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as desired, and General Grant now felt that it was necessary to throw himself on Lee's communications if possible, while preserving his own intact by prolonging the m through the village; am fighting now with a considerable force, supposed to be Lee's division. Everything all right. J. H. Wilson, Brigadier-General Commandihis march as to enable our infantry to reach Spottsylvania first, and thus force Lee to take up a line behind the Po. I had directed Wilson to move from the left by important point and the bridge on the Block House road were utterly ignored, and Lee's approach to Spottsylvania left entirely unobstructed, while three divisions of the line of march I should take-moving in one column around the right flank of Lee's army to get in its rear-and stated at the same time that it was my intention troy a bridge. Our move would be a challenge to Stuart for a cavalry duel behind Lee's lines, in his own country, but the advantages which it was reasonable to antic
nless the separate commands in an expedition of this nature are very prompt in movement, and each fully equal to overcoming at once any obstacle it may meet, combinations rarely work out as expected; besides, an engagement was at all times imminent, hence it was specially necessary to keep the whole force well together. As soon as the Ny, Po, and Ta rivers were crossed, each of which streams would have afforded an excellent defensive line to the enemy, all anxiety as to our passing around Lee's army was removed, and our ability to cross the North Anna placed beyond doubt. Meanwhile General Stuart had discovered what we were about, and he set his cavalry in motion, sending General Fitzhugh Lee to follow and attack my rear on the Childsburg road, Stuart himself marching by way of Davenport's bridge, on the North Anna, toward Beaver Dam Station, near which place his whole command was directed to unite the next day. My column having passed the Ta River, Stuart attacked its rear
's whereabouts, and there were received daily the most conflicting statements as to the nature of Lee's movements. It became necessary, therefore, to find out by an actual demonstration what Lee wasLee was doing, and I was required to reconnoitre in the direction of Mechanicsville. For this purpose I moved Gregg's division out toward this town by way of Hawe's Shop, and when it had gone about three-furs, having been dependent more or less on the conditions that grew out of the movements in which Lee's infantry had been engaged since the 14th of May. On that date General Lee had foreshadowed hisGeneral Lee had foreshadowed his intention of using his cavalry in connection with the manoeuvres of his infantry by issuing an order himself, now that Stuart was dead, directing that the three divisions of cavalry serving with the. The same day he crossed Tolopotomy Creek, and passed around the enemy's left flank so far that Lee thought his left was turned by a strong force, and under cover of darkness withdrew from a menaci
mes River, his unsuccessful attack on the enemy's works near Cold Harbor having demonstrated that Lee's position north of the Chickahominy could not be carried by assault with results that would comphick timber, underbrush, and troublesome swamps to be met in crossing the Chickahominy. Besides, Lee held an interior line, from which all the direct roads to Richmond could be covered with his infam the south side of the Chickahominy was its main purpose, for in the presence of such a force as Lee's contracted lines would now permit him to concentrate behind the Chickahominy, the difficulties h wires along the railroad in the night. Breckenridge had been ordered back to the valley by General Lee as soon as he heard of Hunter's victory near Staunton, but now that my expedition had been di of march had enabled him to bring to my front a strong body of cavalry, although it started from Lee's army nearly two days later than I did from Grant's. The arrival of this body also permitted Bre
cable. The long front presented by Hancock's corps and the cavalry deceived General Lee, and he undoubtedly thought that nearly all of Grant's army had been moved tthose opposing us on the Central and New Market roads. This was what Grant hoped Lee would do in case the operations of Hancock and myself became impracticable, for turn the enemy's left, our attention was directed to keeping up the deception of Lee, and on the afternoon of the 28th Hancock's corps withdrew to a line nearer the These various artifices had the effect intended, for by the evening of the 29th Lee had transferred all his infantry to the north bank of the James, except three diHancock. This left me on the north side of the river, confronting two-thirds of Lee's army in a perilous position, where I could easily be driven into Curl's Neck aCentral railroad. If this opportunity was gained, I was to cut loose and damage Lee's communications with the Shenandoah Valley in such manner as best suited the co
n to the lower Shenandoah Valley. At Early's suggestion General Lee authorized him to move north at an opportune moment, cro Potomac into Maryland and threaten Washington. Indeed, General Lee had foreshadowed such a course when Early started towardoward Strasburg, General Grant believed that he would rejoin Lee, but later manoeuvres of the enemy indicated that Early had and intended to remain in the valley, since it would furnish Lee and himself with subsistence, and also afford renewed opportley of the Shenandoah at this time was of vast importance to Lee's army, and on every hand there were indications that the Coeastern Virginia from its chief purpose — the destruction of Lee and the capture of the Confederate capital. This second stence for Early's men, with a large surplus for the army of Lee. The ground had long been well cleared of timber, and the roy-whose past services had so signalized his ability that General Lee specially selected him to take charge of the Valley Dist
ight resting on the Appomattox. The moving of Warren and Humphreys to the left during the day was early discovered by General Lee. He met it by extending the right of his infantry on the White Oak road, while drawing in the cavalry of W. H. F. Lee and Rosser along the south bank of Stony Creek to cover a crossroads called Five Forks, to anticipate me there; for assuming that my command was moving in conjunction with the infantry, with the ultimate purpose of striking the Southside railroad, Lee made no effort to hold Dinwiddie, which he might have done with his cavalry, and in this he made a fatal mistake. The cavalry of Fitz. Lee was ordered at this same time from Sunderland depot to Five Forks, and its chief placed in command of all the mounted troops of General Lee's army. At daylight on the 30th I proceeded to make dispositions under the new conditions imposed by my modified instructions, and directed Merritt to push Devin out as far as the White Oak road to make a reconnoi
the enemy's infantry had completely isolated itself, and hence there was now offered the Union troops a rare opportunity. Lee was outside of his works, just as we desired, and the general-in-chief realized this the moment he received the first repol my forces against Pickett, I resolved to destroy him, if it was within the bounds of possibility, before he could rejoin Lee. In a despatch, dated 10:05 P. M., telling me of the coming of Warren and Mackenzie, General Grant also said that the s right flank was to be covered by Mackenzie's cavalry, thus entirely cutting off Pickett's troops from communication with Lee's right flank, which rested near the Butler house at the junction of the Claiborne and White Oaks roads. In execution of tmunition before the attack could be made, that the sun would go down before the battle could be begun, or that troops from Lee's right, which, be it remembered, was less than three miles away from my right, might, by striking my rear, or even by th
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 4. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Notes by General Benning on battle of Gettysburg. (search)
ached a fallen horse with his rider by his side, but not dead. They ordered him to surrender. He replied wait a little, or something to that effect, and put his hand to his pistol, drew it, and blew his brains out. This was General Farnsworth. Brigadier-General E. M. Law, who commanded the division, General Hood having been wounded the day before, made the disposition to receive this cavalry. At very short notice he put the artillery across the road, the Seventh Georgia beside the road in a wood a little beyond the artillery, and the Ninth Georgia in a wood at some distance on the other side of the road and of the enclosed field. These two regiments were very small, having suffered heavily the day before. They were all that could be. spared from the line of battle, and to spare them was a risk. Lee's baggage and rear were saved. There was nothing else to protect them. This was an exploit that excited my admiration. Never was any thing better managed. H. L. Benning.
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 5. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), A review of the First two days operations at Gettysburg and a reply to General Longstreet by General Fitz. Lee. (search)
e pieces of artillery, and several colors, (General Lee's report), marched into Loudoun county uponn the exercise of a discretion given him by General Lee and so stated in his report, determined to cavalry was left in position to be used by General Lee. Hooker, in his dispatch to his Presidenbetween his army and the marching column of General Lee-Jenkins being in front of the advanced corp follows: Hampton, 1,200; Fitz. Lee, 2,000; W. H. F. Lee, 1,800; Jones, 3,500; Robertson, 1,000. ItCommanding-General's pcrmssion to make it; (General Lee's report, Southern Historical Society Paperrmy crossed the Potomac upon the 26th June. General Lee heard it on the night of the 28th, from a som his position, could not communicate with General Lee. He sent information about the march of Ha own army commander. It is well known that General Lee loitered, after crossing the Potomac, becautysburg. From the 25th of June to July 2d, General Lee deplored Stuart's absence, and almost hourl[5 more...]
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