side of that river.
The communication between the wings was as yet imperfect, for but few of the numerous bridges McClellan
was building were complete.
Every advance towards Richmond
by the corps on the south side separated them more and more from their supports.
On May 30th Johnston
concentrated twenty-three of his twenty-seven brigades, and prepared to throw them, on the morrow, against the Federal
corps of Keyes
, which were on the south side.
A terrific rain storm occurred on the night of the 30th, which by flooding the Chickahominy
imperiled and finally interrupted the communication between McClellan
While in this respect assisting the Confederates
, it seriously interferred with their movements on the 31st, as the whole country was covered with water, and some of the swollen sources of White Oak Swamp
caused a delay of many hours in the march of Huger
with his own and D. H. Hill
's division was sent out to attack Keyes
in front at Seven Pines
was to strike Keyes
's left flank, and Johnston
himself was to direct G. W. Smith
's division against his right flank and prevent a retreat towards the Chickahominy
Hours were wasted in waiting for Huger
to get into position.
Finally, about midday, Longstreet
ordered the attack to be made by D. H. Hill
's Federal division was quickly routed and the whole of Keyes
's Corps and Kearney
's division of Heintzelman
's was during the afternoon, defeated and driven from their works and camps to a third line of works a mile or two in the rear.
did not order Smith
had been two or three hours engaged before General Johnston
knew it, and when in the middle of the afternoon Smith
was hurried forward to give the coup de grace
, he was just in time to run against the head of Sumner
's corps at Fair Oaks
The latter sent by McClellan
to reinforce his left wing, had succeeded in crossing the Chickahominy
on the already floating bridges just before they were carried away, and hastening forward arrived soon enough to stop Smith
, and by engaging him in a stubborn and bloody contest until night, prevented his going to Longstreet
fell severely wounded at night-fall and the usual result of a change of commanders in the midst of a battle was seen next day. No concerted, definite plan of operations guided the Confederates
on June 1st.
Severe but desultory fighting took place between Longstreet
's lines and the fresh troops of Hooker
's and Richardson
's divisions without any decided result, while Smith
, now in chief command of the Confederates
remained quiet in front of Sumner
, though Magruder
's large division, which had been unengaged, was at hand.
By midday all fighting had