After the Confederate retreat from Yorktown, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan sent forward his III Corps to pursue the Confederates under Gen Joseph E. Johnston. The Union troops caught up with the Rebels four miles southeast of Williamsburg and attacked on May 5, 1862. Heavy fighting ensued along Johnston’s defenses as both sides brought up reinforcements. The Confederates counterattacked the Union left, while the Federals gained ground on their right. That evening, Johnston pulled back and McClellan followed.