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[132] General Stuart, who had a small body of cavalry observing McDowell's corps, reported that the troops that had been marching southward from Fredericksburg had returned. This indicated, of course, that the intention of uniting the two Federal armies was no longer entertained.

As the expediency to us of an immediate general engagement depended on the probability of so great an accession to McClellan's force as McDowell could bring, this intelligence induced me to abandon the intention of attacking, and made me fall back upon my first design — that of assailing Heintzelman's and Keyes's corps as soon as, by advancing, they should sufficiently increase the interval between themselves and the three corps beyond the Chickahominy. Such an opportunity was soon offered.

On the morning of the 30th, armed reconnaissances were made under General D. H. Hill's direction — on the Charles City road by Brigadier-General Rhodes, and on the Williamsburg road by Brigadier-General Garland. No enemy was found by General Rhodes; but General Garland encountered Federal outposts more than two miles west of Seven Pines, in such strength as indicated the presence of a corps at least. This fact was reported to me by General Hill soon after noon. He was informed, in reply, that he would lead an attack upon this enemy next morning.

An hour or two later, orders were given for the concentration of twenty-three of our twenty-seven brigades against McClellan's left wing--about two-fifths of his army. The four others were observing the river, from the New Bridge up to Meadow

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