previous next

[16] were not early risers in the Union armies. The disappointment was so great at the sudden departure of the Confederates that at first it could not be believed; and when the evidence was conclusive, everything had to be organized for an advance, which had not been contemplated. The troops had eaten nothing; the rations had not been distributed; many regiments had sent their wagons to a distance of several leagues to obtain them. In short, the cavalry division only took up its line of march between ten and eleven o'clock, Hooker at one o'clock, Smith a little later, and the other three divisions only at the close of the day. With a little more celerity the Confederate detachments which fell back upon Williamsburg from Lee's Mills would have been intercepted by the Federal cavalry before they could have reached that town.

In spite of all his activity, Stoneman was unable to repair the delay, which could not be imputed to him. Stimulated by certain indications which revealed to him the recent passage of the enemy, such as bivouac fires still burning, he hurried the march of his division; but the Confederate troops who followed the Lee's Mills road had too much the start. They were overtaken only by a small detachment led by the Due de Chartres, which was not strong enough to check the enemy's column; the Federal cavalry, however, had the good fortune to pick up a few prisoners on its flanks. Whatever might have been Stoneman's diligence in other respects, he could not have seriously embarrassed Longstreet's march; for unforeseen accidents supervened to delay still further the infantry destined to sustain him, and thus deprived him of the last chance of overtaking the enemy in time. There was an entire ignorance of the country at the Federal headquarters, the ground already occupied, of which the engineers had made some rough sketches, being the only section known; consequently, mistakes were unavoidable. Having reached the forks of one of the numerous roads which pursue their winding course from clearing to clearing, Smith's division, which kept to the left, took a wrong direction, and struck again into the principal road between Yorktown and Williamsburg. It thus passed in front of Hooker's division, to which this road had been assigned, stopped its heads of column, and threw confusion into the march of the troops who were huddled

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Williamsburg (Virginia, United States) (2)
Yorktown (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Stoneman (2)
Kirby Smith (2)
Hooker (2)
Longstreet (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: