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[522]

Wright's Georgia brigade soon came to the aid of Weisiger, and by about midday the Confederate line was re-established by the capture of its broken works. Volleys were poured into the crater, until the mass of Federal soldiers, there entrapped, surrendered at discretion. Grant had brought 65,000 of his soldiers to this grand assault, which, through the lack of audacious courage in his officers and men, brought to him not only failure, but a loss of nearly 5,000 of his soldiers. A howl of despair arose in every portion of the North. Gold went up to $2.80 for a dollar, as compared with greenbacks. The New York Herald advised that an embassy should be sent to the Confederate government, ‘to see if this dreadful war cannot be ended in a mutually satisfactory treaty of peace.’

Early in August, Grant sent Sheridan, with the Sixth corps of infantry and Torbert's and Wilson's divisions of cavalry, to the Shenandoah valley to look after the troublesome Early. To meet these, and aid his lieutenant, Lee dispatched Fitz Lee's division of cavalry and Kershaw's division of infantry from his First corps, in the same direction. Believing, from information received, that Lee had sent three divisions of his army away from Petersburg, thus greatly weakening his defensive force, Grant decided, on the 13th of August, ‘to threaten Richmond from the north side of the James, to prevent his sending troops away, and, if possible, to draw back those sent.’ That night he moved the Second corps and Gregg's division of cavalry from the army of the Potomac, and the Tenth corps from Butler's army of the James, to the north of the river, and the next day these assaulted the Confederate lines in front of Richmond, only to be repulsed, with the loss of 1,000 men; although Grant claims to have captured six pieces of artillery, several hundred prisoners, and to have detained troops that were under marching orders to Early. Gen. F. A. Walker writes of this movement: ‘It should be frankly confessed that the troops on our side engaged, behaved with little spirit. . . . When it is added that the two brigades most in fault were the Irish brigade and that which had been so long and so gloriously commanded by Brooke, it will appear to what a condition the army had been reduced by three months of desperate fighting.’

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