CAMP NEAR THE CHICKAHOMINY, June 17, 1862.
To-day we hear very heavy firing in the direction of Fort Darling on the James River, and we presume the gunboats are engaging the batteries on the river; though I understood from Commodore Dahlgren, whom I met at Fredericksburg, that the gunboats could not pass the obstructions in the river at Fort Darling, the enemy having pretty much destroyed the navigation, which it would take a long time to correct by removing the vessels and rocks, etc., which have been sunk and thrown in. I learned very little at headquarters yesterday. I think McClellan is awaiting the arrival of all his reinforcements, before pushing his lines any farther forward, or making any grand attack. In the meantime the enemy is busily at work fortifying all the approaches to the city, and without doubt will make a most vigorous and desperate resistance to our advance. McClellan, I understand, is in good spirits and confident of success, which I most sincerely trust he may attain. Our division remains where it was first posted, just behind the Chickahominy at the railroad crossing, where it is understood we will remain for a few days, as it is a good position for defending the railroad, and from whence we can readily be sent to reinforce any part of the line that may be suddenly attacked. From what I can gather, the taking of Richmond will be the work of time, by our slowly but gradually and surely advancing, until we get near enough to make a final assault. In this operation we shall, of course, have frequent skirmishes, and now and then big battles, like the recent one at Fair Oaks, or Seven Pines, as it is sometimes called, where they thought they had a fine chance to cut off our left wing, isolated from the rest of the army by the sudden rising of the Chickahominy. Unfortunately for their calculations, our bridges stood the freshet, and our communication was not cut off, enabling us to meet their attack and repulse it.
SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, p. 274-5