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 together with their artillery and baggage on a single road. From this moment it became impossible to compel the enemy to fight in front of the pass he had fortified; for while the Federal columns were advancing very slowly along the crowded road on the right, on the left the advance guard, consisting of Emory's brigade of cavalry, having no infantry to support it, was forced to watch the enemy at a distance. The latter, plunging finally into the forest which connected Queen's and College Creeks, reached Fort Magruder and the chain of adjoining works. The artillery of the Hampton Legion, together with a few regiments of infantry which formed the rear-guard, finding this formidable line of defences very convenient, hastened to occupy it in order to hold the Federals in check, who were pressing them very close; and when the latter appeared on the edge of the forest, they were received by a tremendous fire. In the mean time, the Sixth cavalry, having discovered a fordable crossing of Queen's Creek, vigorously charged upon the Confederates, drove them from their advanced positions, and captured their first redoubt; but the latter, having taken refuge in the second, soon obliged the assailants to fall back. The sight of the numerous works .occupied by the enemy was a real discovery to the Federals; they had no more idea of their existence than they had of Warwick Creek a month before. The Confederates, on their part, fearing, no doubt, to be taken in flank by the landing of troops on York River, had not thought at first of availing themselves of these works; they had made no preparations for defending them, and it was only when Hampton was closely pressed that, finding them in his path on the evening of the 4th, he occupied a portion of them in order to retard the march of the Federals. As will be seen presently, the Confederate generals whose duty it was to cover the retreat were themselves very little acquainted with the position and importance of some of these entrenchments. Stoneman had lost about forty men by the fire of the redoubts, and one of his guns remained immovable in the swamp. He had retired on this side of the forest to wait for the infantry, which was slow in coming up; General Sumner, whose rank gave him the command, had stopped this infantry within five kilometres of Fort Magruder, not being then aware that the enemy was
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