General McLaws did not arrive for some time, I ordered two regiments of an advance brigade (Griffith's) of my own division to take post in reserve also on the right of the railroad, so as to support Kershaw's brigade, leaving the Williamsburg road, still farther on our right, unoccupied and open for Huger. I then formed the other two regiments of Griffith's brigade on the left of General Kershaw's, their right resting of the railroad. Brigadier-General Cobb's, which marched in rear of General Griffith's, was, as soon as it arrived, formed on the left of these two regiments, two of his own being kept in reserve. I then dispatched a staff officer to ascertain the position of General Jones' division, which had crossed the swamp at Golding's house, and directed it to be formed on the left of General Cobb, with the proper interval. While these dispositions were being made I ordered skirmishers to be thrown out in front of General Kershaw's brigade, and my own division to find the enemy and ascertain his position. The enemy having thrown up a heavy obstruction across the railroad track, I caused men to be detailed for the purpose of removing it for the passage down the road of a heavy rifled gun, mounted on a railway carriage, and protected by an inclined plane of iron. I also dispatched a staff officer toward Grapevine Bridge, some 3 miles off, to ascertain the position of Major-General Jackson's troops, which I had supposed from the statements above given had already crossed.
These orders given and disposition made I received information from Brigadier-General Jones that the enemy was in force in his front and fortified. This, it was reported to me, was derived from a prisoner, who had been just captured, and the presence of the enemy in front was verified by the skirmishers of General Jones being engaged with those of the enemy.
I received about the same time a communication from General McLaws stating that the enemy was in front of Kershaw's brigade and in works well manned. Desiring to ascertain the extent of his front, I directed Brigadier-General Cobb to detail a trusty officer and some of his best skirmishers to feel the enemy, if to be found in front of my division, and to report the result.
In the mean time Major Bryan, the staff officer who had been sent to Major-General Jackson, returned with his engineer, Lieutenant Boswell, who reported that Major-General Jackson was compelled to rebuild the bridge, which would be completed in about two hours, Major Bryan reporting that Major-General Jackson had crossed but a small portion of his infantry, not more than three companies, over the broken bridge. About the same time I received a message from Major-General Huger, stating that a large portion of his command had been sent elsewhere, but that with two brigades he would soon march down on the Williamsburg road.
Having passed up the country near the railroad on our retreat from the neighborhood of New Kent Court-House, I knew that there was a road leading from Grapevine Ford, where the enemy had afterward constructed the bridge, to the railroad bridge near Savage Station, passing to the right and rear of the enemy, now in our front, and that when Major-General Jackson advanced he would probably move on that road. I determined, therefore, to await that advance, and to request Major-General Huger, when he came up, to move down the Williamsburg road, and enveloping both flanks of the enemy and attacking him in front at the same time, I hoped to capture his rear guard, which I ascertained from prisoners and from the reconnoitering parties in front to be at least a division.