previous next
‘ [284] are discovered, Gen. A. P. Hill, with the rest of his division (11,000 men), will cross the Chickahominy near Meadow bridge and move direct upon Mechanicsville;’ Hill's movement to be followed by Longstreet, crossing the Mechanicsville bridge with his 9,000, followed by D. H. Hill with his 10,000, these three to unite in a general movement against McClellan's right flank down the north bank of the Chickahominy. Stuart, with his cavalry, was to lead Jackson's movement and then extend his left, the object of Lee being to cut off any retreat of McClellan toward his base of supplies, by having Stuart and Jackson in his rear and ready to push eastward and intercept a retreat if he should attempt one.

To repeat, Lee's 50,000 men, if marched according to his order, would be thus disposed: A. P. Hill moving on McClellan's right flank at Mechanicsville, supported by Longstreet, with Jackson moving upon the rear of the same flank, supported by D. H. Hill. Jackson's order read: ‘Bearing well to his left, turning Beaver Dam creek and taking the direction toward Cold Harbor,’ after that to ‘press forward toward the York River railroad, closing upon the enemy's rear and forcing him down the Chickahominy.’ The orders clearly indicate that Jackson, when he was ready for action, was to give the signal for beginning the fight. These were the tactic arrangements on Lee's left. His right wing, south of the Chickahominy, 30,000 strong, held the line of fortifications extending from the front of Mechanicsville to Chaffin's bluff on the north bank of the James, not far below Drewry's bluff on the south side of that river. Holmes with 5,000 held the intrenched bluffs; Magruder and Huger, in the fortifications east of and before Richmond, confronted with their 25,000 men the nearly 80,000 of the four Federal corps south of the Chickahominy and between that and White Oak swamp, with their intrenched advance at Fair Oaks and Seven Pines. It took sublime courage and confidence in his men for a commander to make such dispositions, and so divide his forces in the face of such great odds; but Lee had that courage in an eminent degree, and knew that he could trust the veterans of the army of Northern Virginia to resist a defensive attack against more than double their numbers, or to make an equally bold offensive one when he saw fit to command it. He also knew the hesitating

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: