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[9]

At length Johnson having brushed the enemy from his right flank in the woods, with some assistance from the Washington Artillery, and cleared his front, rested his troops in the shelter of the outer works.

One of the captured pieces having opened on the enemy's masses, he finally fell back behind the woods and ridge at Proctor's creek, though his skirmish line continued the engagement some hours longer.

Further movements were here suspended to await communication from Whiting, or the sound of his approach, and to re-organize the troops which had become more or less disorganized. Brief firing at about 1:45 P. M., gave some hope of his proximity.

I waited in vain. The firing heard was probably an encounter between Dearing and the enemy's rear guard. Dearing had been ordered by Whiting to communicate with me, but unsupported as he was by infantry or artillery, he was unable to do so, except by sending a detachment by a circuitous route, which reached me after the work of the day was closed.

At 4 P. M. all hope of Whiting's approach was gone, and I reluctantly abandoned so much of my plan as contemplated more than a vigorous pursuit of Butler, and driving him to his fortified base.

To effect this I resumed my original formation, and directed General Hoke to send two brigades forward along the Courthouse road to take the enemy in flank and establish enfilading batteries in front of the heights west of the railroad. The formation of our line was checked by a heavy and prolonged storm of rain. Meanwhile the enemy opened a severe fire, which was soon silenced by our artillery.

Before we were ready to advance darkness approached, and upon consultation with several of my subordinate commanders, it was deemed imprudent to attack, considering the probability of serious obstacles and the proximity of Butler's entrenched camp. I, therefore, put the army in position for the night, and sent instructions to Whiting to join our right, at the railroad, in the morning.

During the night the enemy retired to the fortified line of his present camp, leaving in our hands some fourteen hundred prisoners, five pieces of artillery, and five stands of colors. He now rests there, hemmed by our lines, which have since, from time to time, been advanced after every skirmish, and now completely cover the southern communications of the capital, thus securing one of the principal objects of the attack. The more glorious results anticipated were lost by the hesitation of the left wing, and the premature halt of the Petersburg



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