We have the particulars of the victory near Petersburg
, Thursday evening. It appears that General Lee
, having ascertained that the enemy was moving his infantry from the front down the railroad for the purpose of tearing up the track, determined to make counter movements to check them.
Accordingly, on Wednesday night, Lieutenant General A. P. Hill
moved from his position south of the city, and marching down the county roads, encamped in the vicinity of Reams
's statistic from Petersburg
, and on Thursday got his command in position for action when the proper moment should arrive.
The enemy had erected a strong line of works on the road about one mile this side of Reams' station.
A brigade of cavalry, under command of the notorious Spear
, were found engaged in tearing up the railroad track three or four miles beyond Reams
's, with a heavy support of infantry in convenient distance.
About 8 o'clock A. M., General Hampton
swooped down upon this cavalry force, and gallantly charging them, drove them from their work of destruction, and pressed them back behind their infantry support in great confusion.
Dismounting his men, General Hampton
formed his line and attacked the infantry.
The fight here was very sharp, but gradually and steadily he gained ground and pushed the enemy back until they reached their breastworks this side of Reams
's, capturing in the meantime about eight hundred prisoners. Having thus accomplished his full share of the work, the fight ceased until our infantry could be brought into action.
About 5 o'clock P. M., General Hill
, having reached a position on the enemy's flank, attacked their works, behind which a large force of infantry was massed, and upon which bristled a heavy line of cannon.
Our troops moved forward in beautiful order to the attack, but before reaching the works were checked by the terrible fire of grape, canister and musketry poured into their ranks.
Such was the severity of the firing that a temporary faltering was visible, but there was no retreat.
The assaulting column threw themselves upon the ground until the supports came up, when, with a yell, they arose and advanced upon the enemy.
The cannon and musketry firing from the enemy's works was, if possible, now increased; but their desperation availed them not. Without check or faltering, our men charged up to and over the works.
Nearly, if not quite, two thousand prisoners, belonging to Hancock
's (Second) corps, were captured with nine pieces of artillery.
who were not captured in the assault fled in great confusion, dropping their guns, and many of them throwing away everything that at all encumbered them.
, of Richmond
, commanding a battery of artillery, turned the captured guns upon the flying enemy with most excellent effect, greatly assisting their speed and terror.
The enemy scattered in every direction, but our forces were unable to pursue in consequence of the lateness of the hour and the near approach of night.
The captured guns are of the Napoleon
pattern, beautifully finished and intact.
They are just such guns as are needed in our army, and their acquisition will prove of no small benefit.
A very large amount of personal plunder fell into the hands of our brave troops, and each and all of them secured something of value.
Gold and silver watches
, fine oil cloths
, large sums of greenbacks, stationery, and every imaginable kind of Yankee "notion," fell to their lot.
The battle here ended with the above results and the enemy in full and disordered retreat towards their main position at the Yellow Tavern
. Two or three hours more of daylight might have brought about a still greater change in the aspect of affairs.
We may be permitted to contradict a report which reached the city yesterday regarding the behavior of a portion of our infantry force.
It was stated that several brigades of the assaulting column failed to do their duty in the charge, and threw themselves upon the ground, while others were compelled to charge over them.
The affair was grossly misrepresented.
The leading troops in the charge were temporarily checked by the severity of the fire from the enemy's works, and at the moment threw themselves to the ground to prevent any great destruction of life.
When the supports came up they immediately arose and charged on with them.
The infantry behaved throughout in the most gallant manner.
Our loss, for the fighting done, was very small, and one thousand will probably cover it.--Many of the wounded are but slightly hurt.
We could hear of the loss of no general officer.
Up to dark last evening, about two thousand prisoners had been brought in, among them about one hundred commissioned officers, from colonel down.
, acting brigadier-general
, is among the captured.
The number of prisoners will reach over twenty-five hundred.
The enemy's loss is unknown, but believed to have been severe.
's corps was engaged in the battle, and probably other infantry troops, besides cavalry.
The loss of this corps on Thursday could not have been less than five thousand, and when this into consideration, with the it has sustained, it may safely be said it is nearly ruined.
His flight was too rapid to admit of being overtaken.
The Weldon railroad has been torn up to a point four miles beyond Reams's station, and the work pretty effectually accomplished.
This road has proved a veritable trap to the unfortunate Yankees
Counting the raiders captured on its line from Wilson
, the enemy has lost 10,000 prisoners in attempting to hold and destroy it. They have probably lost as many more in killed and wounded.
It will yet prove their greatest disaster.
We still hold the works captured from the enemy, and we predict that our men will not be so easily driven from them as the Yankees
From an officer who examined them, we learn that they are very strong and very favorably situated.
There were only two casualties in the Twelfth Virginia regiment, viz: Sergeant J. R. Bell
, company C, killed; and private J. W. Marsh
, company I, wounded.
The conduct of our cavalry in the battle near Reams's station deserves especial distinction.
They commenced the action early in the morning by a charge, in which Spear
's squadrons were scattered and compelled to seek refuge behind Hancock
This famous corps (Hampton
's cavalry) prepared to engage without hesitation.
Dismounting, they rushed upon the enemy, and despite the advantage of his position, pushed him steadily until he found shelter in his works.
Then awaiting Hill
's attack on the flank, they again move forward in concert with the infantry, and by their combined assault easily drove the enemy from his stronghold.
Throughout this engagement the cavalry exhibited the greatest gallantry.
It is hard to distinguish among such uniformity of merit; but we understand special applause was elicited by the superb bearing of the regiments of Colonel Beale
(Ninth Virginia) and of Colonel Roberts
(Second North Carolina).
again attested his pre-eminent qualification for the command of our cavalry.
Seven stands of colors were captured in the engagement.