak Swamp, whereby we might be unexpectedly assailed in flank. Sumner's corps was still north of the Chickahominy, some miles higher up, ready to cross at command. Gen. McClellan was with Fitz-John Porter's and Franklin's corps, at and near New Bridge, nearly 10 miles above Bottom's Bridge. Heintzelman, as senior Major-General, was in command on the left until Sumner appeared.

The enemy being seen in force barely a mile from our front, Casey's pickets were posted some half a mile in advance of his line. It rained heavily throughout the night of May 30, swelling the Chickahominy to an extraordinary height, flooding its miry bottom, and setting afloat several of our new-made bridges. Gen. Jo. Johnston, who commanded the Rebel army, saw his opportunity, and resolved to profit by it. The roads of all that region center on Richmond, radiating thence like the folds of a fan, and affording a considerable advantage in manoeuvering to the combatant who holds the city. Informed by his scouts of the numbers and isolated position of Keyes's corps, Johnston resolved to assail and crush it before it could be adequately reenforeed. To this end, he directed Maj.-Gen. Longstreet, with his own and Gen. D. H. Hill's division, the latter in advance, to push out by the Williamsburg road and

1 May 20.

2 May 24, 25, 26.

3 May 28.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Keyes (4)
Silas Casey (3)
Edwin V. Sumner (2)
H. M. Naglee (2)
G. B. McClellan (2)
Joseph Johnston (2)
Heintzelman (2)
Couch (2)
Fitz-John Porter (1)
Longstreet (1)
D. H. Hill (1)
L. O'B. Branch (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 30th (1)
May 28th (1)
May 26th (1)
May 25th (1)
May 24th (1)
May 20th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: