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[114] most the day before, continued to occupy the heights of Gaines' Mill, three of Jackson's divisions deployed along the Chickahominy, as if to defend the left bank against the Federals, who were massed on the other side; the fourth, Ewell's, was despatched to Bottom's Bridge, when it became evident that McClellan had no intention of forcing a passage near the battle-field of the preceding day. Magruder, on his side, retaining his position in front of the Federal lines, could easily perceive that the number of troops occupying them had not diminished. For an instant only toward noon he thought these positions were about to be abandoned. Smith's division evacuated a few breastworks which had been erected in front of the fortifications at Golding. Magruder at once launched the Seventh and Eighth Georgia regiments of Toombs' brigade against these works; but being received by the fire of Hancock's brigade, they were repulsed, leaving two hundred wounded and prisoners on the ground, one of whom was a colonel. This brisk discharge of musketry was the only thing that occurred to disturb the silence of that long day, the 28th.

Every hour that elapsed amid this silence afforded an additional chance to the Federals for reaching the James without serious interruption. Consequently, in the midst of the apparent quiet among the troops, the work of pushing forward the train, and opening a way for its passage, was carried on with the utmost activity, while at the headquarters astonishment was manifested at the inaction of an adversary hitherto so vigilant and enterprising.

The dust raised above the forest by Ewell's march toward Bottom's Bridge soon explained the error committed by the enemy. Although a yet thicker cloud of dust betrayed the movement of the Federal train on the opposite bank, its appearance failed to undeceive the Confederates. They persisted in believing that McClellan was proceeding in the direction of Williamsburg. It was only when Stuart, who had followed Stoneman step by step with his cavalry, had reached the last fords of the Chickahominy, without finding even a Federal vidette to guard them, that Lee understood at last the bold manoeuvre by which McClellan was about to rob him of a success which he had considered certain.

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