leading from Bottom's Bridge up the Chickahominy via
Cold Harbor to Mechanicsville
, thence to Hanover court
At this time Gen. Naglee
's brigade of Keyes
's corps crossed the Chickahominy
near Bottom's Bridge and pushed forward without serious opposition to within two miles of the James
, and within the next five days the entire left wing of the army occupied selected positions upon the south side of the river.
On the 25th Keyes
's corps was one mile in front of Savage's Station, which is on the York River Railroad.
's position was fortified.
Three days later, Casey
's division of the Fourth Corps moved to a line which extended through a point one half mile beyond Seven Pines
, where a new line of rifle-pits was commenced and timber felled in front of it. This corps, the Fourth, therefore, was not only on the extreme left, but occupied, at this moment, the most advanced position in McClellan's line.
The Third Corps, which had been moved to a position within supporting distance of the Fourth, was in the rear of the latter.
It was the advanced and seemingly isolated situation of the Fourth that doubtless led to the Confederate
attack three days after Casey
Between one and two P. M., May 31, Naglee
's brigade, after a spirited defence, was forced back from its position toward Seven Pines
, by a division of the Confederate
force which attacked it early after noon. A heavy rain fell the day before, swelling the waters of the several channels into which the swamp-creek is divided, and rendering the roads in the vicinity difficult of passage.
A messenger who was sent to the commander of the left wing, Gen. Heintzelman
, is said to have been delayed so that it was five o'clock before Kearney
's division arrived, and after dark before the arrival of Gen. Hooker
from White Oak Swamp
During these days, while the movements of the left wing upon the south side of the river were conspiring to bring about the battles of Seven Pines
and Fair Oaks
in which they culminated, the right wing was still upon the north side, Sumner
's Corps being upon the left of Franklin
, six miles above Bottom's Bridge.
This force consisted of the divisions of Generals Sedgwick
, each division having a bridge over the stream opposite its position.
At two o'clock on the 31st, these troops were ordered to cross without delay, and they immediately pushed forward to the