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Doc. 22.-operations of General Lee's army. Official Confederate reports.

Message of Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, Va., December 23, 1868.
To the Senate and House of Representatives:
I herewith transmit for your information a communication from the Secretary of War, covering General Lee's report of the operations of the army of Northern Virginia, from the date of his assumption of command to and including the battle of Fredericksburgh, December thirteenth, 1862, and the surbordinate reports appertaining thereto.

Communication from Secretary of War.

Confederate States of America, War Department, Richmond, Va., Dec. 21, 1863.
To His Excellency the President:
sir: I have the honor herewith to transmit, for the information of Congress, General Lee's report of operations! of the army of Northern Virginia, from the date of his assumption of command to and including the battle of Fredericksburgh, December thirteenth, 1863, and the subordinate reports appertaining thereto.

This includes the report of operations before Richmond, submitted at the last session, but procured from the congressional files, that the consecutive narrative might be formed in accordance with General Lee's written request.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

James A. Seddon, Secretary of War.

General Lee's Report.

headquarters army of Northern Virginia, March 6, 1863.
General S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector-General, Richmond, Va.:
sir: After the battle of Seven Pines, the Federal army, under General McClellan, preparatory to an advance upon Richmond, proceeded to fortify its position on the Chickahominy, and to perfect the communications, with its base of supplies near the head of York River. Its left was established south of the Chickahominy, between White Oak Swamp and New Bridge, defended by a line of strong works, access to which, except by a few narrow roads, was obstructed by felling the dense forests in front. These roads were commanded for a great distance by the heavy guns in the fortifications. The right wing lay north of the Chickahominy, extending beyond Mechanicsville, and the approaches from the south side were strongly defended by intrenchments. Our army was around Richmond. The divisions of Huger and Magruder, supported by those of Longstreet and D. H. Hill, in front of the enemy's left, and that of A. P. Hill extending from Magruder's left beyond Meadow Bridge. The command of General Jackson, including Ewell's division, operating in the Shenandoah Valley, had succeeded in diverting the army of McDowell, at Fredericksburgh, from uniting with that of McClellan. To render this diversion more decided, and effectually mask his withdrawal from the valley at the proper time, Jackson, after the defeat of Fremont and Shields, was reinforced by Whiting's division, composed of Hood's Texas brigade and his own, under Colonel Law, from Richmond, and that of Lawton, from the South. The intention of the enemy seemed to be to attack Richmond by regular approaches. The strength of his left wing rendered a direct assault injudicious if not impracticable. It was therefore determined to construct defensive lines so as to enable a part of the army to defend the city, and leave the [268] other part free to cross the Chickahominy and operate on the north bank. By sweeping down the river on that side, and threatening his communications with York River, it was thought that the enemy would be compelled to retreat or give battle out of his intrenchments. The plan was submitted to his Excellency the President. who was repeatedly on the field in the course of its execution. While preparations were in progress, a cavalry expedition, under General Stuart, was made around the rear of the Federal army, to ascertain its position and movements. This was executed with great address and daring by that accomplished officer. As soon as the defensive works were sufficiently advanced, General Jackson was directed to move rapidly and secretly from the valley, so as to arrive in the vicinity of Ashland by the twenty-fourth of June. The enemy appeared to be unaware of our purpose, and on the twenty-sixth attacked General Huger, on the Williamsburgh road, with the intention, as appeared by a despatch from General McClellan, of securing his advance toward Richmond. The effort was successfully resisted and our line maintained.

Battle of Mechanicsville.

According to the general order of battle, a copy of which is annexed, General Jackson was to march from Ashland on the twenty-fifth, in the direction of Slash Church, encamping for the night west of the Central Railroad, and to advance at three A. M. on the twenty-sixth, and turn Beaver Dam. A. P. Hill was to cross the Chickahominy at Meadow Bridge, when Jackson's advance beyond that point should be known, and move directly upon Mechanicsville. As soon as the Mechanicsville bridge should be uncovered, Longstreet and D. H. Hill were to cross, the latter to proceed to the support of Jackson, and the former to that of A. P. Hill. The four commands were directed to sweep down the north side of the Chickahominy, toward the York River Railroad, Jackson on the left and in advance, Longstreet nearest the river and in the rear. Huger and Magruder were ordered to hold their positions against any assault of the enemy, to observe his movements, and follow him closely should he retreat. General Stuart, with the cavalry, was thrown out on Jackson's left, to guard his flank, and give notice of the enemy's movements. Brigadier-General Pendleton was directed to employ the reserve artillery so as to resist any approach of the enemy toward Richmond, to superintend that portion of it posted to aid in the operations on the north bank, and hold the remainder ready for use when it might be required. In consequence of unavoidable delays, the whole of General Jackson's command did not arrive at Ashland in time to enable him to reach the point designated on the twenty-fifth. His march on the twenty-sixth was consequently longer than had been anticipated, and his progress being also retarded by the enemy, A. P. Hill did not begin his movement until three P. M., when he crossed the river and advanced upon Mechanicsville. After a sharp conflict, he drove the enemy from his intrenchments, and forced him to take refuge in his works, on the left bank of Beaver Dam, about a mile distant. This position was a strong one, the banks of the creek in front being high and almost perpendicular, and the approach to it over open fields, commanded by the fire of artillery and infantry intrenched on the opposite side. The difficulty of crossing the stream had been increased by felling the woods on its banks and destroying the bridges.

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