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[111] of the 26th, made on the Williamsburg road, with the apparent intention of advancing by that route to Richmond.

To observe the enemy, as well as to prevent him from learning of the approach of General Jackson, General J. E. B. Stuart was sent with a cavalry force on June 8th to cover the route by which the former was to march, and to ascertain whether the enemy had any defensive works or troops in position to interfere with the advance of those forces. He reported favorably on both these points, as well as to the natural features of the country. On June 26th General Stuart received confidential instructions from General Lee, the execution of which is so interwoven with the seven days battles as to be more appropriately noticed in connection with them, of which it is proposed now to give a brief account.

Our order of battle directed General Jackson to march from Ashland on the 25th toward Slash Church, encamping for the night west of the Central Railroad; to advance at 3 A. M. on the 26th, and to turn Beaver Dam Creek. General A. P. Hill was to cross the Chickahominy at Meadow Bridge when Jackson advanced beyond that point, and to move directly upon Mechanicsville. As soon as the bridge there should be uncovered, Longstreet and D. H. Hill were to cross, the former to proceed to the support of A. P. Hill and the latter to that of Jackson.

The four commands were directed to sweep down the north side of the Chickahominy toward the York River Railroad—Jackson on the left and in advance; Longstreet nearest the river and in the rear. Huger, McLaws, and Magruder, remaining on the south side of the Chickahominy, were ordered to hold their positions as long as possible against any assault of the enemy, to observe his movements, and to follow him closely if he should retreat. General Stuart, with the cavalry, was thrown out on Jackson's left to guard his flank and give notice of the enemy's movements. Brigadier General Pendleton was directed to employ the reserve artillery so as to resist any advance toward Richmond, to superintend that portion of it posted to aid in the operations on the north bank, and hold the remainder for use where needed. The whole of Jackson's command did not arrive in time to reach the point designated on the 25th. He had, therefore, more distance to move on the 26th, and he was retarded by the enemy.

Not until 3 P. M. did A. P. Hill begin to move. Then he crossed the river and advanced upon Mechanicsville. After a sharp conflict he drove the enemy from his entrenchments, and forced him to take refuge in his works, on the left bank of Beaverdam, about a mile distant. This position was naturally strong, the banks of the creek in front high and almost

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