would need every available man to defend the city, and he ordered Johnson
to leave only Gracie
's brigade in his lines, and to come to Petersburg
with the rest of his division.
brought about 3500 men, which, with Hoke
, gave Beauregard
in the morning an effective force of about 14,000 infantry.
During the night he built a temporary line, throwing out the captured portion, while his efficient chief engineer, Col. D. B. Harris
, laid out and commenced a better located permanent line at an average distance of a half-mile in the rear.
On the 16th, Hancock
was in command, and the 9th corps arrived on the field, giving him about 48,000 effectives.
He devoted the day to attacks upon each flank of the broken line and succeeded in capturing one redan, No. 4, on Beauregard
's left, and three, Nos. 12, 13, and 14, on his right.
On the 17th, the fighting began at 3 A. M. and was continued until 11 P. M. The attack at three was conducted by Potter
's division of the 9th corps, and was a complete surprise.
Extraordinary precautions had been adopted to make it so. No shot was fired.
Canteens had been packed in knapsacks, and all orders were transmitted in whispers.
The Confederates were so exhausted, by their incessant fighting by day and working by night, that they were sound asleep, with arms in their hands, and double canister in their guns.
Only a single gunner was waked in time to pull a single lanyard before the enemy swept over and got possession of Redan No. 16
, with 4 guns and 600 prisoners. Nowhere else during the long day were they able to make any headway.
The 5th corps had now arrived and one division of the 6th.
About dark in the afternoon, Redan No. 3
, on the left, had been taken and held temporarily by Ledlie
's division of the 9th corps.
's brigade, which had just come in from Bermuda Hundreds, was put to charge them, and drove them out, capturing over 1000 prisoners. After the fighting ceased, Col. Harris
superintended the withdrawal of the troops from the temporary line to the new location which had been prepared in the last 48 hours.
At 4 A. M. on the 18th, a general advance was made by the 2d, 5th, and 9th corps, the 6th and 18th supporting in reserve.