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“ [555] body of Yankees at Negro Foot in the upper part of Havana, but it has not been confirmed, and is unlikely. The more probable statement is that Grant put fortifications along his line before the Junction to prevent an attack from General Lee, and then returning to the northern bank of the North Anna, passed down the Pamunkey to Hanovertown, a few miles above the Piping Tree, the point to which boats can come. Here he is said to have crossed the river with the greater part of his force. If Grant has really landed there, he may be said to have already reached the destination predicted for him since his check at Spottsylvania — the York and Peninsula. His next base will be the Pamunkey and York, and White House and West Point. Unable to remove the obstacle on the threshold of his campaign, nothing was left but to abandon it, and make his way down the Rappahannock to the head-waters of the York, a monstrous circle, to reach a point where he might have landed on the first of May, had not his head been addled by his victories over Pemberton and Bragg.”

This is the tone of men who, knowing the prodigious labor expended in fortifying a chosen position, themselves compelled to forfeit its advantages and seek elsewhere and ominously nearer their capital, a new line of defence. Certainly, if the Richmond journalists find any satisfaction in the monstrous circuit the army has made, the point at which it has aimed, this army is in condition to share the sentiment.

Recrossing the North Anna on Thursday night and Friday morning, the corps were directed on parallel roads down the course of the Pamunkey to the town of Hanover, in the vicinity of which two divisions of cavalry crossed the river at six in the morning. Three hours afterward Russell's division of the Sixth corps, after a beautiful march of twenty-two miles, made the passage. The enemy, apparently not expecting the crossing to be made so far down the river, had only a cavalry force in observation at this point. The party was easily driven off, sixty being captured. The fords were uncovered for the passage of the army, which was effected during the day. It is certain that it was not till this movement was fairly under way, that Lee commenced the manoeuvring necessary to meet it. “Grant” says the correspondent of the Richmond papers, writing on Friday, “last night commenced moving rapidly toward our right with his whole force, and corresponding movements are now on foot on our side to meet those of Grant.”

The movement necessary on the part of the rebels was a simple change of front, and a retrograde march due south along the railroad, and ten miles would bring them to the Chickahominy. For us, on the contrary, it was necessary to give a great development to our left, so that to reach the same point which the enemy could make in a ten-mile march, it was necessary for us to march something like thirty miles. That is, we had to march in a south-east direction to effect the passage of the river, and then move westward for the purpose of striking the enemy or meeting his advance.

This detour or “monstrous circuit,” as the Richmond writer terms it, was necessitated by two different considerations: First, because a flank march of the kind determined upon is one which is always somewhat hazardous in the face of a vigilant and energetic opponent, and secondly, because it was a prime desideratum to open a water-base, our communications having been abandoned when this move was initiated.

This was secured yesterday, when a cavalry force was sent down to White House, and today our water transportation is reported at that point. The work of the past three days has been the steady pressing forward of forces from Hanovertown to the westward, in a line leading to the Chickahominy and the Virginia Central and Fredericksburg and Richmond railroads.

The advance of Gregg's division on Saturday, developed the enemy, with his entire cavalry force and a portion of his infantry covering those roads, and brought on an engagement which, from the losses on both sides, ranks among the heaviest cavalry fights of the war. Gregg's division lost over three hundred and fifty men and forty officers, but drove the enemy; and during Sunday and yesterday our front has been steadily advancing. Yesterday (Monday), the thirtieth, found our right in front of Hanover Court-house, while our left stretched beyond Tolopotomy creek, about ten miles from the rebel capital. The enemy showed in our front a line of battle and skirmish line, formed by part of the corps of Ewell and Hill.

During yesterday evening skirmishing took place, we feeling the enemy's line.

Early in the morning Crawford's division of Warren's corps moved in support of General Griffin's division, which was moving out on the road toward Role creek. It was directed by General Warren to support Griffin's left, as he advanced. The road to Mechanicsville ran parallel to the road upon which it was advancing, and was held firmly by the enemy's cavalry and some infantry. Crawford determined to push for this road, cross, if possible, and advance toward Mechanicsville.

Accordingly, he ordered Colonel Hardin forward with the first brigade, directing him to advance the picket-line in his front to support it closely, and moved for the Mechanicsville road. It was nearly three fourths of a mile from our left flank.

Hardin pushed in and soon found the enemy's cavalry, which he drove across the road, occupying it, forming, when the enemy advanced, his line of battle directly on his flank.

Crawford sent two regiments to his support, but the enemy attacked on both flanks, and finding the force hotly engaged, he moved to the field with his whole division. The enemy,

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U. S. Grant (8)
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