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[222]

The Slaughter at Petersburg, June 18, 1864. [from the Sunday news, Charleston, S. C., July 25, 1897.]


There was no fighting around Petersburg in 1863.

Some interesting personal reminiscences of the fatal day, and those which immediately preceded and succeeded it, by Judge Wm. M. Thomas, then an officer of Rion's Battalion in Hagood's Brigade.


To the Editor of the Sunday News.
In your issue of Sunday, the 18th July, Mr. Marcus B. Alley, of the Maine Artillery during the late war between the States, gives a history of the Federal attack upon the lines at Petersburg on June 18, 1864. He writes it as 1863, but that was a mistake. There was no fighting around Petersburg in 1863, and all with whom I have conversed agree that 1864 is correct. Otherwise his description from the Federal standpoint is in accord with my recollection.

As this was a bloody and remarkable battle, and no account of it has been written for several years, you will, I hope, allow me to give the Confederate version of the battle. Even the Federal official reports have been strangely reticent concering the operations of the 18th of June, 1864, and of the two days preceding that day. General Grant, in his report, says that he ordered General G. W. Smith to advance, and for three days finding no progress had been made, he went himself to the front. This is all he says; General B. F. Butler, who had been bottled up, as Grant said, across the Appomattox, a stone's throw from a part of this battlefield, and who crossed it to see Grant, retaliated the bottling up assertion by alleging that ‘Grant was drunk’ on this occasion.

Some time ago a new element to me, was introduced into our Confederate version, and I wrote to General Hagood the accompanying version, so as to recall his attention to the facts. In reply he wrote me he was glad to get it; that no report of the same had ever before reached him. Colonel Rion, who usually made these reports, was wounded on the 19th of June, and was subsequently for some weeks in the hospital, so that no official report from him could have been made. It will thus be seen that from both sides the official accounts


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