along the James (the Lee's Mill road) - unite between the heads of the tributary streams a short distance in front of Fort Magruder, by which they are commanded, and debouch from the woods just before uniting. A branch from the James River road leaves it about 1 3/4 miles below Fort Magruder, and unites with the road from Allen's Landing to Williamsburg, which crosses the tributary of College Creek over a dam at the outlet of a pond and passes just in rear of the line of works, being commanded by the three redoubts on the right of the line. At about the same distance from Fort Magruder a branch leaves the York River road and crosses the tributary of Queen's Creek on a dam, and passing over the position and through the works in its rear finally enters Williamsburg. This road is commanded by redoubts on the left of the line of the works.
General Stoneman debouched from the woods with his advance guard (consisting of a part of the First U. S. Cavalry and one section of Gibson's battery, under the command of General Cooke), and the enemy immediately opened on him with several field pieces from Fort Magruder, having the correct range, and doing some execution. Gibson's battery was brought into position as rapidly as the deep mud would permit and returned the fire, while the Sixth U. S. Cavalry was sent to feel the enemy's left. This regiment passed one redoubt, which it found unoccupied,and appeared in the rear of a second, when a strong cavalry force, with infantry and artillery, came down upon it; whereupon the regiment was withdrawn. The rear squadron, under command of Captain Sanders, repelled a charge of the enemy's cavalry in the most gallant number. In the mean time the enemy was being re-enforced by infantry, and the artillery fire becoming very hot, General Stoneman, having no infantry to carry the works, ordered the withdrawal of the battery. This was accomplished, with the exception of one piece, which could not be extricated from the mud. The enemy attempted to prevent the movement, but their charges were met by the First U. S. Cavalry, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Grier, and they were driven back, losing several officers and one stand of colors. General Stoneman the took up a defensive position a short distance in the rear of the first, to await the arrival of the infantry.
The advance of General Smith's column reached Skiff Creek about 11.30 o'clock and found the bridge over that stream in flames and the road impassable. A practicable route to the Yorktown road having been discovered, the division, by order of General Sumner, moved on by that road, and reached General Stoneman's position about 5.30 o'clock. General Sumner, arriving with is, assumed command.
Generals Heinzelman and Keyes also arrived. During the afternoon of the 4th, near the Half-way House, the head of General Hooker's column encountered Smith's division filing into the road, and was obliged to halt between three and four hours until it had passed. General Hooker the followed on, and at Cheesecake Church turned off, by General Heintzelman's direction, taking a cross road, and moved out on the Lee's Mill road, thus changing places with General Smith. Marching part of the night, he came in sight of Fort Magruder early in the morning of the 5th.
General Smith's division having been deployed, General Sumner ordered an attack on the works in his front; but the lines having been thrown into confusion while moving through the dense forest and darkness coming on, the attempt for that night was abandoned. The troops bivouacked in the woods, and heavy rain began, which con-