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[249] although his army already largely outnumbered that which defended the beleaguered city, he kept calling constantly and urgently on his Government for reeenforcements. On Wednesday, June twenty-fifth, his army numbered, judging from the most authentic statements that are available, between one hundred and twenty-five thousand, and one hundred and thirty thousand effective men. With this immense force he was cautiously pushing forward his lines. Meantime it had been determined by the confederate generals to attack the invading host in their fortified position, and to cooperate in this grand movement the bulk of the confederate forces which had recently cleared the invaders out of the valley of Virginia, were rapidly and quietly drawn towards Richmond, in order to flank McClellan's left.

A brief reference to the situation of the opposing armies will here be necessary to enable the reader to understand the subsequent movements. If you will take a map of Virginia and run your eye along the line of the Virginia Central Railroad until it crosses the Chickahominy at the point designated as the Meadow bridge, you will be in the vicinity of the position occupied by the extreme right of the Federal army.

Tracing from this position a semi-circular line, which crosses the Chickahominy in the neighborhood of the New bridge, and then the York River Railroad, further on, you arrive at a point southeast of Richmond, but a comparatively short distance from the James River, where rests the Federal left. To be a little more explicit, spread your fingers so that their tips will form as near as possible the arc of a circle. Imagine Richmond as situated upon your wrist; the outer edge of the thumb as the Central Railroad; the inner edge as the Mechanicsville turnpike; the first finger as the Nine-mile or New-bridge road; the second as the Williamsburgh turnpike, running nearly parallel with the York River Railroad; the third as the Charles City turnpike, (which runs to the southward of the White Oak Swamp;) and the fourth as the Darbytown road. Commanding these several avenues were the forces of McClellan. Our own troops, with the exception of Jackson's corps, occupied a similar but of course smaller circle immediately around Richmond, the heaviest body being on the centre, south of the York River Railroad.

Such was the situation previous to Thursday, the twenty-sixth of June. The plan of battle then developed was, first, to make a vigorous flank movement upon the enemy's extreme right, which was within a mile or two of the Central Railroad; secondly, as soon as they fell back to the next road below, our divisions there posted were to advance across the Chickahominy, charge front, and, in cooperation with, Jackson, who was to make a detour, and attack the Federals in flank and rear, drive them still further on; and, finally, when they had reached a certain point, now known as “the triangle,” embraced between the Charles City, New-Market, and Quaker roads, all of which intersect, these several approaches were to be possessed by our forces, the enemy to be thus hemmed in and compelled either to starve, capitulate, or fight his way out with tremendous odds and topographical advantages against him. How so excellent a plan eventually happened to fail, at least partially, in the execution, will presently appear.

The capture of Mechanicsville.

Thursday came, clear but warm. At three o'clock A. M. Major-Gen. Jackson took up his line of march from Ashland, and proceeding down the country between the Chickahominy and Pamunkey rivers, he uncovered the front of Brig.-Gen. Branch by driving off the enemy collected on the north bank of the Chickahominy River, at the point where it is crossed by the Brook turnpike; Gen. Branch, who was on the south bank, then crossed the river and wheeled to the right, down its northern bank. Proceeding in that direction, Gen. Branch, in like manner, uncovered, at Meadow bridge, the front of Major-Gen. A. P. Hill, who immediately crossed. The three columns now proceeded en echelon--Gen. Jackson in advance, and on the extreme left, Brig.-Gen. Branch (who was now merged with Gen. A. P. Hill) in the centre, and Gen. A. P. Hill on the right, immediately on the river. Jackson bearing away from the Chickahominy in this part of the march, so as to gain ground toward the Pamunkey, marched to the left of Mechanicsville, while Gen. Hill, keeping well to the Chicka-hominy, approached that village and engaged the enemy there.

The road was narrow, uneven, muddy, and impeded, and when the bridge had been crossed it became necessary to ascend a hill bare of trees or other obstructions, and all the while our gallant fellows were exposed to a plunging fire of shell, grape, round-shot and canister from the Federal batteries; yet the column moved on steadily, in files of fours, closing up their ranks as soon as they were thinned, with a sublime resolution, toward the fortifications, which, after an obstinate fight for two hours and a half, were carried in magnificent style, and their guns immediately turned on the retreating foe. This occurred about half-past 7 or eight o'clock in the evening. The cannonade was, perhaps, the most furious and incessant that had been kept up for so long a time since the beginning of the war. But the Mechanicsville intrenchments were ours, and, though with heavy loss, at a smaller sacrifice of life than had been feared, and the enemy had fallen back to Ellyson's Mills, further down the Chickahominy.

The result upon Ellyson's Mills.

The enemy's battery of sixteen guns was to the right, or south-east of the Mechanicsville road, about a mile and a half distant, and was situated on a rise of ground in the vicinity of Ellyson's Mills, defended by epaulements supported by rifle-pits. Beaver Creek, about twelve feet wide and waist-deep, ran along the front and left flank of the enemy's position, while from the creek to

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