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[213] application, expressing, however, strong doubts whether the Rebel officer or the exchange would ever be heard of again. But Major McAlexander was a gentleman of personal honor; and he successfully accomplished his mission. On May 1st Major Revere was en route to rejoin his regiment, then in the lines before Yorktown, Virginia. He reported for duty on May 2d, in season to move with the general advance of the army which followed the Rebel evacuation of Yorktown.

On May 7th he was present with his regiment at West Point, when the Rebel General W. H. C. Whiting made his unsuccessful attempt to force the position occupied by Franklin's division and Dana's brigade. The army was greatly hindered in its advance by the condition of the roads; and it was not till towards the last of May that General McClellan found himself within striking distance of Richmond, the objective point of the campaign. On the march up the Peninsula, Major Revere had greatly distinguished himself while in command of the skirmish line of a brigade, and intrusted with the duty of scouring the north bank of the Chickahominy,—thereby winning honorable mention from his corps commander, General Sumner.

The last days of May found the army massed on both sides of the Chickahominy, the communications between its wings being mostly maintained by temporary bridges, constructed by the troops. A sudden and violent rain, during the day and night of May 30th, had swollen the river to an unprecedented height, and greatly endangered the bridges. The Rebel general, acting upon the belief that the bridges would be swept away and the Union army divided, resolved to make a sudden and overwhelming attack upon Keyes's division, which lay at Fair Oaks, on the south side of the river, somewhat in advance of the supporting corps. In execution of this design, General Johnston concentrated, on the morning of May 31st, a heavy column under Hill, Longstreet, Smith, and Huger, intending to fall upon Keyes by early dawn; but the rain had proved unfriendly to his movements, as well as to those of the Union army. Smith and Huger were long behind the designated time in

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