I was in command of three divisions, those of Major-General McLaws, Brigadier General D. R. Jones, and my own, each consisting of two brigades, the numerical strength being about 13,000 men.
In obedience to these instructions I caused the pickets and skirmishers to observe the utmost vigilance; attacked the enemy's pickets from time to time, and opened a frequent fire of artillery on his works to insure a full knowledge of his position, strength, and movements as far as it was possible, moving my own headquarters to the line occupied by the troops, and sleeping near them in order to observe more closely.
After the battle of Friday, June 27, on the opposite bank of the Chickahominy, it was ascertained that the enemy had withdrawn his troops to the right bank, and therefore the whole of his forces were massed in front of our lines, and that he had destroyed the bridges over this river, thereby separating our army and concentrating his own. I immediately ordered, without awaiting instructions, the bridge known as the New Bridge to be rebuilt, which was done by the troops under Brigadier-General Jones, in order to establish at least one line of communication between the two portions of our army. This was completed on Saturday, 28th.
On the same day Brigadier-General Jones came up to my headquarters and informed me that Brigadier-General Toombs had ordered an attack on the enemy's line of rifle pits on Golding's farm, and asked if I had given such an order. Upon my replying in the negative he said he had not authorized it, and I directed him at once to countermand it, it being in violation of orders previously received from General Lee, and at the moment reiterated through Captain Latrobe, of Brigadier-General Jones' staff, just from General Lee, to the effect that I should not make any attack on the enemy in my front unless absolutely certain of success, except in co-operation with the movements of the commander-in-chief. I was the more anxious to have this order countermanded, as, if this attack were unsuccessful, it might lead to an advance of the enemy, to the seizure of Garnett's farm, the turning of the left of our lines, and the fall of Richmond.
Brigadier-General Jones sent the countermanding order by Captain Ford, of his staff, and soon after he left Lieutenant-Colonel Lee reported to me that our men had already attacked and carried the enemy's rifle pits at Golding's. I immediately sent a message to that effect to General Lee, stating that the work was carried by our troops, who had been ordered by Brigadier-General Toombs to attack, and at the same time directed Captain Dickinson, my assistant adjutant-general, to go to the spot and to ascertain further the state of the case. Proceeding in the direction of Golding's myself I met Captain Dickinson returning, who informed me that when he had arrived near Mr. James Garnett's house he met Colonel Anderson, who was just withdrawing his troops, who informed him that the attack had been made by order of Brigadier-General Toombs without the authority from myself or Brigadier-General Jones, and that it was unsuccessful. This information I also communicated to General Lee, by whom I was ordered to obtain a report on the subject from Brigadier-General Toombs and to forward it to the Secretary of War. Events followed so rapidly on each other that I had not time to obtain this report, and when the operations of the week were ended I took no further steps, as I knew that both Brigadier-Generals Jones and Toombs would make their written reports on the subject. I beg leave now to refer to that portion of their reports in further explanation of the circumstances of this affair.