the numbers and isolated position 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.
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