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[577] most, and without firing a shot, yet this brigade has been the pride of the corps.

Somebody blundered, else such soldiers as the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Massachusetts, Seventh Michigan, Nineteenth Maine, Forty-second and Eighty-second New York, and Thirty-sixth Wisconsin would have made for themselves an opportunity for fighting. It was the Seventh Michigan and Nineteenth Massachusetts that volunteered to cross to Fredericksburg in boats, under a severe fire, a year and a half ago, which they did so perilously and so bravely. Some of these regiments were captured bodily, viz.: the Nineteenth and Fifteenth Massachusetts, and the Forty-second and Eighty-second New York. The brigade has lost five commanders, and other officers, and rank and file in proportion, during the campaign. Commanding it have been General Alexander Webb, wounded at Spottsylvania, and Colonels Haskell and McKean, killed at Cold Harbor. The division probably, lost a thousand prisoners yesterday, and Mott's and Barlow's together as many. Beside these is the loss of four guns. McKnight stood by them and his colors till a rebel flag flaunted beside his own, and there was but one man with him. To-day, while talking of the disaster, his voice broke and his eyes filled. The presence of an enemy had never caused the one to falter nor abashed the other.

Dispositions were instantly made to retrieve the fortunes of the day. The Sixth was halted, Ricketts' even marching back a mile, and two brigades were sent for from Warren, and reserve batteries prepared for action. Miles' brigade, with certain others, retired intact to the line of the morning, and it was hoped the enemy would attempt to pursue his advantage. But he knew better, and contented himself with the trophies already won-two thousand prisoners and four guns.

At seven o'clock in the evening, Wright advanced the Sixth corps. The rebels had retired, leaving a thick skirmish line, which raised a yell and fired one volley. Our men beat them both in yell and volley, and they fled, like so many pedestrian Tam O'Shanters. And then such cheers as the Sixth sent after them. The whole corps charged a mile and a half, halting occasionally to preserve alignment, and then bivouacked. The direction pursued, had formed it, when halted, at an obtuse angle with the Second.

Later in the evening, Burnside was attacked strenuously, but without avail.

To-day, at half-past 3 A. M., the Sixth and Second advanced simultaneously, having, during the night, perfected connections of brigades, divisions, and corps. Birney barely regained the position lost yesterday. Wright found nothing before him but pickets. He advanced some distance, swinging around Birney. His two left divisions, Wheaton's (late Neill's) and Rickett's, were now hardly more than a mile from the railroad. Captain Beatty, with one hundred pioneers and sharpshooters, was sent out to reconnoitre. He reached the railroad unopposed, and found it without the pretence of a guard, and with his report, sent a couple of feet of telegraph wire he had cut from the Raleigh line. The Third, Fourth, and Eleventh Vermont were instantly despatched to take possession, and preparations were made to extend the corps to that point. But by this time the rebels were fully awake to the situation. It was as vital to them to regain the railroad as it was to us to retain it. Their interior, therefore shorter, lines gave them every advantage.

It is not less than ten miles from our right on the river to the point in question on the railroad. The rebel communication between the two is not over four. And so they pushed down in overwhelming numbers, all of Hill's corps, and attacked. We had not completed a line, had had no time to intrench, and there was nothing but to fall back. Even that was a matter of some difficulty. The Thirty-fourth Vermont lost prisoners, and it was fortunate that the order, “As you were,” was issued so promptly. The rebels followed closely, attacking at the right of the corps, and then to the left, and further to the left, till they found cavalry, and knew they had determined our limit in that direction. It appeared to be his purpose to make a general assault, and it were better to sustain that covered by some sort of works. Hence, in the edge of the evening, all the divisions of the corps retired, and now occupy the positions of the morning.


headquarters Army of the Potomac, near Petersburg Friday, June 24--9 P. M.
This morning opened with one of the heaviest cannonades of the whole campaign, and the impression was produced on people at a distance from the scene, that a terrible battle was in progress. It transpired soon, however, that the enemy had merely been wasting ammunition in a concentrated and tremendous, but harmless, fire upon the troops and batteries of the Eighteenth corps, from his batteries beyond the Appomattox. Terrible as was the storm of shot, shell, grape, and canister that rained along our lines on the right, the damage done was utterly insignificant.

The ball opened at about half-past 6 A. M. and closed at about nine. Our own batteries during this time were not silent, but replied in spirited style. While this artillery fire was raging, a charge was made on a portion of General Stannard's division of the Eighteenth corps, by Hoke's brigade of rebels. About four hundred of them succeeded in entering our front line of rifle-pits, a mere picket line, our skirmishers retiring to the main breast-work of the front line of battle. While these were coming in, our troops did not fire, from the fear that they might hit our own men.

The rebels, encouraged by this, advanced boldly toward our intrenchments, but the moment


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