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[63] two generals-in-chief were both unconscious of the battle in which their respective soldiers were engaged. McClellan, who was sick at his headquarters near Gaines' Mill, had heard nothing from Heintzelman, to whom the command of the entire left was entrusted. The telegraph which connected the various sections of the army was silent. Heintzelman himself, although posted at Savage Station, only a few kilometres from Seven Pines, had only heard of the enemy's attack several hours after the first musket-shot was fired. Johnston's ignorance was still more unaccountable, inasmuch as he was the assailant. Leisurely posted at Old Tavern, he was still waiting for the booming of cannon on the Williamsburg road to put Smith in motion. But the storm of rain and wind which followed the gale of the previous day carried the sound in a different direction, and the general-in-chief, who had ordered the attack to be made in the morning, remained until four o'clock listening in expectation of this signal, without sending a solitary aide-de-camp to ascertain what was passing on his right. He was, however, separated by less than four kilometres in a direct line from the Williamsburg road, and a man on horseback, leaving Old Tavern, would have had no more than ten kilometres to ride, without leaving the main road, to reach Longstreet in the midst of the soldiers whom he was bringing without delay into the thickest of the fight. Although taken by surprise, the Federals had not lost quite so much time. The booming of cannon, which Johnston did not hear, had reached McClellan's tent. The high wind made it impossible for the balloon, which had been brought there at great expense, to make an ascension to reconnoitre the movements of the enemy; it had met the fate of all complicated machines, which, although useful at times, should never be relied on in war. An order, however, was immediately sent to Sumner to hold himself in readiness to march. The latter, also hearing the cannon, was not satisfied with simply obeying the letter of his instructions; but putting his two divisions in motion without delay, he placed each of them near one of the bridges he had constructed, ready to cross the river at the first signal. On his side Heintzelman, on learning the state of affairs about two o'clock, at once recalled Hooker from White Oak Swamp, despatched Kearny to the support of Keyes, and notified McClellan, who

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McClellan (3)
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Joseph E. Johnston (2)
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G. Smith (1)
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