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[14] second time, as he had already done at Manassas. It was important to overtake him at all hazards, in order if possible to turn his retreat into a rout, or at least not to allow him leisure to interpose a new barrier against the Federal army on its march upon the Confederate capital. The peninsula is so narrow that in many places the roads, which pass through it longitudinally, are merged into a single road—a road where wagons can only proceed in single file, and where, as it is impossible for more than four men to march abreast, the troops are obliged to break by the flank. To make an army of one hundred and twenty thousand men, accompanied by immense materiel, follow this single road, was a simple impossibility; the head would have reached West Point before the rear had left Yorktown; it became necessary to take advantage of the opening of York River to transport a part of the army by water. Franklin's division was already embarked, and the numerous transports which performed the victualling service for the army took three others on board, to land them near the mouth of the Pamunky in York River, so as to menace seriously the line of retreat of the Confederate army. The land route was reserved by McClellan for the remainder of the army. The advance-guard consisted of Stoneman's division, comprising a little over four regiments of cavalry, two of which were regulars, and four batteries of regular horse artillery. Hooker's division followed on the direct road from Yorktown to Williamsburg, while Smith, crossing Warwick Creek at Lee's Mills, struck into a cross-road to the left leading to within sixteen hundred metres of Williamsburg, where it again joined the main road. Kearny's division held itself in readiness to follow Hooker, and those of Couch and Casey to march in rear of Smith.

Meanwhile, the retreat of the Confederate army, which had been carefully planned, was conducted with the greatest order. A large quantity of the materiel had been transported to West Point by water, whence it could be forwarded to Richmond by rail, and a considerable portion of the army was one or two days march in advance of the rear-guard. The task of covering this retreat had been entrusted to Longstreet's corps, whose chief had already given token of those remarkable qualities which made him the best of Lee's lieutenants. The Hampton legion closed up

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