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otion for the James. Warren, with the Fifth corps and Wilson's division of cavalry, seizing the crossing at Long Bridge, made his dispositions to screen the movement. Hancock's corps, marching past the Fifth, was directed upon Willcox's landing; Wright's and Burnside's corps upon Douthat's, while Smith, with four divisions of the Tenth and Eighteenth corps, moved rapidly to White House and embarked for Bermuda Hundred. Swinton, Army of the Potomac, p. 498. Early on the morning of the 13th, Warren, who executed his critical task with marked address, pushed forward Crawford's division on the New Market road, and compelling the few Confederate squadrons of observation to retire across White Oak Swamp, threatened direct advance on Richmond, while the activity of his powerful horse completely shrouded for the time the movement in his rear. Lee did not attack, for Early had been detached for the defence of Lynchburg, and the main body of his cavalry being absent under Hampton, he
's, dispatched Hoke early on the 15th from Drewry's Bluff to reinforce Beauregard, and stood ready to repel direct advance by the river routes or to throw his army into Petersburg, as events might dictate. Grant's design, as we now know, was to Seize Petersburg by a coup-de-main, and it had certainly succeeded but for an incredible negligence on his own part. Smith's command reached Bermuda Hundred, where Grant was in person, Grant and His Campaigns, p. 348. on the evening of the 14th, and being reinforced by Kautz's Division of Cavalry and Hink's Division of Negro Infantry, was at once directed to cross the Appomattox at Point of Rocks, where pontons had been laid, and move rapidly on Petersburg. The passage of the river was effected during the same night, and early on the 15th, Smith advanced in three columns, Kautz with his horsemen covering his left. Now Hancock's entire corps had been ferried to the south side on the night of Smith's arrival at Bermuda Hundred, and
ttox at Point of Rocks, where pontons had been laid, and move rapidly on Petersburg. The passage of the river was effected during the same night, and early on the 15th, Smith advanced in three columns, Kautz with his horsemen covering his left. Now Hancock's entire corps had been ferried to the south side on the night of Smith'sn Lefebre Desnouettes, missing the road to the bridge, missed that to victory. Smith, pushing forward his columns towards Petersburg early on the morning of the 15th, had scarcely advanced a distance of two miles, when he encountered a hasty line of rifle trenches, held by Graham's light battery and a meagre force of dismountedhe quarter of batteries 5, 6 and 7. Reckoning his heavy gunners and the local militia, Beauregard had for the defence of this extended line, on the morning of the 15th, but 2,200 men of all arms, while Smith confronted him with above 20,000 troops. At 7.30 P. M. the enemy, warned by their heavy losses of the morning against assa
though the enemy assaulted but feebly the next morning, and Johnson's brigades arrived at 10 A. M., there was still such disparity of numbers as might well have shaken the resolution of a less determined commander. Burnside's corps reached the Federal front at noon, and General Meade, having met General Grant on the City Point Road, Grant and His Campaigns, p. 349. was directed to assume immediate command of the troops, and assault as soon as practicable. Thus at 5.30 on the evening of the 16th, more than 70,000 troops were launched against the works manned by but 10,000 brave men, a disparity still further increased by the arrival at dusk of Warren's corps, two brigades of which — Miles' and Griffin's — took part in the closing assaults. For three hours the fight raged furiously along the whole line with varying success, nor did the contest subside until after 9 o'clock, when it was found that Birney, of Hancock's corps, had effected a serious lodgment, from which the Confederates
ch I have drawn for you, is attested by that battle-tablet in old Blandford Church, which records the names of the gray-haired men who fell in defence of their native town; while, if you will pardon a personal allusion, it afterwards came to me, as a schoolmaster, to teach some of these veterans' lads, who every day came to class with empty sleeves pinned across their breasts. Burnside's captured dispatch. The battle, as we have seen, did not cease until half-past 12 on the night of the 17th, and the evacuation of the town seemed inevitable, when, by a happy accident, an officer of Burnside's staff, losing his way in the darkness, rode into the Confederate lines, bearing a dispatch from Burnside to Meade to the effect that the Ninth corps had been very roughly handled and should be promptly reinforced. This dispatch had been referred by Meade to Smith for his information, with the request that he at once reinforce Burnside with such troops as could be spared. Scarcely had Beaur
tire upon this new position — a delicate movement, considering the proximity of the enemy, yet executed rapidly and without confusion, for he had caused the line to be marked with white stakes, and required brigade and division staff-officers to acquaint themselves with the positions to be occupied by their respective commands. This was the line held until the close of the defence. Assaults of the fourth day. Grant had ordered Meade to assault along the whole front at daylight of the 18th, but when the Federal skirmishers moved forward at that hour, it was found that the line so stoutly defended the evening before, had been abandoned by the Confederates. This necessitated fresh dispositions, and Meade, having reconnoitred his front, now determined upon assault in column against certain selected points instead of a general attack in line, as originally intended. Grant and His Campaigns, p. 352. Meade's Report of Campaign of 1864. At 8 1/2 A. M. Kershaw's division moved in
om the Appomattox to the extreme Federal left — a line of prodigious strength, and constructed with amazing skill, destined long to remain, to the military student at least, an enduring monument of the ability of the engineers of the Army of the Potomac. This done, General Grant was now free to begin that series of attempts against Lee's communications, which, despite repeated disaster, he continued, with slight intermission, to the end. Extension of the Federal left. On Tuesday, the 21st, the Second and Sixth corps were put in motion to extend the Federal left — the Second, to take position west of the Jerusalem Plank Road, its right connecting with Warren's left, which rested at that point; the Sixth, to extend to the left of the Second, and, if possible, effect a lodgment on the Weldon railroad. On the same day Wilson, with about 6,000 sabres, Coppee (Grant and His Campaigns, p. 358), says 8,000 men in all, but this seems, on Investigation, an over-estimate. consisting
uted nearly the whole of the assaulting column, and the first colors planted on the hostile works were borne by Sergeant Roscoe Richards, Twenty-seventh North Carolina, Cooke's brigade, Heth's division. General Lee, writing to Governor Vance under date of August 29th, says: I have been frequently called upon to mention the services of North Carolina troops in this army, but their gallantry and conduct were never more deserving of admiration than in the engagement at Reams' Station on the 25th instant. Heth, with a generosity as characteristic of the man as his taciturn pluck, declared that he did not believe that the works would have been practicable for any troops, had not Pegram first shaken the position by the terrific fire of his guns, and surely, so long as there is left a survivor of that memorable day, the superb conduct of the cavalry is not likely to be forgotten. Lee, who weighed his words if ever general did, bears emphatic testimony to their gallantry in his official dis
used in tamping. On the 27th of July, the charge, consisting of 320 kegs of powder, each containing, 25 pounds, was placed in the mine, and before sunset of 28th the tamping was finished and the mine ready to be sprung. Pleasants' official report. General Grant, meanwhile, in his eagerness for the coveted prize so long denied him, resolved to tempt Fortune by a double throw, and not to stake his all upon the venture of a single cast. To this end, he dispatched, on the evening of the 26th, Hancock's corps and two divisions of horse under Sheridan to the north side of the James, with instructions to the former to move up rapidly next day to Chaffin's and prevent reinforcements crossing from the south, while Sheridan, making a wide sweep to the right, was to attempt from the north a surprise of the thinly-garrisoned fortifications of Richmond. Meade was to spring the mine and assault from Burnside's front on the same day, General Grant stating in the telegraphic order, with
The conjuncture was still bright with success to the Federals, and it being now decided to spring the mine before daylight of the 30th, Hancock's movement was treated as a feint, and that officer was directed on the night of the 29th to return with all secresy and dispatch to take part in the assault, while Sheridan was to pass in rear of the army, and with whole cavalry corps operate towards Petersburg from the south and west. Swinton, Army of the Potomac, p. 520. On the evening of the 29th, Meade issued his orders of battle. As soon as it was dusk, Burnside was to mass his troops in front of the point to be attacked, and form them in columns of assault, taking care to remove the abatis, so that the troops could debouch rapidly, and to have his pioneers equipped for opening pasages for the artillery. He was to spring the mine at 3.30 A. M., and, moving rapidly through the breach, seize the crest of Cemetery Hill, a ridge four hundred yards in rear of the. Confederate line
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