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[333] regular siege, which was called the battle of Petersburg, and it is of this that it is proposed to speak.

In response to Beauregard's urgent calls, Hoke's division was ordered to him on the 15th, and marched 12 M. Gracie's Brigade was dispatched later. These were his own troops which had been sent to Lee. At Chester Station, Hoke found partial transportation by rail, and sent forward first Hagood's Brigade, then Colquitt's, while the remainder of his division continued the forced march along the pike.

When Smith, with his corps, 22,000 strong, had arrived before Petersburg at noon that day, the three miles of entrenchments threatened, were held by Wise's Brigade, some detached infantry, the local militia and Dearing's Cavalry—in all about 2,200 effectives of all arms. After consuming the afternoon in reconnaissance and preparation, Smith, at 7 P. M., assailed with a cloud of skirmishers, and carried the lines in his front. Just after this success, Hancock's Corps arrived, doubling the Federal force present; but the enemy, instead of pressing on and seizing the town, which now lay at his mercy, determined to await the morning before making his advance. Hagood's Brigade reached Petersburg at dark, and while the men were being gotten off the cars and formed in the street, its commander reported for orders at Beauregard's headquarters. Beauregard was on the lines and Colonel Harris, of his staff, was instructing Hagood where to take position, when a courier arrived, announcing that the enemy had carried our works from Battery 3 to 7, inclusive, and that our troops were in retreat. Hagood was then hastily directed to move out upon the City Point road, uncovered by this success, to check the enemy's advance, and to take a position upon which a new defensive line might be established.

It was a critical moment. The routed troops were pouring into the town, spreading alarm on every side, and there was no organized body of troops available at the time to check the advance which the enemy was even then supposed to be making, except this brigade and Tabb's Regiment of Wise's Brigade, which still held the left of our line. It would be daylight before Hoke's Division could all get up, and the main body of Lee's army was miles away. In this emergency Beauregard determined upon the bold expedient of imperilling his communication with Lee by the withdrawal of the troops along the Bermuda Hundred lines and their transfer to the south side of the Appomattox. Finding these lines abandoned, Butler next day took possession, and even attempted a further advance,

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