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‘ [246] attack was ordered by the Major-General Commanding (General Meade), which resulted, on the part of this corps, in driving the enemy entirely out of the cut and ravine, and establishing our extreme advance within about one hundred yards of the enemy's main line, beyond the railroad. * * * The troops of General Hancock, on our right, and Warren, on our left, fully co-operated with us in this engagement.’

General Meade also says that—

Major-General Birney, temporarily commanding the 2d Corps (Hancock's), then organized a formidable column, and, about 4 P. M., made an attack, but without success. Later in the day attacks were made by the 5th and 9th Corps, with no better results.’

General Beauregard's extreme right confronted Warren's corps, but was merely a thin skirmish line of infantry behind the defences. It was here that he placed Kershaw's division, as soon as it arrived on the field, barely in time to resist one of the assaults of the enemy in that quarter. This reinforcement gave General Beauregard at that time about 15,000 men, against not less than 90,000 Federals; for Field's division, which had arrived two hours after Kershaw's, was not yet in position.

Four entire Federal army corps were there. One division (Brooks's) of Smith's corps was absent, but its place hard been filled by a division (Neill's) of Wright's corps; and the whole of Wright's artillery had also been moved up. The fight went on with determined vigor on the one side, with indomitable resistance on the other, and, despite the overwhelming odds against us, closed, before dark, by the total repulse of all the assaulting columns. ‘When made, it’ (the assault) ‘was a complete repulse at every point, and was attended with another mournful loss of life.’1

General Lee reached Petersburg at 11.30 A. M. on the 18th, and his forces (except Kershaw's and Field's divisions) were brought up afterwards. General Beauregard's telegram to General Bragg, already given in a preceding portion of the present chapter, fully settles that point. By Sunday afternoon (the next day) the two corps then constituting the Army of Northern Virginia were within the defences of the city.2

1 Swinton's ‘Army of the Potomac,’ p. 511.

2 Less the forces left on the north side of James River, to protect Richmond from that direction.

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