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[335] for Beauregard. The battle reopened on the 17th at noon. Three times were the Federals repulsed, but as often resumed the offensive. About dusk a portion of the Confederate lines was wholly broken, and irreparable disaster impended. Gracie's Brigade fortunately arriving from Chaffin's Bluff at this moment, was thrown into the gap, and restored the fight. The conflict raged until 11 o'clock at night. In the meanwhile Beauregard had determined to take a shorter and more compact line of defence than than the one now occupied. It was some 800 yards nearer the city, and, like the first taken was also a chord of the arc of the original eastern fortifications, still more of which was now abandoned. It was this last line which was held during the siege that ensued. Accordingly, after midnight the Confederate General executed the delicate operation of withdrawing from the close proximity of the overwhelming force in his front; and by daylight on the 18th was in his new position.

The line had been partially prepared for occupation. In some portions a slight trench had been constructed; in others the line was merely staked out by the engineers. Shortly after daylight on the 18th the enemy advanced upon our old works, and finding them abandoned came on with vociferous cheers. As soon as their skirmishers encountered ours in their new position, the line of battle halted and heavy skirmishing commenced. This continued until about 3 P. M., the skirmishers alternately driving each other. Kershaw's Division, the first of General Lee's army that arrived at Petersburg, reached Beauregard early in the morning of the 18th. Field's Division followed two hours afterward. They were placed on the right. Beauregard had now 20,000 men against 93,000. About 3 P. M. a general and final assault was given. It was urged with the same pertinacity and resisted with the same determination as those that preceded. Before dark it ended in complete repulse, and in the language of the Federal historian, ‘in another mournful loss of life.’ The same authority places Grant's losses in these three days of battle at 15,000 men—a number half as large again as Beauregard's entire force until the arrival of Kershaw at the close.

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P. G. T. Beauregard (4)
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