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[128]

In this position Butler and Beauregard confronted each other till the early part of June, when the greater part of Butler's troops were withdrawn and sent to reinforce General Grant about Cold Harbor, and all of General Beauregard's forces, except Bushrod Johnson's Brigade, of which my regiment, the Sixty-third Tennessee Infantry, formed a part, were sent to reinforce General Lee. Johnson's Brigade suffered heavily in the battle of Drewry's Bluff, my regiment losing fifty per cent. in killed and wounded; the brigade at this time numbered only five hundred effective men.

About the middle of June General Grant seems to have stolen a march on General Lee, and suddenly throwing his entire army to the south side of the James, moved upon Petersburg, which, notwithstanding it was regarded as the key to Richmond, was wholly unprotected except by home guards and some reserve artillery which had been stationed there.

On the afternoon of June 15th, General Johnson was notified of the threatened attack upon Petersburg, and he immediately ordered the evacuation of the line in front of Bermuda Hundreds, and marched his little command to Petersburg to meet the threatened danger, which I supposed was a cavalry raid, as we had, a short time previous, been called to that city to repel a raid of Kautz's Cavalry.

We reached Petersburg about sunset, and at once marched out to the line of fortification around the city. Instead of meeting a cavalry raid we suddenly came in contact with the solid columns of Grant's advancing infantry, which had captured the lines of fortifications from the Appomattox River up to Battery 14.

General Hoke's Division of North Carolinians, about 3,000 strong, had also been ordered to Petersburg, and reached there about the same time Johnson did.

A new line was formed, extending from Battery 15 to the Appomattox, and the entire Confederate forces, under the command of General Hoke, under the cover of darkness, made such preparations to meet the enemy as their limited supply of entrenching tools would enable them, and thus awaited the momentous events of the next day.

Early on the morning of the 16th, a charge in two columns upon our lines was made by the Federals, which, by the splendid service of the reserve artillery, and the steady and well directed fire of our infantry, was repulsed with considerable loss to the enemy.

During the entire day these charges were repeated from time to


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