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[39] rear-guard had passed, and current reports afterwards affirmed that one or two exploded among the enemy's cavalry and, and were the cause of great circumspection in their pursuit. Much indignation was expressed by the enemy at this novel mode of warfare, and General McClellan had Confederate prisoners detailed to open the magazines at Yorktown, which it was suspected were arranged with infernal machines.1

The terrible condition of the roads rendered the night-march very slow and laborious, and it was 3 o'clock P. M., on the 4th, when the rear of the infantry reached Williamsburg, twelve miles distant.

Meanwhile McClellan had organized a vigorous pursuit, and one which, had it not failed at the fighting point, would have put the Confederate army in a very critical condition.

The divisions of Franklin, Sedgwick, Porter and Richardson, were sent in steamers up the York to the vicinity of West Point, to cut off Johnston's retreat. The divisions of Hooker, Smith, Kearney, Couch and Casey, preceded by a strong force of cavalry and horse-artillery, marched on Williamsburg in pursuit.

The movements of the Federal cavalry were so well conducted, and rapid, that the principal body of the Confederate cavalry under General Stuart was cut off, and with difficulty made its escape by a circuitous by-way, while the remainder was driven in upon the Confederate column just as its rear was filing into the streets of Williamsburg. Fort Magruder, and the adjoining Confederate entrenchments were for awhile entirely within the enemy's power; but some delay was made to reconnoitre the position and to open a battery, and this delay enabled Kershaw's and Semmes's brigades, of McLaws's division and Macon's battery, to regain the works by a long double-quick through the mud. A little long-range firing then ensued in reply to the Yankee artillery and carbines, until the arrival of General Stuart with the rest of the Confederate cavalry. On this General Hampton with his brigade

1 The use of the torpedo was an old hobby with General Raines. During the Seminole war he used them against the Indians with variable success. On one occasion, near Fort King, Florida, he left a shell in the woods, covered by a blanket which blew up the unsuspecting Red men who found the blanket. A few days afterwards another blanket and shell was dropped in the woods, and soon afterwards the shell was heard to explode. Sallying out with a party of sixteen men to see the success of the trap, Captain Raines found that the blanket had been pulled by a long string, and no harm done. When about to return to the fort his party was attacked by nearly a hundred Indians and with difficulty made good its retreat, losing seven killed and wounded, Captain Raines among the latter.

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