e matter so much at heart that I put spurs to my horse, and rode over myself, and tried to dissuade General Burnside from making the attack.
He insisted on its being done.—Hooker's testimony: Report on the Conduct of the War, vol.
i., p. 668. Couch had already thrown forward two batteries to within one hundred and fifty yards of the enemy's works, and endeavored to make a breach large enough for the entrance of a forlorn hope.
After a vigorous cannonading, without any perceptible effect, Humphrey's division was formed in column of assault and ordered in. They were directed to make the assault with empty muskets, for there was no time there to load and fire.
Hooker: Report of Fredericksburg.
When the word was given, the men moved forward with great impetuosity, and advanced to nearly the same point Hancock had previously reached, close up to the stone wall: they advanced, in fact, over a space the traversing of which by any column would result in the destruction of half its nu
olonels Tilton and Sweitzer, hastened to the support of Birney's hard-pressed troops on the advanced line; and General Humphreys, who held the right of the Third Corps, but had not yet been attacked, sent one of his own brigades under Colonel Burling to still further help.
The heaviest pressure of the hostile attack fell upon that exposed portion of the line where it made an angle at the peach orchard, and this point of Sickles' line was held by eight regiments belonging to Birney's and Humphrey's divisions.
The assault was made by McLaws' left, supported by Anderson's division; and though it was disputed by the Union regiments with very great stubbornness, the position was at length carried, and the key-point remained in the enemy's hands.
Now certainly, if not before, was seen the faultiness of the advanced line; for the enemy having burst through the centre, was free to penetrate the interval and assail in detail the disrupted forces right and left.
To meet this menace, tha
posite bank were not strongly manned; the stream was, however, so obstructed that the cavalry were driven back in an attempt to cross it; but De Trobriand's brigade easily carried the passage with a skirmish line.
Before reaching Hatcher's Run, Humphrey's second division under General Smythe was turned abruptly to the right on a path leading northeasterly towards Armstrong's Mill.
Advancing about three-fourths of a mile, the enemy was found intrenched in strong force, and nothing was done saveowards the position held by the Second Corps on Hatcher's Run.
The Confederates, elated with their easy victory, followed up vigorously and dashed out into an open space in front of that corps.
Here, however, they were met by a sharp fire from Humphrey's troops, who had intrenched themselves, and the enemy ceasing the attack, hastily retired.
The Union loss in these operations was about two thousand, of which the larger part fell on Crawford's division.
The Confederate loss is stated to have
y of Lee's army.
This Humphreys found intrenched in a strong position four or five miles north of Farmville, covering the stage and plank roads to Lynchburg.
It proved to be too formidable for a front attack—the ground being open and sloping up gradually to a crest about a thousand yards distant, which was covered with intrenchments and batteries.
An attempt was then made to take it in flank, but the Confederate flanks were found to extend both on the right and left beyond the line of Humphrey's divisions, and it became manifest that all that remained of the Army of Northern Virginia was present.
Barlow's division was then ordered up. Meanwhile Humphreys, having extended his right the length of one division, ordered Miles to make an attack with three regiments; but these met a complete repulse, suffering the loss of above six hundred in killed and wounded.
It was too late to renew operations when Barlow arrived, and during the night Lee again retreated.
While these events we