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[588] by a stronger force than they could dislodge, and commenced their return to our camps.

But, by this time, the enemy were all around them, and intent on their destruction. Striking the Weldon road at Stony creek,1 they were again confronted by more Rebels than they could drive; and, after a hard fight, were obliged to give up the attempt, and make for Reams's station, which Wilson undoubtedly supposed to be now held by Hancock or Warren. He was badly mistaken, however; for here was a far stronger Rebel force (including Mahone's and Finnegan's infantry brigades, beside Hampton's cavalry) than that which had baffled him at Stony creek; and his attempt to force a passage resulted in his signal defeat, involving the loss of his guns, his train, with many prisoners and their horses. About 1,000 negroes, who had fallen into the wake of our cavalry — many of them mounted on horses borrowed for the occasion — here fell into the hands of the Rebels, and were returned to a servitude which their effort to escape was not calculated to lighten. Wilson and Kautz fled separately across the Nottoway, and, by a long circuit southward, made their way back to our lines before Petersburg — men and horses coming in pretty nearly used up. Grant, in his report, says, indeed, with his habitual optimism, that

the damage to the enemy in this expedition more than compensated for the losses we sustained. It severed all connection by railroad with Richmond for several weeks ;

but such was not the general opinion; and Grant sent no more cavalry to the Rebel rear for months. Lee claims to have taken from Wilson and Kautz on this raid 1,000 prisoners (beside the wounded), 13 guns, and 30 wagons.

On our right, Gen. Butler had been directed to throw a pontoon-bridge over the James to Deep Bottom, north of his stronghold at Bermuda Hundreds; which he did skillfully and without loss; Brig.-Gen. Foster, with a brigade of the 10th corps, taking post at Deep Bottom, only 10 miles from Richmond, and very near its southward defenses at Howlett's.

Gen. Sheridan, who, with his cavalry, had rested some days at White House, after their return from their harassing raid toward Gordonsville, now moved across the Peninsula to the James, being resolutely attacked2 by the way; but he beat off his assailants, with a loss of some 500 on either side, and made his way safely to our right, bringing in his guns and train.

The residue of the 18th corps was now returned to Butler; and thus, in spite of reverses, our lines were extended on both flanks, so as to threaten Richmond above the James, while we attempted to flank and carry Petersburg on the south. Why it was not then, or thereafter, found advisable to mass suddenly against the center of the enemy's long, thin line, and burst through it, wherever, between Richmond and Petersburg, it should seem weakest, Gen. Grant in his report does not inform us. Possibly, the sore experience of Cold Harbor had made him chary of infantry assaults on lines fortified and held by marksmen of such nerve as now composed the bulk of Lee's decimated but still formidable army.

There were several collisions along

1 June 28.

2 June 25.

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