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gunboats commanded the town, and Plymouth, after a brave defence, was captured with some sixteen hundred men and considerable provisions. By direction of the lieutenant-general, I ordered Washington, N. C., to be evacuated, and the troops sent to join the force preparing for the campaign. It will thus be seen that my opinion, given to the War Department upon taking command of this department, that Plymouth and Washington were worse than useless to us, was unhappily verified. On the 9th of April, General Grant wrote to General Meade a letter See Appendix No. 17. in which he set out his whole plan of campaign, which shows how fully at that time the plan of my operations became a fixed fact, and further, how fully it was determined that General Grant should strike the left flank of Lee and turn that so as to drive him into Richmond, which he afterwards did. But Grant was repulsed at the Battle of the Wilderness, so that it became necessary for him to march by his left flank and
January 25th, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 16
ed States ever received from the loyal government of Virginia in defending the State. My predecessors in command had endeavored to recruit a regiment of loyal Virginians, but after many months of energetic trial, both by them and by myself, the attempt was abandoned. A company and a half was all the recruits that State would furnish to the Union, and these were employed in defending the lighthouses and protecting the loyal inhabitants from the outrages of their immediate neighbors. January 25, 1864, the roads being impassable, Brigadier-General Graham, with some armed transports, went up the James River to Lower Brandon and destroyed a large quantity of provisions and forage stored there, and captured some smuggling vessels. Major-General Pickett, of the Confederate forces, made an attack upon New Berne and our lines at Beaufort, N. C., on the 1st of February, but was cleverly repulsed with loss, Brigadier-General Palmer commanding the district. By a surprise of an outpost,
February 1st (search for this): chapter 16
ed in defending the lighthouses and protecting the loyal inhabitants from the outrages of their immediate neighbors. January 25, 1864, the roads being impassable, Brigadier-General Graham, with some armed transports, went up the James River to Lower Brandon and destroyed a large quantity of provisions and forage stored there, and captured some smuggling vessels. Major-General Pickett, of the Confederate forces, made an attack upon New Berne and our lines at Beaufort, N. C., on the 1st of February, but was cleverly repulsed with loss, Brigadier-General Palmer commanding the district. By a surprise of an outpost, fifty-three of the Second North Carolina (loyal) Regiment were captured by General Pickett. By his order they were tried by court martial and twenty-two of them were hanged. Their supposed offence was that they, being enrolled in the Confederate army, had enlisted in the Union army. Upon remonstrance by General Peck, commanding in North Carolina, Pickett replied, th
November 27th (search for this): chapter 16
ation between these places was by water by travelling a distance of from 120 to 170 miles. This opinion was reported to the War Department, but no action was taken, and I did not feel at liberty to order the evacuation of either place. November 16, an expedition under Colonel Quinn, with 450 men of the One Hundred and Forty-Eighth New York Volunteers, captured a rebel marine brigade organized to prey upon the commerce of Chesapeake Bay, and a dangerous nest of pirates was broken up. November 27, Colonel Draper, with the Sixth U. S. Colored Troops, made a successful raid into the counties lying on the sounds in Virginia and North Carolina, capturing and dispersing organized guerillas. December 4, Brigadier-General Wilde, at the head of two regiments of colored troops, overran all the counties as far as Chowan River, releasing some two thousand slaves and inflicting much damage upon the enemy. December 13, Brigadier-General Wistar sent a force from Williamsburg to Charles Ci
an twenty thousand men — to operate on the south side of James River, Richmond being your objective point. To the force you already have will be added about ten thousand men from South Carolina, under Major-General Gillmore, who will command them in person. Maj.-Gen. W. F. Smith is ordered to report to you, to command the troops sent into the field from your own department. General Gillmore will be ordered to report to you at Fortress Monroe, with all the troops on transports, by the 18th instant, or as soon thereafter as practicable. Should you not receive notice by that time to move, you will make such disposition of them and your other forces as you may deem best calculated to deceive the enemy as to the real move to be made. When you are notified to move, take City Point with as much force as possible. Fortify, or, rather, intrench at once, and concentrate all your troops for the field there as rapidly as you can. From City Point directions cannot be given at this time fo
November 2nd, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 16
ection of 1864 both Lincoln and Chase offer Butler the Vice-presidency embarkation at Yorktown and seizure of City Point Drury's Bluff should have been seized at once fortifying the neck minor demonstrations misleading despatches from the Army of the Potomac Butler's Corps commanders, Smith and Gillmore, insubordinate and hostile the fighting around Drury's Bluff false despatches of Grant's successes Butler supposes him rapidly approaching and acts accordingly On the second day of November, 1863, without solicitation, I was detailed to the command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, with headquarters at Fortress Monroe. The Union forces were then in occupation of the peninsula between the York and James Rivers, up to the line of Williamsburg, the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, and a line extending towards Suffolk, about seven miles from Norfolk, on the line of the Dismal Swamp Canal in Virginia, and by the aid of the gunboats, the Currituck, Albemarle, a
rage. See Appendix No. 52. At the same time I instructed him to turn over all his disabled and unserviceable horses to the quartermaster at Bermuda, to be turned out to graze. See Appendix No. 53. General Sheridan on the next day sent me a copy of his instructions from the Army of the Potomac, but declined to make the movement ordered, although I believe by the Articles of War, having come within the territorial command of a superior officer, he was bound to obey his orders. On the 17th, however, finding that his horses were recruited sooner than he expected, he left us and began his return march. He found out very soon that his horses could be recruited in two days instead of eight, when he was called upon to do something for his country. This statement implies a censure on General Sheridan. It seemed to me, when I wrote it, to be just, as it did at the time of the occurrence, and so I choose to let it stand; but since then I have seen publications in which it appears
May 11th, 1864 AD (search for this): chapter 16
, with a loss to his command of about thirty, killed and wounded. See Appendix No. 45. Wishing to have the assistance of General Kautz's cavalry in the contemplated movement I gave them rest, and to put the lines in the best possible order to be held with a small force, I rested on the 11th, making ready to move by daylight on the 12th. On the 11th the following orders were issued to the corps commanders and preparations were made to carry them out:-- Headquarters in the field, May 11, 1864, 9.30 P. M. Major-General Gillmore, Commanding Tenth Army Corps: A movement will be made to-morrow morning at daybreak of the troops in the manner following: General Smith will take all of his corps that can be spared from his line with safety, and will demonstrate against the enemy up the turnpike, extending his line of advance to the left, with his right resting, at the beginning of the movement, on the river at or near Howlett's house, pressing the enemy into their intrenchments wit
capture Chaffin's farm on his side of the river, where there were about two hundred men. See Appendix No. 51. But in any event I desired that he send up a force along the north bank of the James to search for torpedoes, and the wires and batteries by which they may be discharged, with instructions to burn any house in which such machines were found, and send to me any persons captured having anything to do with them. I also asked for a personal interview at the earliest moment. On the 15th General Sheridan called on me at the front, and in conference with him I learned that he thought it would take seven or eight days to refit the horses and men of his command to make his return march. Trusting that General Grant would be with me before that time, and deeming that if General Sheridan's command, numbering four thousand effective men, were encamped on the right of my lines near Howlett's house, where there was an admirable place for a cavalry encampment, that it would be so much
emy making a stand at their line of works, General Gillmore was sent to endeavor to turn their right while Smith attacked the front. Both movements were gallantly accomplished after severe fighting. Meantime, I endeavored to have the navy advance so as to cover our right, which rested near the river, from the fire of the enemy's fleet. But from the correspondence that ensued, it was obvious that we could have no assistance from the navy above Trent's Reach. See Appendix No. 46. On the 14th, General Smith drove the enemy from the first line of works, which we occupied. In the morning of that day I received a telegram from the Secretary of War stating that a despatch just received reported a general attack by Grant, in which great success was achieved; that Hancock had captured Maj.-Gen. Edward Johnson's division, and taken him and Early, and forty cannon, and that the prisoners were counted by thousands. See Appendix No. 47. Twelve hours later the Secretary of War sent me
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