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 intrechments. 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 Fredericksburg 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 re-enforced 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 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 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 June 24.
The enemy appeared to be unaware of our purpose, and on the 25th attached General Huger on the Williamsburg road, with the intention, as appeared by a dispatch 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 25th in the direction of Slash Church, encamping for the night west of the Central Railroad, and to advance at 3 a.m. on the 26th 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 andy 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.