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[253] and fell into the hands of the enemy. Lieut.-Col. Towers was captured, but uninjured. The Yankees were completely hidden behind their works, and did not suffer much apparently. We took a captain, lieutenant, and some five or six privates, the Yankee picket force at the point. Later a flag of truce was granted to take away our dead and wounded.

The remainder of Saturday was marked by the capture of the Fourth New-Jersey (Stockton's) regiment, the Eleventh Pennsylvania, and the famous “Bucktails,” with their regimental standards, by rapid and wholly successful movements of Jackson and Stuart, between the Chickahominy and the Pamunkey, taking the York River Railroad, and cutting off McClellan's communication with his transports, and destroying his line of telegraph. At this time high hopes were entertained of speedily destroying or capturing the entire army of McClellan. The York River Railroad, it will be remembered, runs in an easterly direction, intersecting the Chickahominy about ten miles from the city. South of the railroad is the Williamsburgh road, connecting with theNine-mile road at Seven Pines. The former road connects with the New-Bridge road, which turns off and crosses the Chickahominy. From Seven Pines, where theNine-mile road joins the upper one, the road is known as the old Williamsburgh road, and crosses the Chickahominy at Bottom's Bridge.

With the bearing of these localities in his mind, the reader will readily understand how it was that the enemy was driven from his original strongholds on the north side of the Chickahominy, and how, at the time of Friday's battle, he had been compelled to surrender the possession of the Fredericksburgh and Central Railroads, and had been pressed to a position where he was cut off from the principal avenues of supply and escape. The disposition of our forces was such as to cut off all communication between McClellan's army and the White House, on the Pamunkey River; he had been driven completely from his northern lines of defences; and it was supposed that he would be unable to extricate himself from his position without a victory or a capitulation. In front of him, with the Chicka-hominy, which he had crossed, in his rear, were the divisions of Gens. Longstreet, Magruder and Huger, and in the situation as it existed Saturday night, all hopes of his escape were thought to be impossible.

The battle of Savage station.

Six miles from Richmond, on the York River road, the enemy were in full force on Saturday night. During the night our pickets heard them busily at work, hammering, sawing, etc. The rumble of cannon-carriages was also constantly audible. Sunday, about noon, our troops advanced in the direction of the works, which were found deserted. Their intrenchments were found to be formidable and elaborate. That immediately across the railroad, at the six-mile post, which had been supposed to be a light earthwork, designed to sweep the railroad, turned out to be an immense embrasured fortification, extending hundreds of yards on either side of the track, and capable of protecting ten thousand men. Within this work were found great quantities of fixed ammunition, which had apparently been prepared for removal and then deserted. All the cannon, as at other intrenchments, had been carried off.

After passing this battery, our forces cautiously pushed their way down the railroad and to the right, in the direction of the Seven Pines. At three o'clock a dense column of smoke was seen to issue from the woods, two miles in advance of the battery and half a mile to the right of the railroad. The smoke was found to proceed from a perfect mountain of the enemy's commissary stores, which they had fired and deserted. The pile was at least thirty feet in height, with a base sixty feet in breadth, consisting of sugar, coffee and bacon; butter, prepared meat, vegetables, etc. The fire had so far enveloped the head as to destroy the value of its contents. The field and woods around this spot were covered with every description of clothing and camp equipage. Blue great-coats lined the earth like leaves in Valambrosa. No indication was wanting that the enemy had left this encampment in haste and disorder.

About one o'clock Sunday morning, our pickets down theNine-mile road were fiercely attacked by the enemy, and a severe and lively fight ensued. The enemy was easily driven back, with loss, many prisoners falling in our hands. Many Federals threw down their arms, and surrendered voluntarily. Sunday morning, about six or seven o'clock, another fierce picket-fight occurred.

Later in the day the enemy were again encountered upon the York River Railroad, near a place called Savage's station; the troops engaged on our side being the division of Gen. McLaws, consisting of Gens. Kershaw and Semmes's brigades, supported by Gen. Griffith's brigade from Magruder's division. The Federals were found to be strongly intrenched, and as soon as our skirmishers came in view they were opened upon with a furious cannonade from a park of field-pieces. Kemper's battery now went to the front, and for three hours the battle raged hotly, when the discomfited Yankees again resumed their back track.

It was during this fight that General Griffith, of Mississippi, one of the heroes of Leesburgh, (where he commanded the Eighteenth Mississippi, on the fall of Colonel Burt,) was killed by the fragment of a shell, which mangled one of his legs. He was the only general officer killed on our side during the whole of that bloody week. Owing to a most unfortunate accident much of our success was marred. Our own troops, being mistaken for the enemy, were fired into by the Twenty-first Mississippi regiment, as was Jenkins's South-Carolina regiment at Manassas, by reenforcements in the rear. During the pursuit the railroad “Merrimac” was far in advance of our men, and was vigorously shelling the enemy at every turn.


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G. B. McClellan (3)
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