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Varina Davis, Jefferson Davis: Ex-President of the Confederate States of America, A Memoir by his Wife, Volume 2, Chapter 26: the gun-boats in the James River-battle of seven Pines. (search)
then rode to the field of battle, which may be briefly described as follows: The Chickahominy flowing in front, is a deep, sluggish, and narrow river, bordered by marshes and covered with tangled wood. The line of battle extended along the Ninemile road, across the York River railroad, and Williamsburg stage-road. The enemy had constructed redoubts, with long lines of rifle-pits covered by abatis, from below Bottom Bridge to within less than two miles of New Bridge, and had constructed bto leave the field. Mr. Davis wrote: On the morning of June ist, I rode out toward the position where General Smith had been left on the previous night, and where I learned from General Lee that he would remain. After turning into the Ninemile road, and before reaching that position, I was hailed by General Whiting, who saw me at a distance, and ran toward the road to stop me. He told me I was riding into the position of the enemy, who had advanced on the withdrawal of our troops, and
tion of Keyes's corps, Johnston resolved to assail and crush it before it could be adequately reenforeed. To this end, he directed Maj.-Gen. Longstreet, with his own and Gen. D. H. Hill's division, the latter in advance, to push out by the Williamsburg road and attack our position in front, while Gen. Huger's, on his right, was to move down the Charles City road and come in on our left flank; and Gen. Gustavus W. Smith was to move out on the New Bridge road to Old Tavern, taking thence the Ninemile road to Fair Oaks Station, and so come in on our right. The entire Rebel army defending Richmond — some 40,000 to 50,000 strong — was either engaged in or supporting this movement, with Jefferson Davis, Gen. Lee, and other magnates, observing, directing, animating, and giving counsel. Seven Pines. The attacking columns were to move at day-break ; May 31. but the tremendous rains of the preceding afternoon and night had so flooded the earth as to render the moving of artillery exce