- Condition of affairs -- plan of General Johnston -- the battle at Seven Pines -- General Johnston wounded -- advance of General Sumner -- conflict on the right -- delay of General Huger -- reports of the enemy -- losses -- strength of forces -- General Lee in command.
Our army having retreated from the Peninsula and withdrawn from the north side of the Chickahominy to the immediate vicinity of Richmond, I rode out occasionally to the lines and visited the headquarters of the commanding general. There were no visible preparations for defense, and my brief conversations with the general afforded no satisfactory information as to his plans and purposes. We had, under the supervision of General Lee, perfected as far as we could the detached works before the city, but these were rather designed to protect it against a sudden attack than to resist approaches by a great army. They were, also, so near to the city that it might have been effectually bombarded by guns exterior to them. Anxious for the defense of the ancient capital of Virginia, now the capital of the Confederate States, and remembering a remark of General Johnston, that the Spaniards were the only people who now undertook to hold fortified towns, I had written to him that he knew the defense of Richmond must be made at a distance from it. Seeing no preparation to keep the enemy at a distance, and kept in ignorance of any plan for such purpose, I sent for General R. E. Lee, then at Richmond, in general charge of army operations, and told him why and how I was dissatisfied with the condition of affairs. He asked me what I thought it was proper to do. Recurring to a conversation held about the time we had together visited General Johnston, I answered that McClellan should be attacked on the other side of the Chickahominy before he matured his preparations for a siege of Richmond. To this he promptly assented, as I anticipated he would, for I knew it had been his own opinion. He then said: ‘General Johnston should of course advise you of what he expects or proposes to do. Let me go and see him, and defer this discussion until I return.’ It may be proper here to say that I had not doubted that General Johnston was fully in accord with me as to the purpose of defending Richmond, but I was not content with his course to that end. It had not occurred to me that he meditated a retreat which would uncover the capital, nor was it ever suspected until, in reading General Hood's book, published in 1880, the evidence was found that General Johnston, when