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[570] the sun, and one would hardly imagine from their appearance that the destiny of the nation was in their hands. With his peculiar unassuming dignity and winning grace, General Burnside approaches them, his countenance radiant with one of those smiles, before which legions of doubts and clouds of despondency are under moral obligation to flee; he takes the hand of each, and the three watch the crossing of the armed host. The dark shadows of the trees are thrown across the river, even over the other bank, and still they come. The sun is far below the horizon, and yet there is no end. The stars twinkle into view through the deepening twilight, but over the river and through the quiet of evening is borne to our ears the rumbling of guns and caissons, and steady tramping of the men. The morn looks down upon the tide of flashing, advancing bayonets. Another morning brings no change. Guns, muskets, and sabres move on, as if the whole north were here in their loyalty and might, pressing on to find a grave for treason and secession, and to bury them beyond the possibility of resurrection.

The parapets and embrasures of Fort Powhatan are thronged with the black men who form its garrison, and who, only a few nights ago, received and repulsed the rebels who pressed upon them, sanguine and sure of success, because “it was only niggers who held it.” The banks are filled with spectators, and the river is crowded with vessels, waiting to pass, and not until the day has faded into evening is the end near. Before midnight the last man had crossed, and the Army of the Potomac was south of Richmond. It was a sight of grand significance, worth a year of one's life. It was a sight encouraging beyond the power of relation. Everything seemed and promised well. There was no straggling, no murmuring, no complaining. Every man bore evidence of health and strength, and seemed conscious of the place he was filling and the duty he was performing. The horses looked strong and well: no protruding ribs or shrunken necks, but as if their power of endurance had not been half tried. And so they crossed and disappeared into Secessia, one hundred and thirty thousand men!

Walthall's farm, near Petersburg, Six A. M., June 17th, 1864.
The Eighteenth corps, under command of General W. F. Smith, which had but just returned to Bermuda Hundred, although greatly needing rest, moved out at three o'clock on the morning of the fifteenth on the Petersburg side of the river. They were joined by General Hinks' division United States colored troops, which had crossed the pontoon bridge over the Appomattox, at ten o'clock the night before. This division consisted of Duncan's brigade, the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Twenty-second regiments, with Captain Angell's battery attached, of Colonel Holman's brigade, the First regiment and a detachment of the Fifth Massachusetts colored cavalry under Colonel Russell, with Captain Choule's colored battery attached; General Kautz's division of cavalry were also with the column.

As the column approached the City Point and Petersburg turnpike at a right angle, it was suddenly enfiladed by a battery on Baylor's farm. Kautz's cavalry were sent forward to reconnoitre, and found the rebels posted on rapidly rising ground, some four hundred yards behind an almost impenetrable thicket a quarter of a mile wide, extending to a forest on the left. The rebels had four pieces of artillery, two regiments of infantry, behind breastworks, and a small force of cavalry.

Duncan's black brigade was formed in line on both sides of the pike as follows: The Fifth regiment, Colonel Conine, on the right; the Twenty-second, Colonel Kidder, at the right centre; and the Sixth, Colonel Ames, on the left. Colonel Holman's small brigade formed the second line.

In this order the troops struggled through the swampy and tangled and almost impassable woods, the rebels shelling them furiously all the distance.

As our line emerged irregularly from the woods, the rebels threw canister with terrible effect. The Fourth received their whole concentrated fire. Captain King was instantly killed, and Lieutenant Brigham mortally wounded. The whole regiment suffered severely. Both wings were forced to return and remain in cover for a short time, until the lines could be reformed; but, at the word, the right wing charged with exultant shouts up the slope and through the murderous fire. The rebels fled in confusion to the woods in their rear, leaving one gun behind, which was instantly turned upon them by some of the negroes of Colonel Kidder's regiment, under the direction of Private John Norton, of Company B, of the First District of Columbia cavalry.

The rebels at Baylor's farm opened fire at about six o'clock. By eight they were driven out. This affair, although attended with heavy losses, gave the black troops confidence in themselves, and prepared them for a more terrible trial in the attack upon the strong lines of rifle-pits, redoubts and redans which ran irregularly from the Appomattox up and along the crests of hills, on several farms, two miles from Petersburg.

In this engagement General Martindale's division of the Eighteenth corps, which suffered moderately in the action, held the right of the line, stretching along the pike and across Bessley's farm on the right of the road. General Brook's staunch division, with two brigades of General Ames' division, had the centre, assisted by Kautz's cavalry. Thinks' division of colored troops held the left.

Brooks' division marched to some open pine woods, where they remained until the charge at

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