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s was to be followed by that of the Army of the Potomac from Urbana, on the lower Rappahannock [see map, next page], to West Point and Richmond, intending, if we failed to gain Richmond by a rapid march, to cross the James and attack the city in rearrst adopted was to commence the movement with the First Corps as a unit, to land north of Gloucester and move thence on West Point; or, should circumstances render it advisable, to land a little below Yorktown to turn the defenses between that place supported by infantry divisions, and every possible effort was made to expedite the movement of a column by water upon West Point, to force the evacuation of the lines at Williamsburg, and, if possible, cut off a portion of the enemy's force and traby water so much that it was not until the morning of the 7th that the leading division — Franklin's — disembarked near West Point and took up a suitable position to hold its own and cover the landing of reenforcements.
This division was attacked no
to leave Newport News until the 16th, from the impossibility of supplying it with wagons.
The best information obtainable represented the Confederate troops around Yorktown as numbering at least fifteen thousand, with about an equal force at Norfolk; and it was clear that the army lately at Manassas, now mostly near Gordonsville, was in position to be thrown promptly to the Peninsula.
It was represented that Yorktown was surrounded by strong earth-works, and that the Warwick River, insteader our land batteries had essentially silenced their fire.
I thus found myself with 53,000 men in condition to move, faced by the conditions of the problem just stated.
Information was received that Yorktown was already being reenforced from Norfolk, and it was apprehended that the main Confederate army would promptly follow the same course.
I therefore determined to move at once with the force in hand, and endeavor to seize a point — near the Halfway House — between Yorktown and Williamsb