pressing the pursuit. On this night, as on the days and nights before, the great trains were to be found stretched out upon the road or moving slowly to their destination.
The signal party, which had bivouacked near Savage Station after the battle, crossed the swamp at about 4 a.m. They rested near the crossing.
The morning of June 30 was clear and pleasant. On this day was to be made the last march necessary to place the troops in the new position on James River. The troops everywhere were in motion, seemingly in good spirits. The trains moved steadily upon the roads without confusion, halting at times to allow the cavalry and artillery to pass to the front, to take up their assigned positions.
The corps commanded by General Keyes was well in advance and known to be near the river. General headquarters were at a house upon the road near where the camp had been, about 3 miles from White Oak Swamp. Soon after they were established here the signal detachment assigned to General Hooker, of General Heintzelman's corps, the preceding day reported for duty. They were instructed to hasten forward with General Keye's advance, and on his arrival near the James to put that officer in communication with the gunboats.
Lieutenant Herzog, acting signal officer, also reported here in person the fact that Lieutenant Ellis, acting signal officer, and himself had, in obedience to orders given on Sunday at Savage Station, accompanied a small party of cavalry sent forward by General Keyes, had reached James River on the night before, and had there boarded one of our was vessels; that he had now just returned. The position of the fleet had been ascertained. No enemy in force had been seen in going or returning. The report was read to General McClellan. The officer was ordered to rejoin General Keyes. Headquarters soon after moved upon the road toward Haxall's Landing.
The signal detachment which had bivouacked near White Oak Crossing was, with the exception of two officers, retained with himself by Lieutenant Fisher, acting signal officer, this morning ordered forward by that officer to report to the chief signal officer at general headquarters. This party reported just in time to be present at the first engagement on Malvern Hill. Before noon General Keyes, with the advance, had reached the James River without encountering the enemy, and all the roads of communication were opened. The corps commanded by General Fitz John Porter was at and on the roads near Malvern Hill.
The signal officers who had accompanied the fleet from James River were in communication with those who had been sent forward with General Keyes, and a perfect understanding of their relative movements and positions had been thus given by the land and naval forces. Communications had been opened from a point just below Haxall's to the flag-ship Galena, lying off City Point. The rear of the army was yet at White Oak Swamp. The change of base (to James River) seemed to be a thing accomplished, and that without molestation. A very short time afterward the tumult of the cannonade at White Oak Swamp announced the enemy's attack in that direction.
The position of Malvern Hill, nearly 2 miles from the James River, and yet commanding a view of that stream, is perhaps as perfect as could be chosen for combining by the use of signals the operations and the fire of land and naval forces. From the summit of the hill the roads leading to Richmond by the river and passing Turkey Bridge