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W. F. SMITH FAILS AT PETERSBURG.
585 were released from apprehension on | Fatalities multiplied. Hancock,with this side, they turned upon Kautz; two divisions, forming the van of the driving him out with ease.. Army of the Potomac, came up just
Grant, having hurried from the after nightfall, and waiving his seniorArmy of the Potomac, when it had ity, tendered his force to Smith, who begun to cross the James, to Bermu- put partof it into the captured works, da Hundreds, directed Butler to push relieving his own troops, but made no W. F. Smith's corps, just arrived further use of it. And Hancock, it from the Chickahominy by steam- seems, in the hurry of the moment, boat via White House, against Pe- when there were a thousand things tersburg as quickly as possible; it be- to be attended to at once, had not, up ing known that A. P. Hill, with the to 5 P. M. of that day, even been apvan of Lee's army, was already on the prised that Petersburg was to be south front of Richmond. Smith assaulted, and had lost some hours of moved out accordingly, crossing the the morning waiting for rations, Appomattox by a pontoon-bridge at which would not have stopped him Point of Rocks, and following Gill- if he had known 59 how urgent was more's route southward to Peters- the necessity for haste: and some burg; confronting, before noon, the further time by marching by an inacnorth-east defenses, 24 miles from the curate map, which carried him too river. Hincks's black brigade was far to the left. . sent up directly, taking a line of rifle- Smith's hesitation to follow up his pits and two guns. But there | success proved the turning-point of though moments were inestimable- the campaign. Before morning, there Smith paused 57—not assaulting till was a very different sort of enemy in near sundown, when part of his force his front from that he had beaten yeswas sent forward, forming a very terday—the van of Lee's iron-sided strong skirmish line, and cleared the veterans, who did not comprehend enemy's rifle-trenches in their front, how formidable intrenchments and capturing 300 prisoners and 16 guns, batteries could be lost when assailed with a loss on our part of about 600.68 only by strong skirmish-lines. By And now-though the night was their arrival, the fall of Petersburg, a clear and the moon nearly full few hours since so imminent, was inSmith rested till morning, after the definitely postponed. old but not good fashion of 1861-2. During the 16th, Warren and 56 June 15.
head of his regiment. He had served with
credit since early in 1861. 57 Grant, in his final, comprehensive report,
59 So says Swinton (Army of the Potomac'), says:
who quotes Hancock's report as his authority; "Smith, for some reason that I have never been able to satisfactorily understand, did not get
and adds: ready to assault the enemy's main lines until
"There is on file in the archives of the Army near sundown."
a paper bearing this indorsement by Gen. Meade: As more than a year had intervened when
Had Gen. Hancock or myself known that Petersthis report was written, it is not probable that
burg was to be attacked, Petersburg would have
fallen.' " Gen. Grant's satisfaction on this point will ever
Swinton seems to have been eagerly supplied, be perfected.
by those officers who are not admirers of Gen. 68 Col. Simon H. Mix, 3d N. Y. cavalry, was Grant, with all the weapons of assault in their killed in front of Petersburg, fighting at the armory,
Burnside came up, with the greater | mainly to that city, Gen. Butler, by part of the Army of the Potomac; order, struck out, under Terry, from but so did Lee, with most of the Ar- his front at Bermuda Hundreds tomy of Virginia. Smith held our right, ward Port Walthall junction, with touching the Appomattox ; Hancock, intent to take, and if possible hold, Burnside and Warren reaching far- the railroad. Terry, finding the railther and farther to the left, which road slightly held, seized, and was was covered by Kautz's cavalry. proceeding to destroy it, when the Meade, after posting his army, approach of Pickett's division of hastened to City Point for a con- Longstreet's corps, marching from sultation with Grant; and, return- Richmond on Petersburg, compelled ing at 2 P. M., gave orders for a gen- him to draw back. Grant had foreeral assault, which was delivered seen and provided against this conat 6 P. M. Hancock's, Burnside's, and tingency, by relieving (with part of part of Warren's corps, went forward the 6th) Smith's (18th) corps, and in the face of a terrible fire from a sending it to the aid of Butler; but, sheltered and formidable foe, and a by some mistake, Smith's men were night of combat and carnage resulted halted too soon; so that Terry was in a general advance of our lines, overpowered and hurled back; and, though at a heavy cost. Birney, of when he again advanced, rëenforced, Hancock's corps, had stormed and the enemy had so strengthened their carried the ridge in his front; whiļe former works that they were deemed Burnside, repelled during the night impregnable. by the deadly fire he encountered, Grant, believing that a good part carried at daylight the outwork defy- of the Rebel army had not yet aring him, capturing 4 guns and 400 rived, ordered another general asprisoners. Potter's division, which sault for the 18th; but, when our had made this desperate charge, was skirmishers that morning advanced, now relieved by Ledlie's, which the enemy had abandoned their pushed our advance still farther, or works in our immediate front, withto within a mile and a half of the drawing to a new, stronger, and city, which was hence reached by our more symmetrical line nearer Petersshells. On other points, however, we burg. Hours were now spent in had either been repulsed, or had making new dispositions to assault made no progress; while the prepon- this with effect; and, at 3 P. M., an derance of losses, and even of prison- attack was made, first by Martindale, ers, was heavily against us. And, as commanding the division left here of the advanced position gained in Burn- Smith's corps; then by Birney, in side's front was projected, as it were, temporary command of the 2d; and into the enemy's still unshaken lines, later by the 5th and 9th ; but with a tremendous assault upon it was very heavy loss, and no success, save made the next night, and our men that Martindale carried the enemy's driven out with heavy loss.
skirmish-line in his front, and made The desperate struggle for Peters- a few prisoners. The losses of the burg having drawn the Rebel forces enemy, sheltered behind their works,
30 June 16,
MEADE FAILS TO HOLD THE WELDON ROAD. 587 bore, of course, no comparison to don railroad reached; but hardly had ours.
operations upon it begun, when Hill It had now been established, at a again struck the flank of our three cost of fully 10,000 men, that Pe- regiments in advance, and routed tersburg could not be carried by di- them, taking many prisoners, and rect assault, no matter in what force: driving the fugitives back on the and our troops were directed to in- main body; when he again desisted, trench strongly in its front, while carrying off his captives. Our losses the 2d and 6th corps were moved in this baffled effort were scarcely to the left, with intent to find and less than 4,000 men, mainly prisonturn the enemy's right; cutting or ers; with no resulting advantage, holding the Weldon railroad. save a moderate extension of our left
The 2d moved around to the Jeru- toward the Weldon railroad. salem plank road, where it was met The mishap of this first attempt to by the enemy in force, and driven clutch the Weldon railroad involved back a short distance; the 6th not or drew after it another. Gen. Wilbeing at hand. Next morning, the son, with his own and Kautz's diadvance was resumed by both corps, visions of cavalry, together 8,000 but too tardily and disconnectedly— strong, had on that day been imthe country being, for the most part, pelled still farther to our left, on a thickly wooded and difficult. A. P. raid against the enemy's railroads. Hill was watching the movement, Moving southward for some distance, and, at the proper moment, threw a he turned abruptly to his right, and division of his corps in between our struck the Weldon road at Reams's two, striking rapidly in flank succes- station, where he burned the dépôt sively Barlow's, Mott's, and Gibbon's and tore up a long stretch of track. divisions, rolling them up and forcing Passing thence rapidly westward, he them back, with a loss of 4 guns and struck the Lynchburg road at a point many prisoners. At the same time, 15 miles from Petersburg, and folanother of Hill's divisions struck the lowed it westward to Nottoway staflank of the 6th corps likewise, in- tion, destroying the track for 22 flicting on it also considerable loss. miles; here encountering and defeatBut Meade now arrived on the field ing a Rebel cavalry force under W. -the Rebel advance having been F. Lee. Hence, he dispatched Kautz checked--and, getting both corps to Burkesville, the junction of this well in hand, he ordered, at nightfall, with the Danville road, where both an advance, which was made, and roads were torn up, as was the Danmost of the lost ground recovered- ville so far S. W. as Meherrin staHill not being in force to resist him tion; where Kautz was rejoined by in the open field. ....
:. | Wilson, and the work prosecuted so Our advance southward was re- far as Roanoke bridge over the sumed next morning, and the Wel Staunton); where they were con
- 61 Between June 10 and 20, Meade's losses include the losses of Sheridan's. cavalry, who were killed, 1,198; wounded, 6,853 ; missing, were fighting north of the James. · 1,614: total, 9,665. And this does not probably 1 6% June 21. 63 June 23. 64 June 24.
fronted by a stronger force than and Kautz on this raid 1,000 prisonthey could dislodge, and commenced ers (beside the wounded), 13 guns, their return to our camps.
and 30 wagons. But, by this time, the enemy were On our right, Gen. Butler had been all around them, and intent on their directed to throw a pontoon-bridge destruction. Striking the Weldon over the James to Deep Bottom, road at Stony creek, they were north of his stronghold at Bermuda again confronted by more Rebels Hundreds; which he did skillfully than they could drive; and, after a and without loss; Brig.-Gen. Foster, hard fight, were obliged to give up with a brigade of the 10th corps, takthe attempt, and make for Reams's ing post at Deep Bottom, only 10 station, which Wilson undoubtedly miles from Richmond, and very near supposed to be now held by Hancock its southward defenses at Howlett's. or Warren. He was badly mistaken, Gen. Sheridan, who, with his cavhowever; for here was a far stronger alry, had rested some days at White Rebel force (including Mahone's and House, after their return from their Finnegan's infantry brigades, beside harassing raid toward Gordonsville, Hampton's cavalry) than that which now moved across the Peninsula to had baffled him at Stony creek; and the James, being resolutely attacked 6 his attempt to force a passage re- by the way; but he beat off his assulted in his signal defeat, involving sailants, with a loss of some 500 on the loss of his guns, his train, with either side, and made his way safely many prisoners and their horses. to our right, bringing in his guns and About 1,000 negroes, who had fallen train. into the wake of our cavalry-many. The residue of the 18th corps was of them mounted on horses borrowed now returned to Butler; and thus, for the occasion-here fell into the in spite of reverses, our lines were hands of the Rebels, and were re-extended on both flanks, so as to turned to a servitude which their threaten Richmond above the James, effort to escape was not calculated while we attempted to flank and carry to lighten. Wilson and Kautz fled Petersburg on the south. Why it separately across the Nottoway, and, was not then, or thereafter, found by a long circuit southward, made advisable to mass suddenly against their way back to our lines before the center of the enemy's long, thin Petersburg-men and horses coming line, and burst through it, wherever, in pretty nearly used up. Grant, in between Richmond and Petersburg, his report, says, indeed, with his ha- it should seem weakest, Gen. Grant bitual optimism, that
in his report does not inform us. “the damage to the enemy in this expedi Possibly, the sore experience of Cold tion more than compensated for the losses we sustained. It severed all connection by
Harbor had made him chary of inrailroad with Richmond for several weeks;" fantry assaults on lines fortified and but such was not the general opin- held by marksmen of such nerve as ion; and Grant sent no more cavalry now composed the bulk of Lee's deto the Rebel rear for months. Lee cimated but still formidable army. claims to have taken from Wilson! There were several collisions along 65 June 28.
68 June 25.
our lines in front of Petersburg, gen-|ible. Having given his soldiers some erally provoked by the now elated much needed rest-the Summer beenemy, who assailed 7 Gen. Stan- ing intensely hot and dry, and the nard's division of the 10th corps; first earth parched and baked so that any opening with artillery and then char- movement raised a cloud of dust ging with infantry; only to be re- which nearly suffocated men and pulsed with a loss of 150 prisoners. horses, and revealed its existence, its A demonstration was made next day strength, and its destination, to the against Burnside's front; but it was ever-watchful foe—another effort on not resolute, and was easily repulsed. our right was resolved on. A rail
Thence ensued some days of com- road along the rear of our position parative quiet-our men having was, during the Summer, completed, marched and fought almost inces facilitating not only the distribution santly for eight weeks, having lost of munitions and provisions from our meantime fully 70,000 of their num- chief landing and dépôt at City Point, ber by desperate fighting-mainly where the Lieutenant-General had his against great advantages of position headquarters, but serving to acceleor shelter, which screened the enemy rate also the movement of troops. from losses at all proportionate to Foster's fortified post at Deep Botours--and they were by no means in tom, threatening an attack on Richsuch heart for daily conflict as when mond, while easily strengthened from they last crossed the Rapidan. True, Bermuda Hundreds, disquieted Lee; their numbers had been nearly or and one or two attempts had been quite kept up by rëenforcements from made upon it, but easily repulsed. various quarters; but many of these Grant resolved to reciprocate the enwere such men as high bounties at-emy's attentions ; so, having quietly tract to military service, and who transferred the 2d corps from his exwere not bounty-jumpers' only be-treme left to his extreme right, across cause they had, as yet, found no the James, at Deep Bottom," he dichance to jump. 68 In fact, the Army rected Hancock to turn the enemy's of the Potomac in 1864, though still advance position, while Foster should including many thousands of excel- amuse him by a feint in front; and lent and now veteran soldiers, was in this order was so admirably obeyed good part formed of material very that the Rebel outpost was successdifferent from and inferior to that fully flanked and carried by Miles's which McClellan led to the Penin- brigade” of Barlow's division, captursula in 1862. And this army, when ing 4 guns. The enemy fell back beconcentrated south of the James, hind Bailey's creek; still holding was by no means equal in morale firmly his strong defensive work at and efficiency to that same army at Chapin's bluff, opposite Fort Darling. the opening of the campaign.
Sheridan, with his cavalry, attemptGrant, however, remained at its ed to flank this work, and gained head--undismayed, unshaken, inflex- some high ground from which he 67 June 24.
only 168,000 ever made their appearance at the 68 It was officially stated that, of 500,000 men front. :
69 July 26–7. drafted in 1864, the requisitions being filled by 70 Consisting of the 183d Pa., 28th Mass., and the payment of $500 to $1,000 each as bounty, | 26th Mich., under Col. J. C. Lynch.
hado. In fact though scel- amis order Rebel on carrieasion, calk be