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[139] General Johnston, determined General Smith to retire his forces. Preparations for withdrawal were actively pushed forward during the night; but through some accidental circumstances, a portion of Sumner's line having become engaged on the morning of the 1st of June, there ensued a rencounter of some severity, which lasted for two or three hours. It ended, however, after some brisk sallies, in the withdrawal of the entire Confederate force to the lines around Richmond. The Union troops were immediately pushed forward, and occupied the positions held previous to the action.1


1 Through one of those odd freaks that sometimes overtake the record of military events, the history of the operation of the 1st of June has been made to assume a magnitude altogether beyond its real proportions. There are on record official reports and official testimony that would make one believe that the action on the morning following Fair Oaks assumed the volume of a battle—and a battle, too, if one were to credit the oft-recurring ‘bayonet charges,’ and attacks in solid column, of little less than first-class magnitude. There is little doubt, however, that these details are largely, if not altogether apochryphal. There was, indeed, a rencounter on the morning of the 1st, but it was the result not of a plan and purpose of aggressive action on the part of the Confederates, but an incident in the withdrawal of the enemy from the Union front. General Johnston has frequently expressed to the writer his amazement at the swelling bulk assumed by the ‘skirmish’ of the 1 st. Though not present, having been removed to Richmond after his hurt, General Johnston yet knew by constant reports from the field what was going on, and asserts that nothing more severe than an affair of the rear-guard took place. In his official report, General Johnston simply says: ‘Major-General Smith was prevented from resuming his attack on the enemy's position next morning by the discovery of strong intrenchments not seen on the previous evening. On the morning of June 1st the enemy attacked the brigade of General Pickett, which was sup ported by that of General Pryor. The attack was vigorously repelled by these two brigades, the brunt of the fight falling on General Pickett. This was the last demonstration made by the enemy. In the evening out troops quietly returned to their own camps.’

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