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[573] the hills in front of Bernard's Cabin, and skirts along their base for some distance beyond Prospect Hill. The point where it intersects the Mine Road is called Hamilton's Crossing, which was the first station between Fredericksburg and Bowling Green. The hilly country comprised between Bernard's Cabin and Hamilton's Crossing presented a front of three kilometres in extent, and was covered with a dense forest, through which the Confederate soldiers had cut numerous roads; the most important of these was called the military road, which followed a parallel direction with the ridge of the hill, at a short distance in the rear of the breastworks that lined the margin of the wood. The margin follows in the main the ridge of short gentle declivities which reach down to the railroad; but at one point, in the centre of the position, the forest stretches north of the road along the two banks of a small stream. The greatest portion of the railway line follows a cut of no great depth bounded by a thick copse of young trees interspersed with tall dry grasses. From this line to the road, which is enclosed by two deep ditches, the ground gently rises, after which it sinks again down to the Rappahannock. In the vicinity of this river, precisely fronting the centre of the chain of hills we have just described, stands the village of Smithfield, situated at five hundred metres from the margin of the water, six hundred from the road, and sixteen hundred from the railway, the plain at this point having a width of two and a half kilometres. The Massaponax, at a distance of fourteen hundred metres from its confluence with the Rappahannock, is crossed by the old Richmond road, above the bridge over which the road crosses; it is bordered by impassable swamps; between the bridge and Hamilton's Crossing there is an open plateau from two to three kilometres in width, which gradually sinks south and in the direction of the water-course. The Confederates had not erected any work at this point, not deeming it possible to extend their lines so far, and counting on their ability to command its approaches from the summit of Prospect Hill.

Taken as a whole, therefore, these positions offered Lee's army three distinct ranges of hills. That on the left, consisting of Stansbury Hill, Cemetery Hill and Marye's Hill, as well as the second terrace, barred the road to any one that should attempt to

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