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Beauregard too much for Butler.

General Butler, however, made Richmond his objective point of attack, and not Petersburg. He soon found he had caught a Tarter in General Beauregard, and after the severe defeat he sustained at his hands, the military nerves of our modern Achilles were so unstrung that he had no stomach for any further fighting at that time. The Richmond Examiner of the day indeed [4] aptly compared Butler to a ‘turkey buzzard matched against a great gyr falcon,’ and the result proved the truth of its prognostications.

Finding that the enemy did not appear to be disposed to molest us, many went back to their various occupations, but ready to be called upon at a moment's warning, and so it happened that on the fateful day our force was considerably diminished. During this time, however, we were marched from one point to another on the lines, finding ourselves at last doing duty on the farm of Mr. Timothy Rives, on the Jerusalem Plank Road, south of the town.

During the interim we were employed in the usual avocations of camp life-drilling, doing guard and picket duty; when not thus engaged, amusing ourselves as best we might. Quoit throwing was a favorite pastime. I do not remember that cards were indulged in our company at least, as there was amongst us quite a sprinkling of elderly men, deacons and elders of churches, not usually given to such worldly recreations.

News regularly reached us, of course, of the heroic deeds of that noble Army of Northern Virginia, whose wonderful victories against tremendous odds excited our unbounded admiration and the wonder of the civilized world.

We had an oracle in camp whose fertile brain found ample scope for the exercise of his peculiar talents. He could draw diagrams, locate armies, make flank movements, and show to a very sympathetic audience how Lee would whip them again. Indeed, many believed that that peerless commander would hurl back his enemies once more to the Potomac.

One night when on picket near — the railroad, sitting around a blazing camp-fire, our oracle exclaimed with unwonted enthusiasm: ‘I could take a dozen of you fellows over to your breastworks and keep back a whole regiment of Yankees.’ This was very amusing, but it seems something like prophecy as to what did occur later on.

The fateful day at length drew near. Butler, aroused from his inertia and fully appraised of the weakness of our defenses, made an effort to redeem his reputation, and adopted the plan of assailing Petersburg at two points simultaneausly. The Federal [5] General Gilmore, with a force of forty-five hundred men, was directed to move upon the defenses of the city on the east along the City Point Road, while General Kautz, with a force of cavalry (stated in the Federal reports at thirteen hundred men and four pieces of artillery), was to attack on the south of the town on the Jerusalem Plank Road.

As General Kautz had some fifteen miles to travel, and General Gilmore only four, the latter was to time his movements so that they could attack as nearly simultaneously as possible upon hearing the sound of the other's guns.

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Benjamin F. Butler (4)
August V. Kautz (2)
Q. A. Gilmore (2)
Beauregard (2)
Timothy Rives (1)
R. E. Lee (1)
Achilles (1)
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