down theNine-mile road, and the General informed me of the plans which he had adopted for the pursuit of the enemy. They were as follows: Major-General Longstreet's division was to have crossed the New Bridge, and to take post on our extreme right, so as to intercept the enemy in his attempt to reach James River; Major-General Huger's division to march down the Williamsburg road, on my right flank, and Major-General Jackson's division, which, he stated, had crossed, or was crossing, the Grapevine Bridge, over the Chickahominy River, was to operate down that river, on its right bank, whilst my own command would press him vigorously in front. On our arrival at Fair Oak Station, we found the enemy's lines in that vicinity, which had been evacuated, in possession of a part of Brigadier-General Kershaw's brigade, the remainder of my command being then on the march. Here, General Lee, having repeated his instructions, left the ground. I directed Major-General McLaws to consolidate Kershaw's brigade, and place it on the right of the railroad; and, as the other brigade of General McLaws did not arrive for some time, I ordered two regiments of an advanced brigade, (Griffith's,) of my own division, to take post in reserve, also on the right of the railroad, so as to support Kershaw's brigade, leaving the Williamsburg road still farther on our right, unoccupied, and open for Huger. I then formed the other two regiments of Griffith's brigade on the left of General Kershaw's, their right resting on the railroad. Brigadier-General Cobb's, which marched in the rear of General Griffith's, was, as soon as it arrived, formed on the left of these two regiments, two of his own being kept in reserve. I then despatched a staff officer to ascertain the position of General Jones's division, which had crossed the swamp at Goulding's house, and directed it to be formed on the left of General Cobb, with the proper interval. Whilst these dispositions were being made, I ordered skirmishers to be thrown out in front of General Kershaw's brigade and my own division to find the enemy, and ascertain his position. The enemy having thrown up a heavy obstruction across the railroad track, I caused men to be detailed for the purpose of removing it for the passage down the road of a heavy rifled gun, mounted on a railway carriage, and protected by an inclined plane of iron. I also despatched a staff officer toward Grapevine bridge, some three miles off, to ascertain the position of Major-General Jackson's troops, which, I had supposed, from the statements above given, had already crossed. These orders given, and dispositions made, I received information from Brigadier-General Jones that the enemy was in force in his front, and fortified. This, it was reported to me, was derived from a prisoner who had been just captured, and the presence of the enemy in front was verified by the skirmishers of General Jones being engaged with those of the enemy. I received, about the same time, a communication from General McLaws, stating that the enemy was in front of General Kershaw's brigade, and in works well manned. Desiring to ascertain the extent of his front, I directed Brigadier-General Cobb to detail a trusty officer, and some of his best skirmishers, to feel the enemy, if to be found in front of my division, and to report the result. In the meantime, Major Bryan, the staff officer, who had been sent to Major-General Jackson, returned with his engineer, Lieutenant Boswell, who reported that Major-General Jackson was compelled to rebuild the bridge, which would be completed in about two hours--Major Bryan reporting that Major-General Jackson had crossed but a small portion of his infantry — not more than three companies — over the broken bridge. About the same time I received a message from Major-General Huger, stating that a large portion of his command had been sent elsewhere, but that with two brigades he would soon march down on the Williamsburg road. Having passed up the rich country near the railroad, on our retreat from the neighborhood of New Kent Court-House, I knew that there was a road leading from Grapevine Ford, where the enemy had afterward constructed the bridge, to the railroad bridge near Savage's Station, passing to the right and rear of the enemy, now in our front, and that when Major-General Jackson advanced he would probably move on that road. I determined, therefore, to await that advance, and to request Major-General Huger, when he came up, to move down the Williamsburg road, and, enveloping both flanks of the enemy and attacking him in front, at the same time I hoped to capture his rear guard, which I ascertained, from prisoners and from the reconnoitring parties in front, to be at least a division. The enemy, having ascertained the general disposition of our troops, opened a brisk artillery fire on the railroad and our centre, unfortunately mortally wounding the gallant General Griffith, commander of the Third Mississippi brigade, who was borne from the field, and died the next morning. The enemy's fire was responded to with effect by the railroad battery, as well as by Carlton's battery, which that practised artillerist, Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen D. Lee, had placed in advance, in a commanding position in front of our centre. The enemy was now reported advancing, and this report being confirmed after a reconnoissance by Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, I galloped to the right of the line to see General Huger, who had arrived with two brigades, and to give him such information as would enable him to dispose his troops in the best manner for the protection of our right flank. Having accomplished this, I returned to the left, and threw forward the left wing of General Griffith's brigade, and the whole of General Cobb's, in order to occupy a more commanding position, and a wood, which skirted a field, across which the enemy would have to march. This had no sooner been done than I received information from Major-General Huger that his two brigades would be withdrawn, as I understood, for other service; and subsequently a note reached me from General Jones, [see paper No. 1,] stating that Major-General Jackson regretted that he could
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Foreign accounts of the fight.
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