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Chapter 24:

  • Retreat of the enemy
  • -- pursuit and battle -- night -- further retreat of the enemy -- progress of General Jackson -- the enemy at Frazier's Farm -- position of General Holmes -- advance of General Longstreet -- remarkable features of the battle -- Malvern Hill -- our position -- the attack -- expedition of General Stuart -- destruction of the enemy's stores -- assaults on the enemy -- retreat to Westover on the James -- siege of Richmond raised -- number of prisoners taken -- strength of our forces -- strength of our forces at Seven Pines and after -- strength of the enemy.

During the night I visited the several commands along the entrenchment on the south side of the Chickahominy. General Huger's was on the right, General McLaws's in the center, and General Magruder's on the left. The night was quite dark, especially so in the woods in front of our line, and, in expressing my opinion to the officers that the enemy would commence a retreat before morning, I gave special instructions as to the precautions necessary in order certainly to hear when the movement commenced. In the confusion of such a movement, with narrow roads and heavy trains, a favorable opportunity was offered for attack. It fell out, however, that the enemy did move before morning, and that the fact of the works' having been evacuated was first learned by an officer on the north side of the river, who, the next morning (the 29th), about sunrise, was examining their works by the aid of a field glass.

Generals Longstreet and A. P. Hill were promptly ordered to recross the Chickahominy at New Bridge, and move by the Darbytown and Long Bridge roads. General Lee, having sent his engineer, Captain Meade, to examine the condition of the abandoned works, came to the south side of the Chickahominy to unite his command and direct its movements.

Magruder and Huger found the whole line of works deserted, and large quantities of military stores of every description abandoned or destroyed. They were immediately ordered in pursuit, the former by the Charles City Road, so as to take the enemy's army in flank; the latter by the Williamsburg Road, to attack his rear. Jackson was directed to cross the ‘Grapevine’ Bridge, and move down the south side of the Chickahominy. Magruder reached the vicinity of Savage Station, where he came upon the rear guard of the retreating army. Being informed that

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John Bankhead Magruder (3)
James Longstreet (2)
Genral Stonewall Jackson (2)
Thomas B. Huger (2)
J. E. B. Stuart (1)
Meade (1)
McLaws (1)
Robert E. Lee (1)
Holmes (1)
A. P. Hill (1)
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