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[429] dashing about of staff and general officers and the talks of the men around the Camp fires, all betokened the eve of a great battle.

We broke camp the morning of the 27th and moved forward to the sound of the guns, which told that A. P. Hill, supported by Longstreet (who had crossed the bridge opposite Mechanicsville so soon as Hill drove off the enemy), was renewing his assult upon the strong position on Beaver Dam Creek, which our move was designed to flank. My own regiment, the Thirteenth Virginia, was deployed as skirmishers, and we were thus in advance of the whole of Jackson's column, and the first to enter the deserted camps from which the enemy fell back on our approach, and to see and converse with a number of prisoners whom we captured. But the sound of the battle ceased as we flanked the enemy's position at Ellison's Mill and compelled him to yield to the gallant attack in his front and fall back to his still stronger position about Cold Harbor and Gaines's Mill. The whole of General Lee's columns north of the Chickahominy (A. P. Hill, Longstreet, D. H. Hill, and Jackson) now moved on the position which McClellan had skilfully chosen and heavily entrenched. D. H. Hill was united to Jackson, who was to make a detour to the left in order to attack on that flank, and at the same time prevent the enemy from retreating toward his base at the White House, while A. P. Hill and Longstreet moved nearer to the Chickahominy.

The Army of the Potomac awaits us behind their strong entrenchments and the great battle of Cold Harbor and Gaines's Mill is about to begin.

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