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[295] near Willis' church, near the knot of cross roads in the vicinity of Glendale. Heintzelman had crossed White Oak swamp and was going into bivouac just south of that, at 10 p. m. At about 4 p. m. Sumner's corps and part of Franklin's were holding the rear against an onslaught by Magruder at Savage Station. At about half past 6, Heintzelman was crossing White Oak swamp at Brackett's ford, 1 miles above the swamp bridge, and by 10 p. m. he was bivouacking south of the swamp in front of Charles City cross roads, covering the Charles City road from Richmond. Charles City cross roads, on the watershed between White Oak swamp and Turkey Island creek, was notable for the fact that at or near that point the roads leading north to Bottom's bridge, northeast to the Long bridges, south to Malvern hill, southwest to New Market, and northwest to Richmond, all leading highways as well as numerous farm roads, met in intersection; it was also about halfway between the James and the Chickahominy, and in consequence of the coming together of so many roads, it was the most vulnerable point in McClellan's line of retreat. Knowing this, Lee bent all his energies to there strike a blow on McClellan's right flank.

McClellan also knew, from a personal inspection, the danger that threatened him at that place, and he had provided against it by sending Heintzelman across White Oak swamp at Brackett's ford, a mile and a half above the swamp bridge, so that his line of southward march would place him in position across the New Market and the Charles City, roads leading toward Richmond. To strike this point, Lee, all day, urged forward Huger by the Charles City road, Longstreet and A. P. Hill by the Darbytown road and the Long bridges road, and Holmes by the River road, to either support Hill and Longstreet, or to strike the head of the Federal retreat where the River road and the Quaker road met on Malvern hill. Success for Lee depended entirely upon the vigor and speed of these movements, but Huger was held back by the obstructions the Federals had thrown across the Charles City road, while Longstreet, after making but 12 miles, went into camp near Darbytown, only about six miles from the fatal point at the Charles City cross roads.

The 29th was consumed by Jackson in working hard to bridge the Chickahominy so he could join in the pursuit.

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