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[43] portion of Hooker's lost ground, when night put an end to the conflict.

On the left of Fort Magruder there were no operations until late in the afternoon, when an affair took place, which might have proved very serious had the Federal Commander, General Sumner, been aggressive or appreciated that he possessed great superiority in numbers. About noon General Sumner had ordered General Hancock, with five regiments and a battery1 from his own, and Davidson's brigades of Smith's division, to make a wide detour towards the York river, and take a position upon the Confederate flank. Crossing Cub Dam Creek, General Hancock came upon the line of redans before mentioned, as extending across the Peninsula, and finding the two nearest the York unoccupied, he took possession of them and of a strong natural position on a commanding ridge between them, and having sent for reinforcements opened with his battery upon the two redans between him and Fort Magruder, occupied by a part of R. H. Anderson's brigade. About this time, however, General D. H. Hill's division having arrived, General Longstreet dispatched a portion of it toward his left, and General Early, discovering Hancock's position, got permission to take his brigade, and attempt to drive him off.

General D. H. Hill, being directed to accompany the movement, took charge of the right wing of Early's brigade, composed of the Fifth and the Twenty-Third North Carolina regiments, while General Early in person led the left wing, the Twenty-Fourth and Thirty-Eighth Virginia. Not understanding the topography and guided only by the sound of the enemy's guns, the brigade moved into a wood traversed by a swamp, and so overgrown with brushwood, that in passing through it the regiments were entirely separated from each other. General Early, with the Twenty-Fourth Virginia (Colonel Terry) was the first to emerge from this wood, which he did upon a large open field, across which, half a mile away, was Hancock's position. On the right was one of the redans occupied by Anderson's brigade. On the left another wood, occupied by Hancock's skirmishers, extended towards the Federal position. The skirmishers and battery immediately opened fire upon the Twenty-Fourth Virginia, which returned the fire, and led by General Early in person, charged with a yell across the open field at the battery. The Thirty-Eighth Virginia, on emerging into the field at another point, charged upon the wood held by the enemy's skirmishers, where it became sharply engaged, suffering also considerably from his

1 The Sixth and Seventh Maine, Fifth Wisconsin, Thirty-third New York, and Forty-ninth Pennsylvania regiments, and Coner's New York battery of six guns.

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Wingfield S. Hancock (5)
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