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Sketches of operations of General John C. Breckinridge.

By Colonel J. Stoddard Johnston, of his Staff.

No. 2.

General Breckinridge's arrival at Hanover Junction was opportune. General Lee was still at Spotsylvania Courthouse, thirty-five miles north. The railroad from Hanover Junction was that to which he looked for supplies of all kinds and communication with Richmond. Knowing this, General Grant had sent Sheridan, with a large cavalry force, to make a raid in Lee's rear and to destroy his communications — particularly to burn the large bridge over the South Anna river, near Hanover Junction. It was in this raid that General Jeb Stuart was killed. Breckinridge's arrival secured the bridge, and Sheridan returned without having effected other material damage.

On the 22d of May, General Lee, having fallen back from Spotsylvania, arrived at Hanover Junction, and in person thanked and complimented General Breckinridge for his victory. In fact the whole Army of Northern Virginia was full of his praise. The veterans of Lee and Jackson greeted him with cheers whenever he came within sight, and wherever he moved among them, in camp or in line of battle, it was a perfect ovation. At Hanover Junction began that series of splended strategic movements by General Lee to check General Grant in his advance on Richmond, which culminated in the defeat of the latter in the bloody battle of second Cold Harbor on the 2d of June. General Breckinridge continued with General Lee during this time, preserving his separate command. He was in various engagements of more or less moment in the interval, and in the battle of the 2d occupied a portion of the line which received probably the heaviest assault. A salient occupied by his troops was carried by the bayonet, but retaken with great gallantry. During an engagement on the evening of the same day, General Breckinridge's horse was killed under him, by a cannon ball which pased through him, just missing the General's left leg. The horse was killed instantly, and in falling caught his rider under him, producing the impression for the moment in the minds of his staff that he was himself killed. It required the strength of several to disengage him, when it was found that, though not wounded, his thigh and leg were so bruised that he was unable to ride for several weeks.

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