morning until the middle of the afternoon for the approach of Jackson
, which was to uncover the bridge in his front.
Then, fearing lest further delay might imperil the whole movement by revealing it to the enemy, he carried the bridge before him, and, moving down towards Mechanicsville
, drove the small Federal force there to the lines at Beaver Dam creek
, which were held by McCall
was expected to turn this line, but being yet behind, A. P. Hill
engaged the Federal
forces and made attempts on each flank, which were, however, repulsed.
and D. H. Hill
joined A. P. Hill
near nightfall, and the approach of Jackson
on their flank caused the Federals
to retreat next morning to Gaines's Mill
and Cold Harbor.
Here Fitz John Porter
held a strong position, covering the principal bridges across the Chickahominy
and protecting at the same time the York River railroad.
was reinforced during the afternoon by Slocum
's division, and later by two additional brigades.
These Federal forces amounted probably to from 30,000 to 40,000 men, or about one-third of McClellan
The remaining 70,000 were on the south side of the river, in front of Magruder
had left on the south side some 25,000 to 30,000, and thus had probably about 50,000 men with which to attack Porter
The Confederates followed up the retreating Federals to Gaines's Mill
on the afternoon of Friday, June 27th, attacked them in their positions, and after a fierce and bloody combat completely defeated Porter
, driving his troops to the Chickahominy
(which they crossed under cover of the night), and capturing twenty-two guns.
While this was going on, Magruder
made such a display of force in front of Richmond
that the mass of the Federal
army was held there inactive, and none of their officers in high command deemed it possible to spare any considerable force from that side to reinforce Porter
managed to hold two-thirds
's army idle with one-third
of his own, while with the main body of the Confederate forces he inflicted a crushing blow on Porter
The Federal commander was certainly outgeneraled.
The defeat of Porter
threw the York River railroad and the Federal
depots on that road and on the Pamunkey
into the hands of the Confederates
and forced the Federal
army to another line of retreat.
It was. now that McClellan
made his wisest move in the campaign.
He had been thinking of the James river
as a base, and now cut off from the Pamunkey
, he determined to move towards the James
at its nearest point, instead of recrossing the Chickahominy
and retreating down the peninsula.
He began at once the movement of the immense trains and material of his army across White Oak Swamp
, in the direction of