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[240] the Confederate entrenchments at Cold Harbor. But the Federals were baffled in their attempts to drive the Confederates across the Chickahominy. Colonel Michler, with his officers, was directed to assist Major Duane, chief engineer of the Army of the Potomac, in making a reconnaissance of the Confederate positions to ascertain their strength. Never were two lines of battle more closely arrayed. At places they were separated by no more than forty to one hundred yards, the men hugging the ground closely, and each army silently awaiting the determined attack of the other. The mettle of each had been felt and keenly appreciated by its opponent.

Colonel Michler and Major Duane made a careful examination of the location of the two lines, and reported to General Grant and General Meade the impracticability of storming the Confederate position, especially in front of the Second and Eighteenth corps, there being no suitable place in the rear for the massing of troops for an attack. The army was then directed to entrench on lines to be selected by the engineer officers, and until the 9th of June it lay confronting the Confederates.

On that date, Michler and Duane were ordered to select a line in rear of that occupied by the army, to be held temporarily by two divisions, which would enable the army to retire and move again by the flank, under cover. The lines were chosen by the engineers. Entrenchments were planned, and the troops began fortifying. At the same time, several of the engineer officers continued the reconnaissance to determine the best route for the contemplated movement.

On the 13th of June, by direction of the commanding general, engineer detachments proceeded in advance of the army to the James River, to reconnoiter the ground along its banks for two purposes--first, to enable the army to cross to the south side, and second, to fight a battle, if necessary, to rotect the crossing. Lines covering the point of crossing were selected, entrenched, and held. Colonel Michler was

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