The movement on Richmond--two more Repulses of the enemy by Gen Lee — affairs on the Southside — feint at Drewry's Bluff — fight expected near Petersburg Today — the Central Railroad Tapped, &c, &c.The only late news of the operations of the army of Gen. Lee are contained in the following dispatches from him received at the War Department:
Near Spotsylvania C H, 2.30 P M, May 8th, via Orange C H.After a sharp encounter with the 5th army corps, (Warren's,) and Torbett's division of cavalry, Gen. R. H. Anderson, with the advance of the army, repulsed the enemy with heavy slaughter, and took possession of the Court-House.
To Hon. Jas. A. Seddon:
To Hon. Jas. A. Seddon:
I am the more grateful to the Giver of all factory that our loss is small.
R E Lee, Gen.
R E Lee, Gen.
Headq'rs army Northern Va., May 8th, 1864--9 P. M.Hon. Secretary of War: After the repulse of the enemy from Spotsylvania Court-House this morning, receiving reinforcements, he renewed the attack to our position, but was again handsomely given back.
R. E. Lee, General.
Below we give an account of Friday's and Saturday's fights from our correspondent, and many other matters of interest contested with the movement on this city:
Army of Northern Virginia,
I have been in the saddle for the last twenty-four years, and have been unremittingly active during the time endeavoring to sift the true from the false.
The following is the result of my inquiries and investigation.
As I wrote you on Thursday, the enemy began to cross the Rapidan at Ely's and Germann's fords on Tuesday night. Early on Wednesday morning a force of the enemy's cavalry and artillery, having crossed at these fords, moved by the roads leading to Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg to Zoar Church, about six miles acre the latter place, where they established heavy pickets.
On Wednesday, the enemy having laid down pontoons across the Rapidan rivers their whole force was busily engaged all day in crossing and about nightfall had succeeded in knowing across their whole force.
On Wednesday night the enemy bivouacked in and near Chancellorsville.
And early on Thursday morning their began to head up the turnpike and planked, the force which crossed at Ely's. At the same time the force which crossed at Germanna across and over the turnpike, as if intending to join the force which was moving on those . In order to understand the situation, let us explain that Orange C H is on the direct line or away from Alexandria to Richmond, distant from the former place about 78 miles, and from the latter about 87 miles. Orange C H is also about six miles south of the Rapidan Railroad Bridge, and is the use of our supplies and the depot for our wounded.
The battle-field is about twenty five miles below breast of Orange C H, along the highways of the plank and turnpike roads which connect Orange C H with Fredericksburg.
The enemy having passed up the plank and turnpike roads, also severed across and seized the Catharpin and Brock made, which run nearly parallel with the plank and turnpike roads, and to the south of these. --Their object in thus acting is interpreted by some or meaning that they intended, had they not have been molested by Gen Lee, to have moved forward towards Malford Depot, and thus to have joined Gen Lee's flank and caused him to fall back.
The more probable hypothesis is that they seized the roads in order to provide against a flank movement.
May 7th, 1864.
The fighting Thursday evening.On Thursday evening as the enemy were moving across from Germanna ford towards the plank road Gen Ewell's corps, which was moving down the turnpike road, struck the head of their column as it was passing across the pike. Heavy skirmishing at once ensued, and soon the enemy finding themselves much pressed, turned and attacked us. Johnson's division occupied the left of the turnpike, and stretching over towards the his right resting on the turnpike road, and occupying the right with his left, joining Johnson's right on the pike, whilst Early was held in reserve. About one P. M, the enemy made a serious onset upon Brig Gen J M Jones's Virginia brigade, who held the advance, and the extremely of Johnson's division supported by Battle's brigade, and the other three brigades of Rodes's division.--The fight which ensued was contested with great until about 3 P. M. when a lull ensued, our men having repulsed the enemy most handsomely. During the attack on Battle's brigade, and just at a time it was being rapidly forced back, Gordon's brigade was ordered forward, and made one of the grandest charges of the war, forcing the enemy back at all points. Later in the evening about 5 o'clock, the enemy again made a desperate assault upon Johnson's lines, but which was most gallantly and handsomely repulsed, our troops remaining masters of the field, and the Yankee killed and wounded being piled up in great numbers before our breastworks. The enemy not knowing that we had any breastworks, charged us, and were terribly cut to pieces. In this engagement Brig Gen Pegram was severely wounded in thigh. During the first of these engagements the gallant J M Jones, of Va, was killed under the following circumstances: His brigade it seems, except the 21st Va, under Col Witcher, was faltering and rapidly firing, when Gen J, in nothing daunted, rode to the front and called to his men to rally around him. At the same moment Captain Early, his A A G and Capt Moore, his A D C, rode to his side, and emulating the courage of their noble leader, were making ineffectual efforts to rally their men, when they then becoming prominent attacks for the enemy's sharpshooters were quickly picked off. Capt Early fell dead, and Capt Moore fell severely wounded. The conduct of the brigade has been and doubtless will be much animadverted upon. In extenuation it may be mentioned that this brigade has made some splendid fights during the war, that the enemy advanced in heavy force and very suddenly, and that this brigade afterwards informed and fought most courageously. Whilst matters were thus progressing on Ewell's front the enemy in heavy force advanced to attack Beth and Wilcox. A warm and desperate fight engaged lasting from 3 o'clock until sundown. The reason was that the enemy were held in check, and repulsed on this part of the line as well as in front of Ewell. During the night Lane's pickets succeeded in surprising the enemy and capturing about three hundred prisoners.
The captures.Ewell, in the fights on his front during this evening, captured about one thousand prisoners, including thirty or forty commissioned officers, besides a good number of Yankee wounded who fell into our hands. Gen Johnson, of Ewell's corps, also captured during this evening's fights, two pieces of artillery, including horses, harness and gear. We also look about two hundred prisoners from Brig Gen J M Jones's brigade in the first engagement in the rally part of this day. Altogether, the result of the first day's engagement was a most decided success to us, especially along Ewell's lines. Indeed Ewell, who is always up to time and in action covered himself all over with glory, as did his gallant Major Generals--Johnson, Rodes, and Early. Gen Lee, when he heard of their success, said "I always rely upon the second corps for hard fighting. Give them my thanks." Whilst the infantry were thus engaged the cavalry were not idle. Rosser with his single brigade fought Wilson's, formerly Kilpatrick's, cavalry division all day Thursday, and finally succeeded in forcing it to give back. His loss was about two hundred as well as I can uncertain.
Commencement of the fight Friday.On Thursday night the enemy began to move slightly around to our right, and early on Friday morning (yesterday) they advanced in heavy force on Ewell's front, with six lines of battle, and fought most obstinately. Ewell's boys, and especially Early's, remembering the advice of the sage of Bunker's Hill, watched until they saw the whites of the enemy's eyes, and then poured into them such a volley of leaden missiles as caused them to reel and stagger, and finally to give back, not, however, until the dead on Ewell's front were strewn thick around. One advance upon and reconnaissance of Ewell's position, which was strongly fortified, seemed to satisfy them, and they made no further assault during the day. Gen E simply held his ground, and so there was no further fighting on our left wing. Simultaneously with the advance upon Ewell's lines, the enemy also made a move against our centre, engaging Heth and Wilcox, for sometime without any result, when the enemy, becoming very strong in front of these divisions, began to force them rapidly back. At this opportune moment the gallant Kershaw and his heroic braves moved rapidly up, engaged the enemy, first checking their onset upon Heth and Wilcox, then repulsing them, and finally driving the enemy before him.
Longstreet's flank movement.About 11 o'clock, Lieut Gen Longstreet having planned a most brilliant flank movement, was advancing at the head of his column to the right of the plankroad, in order to be certain of its successful consummation, when, by a mistake growing out of the fact that our troops mistook him and his staff for Yankees, he was fired upon. The result was that Lieut Gen Longstreet was wounded painfully, but not dangerously, in the left shoulder, the ball entering obliquely and passing upwards. The same fire which thus deprived the country temporarily of one of its ablest, purest, and most gallant officers, robbed the country, by death, of Brig Gen Jenkins, of South Carolina, who was instantly killed. Gen Fields temporarily took Lieut Gen Longstreet's place, and kept up the movement, from which Longstreet very justly expected the happiest results. The enemy began gradually to give way, and by 4 P M the enemy had been pressed back some two miles--i. e., our right and centre had swung around, driving the enemy back and in towards the river, our left meantime standing fast. About 4 P M the heaviest fighting ceased. From then until night brisk skirmishing was kept up. Our loss thus far will be fully six thousand, of which a much larger percentage than usual are officers. A very large number are also but slightly wounded, and will soon be able to return to duty. The battle-field is about twenty five miles east of this place and in almost a direct line towards Fredericksburg. The country, like that around Chancellorsville, and of which, indeed, it is a continuation, is a dense wilderness — as Gen Lee aptly said, a ‘"tangled wilderness’"--and, as such, it is utterly unsuited for the use of artillery. In deed, during the entire fights there have not been over one hundred discharges of artillery. During the day yesterday Rosser's cavalry brigade again fought the enemy's cavalry, supported by artillery, in a severe engagement lasting all day, in which Rosser is said to have been a "little worsted." I visited the hospitals in rear of the battle field yesterday evening, and the usual sad scenes of amputations, resections of limbs, groaning and dying men, saluted the ears and eyes at every step. Our surgeons seemed to be exerting themselves industriously, and I hope with a large degree of success. The enemy are said to have fought during the last two days with great obstinacy. In most instances our men acted up to their ancient fame; some are said to have done badly. Until I know more than I now do my motto shall be nil nist bonum. The loss of Col J Thompson Brown, of the artillery, will not easily be replaced. He was picked off by one of the enemy's sharpshooters whilst reconnoitering on Ewell's front on Friday morning. One of the statements going the rounds — believed by some and disbelieved by others — is one that Gen. Lee started to lead on a Texan brigade, when they to one man cried out, "We will not go forward unless you go back." Last night all was quiet. This morning, about 4 A M, I left the front. Just before day there was some picket fighting on Hill's front, and about sunrise heavy cannonading was heard in the direction of Ewell's lines.
List of casualtiesThe following is a list of the principal casualties. I think you can rely upon their being as stated: Brig Gen Jenkins, killed; Brig Gen Benning, wounded severely, not dangerously; Brig Gen S M Jones, killed; Brig Gen Pegram, wounded severely, not dangerously; Brig Gen Stafford, wounded severely (since dead); Col Nance, 3d S C, killed; Lieut Col Galliard, 2d S C; Col Kennedy, wounded slightly; Lieut Col Herbert, 8th Ala, wounded in arm, resecting performed; Lieut Col Hanlove, slightly in leg; Col Singleton, slightly; Col Jones, 26th N C, severely, probably mortally; Lt Col Grice, killed; Adjt James. 3d N C, lost an arm; Lt Doby, aid to Gen Kershaw, killed; Lt Col Sheffield, 50th Ga, lost an arm; Col Minetree, wounded severely, not dangerously; Lt Col White head, slightly; Capt R Taylor, aid to Gen Mabone, wounded in knee; Col Board, 58th Va, not dangerously in hip; Lt Col Winston, 45th N C, in leg, not dangerously; Col D Willis, 12th Ga, not dangerously; Col Lane, 25th N C, slightly; Col Saunders, 46th N C, severely; Capt Walker Anderson, ord officer Cook's brig, killed; Col Folum, 14th Ga. dangerously; Col Carter, 45th Ga, killed; Col Miller, 12th S C, severely; Lt Col G H Forney, Ala, killed; Col Avery, 33d N C, severely; Col Davidson, 7th N C, reported captured; Lt Col W W Randolph, Stonewall brig, killed; Maj Frayser, 27th Va, killed; Capt Eugene Hawkins, A A G to Gen Doles, killed; Col Finney, 42d Miss, killed; Lt Col Reynolds, wounded; Maj J Pride, 20th Ga, killed. The body of the Yankee General, Wadsworth, was found in front of our lines, and also the body of a General with the initials "H H C," supposed to be the Yankee General Carr. It is also reported that the dead body of the Yankee General Hayes, who was captured last year at Chancellorsville, has been found inside of our lines. No accurate estimate of the enemy's loss can be given, but it is believed to be quite heavy. The Ambulance Committee from Richmond, and a Committee for the Wounded from Lynchburg, have arrived, and are giving our wounded every attention. The weather this evening is quite hot and sultry. I have heard nothing from the front since I left there at 4 A M this morning. X.
Gordon's flank movement.
Army of Northern Virginia, May 7, P M, 1864.Yesterday evening, between sundown and dark, Brig Gen Gordon's Georgia brigade, of Early's division, and Brig Gen R D Johnston's N C brigade, of Rodes's division, executed a brilliant flank movement on our extreme left, and another on our extreme right, at a point about four miles above Germanna ford. The result may be briefly stated — in the capture of some four hundred men and two Brigadier Generals: Seymour, of Florida notoriety, and Shaler, of New York, formerly a Captain in the Seventh N Y regiment. These officers were brought to the Provost Marshal General's office yesterday evening. Advices from the front as late as sundown represent some skirmishing during the day, but no general engagement. The Yankee losses thus far, in killed and wounded, is believed by a good judge, on excellent data, not to be less than twenty thousand. Our losses will reach seven thousand. It is estimated that we have in our possession nearly two thousand of the enemy's wounded. Late this evening details were made on our left wing to bury the dead. I am gratified to say that Lieut Gen Longstreet is much better. He will be removed to-morrow from his camp, where he has been staying, to Lynchburg. Detachments and squads of prisoners continue to come in all the time. It is rumored here to-night, and believed, that Sedgwick was killed last night by Gordon and Johnston when they executed their flank movement. The Yankee Generals who were captured report the death of Brig Gen Hays, of their army. Much hard fighting has been done by all the troops, but Ewell and his men are the heroes of the fight. X.