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[71] the condition of those important ports. General G. W. Smith, as well as I remember, was in full accord with General Johnston, and General Longstreet partially so.

After hearing fully the views of the several officers named, I decided to resist the enemy on the Peninsula, and, with the aid of the navy, to hold Norfolk and keep the command of the James River as long as possible. Arrangements were made, with such force as our means permitted, to occupy the country north of Richmond, and the Shenandoah Valley, and, with the rest of General Johnston's command, to make a junction with General Magruder to resist the enemy's forces on the Peninsula. Though General J. E. Johnston did not agree with this decision, he did not ask to be relieved, and I had no wish to separate him from the troops with whom he was so intimately acquainted, and whose confidence I believed he deservedly possessed.

To recur to General Magruder: soon after the landing of the enemy, skirmishes commenced with our forces, and the first vigorous attempt was made to break the line at Lee's Mills, where there were some newly constructed defenses. The enemy was so signally repulsed that he described them as very strong works, and thereafter commenced the construction of parallels and regular approaches, having an exaggerated idea as well of the number of our troops as of the strength of our works at that time. General Magruder, in his report, notices a serious attempt to break his line of the Warwick at Dam No. 1, about the center of the line, and its weakest point. Opening with a heavy bombardment at nine in the morning, which continued until three in the afternoon, heavy masses of infantry then commenced to deploy, and, with musketry fire, were thrown forward to storm our six-pounder battery, which had been effectively used, and was the only artillery we had there in position. A portion of the column charged across the dam, but Brigadier General Howell Cobb met the attack with great firmness, the enemy was driven with the bayonet from some of our rifle pits of which he had gained possession, and the assaulting column recoiled with loss from the steady fire of our troops.

The enemy's skirmishers pressed closely in front of the redoubts on the left of our line, and with their long-range rifles had a decided advantage over our men, armed with smooth-bore muskets. In addition to the rifle pits they dug, they were covered by a dwelling house and a large peach orchard which extended to within a few hundred yards of our works. On April 11th General Magruder ordered sorties to be made from all the main points of his line. General Wilcox sent out a detachment from Wynne's Mill which encountered the advance of the enemy

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