previous next

The position around Petersburg.

Wednesday opened quietly in Petersburg, so quietly that such an unusual state of things became the subject of conjecture in the town. Before night, however, there was something else to talk about. The Express, after noticing the inactivity of the early hours of the day; says:

‘ This state of quiet prevailed until nine o'clock, when heavy cannonading was heard on our extreme left, and upon inquiry it was ascertained to proceed from a Confederate battery admirably posted in Chesterfield. This battery had obtained the range of two of the enemy's 20- pounder Parrots, planted at batteries Nos 1 and 2, on Jordan's farm, and by the admirable aim and precision of our gunners rendered admirable service. In less than thirty minutes after our battery opened the enemy's guns were effectually silenced. Repeated attempts were made during the day to reopen these guns, which for several days past have been throwing shells into our city, but every attempt was met by a hot fire from the Chesterfield Heights, which prevented the accomplishment of the enemy's purpose. Our city yesterday enjoyed a remarkable exemption from these annoying missiles of the enemy, and many were surprised at the amiable disposition which seemed suddenly to have taken possession of our uninvited visitors.

’ About 2 o'clock P. M heavy firing was heard on our extreme right, to the rear of Wells's old place, in Dinwiddie, about two miles from Butterworth's bridge. The firing was rapid, and the discharges of musketry were plainly heard by persons residing in the suburbs in that portion of the city. The report that a fight was progressing in that direction spread rapidly through the city, and many hastened where they supposed they would be enabled to witness the battle. In this, however, they were disappointed, for the country was too thickly wooded to see the conflict without exposing one's person to the flying balls and bullets. All, however, could hear the firing, and listened to the exciting sounds with breathless attention. The enemy had advanced an entire corps around to this extreme southwesterly direction during Tuesday night, for the purpose of seizing and holding the Weldon road, and our Generals were on the quitive at a very early hour. Shortly after midday a flank movement which had been planned was put into process of execution, and this brought on the fight which had attracted the attention of our citizens.

It soon became evident that our gallant boys were driving the invaders and before four o'clock it was ascertained that we had gained a very decided success. Three brigades, under the command of Gen. Mahone, had, by the skillful manœuvering of their officers, succeeded in getting to the front, right and left of a large body of the invaders, before the vandals were fully apprised of the danger of their situation. Their front was protected by a heavy line of breastworks, which had been thrown up during Tuesday night; but this did not deter Confederate troops from their duty, for no sooner was the order to charge given than our boys rushed forward with one of those characteristic velis, which for the second time lately has been distinctly heard in Petersburg. Simultaneous with this charge in front of the enemy, the two other brigades mentioned opened on both flanks, and between the three fires but a few moments sufficed to end the conflict, the great bulk of the vandals throwing down their arms and begging for quarter.

The results of this admirably planned, and no less admirably executed movement, are: The capture of sixteen hundred prisoners, eight stands of colors, four pieces of artillery, and two formidable lines of breastworks. But better than all, we relieve the liac of railroad, and still maintain our communications with the South.

Among the prisoners are fifty-seven commissioned officers — but none higher than Colonel. The men belong mainly to the 2d and 4th Brigades, Buney's Division, Hancock's Second Army Corps. We captured no general officers, Cols. Fraser and Custard, both commanding brigades. Some of the prisoners taken; say that the movement towards the railroad was generally regarded as hazardous, and Gen. Hancock was unfortunately taken sick just on the eve of the expedition. Bliney was in command, of whom the prisoners do not speak at all complimentary. They say he invariably manages to get them into trouble.

As usual, all nationalities are represented among the prisoners, and many of the men say that they left the trenches around Washington twelve days since. A majority of them express great satisfaction that they are now prisoners of war, and declare that they have no heart to fight. A somewhat matured son of the Emerald Isle, whose head is heavily sprinkled with grey, upon being asked where he was from, promptly responded, "Ireland, by Jesus, and would to God that I were back there to day."

Later — the fight still progressing.

At nine o'clock last night, a gentleman just from the vicinity of the front, informed us that the fight was still progressing, and that we were driving the enemy rapidly. We had forced him from the vicinity of the railroad back to and across the Jerusalem plank road, a distance of four miles. It was discovered as we moved, that the enemy had many lines of breastworks, extending easterly from the main line around the city, to prevent flank movements, but from each of these he was handsomely driven.

After being forced from the two first lines, the enemy were reinforced, and made an effort to recapture them; but our boys turned their own guns upon them, (many having left their muskets when they fled,) and repulsed them in gallant style.

Batches of prisoners continued to arrive up to the latest accounts; and a gentleman who left the vicinity of the battle at dark, thinks our total captures will reach 2,590.

A large number of the enemy were killed and wounded, all of whom were left in our hands. --Our casualties will be heavy, but the most of them, we are pleased to hear, are only slightly wounded.

Military men, with whom we have conversed, regard the affair of yesterday as one of the most brilliant of the war, the numbers engaged considered, and not a few are of the opinion that it may bring on a general engagement to-day. Should such a result be brought about, we can only say that it would be gladly accepted by our army, for never have we known men more "eager for the Pray," and more sanguine that, by the help of God, they will conquer.

A raid upon the Weldon road.

A large body of the enemy's cavalry, estimated by many as high as four thousand, made a dash at the Petersburg Railroad yesterday morning between the hours of six and eight o'clock, at Reanis's Station, ten miles distant from Petersburg. They cut the telegraph wires, burnt the water tanks, wood sheds, and office, and tore up about 150 yards of the railroad track. The entire party is said to have taken the old stage road to Dinwiddie Court House upon leaving, and are of course aiming for the Southside and Danville Railroads. A large body of Confederate cavalry are in hot pursuit, and not more than two hours in their rear.

We learn that the telegraph on the line of the Southside Railroad ceased to work at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, and it is supposed that the advance guard of the raiders have reached this line of travel. It is generally hoped that these raiders may be captured; but all such hopes have been so repeatedly disappointed, that we must prepare ourselves for a failure. In the event of success, it will be all the better when it comes.

Vandalism of the enemy.

All accounts from Prince George represent that the county is being thoroughly scoured by the worse than vandal foe who now invade that section. Every house is visited, and not an article of value is overlooked. The enemy's cavalry horses are turned into large fields of wheat, corn, and oats, and allowed to trample and graze the crops as they like.

Yesterday among the prisoners captured, was one cut throat looking fellow, who tell into the hands of Charlie W. Grant of the 45th Georgia.--This Union restorer, had on his person the Family Bible of Mr. Geo M. Browder, a well known citizen of Prince George. Mr. Browder resides near the plankroad, about four miles from Petersburg, and fled from his home a few days since to escape the vengeance of the despoilers. We saw his precious Bible restored to him yesterday evening at the office of the Provost Marshal, and we witnessed the joyful emotions which a sight of its sacred and familiar pages produced.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Hancock (2)
Geo M. Browder (2)
Wells (1)
William Mahone (1)
Jordan (1)
Ireland (1)
Charlie W. Grant (1)
Fraser (1)
Dinwiddie (1)
Custard (1)
Butterworth (1)
Buney (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: