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[18] so near him. When the din of battle struck the ear of that old and valiant soldier, he immediately pushed forward Smith's division; but it was already getting dark, and before these troops could be deployed for battle the increasing darkness compelled them to postpone the fight till the next day. Sumner himself having insisted, despite the obscurity of the night, upon reconnoitering the enemy's positions in person, fell among their pickets, was fired upon at short range, became lost in a swamp, from which he was unable to extricate himself, and passed the entire night at the foot of a tree between the two hostile lines. In the mean while, Hooker, finding the road he followed obstructed by Smith, took the one to the left, which had originally been assigned to the latter. His intention was to turn the enemy's works and enter Williamsburg the same evening. But after marching a considerable distance in the night, he was obliged, like the rest, to halt his columns to avoid going astray.

The dawn of the next day, the 5th of May, was sad and gloomy. Torrents of rain had during the whole night deluged the bivouacs of the young Federal soldiers, most of whom were without rations and covering. The wet roads, had become frightful mud-holes. On the left the division of Hooker, on the right that of Smith, with Stoneman's cavalry, were in the presence of the enemy; but these troops had waited in vain during the entire night for orders from Sumner, their common chief, of whose misadventures they had no knowledge; the three divisions of Kearny, Couch, and Casey, designed to support them, could only communicate with them through an almost impassable road from twelve to fifteen kilometres in length; finally, the remainder of the troops were slowly embarking at Yorktown under the direction of the general-in-chief. Such was the situation of the army of the Potomac on the morning of the 5th of May.

The Confederates had all the advantage of position on their side. Longstreet had been made aware of the error he had committed in not occupying and strengthening the lines of defence around Williamsburg by the engagement of his rear-guard on the evening of the 4th. During the night he countermanded the march of his whole corps and brought it back into these lines; this time he was determined to dispute their possession with the

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