approached these lines he was met by Confederate cavalry, and these, with the guns of Fort Magruder and its immediate supporters, caused him to halt, fall back about four miles, and wait for the infantry.
Hearing of this repulse, Hooker
, who was not far in the rear of a brick church on the Yorktown
road, was impatient to move forward, but the way was blocked by Smith
Therefore he sought and obtained leave of Heintzelman
to throw his command on the Hampton
or Warwick road; and in the mean time Sumner
, with Smith
's division, moved on to the point where Stoneman
was halting, at five o'clock in the evening.
These bivouacked for the night.
pressed forward along the Hampton
road, and took position on the left of Smith
's at near midnight. Rain was then falling copiously, and the roads were rendered almost impassable.
There all rested until dawn,
again pressed forward, and at half-past 5 came in sight of the Confederate
works, the spires of Williamsburg
appearing in the distance across the open level land.
Before the Nationals for nearly half a mile the way was obstructed by felled trees, and the open plain beyond was thickly dotted with rifle-pits.
Knowing that thirty thousand troops were within supporting distance of him, and the bulk of the Potomac Army within four hours march, Hooker
made an immediate advance upon the Confederate
works, believing that he could sustain a conflict until aid might reach him, if needed.
At half-past 7 o'clock General Grover
was directed to make the attack, by sending into the felled timber the First Massachusetts on the left, and the Second New Hampshire on the right, with orders to skirmish up to the verge of the open fields, to pick off the Confederate
sharp-shooters and artillerists.
At the same time the Eleventh Massachusetts and Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania were directed to form on the right of the New Hampshire regiment, and advance as skirmishers until they should reach the Yorktown
road; while Weber
's battery was pushed forward into the open field, within seven hundred yards of Fort Magruder.
This drew the fire of the Confederates
,. which killed four of the artillerists and drove off the remainder.
The battery was soon re-manned by volunteers from Osborn
's, and with the assistance of Bramhall
's, which was now brought into action, and also sharp-shooters, Fort Magruder was soon silenced, and the Confederates
in sight on the plain were, dispersed.
's brigade (Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth New Jersey) was; charged with the support of these batteries, and was soon heavily engaged with Confederate infantry and sharp-shooters, who now appeared in great numbers.
Hitherto the opponents of the Nationals were composed of only the Confederate
rear-guard; now Longstreet
's division, which had passed on through Williamsburg
, had been sent back by Johnston
to support that rear-guard, for the pressure of the pursuers was greater than the hitherto tardy movements of McClellan
had given reason to expect.
These were fresh and strong, and Hooker
was compelled to send the First Massachusetts.
and Seventieth and Seventy-second New York (Excelsior Brigade), under Brigadier-general Grover
, to the aid of Patterson
In the mean time the Eleventh Pennsylvania and Twenty-sixth Massachusetts had reached the Yorktown
road, and Colonel Blaisdell
, who led them, was directed to clear