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[137] prudent, however, to leave Magruder's division in reserve. It was under arms, near.

General Smith moved promptly along the Nine-miles road. His leading regiment, the Sixth North Carolina, soon became engaged with the Federal skirmishers and their reserves, and in a few minutes drove them off entirely. On my way to Longstreet's left, to combine the action of the two bodies of Confederate troops, I passed the head of General Smith's column near Fair Oaks, and saw the camp of a body of infantry of the strength of three or four regiments, apparently in the northern angle between the York River Railroad and the Nine-miles road, and the rear of a body of infantry moving in quick time from that point toward the Chickahominy, by the road to the Grape-vine Ford. A few minutes after this, a battery, at the point where this infantry had disappeared, opened its fire upon the head of the Confederate column. A regiment sent against it was received with a volley of musketry, as well as canister, and recoiled. The leading brigade, commanded by Colonel Law, then advanced, and so much strength was developed by the enemy, that General Smith formed his other brigades and brought them into battle on the left of Law's. An obstinate contest began, and was maintained on equal terms; although the Confederates engaged superior numbers in a position of their own choosing.

I had passed the railroad some little distance with Hood's brigade, when the action commenced, and stopped to see its termination. But, being confident that the Federal troops opposing ours were

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G. W. Smith (3)
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