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[586] Burnside came up, with the greater part of the Army of the Potomac; but so did Lee, with most of the Army of Virginia. Smith held our right, touching the Appomattox; Hancock, Burnside and Warren reaching farther and farther to the left, which was covered by Kautz's cavalry. Meade, after posting his army, hastened to City Point for a consultation with Grant; and, returning at 2 P. M., gave orders for a general assault, which was delivered at 6 P. M. Hancock's, Burnside's, and part of Warren's corps, went forward in the face of a terrible fire from a sheltered and formidable foe, and a night of combat and carnage resulted in a general advance of our lines, though at a heavy cost. Birney, of Hancock's corps, had stormed and carried the ridge in his front; while Burnside, repelled during the night by the deadly fire he encountered, carried at daylight the outwork defying him, capturing 4 guns and 400 prisoners. Potter's division, which had made this desperate charge, was now relieved by Ledlie's, which pushed our advance still farther, or to within a mile and a half of the city, which was hence reached by our shells. On other points, however, we had either been repulsed, or had made no progress; while the preponderance of losses, and even of prisoners, was heavily against us. And, as the advanced position gained in Burnside's front was projected, as it were, into the enemy's still unshaken lines, a tremendous assault upon it was made the next night, and our men driven out with heavy loss.

The desperate struggle for Petersburg having drawn the Rebel forces mainly to that city, Gen. Butler, by order, struck out,1 under Terry, from his front at Bermuda Hundreds toward Port Walthall junction, with intent to take, and if possible hold, the railroad. Terry, finding the railroad slightly held, seized, and was proceeding to destroy it, when the approach of Pickett's division of Longstreet's corps, marching from Richmond on Petersburg, compelled him to draw back. Grant had foreseen and provided against this contingency, by relieving (with part of the 6th) Smith's (18th) corps, and sending it to the aid of Butler; but, by some mistake, Smith's men were halted too soon; so that Terry was overpowered and hurled back; and, when he again advanced, reenforced, the enemy had so strengthened their former works that they were deemed impregnable.

Grant, believing that a good part of the Rebel army had not yet arrived, ordered another general assault for the 18th; but, when our skirmishers that morning advanced, the enemy had abandoned their works in our immediate front, withdrawing to a new, stronger, and more symmetrical line nearer Petersburg. Hours were now spent in making new dispositions to assault this with effect; and, at 3 P. M., an attack was made, first by Martindale, commanding the division left here of Smith's corps; then by Birney, in temporary command of the 2d; and later by the 5th and 9th; but with very heavy loss, and no success, save that Martindale carried the enemy's skirmish-line in his front, and made a few prisoners. The losses of the enemy, sheltered behind their works,

1 June 16.

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