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[110] halted for the night in open bivouac about a mile beyond. Supperless and without sleep, in a pelting rain, they lay upon the ground that night, and without breakfast, jaded, wet and hungry, but jolly in spirit and in good heart they fell in next morning to resume the march. All this was ill-preparation for the desperate charge that evening. Let it not be forgotten, for greatly does it add to its glory.

General Johnston had no intention of tarrying at Williamsburg. He was bound for Richmond, and on that morning of the 5th, Magruder's command continued on. The train followed, and Hill's Division, too, had gone, save Early, to the rear, when orders came to wait; and then to countermarch and return to town. The enemy's van had come up and were skirmishing with our rear. His fresh divisions were pressing forward on every road in eager, confident pursuit of what they thought was a demoralized and fleeing foe, and as our trains had not yet gotten well away, Longstreet, the rear guard of to-day, was told to check the advance, and Hill was brought back to help him if needed. But his wagons went on while his infantry retraced their steps and stacked arms upon the college green. As the day went on Longstreet, who had but good men, was most vigorously pressed. His line at and to the right of Fort Magruder, which stands near the junction of the Yorktown and Warwick roads—along both of which came division after division of the Federals—was again and again vainly attacked by the division of Hooker and Kearney, and others as they came up, until by evening there were in his front these two and also Couch and Casey, who a few weeks after at Seven Pines this same Twenty-fourth Virginia chased from his own headquarters and took his dinner, cooking on the fire, and his ice cream in the freezers under the shade of the trees near by (!) and Smith and others, large divisions, every one besides artillery and all of Stoneman's cavalry too. The skirmish of the morning by evening had developed into a real assault in force, and while we waited at the college the music of the battle sounded continually in our unaccustomed ears, and wounded friends and ambulances, and squads of prisoners passed frequently by. Every one looked for orders ‘to the front!’ each moment. We were not then used to such scenes, many had not yet been under serious fire at all, and so, amid these sights and sounds the tension of expectation and excitement became more and more intense. Meantime evening, dark and cloudy, drew slowly on, when suddenly between 3 and 4 o'clock, galloped up the expected courier. ‘Move quickly to Longstreet's support,’ said he.


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