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[585] were released from apprehension on this side, they turned upon Kautz; driving him out with ease.

Grant, having hurried from the Army of the Potomac, when it had begun to cross the James, to Bermuda Hundreds, directed Butler to push W. F. Smith's corps, just arrived from the Chickahominy by steamboat via White House, against Petersburg as quickly as possible; it being known that A. P. Hill, with the van of Lee's army, was already on the south front of Richmond. Smith moved out accordingly, crossing the Appomattox by a pontoon-bridge at Point of Rocks, and following Gillmore's route southward to Petersburg; confronting, before noon,1 the north-east defenses, 2 1/2 miles from the river. Hincks's black brigade was sent up directly, taking a line of rifle-pits and two guns. But there — though moments were inestimable — Smith paused2--not assaulting till near sundown, when part of his force was sent forward, forming a very strong skirmish line, and cleared the enemy's rifle-trenches in their front, capturing 300 prisoners and 16 guns, with a loss on our part of about 600.3 And now — though the night was clear and the moon nearly full — Smith rested till morning, after the old but not good fashion of 1861-2.

Fatalities multiplied. Hancock,with two divisions, forming the van of the Army of the Potomac, came up just after nightfall, and waiving his seniority, tendered his force to Smith, who put partof it into the captured works, relieving his own troops, but made no further use of it. And Hancock, it seems, in the hurry of the moment, when there were a thousand things to be attended to at once, had not, up to 5 P. M. of that day, even been apprised that Petersburg was to be assaulted, and had lost some hours of the morning waiting for rations, which would not have stopped him if he had known4 how urgent was the necessity for haste: and some further time by marching by an inaccurate map, which carried him too far to the left.

Smith's hesitation to follow up his success proved the turning-point of the campaign. Before morning, there was a very different sort of enemy in his front from that he had beaten yesterday — the van of Lee's iron-sided veterans, who did not comprehend how formidable intrenchments and batteries could be lost when assailed only by strong skirmish-lines. By their arrival, the fall of Petersburg, a few hours since so imminent, was indefinitely postponed.

During the 16th, Warren and

1 June 15.

2 Grant, in his final, comprehensive report, says:

Smith, for some reason that I have never been able to satisfactorily understand, did not get ready to assault the enemy's main lines until near sundown.

As more than a year had intervened when this report was written, it is not probable that Gen. Grant's satisfaction on this point will ever be perfected.

3 Col. Simon H. Mix, 3d N. Y. cavalry, was killed in front of Petersburg, fighting at the head of his regiment. He had served with credit since early in 1861.

4 So says Swinton ( Army of the Potomac ), who quotes Hancock's report as his authority; and adds:

There is on file in the archives of the Army a paper bearing this indorsement by Gen.Meade: “ Had Gen. Hancock or myself known that Petersburg was to be attacked, Petersburg would have fallen.”

Swinton seems to have been eagerly supplied, by those officers who are not admirers of Gen. Grant, with all the weapons of assault in their armory.

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