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Chapter 5

  • Take command on the Peninsula.
  • -- General Magruder's defensive preparations. -- inform War Department of intention to abandon Yorktown. -- battle of Williamsburg. -- affair near Eltham. -- no further interruption to the march. -- army withdrawn across the Chickahominy. -- disposition of the Confederate forces in Virginia at this time. -- advance of General McClellan. -- reported movement of McDowell. -- battle of seven Pines.

I assumed my new command on the 17th. The arrival of Smith's and Longstreet's divisions increased the army on the Peninsula to about fifty-three thousand men, including three thousand sick. It was opposed to a hundred and thirty-three thousand Federal soldiers.1 Magruder's division formed the Confederate right wing, Longstreet's the centre, D. H. Hill's the left, and Smith's the reserve. The fieldworks at Gloucester Point and Yorktown, on the left flank, and Mulberry Point, on the right, were occupied by eight thousand men.

In this position we had nothing to do but to finish the works begun, between Yorktown and the head of the inundations, and observe the enemy's operations. They were limited to a little skirmishing at long range, and daily cannonading, generally directed at Magruder's left, or Longstreet's right, and the construction of a long line of batteries in

1 Franklin's division, of twelve thousand men, was kept on board of transports, in readiness to move up York River.

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