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[20] crossing the dam which intersects College Creek; but Emory, afraid of going astray, proceeded with the utmost caution, and wasted the whole day without reaching the enemy. On the right of Hooker, Smith's division was drawn up across the Yorktown road, in the rear of the wood, very narrow at this place, which intercepts the view of Fort Magruder; but although this division was only separated by fourteen or fifteen hundred metres from that which is engaged, there was no connecting link between them; the wood which stretches between the two roads they had followed remained unoccupied, and even unexplored.

Smith had not yet fired a single shot. The three corps commanders of the army of the Potomac, whom chance had brought together, had established their headquarters alongside of his division; they held a conference; and as is almost invariably the case under similar circumstances, they secured no concert of action to the Federal army. There was but one movement ordered to be made in the course of the morning. Having been informed of the existence of one of the dams which obstruct the passage of Queen's Creek, they sent to seize it one of Smith's brigades, commanded by General Hancock, a young officer but little known at the time. There yet remained Smith's two other brigades, his artillery and that of the cavalry division, about six or seven thousand men, with thirty pieces of cannon. Notwithstanding the constantly increasing din of battle in which Hooker was engaged on the left, despite the urgent messages of the latter, Sumner refused to bring his troops under fire, and confined himself to hastening the arrival of those already on the march. Doubtless he had then but a very small force at his disposal to cover the outlet of the Yorktown road—an outlet which it was essential to defend at all hazards; for the least symptom of a retreat would have thrown the long column which crowded upon that road into indescribable confusion. But the surest way of maintaining his ground would have been to engage the fight along the whole line, thereby dividing the forces of the enemy, instead of allowing his adversary to concentrate his troops, to crush one of his wings, as he was actually doing. Indeed, the repeated efforts of the Confederates succeeded at last in shaking the confidence of Hooker's soldiers, who felt themselves unsupported; they lost the abatis

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