their forces united, would be successful in the earlier part of the action against an enemy formed in several lines, with wide intervals between them, I left the immediate control, on the Williamsburg
road, to them, under general instructions, and placed myself on the left, where I could soonest learn the approach of Federal reenforcements from beyond the Chickahominy
From this point scouts and reconnoitering parties were sent forward to detect such movements, should they be made.
An unexpected delay in the forward movement on the right disappointed me greatly, and led to interchanges of messages between General Longstreet
and myself for several hours.
Although the condition of the ground and little streams had delayed the troops in their movements, those of Smith
were in position quite early enough.
But the soldiers from Norfolk
, who had seen garrison service only, and were unaccustomed to the incidents of a campaign, were unnecessarily stopped in their march by a swollen rivulet, which, unfortunately, flowed between them and their destination.
After waiting in vain for this division until two o'clock, Longstreet
put his own and Hill
's in motion toward the enemy, in order of battle, the latter forming the first line, with the centre on the Williamsburg
road; three of Longstreet
's brigades constituting the second line, two advancing on the Charles City
road on the right, and one along the York River Railroad on the left.
At three o'clock the Federal
advanced troops were encountered.
They were a long line of