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ty, and continued to the end to treat his President as commander-in-chief of the forces. There is direct contradiction between Mr. Davis and General Lee as to how Davis received this statement of the necessities of the situation. Mr. Davis says he suggested immediate withdrawal from Richmond, but that Lee said his horses were too weak for the roads in their present condition, and that he must wait. General Lee, on the other hand, is quoted as saying that he wished to retire behind the Staunton River, from which point he might have indefinitely protracted the war, but that the President overruled him. Both agreed, however, that sooner or later Richmond must be abandoned, and that the next move should be to Danville. But before he turned his back forever upon the lines he had so stoutly defended, Lee resolved to dash once more at the toils by which he was surrounded. He placed half his army under the command of General John B. Gordon, with orders to break through the Union lines
cavalry of the Army of the James, having joined him for the expedition. In moving out Wilson crossed the Weldon road near Ream's Station, first destroying it effectually at that point. About fourteen miles west of Petersburg he struck the Southside railroad, and broke it up clear to Burkeville, a distance of thirty miles. Having destroyed everything at Burkeville Junction, he moved along the Danville road to Staunton River, completely wrecking about thirty miles of that line also. At Staunton River he found the railroad bridge strongly guarded, and seeing that he could not burn it, be began his return march that night, and reached Nottoway River, some thirty miles south of Petersburg, at noon of the next day — the 28th. In this expedition Wilson was closely followed from the start by Barringer's brigade of W. H. F. Lee's cavalry, but the operations were not interfered with materially, his success being signal till he reached the vicinity of Stony Creek depot on his return. At
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Volume 4., Sheridan's Trevilian raid. (search)
from Prince George Court House to the Weldon road, at Reams's Station; thence (via Dinwiddie Court House) to a point on the Southside road, fourteen miles from Petersburg. Here W. H. F. Lee failed to detain the leading division, but did interrupt the march of Wilson with his own division, under McIntosh. Pushing on, with the loss of seventy-five men, Wilson further destroyed the Southside road. At Burksville, on the 26th, Kautz inflicted great damage. Wilson found the bridge over the Staunton River in the enemy's possession and impassable. He then turned eastward, and moved on Stony Creek Station on the Weldon road. Here he had a sharp fight, and learned from prisoners that, in addition to a small infantry garrison, Hampton, just returned from Trevilian, was in his front. Wilson withdrew his train in the night, and headed for Reams's, where he had good reason to think he would find Meade's infantry. On the way he was severely handled. Upon reaching Reams's, Kautz, with Wilson'
Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War. Volume 3., Chapter 12: operations against Richmond. (search)
ide railway at Ford's Station, fifteen miles from Petersburg, and destroyed it to Nottaway Station, over a space of Twenty-two miles. There they fought and defeated a brigade of Virginia and North Carolina cavalry, under Fitzhugh Lee. Kautz then pushed on to Burke's Station, at the junction of the Southside and Danville railways, tore up both roads, and, pushing southward along the latter, was joined by Wilson at Meherrin Station. June 24 the united forces then destroyed the road to the Staunton River, when the rapid gathering of the armed and mounted men in that region caused them to turn back. They were compelled to fight their way to Reams's Station, on the Weldon road, which they expected to find in the possession of the Nationals. On the contrary, the cavalry of Hampton, and infantry under Mahone and Finnegan were there in great strength. In attempting to force their lines, Wilson and Kautz were defeated with heavy loss, and with difficulty they made their way back to the Army
General Joseph E. Johnston, Narrative of Military Operations During the Civil War, Chapter 12 (search)
im, in a telegram directed to that place, to give me full information of the movements of the Army of Northern Virginia. This dispatch was acknowledged on the same day by the President, who was unable to give me the information asked for. Telegrams from Brigadier-General H. H. Walker, at Danville, and Colonel Wood, the President's aide-de-camp, at Greensboroa, dated the 7th and 8th respectively, were favorable. One from the Secretary of War dated the 9th, at a railroad-station near the Staunton River, was less so. But there was nothing in any one of the three to suggest the idea that General Lee had been driven from the position held many months with so much skill and resolution. The last indicated, however, that he was encountering the difficulties, in attempting to move southward, that he apprehended when corresponding with me on the subject. On the 9th, Lieutenant-General Hampton informed me that the country people living near the Federal camps reported that the soldiers exp
uring the investment of Richmond and Petersburg, two pontoon bridges were maintained across the Appomattox River, and one across the James at Chaffin's Bluff; and additional pontoon trains were provided in case they should be needed. Anticipating the necessity for the abandonment of Richmond and Petersburg, General Lee, during the winter of 1864-65, required the engineer troops to rebuild Bevill's Bridge over the Appomattox River west of Petersburg, and to send a pontoon bridge to the Staunton River in Charlotte County. The engineer troops also prepared a map showing the routes to the different crossings of the Appomattox River, to be used whenever the army should be withdrawn from Richmond and Petersburg. This map has since been lithographed by the United States Government. In March, 1865, when the right of General Lee's position was seriously threatened, engineer troops strengthened the defenses at Hatcher's Run; but the main body of them served in the trenches in place of
Edward Porter Alexander, Military memoirs of a Confederate: a critical narrative, Chapter 22: the Mine (search)
ecipitately as to lose few prisoners. Hill returned at night to his intrenchments, and the next morning the 2d corps reoccupied the lines from which it had been driven and the 6th corps formed on its left obliquely toward the Weldon road. Wilson and Kautz were followed in their raid by W. H. F. Lee's division of cavalry which, however, was unable to prevent the tearing up of the Lynchburg R. R. from near Petersburg to Burkeville, and of the Danville road from Burkeville south to the Staunton River. Here the bridge was defended by local militia who were intrenched with artillery. The river was unfordable, and Lee, attacking in the rear, the Federals decided to rejoin Grant at Petersburg by a circuit to the east. Unfortunately for them, Hampton's and Fitz-Lee's divisions had just returned from the pursuit of Sheridan's cavalry to Trevillian's Station, where they had had a drawn battle on June 11 and 12. These divisions, aided by W. H. F. Lee's, which had continued in the pursu
Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Petersburg. (search)
s leading southward from Petersburg, the latter being in chief command. They destroyed the buildings at Reams's Station, 10 miles south of Petersburg, and the track for a long distance. They then struck the Southside Railway, and destroyed it over a space of 20 miles, fighting and defeating a cavalry force under Fitzhugh Lee. Kautz pushed on, and tore up the track of the Southside and Danville railways, at and near their junction. The united forces destroyed the Danville road to the Staunton River, where they were confronted by a large force of Confederates. They were compelled to fight their way back to Reams's Station, on the Weldon road, which they had left in the possession of the Nationals; but they found the cavalry of Wade Hampton there, and a considerable body of Confederate infantry. In attempting to force their way through them, the Nationals were defeated, with heavy loss, and they made their way sadly back to camp with their terribly shattered army of troopers. Th
force, had bivouacked at Nottoway Courthouse, on the afternoon of the twenty-fourth advanced across the country to Neberris station, on the Danville railroad, to meet General Kautz, who was to meet him at that place, destroying the road as he advanced. After forming a junction at that station the entire force advanced to Keysville and there bivouacked. The work of destruction was resumed early on the twenty-fifth and by three P. M. we had reached the vicinity of Staunton bridge, on the Staunton river, having completely destroyed every foot of railroad to that point. The distance from Burksville, measured on the map, is about thirty-five miles, and adding to this portions of Southside road which were destroyed the aggregate would not be less than fifty miles and probably more than that distance. The Danville road was constructed in a fashion known to some extent in the extreme West, but now little used; instead of ordinary T rail, solid beams of wood, technically called stringers,
ck with severe loss. Gen. Wilson, however, succeeded in reaching the railroad at Ream's station, below where the combatants were engaged, and tore up some of the track. Wilson, joined by Kautz, then struck across to the Southside railroad, doing some damage, and finally came upon the Danville track, having had a sharp engagement with a small Confederate force near Nottoway Court-house. Continuing along the Danville railroad to the southwest, they arrived at the covered bridge over the Staunton river, in the evening of the 24th. Here a body of Virginia and North Carolina militia met them, and after a brisk encounter Wilson and Kautz had to retire. This was the limit of their raid. They returned as rapidly as they could, but at Ream's station one thousand prisoners and all the enemy's artillery and trains were captured by a Confederate force under Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee. Kautz's knowledge of the country enabled him to escape. He, with his shattered command, reached camp on the 3
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