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[85] and planted himself firmly in it; he extended his lines as far as the extreme edge of this wood, whence he commanded an immense open space, in which were seen some small works, with a few abandoned tents. This battle, known by the name of Oak Grove, cost the Federals fifty-one killed, four hundred and one wounded and sixty-four prisoners.

They were not more than about four miles from Richmond, and yet the enemy, hitherto so stubborn, had exhibited too great a want of persistency in the defence of the wood not to have been the result of calculation. The fact is that the movement of the army of the Potomac lost all its importance in view of the great operations which were in preparation, and which it could no longer prevent. When McClellan decided at last to feel the enemy with his left, a terrible storm was gathering on his right.

On that very day, the 25th of June, a single horseman, without companions and without followers, had ridden through the deserted streets of Richmond at an early hour in the morning, had dismounted at Lee's headquarters, and had shortly after quickly resumed his journey in the direction of the north. Some passersby asserted that they had recognized the famous Jackson in this mysterious personage, but no credence was given to their statement, for everybody knew that he was fighting on the borders of the Shenandoah, and that he was not the man to abandon his soldiers before the enemy. It was he, nevertheless, but he had left his army, whose every movement was wrapt in profound secrecy, at a few leagues only from that place, and, after having received his chief's instructions, was returning to meet his heads of column, then within a short distance of Ashland. A short conference had sufficed the two generals to determine all their plans, and they were going to join in striking a heavy blow against the right wing of the Federals. This wing was in fact the most exposed, since McClellan had massed the best part of his troops between Richmond and the Chickahominy. To cover the long line of railway which supplied his army as far as White House, he had been obliged to leave the three divisions of Morell, Sykes and Mc-Call, which formed his right wing under Porter, north of the Chickahominy. They faced south, ranged parallel with the river. McCall occupied the extreme right at Mechanicsville and Beaverdam

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