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“The affair is over, and we have gained firming the supposition that Jackson's our point fully, and with but little loss, advance was at or near Hanover Court notwithstanding the strong opposition ; House, and that Beauregard had arrived our men have done all that could be at Richmond the day before with strong desired. The affair was partially decided reinforcements. “I am inclined to by two guns that Captain Dusenbury think,” he telegraphed to the Secretary brought gallantly into action under very of War, in the evening, “that Jackson difficult circumstances. The enemy was will attack my right and rear. The driven from his camps in front of this, rebel force is stated at 200,000, including and all is now quiet.” The Union loss Jackson and Beauregard. I shall have was about 500. This affair, which has to contend against vastly superior odds been called the battle of Oak Grove, if these reports be true ; but this army was succeeded the next day by an en- will do all in the power of man to hold gagement on the left bank of the river, their position and repulse an attack." followed by the most important conse- This estimate of the rebel force, was, as quences.
usual, much overstated. The report of The movement of the 25th, just de- Beauregard's arrival at Richmond was scribed, had its significance in the ob- altogether erroneous, nor is it clear that vious purpose of a speedy advance upon any of his troops were in Virginia. Lee's Richmond. General McClellan, bow- force is said to have numbered 90,000, to ever, apparently not sanguine of the re- which Jackson's command added 30,000. sult, advised of the approach of Jackson, Expecting an attack on the right on the with his entire force, consisting of his morrow, he accordingly proceeded, with own division, and those of Ewell and the view of making the necessary arWhiting, which, he understood, was, on rangements, to the camp of General the 24th; at Frederick's Hall, in Louisa Porter, who commanded the right wing, county, with the intention of falling upon now reduced to three divisions of about his right, and breaking up his communi- 35,000, in all, with Stoneman's cavalry, cations with York river, had, with a view which was constantly employed in vato future events, ordered a number of rious reconnoissances along the line of transports, with stores and supplies, to the railway, and toward Hanover Court the James river. He had, in fact, warn- House. ed by the easy success of the raid of “On my arrival,” says General McStuart on his rear, already contemplated Clellan, in his official report of the events the change of base which was, a few days now taking place, “I found that there after, fully consummated. The active was a strong probability of Jackson's adpressure of the enemy speedily deter- vancing, although not a certainty of it. mined the movement.
I therefore determined to leave our It is said to have been the strategy of heavy guns in battery, and to retain General McClellan to entice the enemy McCall's division in its strong position to the left bank of the Chickahominy, on Beaver Dam creek, near Mechanicsthat he might make his main attack on ville, posting merely small outposts to the right, by the roads in that quarter watch the crossing near Meadow Bridge leading directly into Richmond ; but that and Mechanicsville, and to give McCall design, if he entertained it, was speedily immediate notice of the enemy's apabandoned in the presence of the enemy. proach. Porter's remaining troops were On the very afternoon of the affair of 1 to be held in reserve, ready to act acOak Grove, General MéClellan was cording to circumstances. The centre hurried from the field by intelligence and left of the army were also to be held brought in by several contrabands, con- | in readiness to repulse any attack, or to
pressure of the Summated. There w days now takinchis official repos
BATTLE OF MECHANICSVILLE.
move to the assistance of the right. It chanicsville and Meadow Bridge, and had long before been determined to hold attacked McCall in his position at Beaver the position of Beaver Dam creek in the Dam creek. His repeated efforts were event of being attacked on that side, for constantly repulsed, with but little loss the reasons that the position was intrin- on our side, but with great slaughter on sically a very strong one, was less liable the part of the enemy. The contest to be turned on either flank than any ceased here about nine P. M., the enemy position in advance of it, and brought leaving us in full possession of every the army in a more concentrated and part of the field of battle. During the manageable condition. The natural action McCall was supported by the strength of the position had been some brigades of Martindale and Griffin, of what increased by slight rifle pits, and the division of Morell. While this was felling a little timber in front of it ; with going on, there were some sharp affairs the exception of epaulments for artillery of pickets on the centre and left, but near Gaines' and Hogan's houses, to act nothing of a serious nature. By this against the enemy's batteries on the time I had certain information that Jackright bank of the Chickahominy: there son was rapidly advancing in strong were no other artificial defences on the force, from Hanover Court House, and left bank of that stream. Our position that his advance guard had probably on the right bank of the river had been participated in the battle of Beaver Dam rendered reasonably secure against as- creek. This rendered that position unsault by felling timber, and the construc- tenable. I, therefore, determined still tion of slight earthworks. Measures had further to concentrate the army by withalready been taken to secure the passage drawing Porter's command to a position of White Oak Swamp. The right wing, near Gaines' Mill, where he could rest under the command of General Fitz John both his flanks on the Chickahominy, and Porter, .consisted of the divisions of and cover the most important bridges over Morell, Sykes, and McCall, with a large that stream. The wagons and heavy guns part of the cavalry reserve. He had ten were withdrawn during the night, the heavy guns in the battery on the banks troops falling back to their new position of the Chickahominy. Such was the early in the morning. The enemy atstate of affairs on the morning of June tacked Seymour's brigade, constituting 26. I was, by that time, satisfied that I the rear guard of the division of McCall, had to deal with at least double my num- but were sharply repulsed, and the bers, but so great was my confidence in movement was not further molested. the conduct of the officers, and the In the course of the morning of the bravery, discipline, and devotion of my 27th, I received intelligence that Longmen, that I felt contented calmly to street's corps was at Mechanicsville, await the bursting of the coming storm, ready to move down on either bank of ready to profit by any fault of the enemy, the Chickahominy, according to circumand sure that I could extricate the army stances. The intelligence, and many from any difficulty in which it might be threatening movements of the enemy on come involved. No other course was various parts of the centre and left, open to me, for my information in regard placed a limit to the amount of the reinto the movements of the enemy was too forcements available for the support of meagre to enable me to take a decided Porter. Under the circumstances, it course.
was impossible to withdraw him to the "I had not long to wait. During the | right bank of the Chickahominy by dayafternoon of the 26th the enemy crossed, light. The enemy were so close upon in several columns, in the vicinity of Me- him that the attempt would have insured the loss of a large portion of his corps, across the swamp, The trains were set and, in any event, the abandonment of in motion at an early hour, and continued his position at that time would have passing across the swamp, night and placed our right flank and rear at the day, without interruption, until all had mercy of the enemy. It was necessary crossed. On the 28th, Porter's corps to fight him where we stood, to hold our was also moved across 'the White Oak position, at any cost, until night, and in Swamp, and on the morning of the 29th the meantime to perfect the arrange- took up a position covering the roads ments for the change of base to the leading from Richmond towards White James river. In the report of General Oak Swamp and Long Bridges. During Porter will be found a detailed descrip- the night of the 28th and 29th the divition of the field of 'battle at Gaines? Mill, sions of Slocum and McCall were ordered and the circumstances of that eventful across the White Oak Swamp, and were contest, creditable alike to the energy of placed in position to cover the passage the enemy and the desperate valor of of the remaining divisions and trains. In the comparatively small band that re- the course of the same night the corps pelled the attacks of his enormous masses. of Sumner and Heintzelman and the diviIt will suffice, for the purposes of this sion of Smith were ordered to fall back report to state that the action com- from their original positions to an interior menced abeut 2 P. M., and that during line resting upon Keyes' old intrenchthe asternoon I ordered up the division ments on the left, and so arranged as to of Slocum to the support of Porter, and cover Savage Station. They were orsoon after the brigades of French and dered to hold this position until dark, Meagher, of Richardson's division. The then to fall back aeross the swamps and latter were not engaged. At a later rejoin the rest of the army. This order period two brigades of Peck's division was not fully carried out, nor was the were ordered forward, but, as their ser- exact position I designated occupied by vices were not needed, they did not cross the different divisions concerned. Neverthe Chickabominy. The contest con- theless, the result was that two attacks tinued with varying fortunes, until dark, of the enemy-one a very determined when the enemy discontinued bis attack. onset—were signally repulsed by SumDuring the night the final withdrawal of ner's corps, assisted in the last by Smith's the right wing across the Chickahominy division of the 6th corps. These are the was completed, without difficulty and two actions known as the affair of Allen's without confusion, a portion of the regu- Field, and the battle of Savage Station. lars remaining on the left bank until the The 3d corps crossed the swamp before morning of the 28th. Early on that dark, having left its position before the morning the bridges were burned, and hour assigned, and was not in action the whole army was thus concentrated during the day (the 29th). The 2d on the right bank of the Chickahominy. corps and Smith's division safely crossed During the battle of Gaines' Mill the po- the swamp during the night with all sition of General Smith was warmly at their guns and material, and brought up tacked, but the enemy was at once re- the rear of the wagon train, pulsed with loss.
"In the night of the 29th and 30th In the course of the night of the 27th, the 4th and 5th corps were ordered to General Keyes was ordered to cross the move to James river, to rest on that White Oak Swamp with the 4th corps, river at or near Turkey Bend, and occuand take up a position to cover the pas-py a position perpendicular to the river, sage of the trains. Measures were also thus covering the Charles city road to taken to increase the number of bridges Richmond, opening cornmunication with