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[459] & Potomac railroads, thus controlling two railways to his base of supplies at Richmond and one to his other base at Staunton, and to a connection with Lynchburg. By this timely and well-executed movement, Lee had again, without loss or interruption, anticipated Grant's progressive, but indirect, ‘on to Richmond,’ and placed himself directly across the roads the latter desired to follow to the Confederate capital. Dana says, ‘Now, for the first time, Lee blocked our southward march;’ a remarkable assertion, in view of the bloody stoppage in the Wilderness, which had diverted Grant toward Spottsylvania, far to the eastward, to find a new road to Richmond.

Breckinridge, coming from the valley, after his defeat of Sigel at New Market, and Pickett, from toward Richmond, with 9,000 men, awaited Lee at Hanover Junction. Thus concentrated and reinforced, the army of Northern Virginia was quickly posted in one of the best defensive positions it had ever occupied; with its sturdy First corps in the center, across the Telegraph road; its flanking and fighting Second corps on the right, across the railway to Fredericksburg and extending to the North Anna, where that river runs southward in front of the Cedar farm bridge; and its gallant Third corps on the extreme left, extending to the road that crosses the Ox ford of the North Anna, and covering the eastward approaches to the line of the Virginia Central railroad. Pickett and Breckinridge were held in reserve, in the rear of the center, near Hanover Junction.

The march of the Federal army, on the 23d, was much embarrassed by ignorance of the country and the incorrect and misleading maps used as guides; but by 1 p. m., its Sixth corps, in the advance, reached the vicinity of the North Anna, at the Telegraph bridge, and, later in the afternoon, forced Lee's First corps guard across that bridge, and, without much opposition, secured a foothold on the south bank of the river and soon crossed over a large force, which, later in the day, repulsed a vigorous attack by Anderson. Grant's Second corps soon followed his Fifth and took position on its right, covering the Telegraph bridge and road, and later, his Ninth corps extended this line, on the south bank of the river, to a junction with his Fifth corps, which, with the Sixth, he had detached from his direct line of march, at Harris' shop,

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