Ch. X]

wounded of 135 men. Crossing the Walker Mountain again, Averill proceeded to Dublin, on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, about thirty miles north-east of Wy theville. Here he found Crook had accomplished the destruction of the railroad, and had moved forward. Averill followed, and having taken the northerly route over the mountains from Christianburg, he came up with Crook at Union, on the 15th of May. Beside the damage done to the road, several important bridges and depots,inluding New River bridge, were destroyed.

Sigel, meanwhile, moved up the Shenandoah Valley, with a force of over 7,000 men, as far as Newmarket, a town near the Manassas Gap Railroad, and about fifty miles from Winchester. The rebel Gen. Breckenridge was sent, with all the forces he could collect for the emergency, to fall upon and beat Sigel. If the latter were to be successful, and advance upon Staunton, and then strike upon Lynchburg or Gordonsville, he would render invaluable service to Grant and his plans; but unhappily, when he met the rebels at Newmarket, on the 15th of May, he was entirely defeated, lost a portion of his train, six guns and 1,000 prisoners, and retired behind Cedar Creek. The result was, of course, that the victors returned to Lee's army and added to its strength. Grant, not at all satisfied with Sigel's operations, demanded his removal, and he was at once superseded by Gen. Hunter, who was expected to infuse vigor into the movements in that quarter, and obtain decisive success.*

* See Grant's " Report? p. 20, for instructions sent to Gen. Hunter. Mar 30th and 25th.


On a previous page (p. 424), as we have seen, Butler promised more largely than he was able to accomplish. His active and successful co operation was more important even than Sigel's to Grant's plans. On the 12th of May, he advanced several divisions of Gillmore's and Smith's corps between the railroad and the river toward Richmond, in the direction of Fort Darling, and speedily came upon a body of the enemy, guarding the outer defences of that work. A dispatch was captured from Beauregard to Hoke, in command at Drury's Bluff, stating that he would join them as soon as the troops came up. A demonstration was made by Smith upon the rebel lines, which was followed up the next day, the 13th, by a flanking movement of Gillmore, who assaulted and took the enemy's works on their right. Smith carried the first line on their left with little loss. The enemy retired into three square redoubts, upon which the Union artillery was brought to bear, but without any advantageous result. Grant complained that the time which Butler had spent from the 6th of May onward, in the manner narrated, had lost to us the benefit of the surprise and capture of Richmond and Petersburg, enabling, as it did, Beauregard to collect his loose forces in North and South Carolina and bring them to the defence of those places.*

* "The army sent to operate against Richmond having hermetically sealed itself up at Bermuda Hundred, the enemy was enabled to bring the most if not all the reinforcements brought from the South by Beauregard against the Army of the Potomac. In addition to this reinforcement, a very considerable one, probably not less than 15,000 men, was obtained by calling in the scat


On the 16th of May, the rebels attacked Butler in his position in front of Drurv's Bluff. Under cover of a thick fog, an assault was made upon Smith's line, which was forced back in some confusion and with very considerable loss. At the same time, the enemy made an attack from Petersburg on Butler's forces, guarding the rear, and were repulsed. Thus, to use Grant's language, Butler " was forced back, or drew back, into his entrenchments between the forks of the James and Appomattox Rivers, the enemy entrenching himself in his front, thus covering his railroads, the city, and all that was valuable to him. Butler's army, therefore, though in a position of great security, was as completely shut off from further operations against Richmond as if it had been in a bottle strongly corked. It required but a comparatively small force of the enemy to hold it there."

A cavalry expedition had been started, meanwhile, on the 12th of May, under Kautz, to cut the Danville Railroad near Appomattox Station, and was successful in blowing up a bridge at that place, and breaking up the road and destroying stores at several stations. Returning, our troops inflicted various damage on the Petersburg and Lynchburg Railroad, and that to Weldon at Jarrett's Station; proceeding thence to City Point, which was reached on the 18th of May. Beauregard, on the night of the 19th of May, made an assault upon Butler's lines, but was successfully repulsed. The next day, and the day

tered troops under Breckenridge from the western part of Virginia."—Grant's "Report," p. 15.

following, the rebels renewed the contest, in which, however, they gained no advantage and met with heavy loss. After this the enemy fell back, and as the troops at Bermuda Hundred could not be used to operate against the rebels from that point, Grant ordered all, except a small defensive force, to join the Army of the Potomac. This was accomplished under the command of Gen. W. F. Smith, and the troops were landed, on the 30th of May, at White House*

Turning our attention again to the operations of the main army under Grant, we find that these mortifying failures on the part Butler and of Sigel necessitated, as we shall see, several modifications in carrying out the plan of the campaign. Grant, with his usual tenacity, was loth to vary his course from his original design, and several severe struggles were had before he entered fully upon his new strategy in his onward progress towards Richmond. On the 1st of June, an attack was made, about five, P.m., by the 6th corps and the troops under Smith Warren's, Burnside's, and Hancock's men were held in readiness to advance on the receipt of orders. The attack was made with spirit, continuing until

* "Grant was indeed beset, not simply by rebel armies, led by skilful and brave generals, but by Federal failures:—Sigel defeated in the West, and Breckenridge reinforcing Lee with about 15,000 men; Butler defeated at the South, and Beauregard free to send Lee a great part of his troops. It was necessary for him to modify, without materially altering his plans; and he moved with the Army of the Potomac, to try an alternative thought of at the beginning— tho crossing of the James, and the union of the armies undor his own eye and command."—Coppee's "Grant and his Campaigns," p. 329.

Ch. X.]

after dark, and resulting in our carrying the enemy's works on the right of the 6th corps, and also the first line in front of Smith. The latter, however, were commanded in the rear, which

made those carried untenable.

Several hundred prisoners were taken. During the night, the enemy made a number of assaults to regain what they had lost, but failed. Our loss in this engagement was estimated at 2,000 killed and wounded.

The next day was spent principally in getting the troops into position for an attack on the morrow. Very early on the morning of Friday, June 3d, Grant ordered a general attack to be made on the enemy's lines, which resulted in one of the severest and most hardly contested fights of the war. Hancock's corps was brought in the night from the right to the extreme left, the order of the army corps from the right now being Burnside, Warren, Smith, "Wright, Hancock. The line ran nearly parallel with that of the Chickahominy, at a distance of a mile and a-half to two miles and a-half north of it, the enemy directly in front holding the north bank of the river. Breckenridge's command, it was said, occupied the enemy's right, with Beauregard on the right centre, Longstreet on the left centre, Ewell on the left, and Hill in reserve. The rebels were driven within their entrenchments at all points, but without our gaining in consequence any decisive advantage. The main fighting was done by Hancock's corps on the left, and by Wright's and Smith's forces at the centre. The battle was renewed at evening. At six, P.m., Wil


son, with his cavalry, fell upon the rear of a brigade of Heth's division, which Lee had thrown around to his left, and after a short but sharp conflict, drove them from their rifle-pits in confusion, taking a number of prisoners. An hour later, and the enemy suddenly attacked Gibbon's division of Smith's command, but were repulsed. In the dispatch of June 4th, from which these particulars are drawn, Secretary Stanton states our entire loss, during these three days' operations around Cold Harbor, as reported by the adjutant-general, as not exceeding 7,500. The rebel loss, as nearly as could be ascertained, was comparatively light.* Grant was at length brought reluctantly to the conviction, that the nearness of the rebels to their defences around Richmond rendered it impossible, by any flank movement, to interpose between them and the city. "I was still in a condition," he says in his report, "to either move by the enemy's left flank, and invest Richmond from the north side, or continue my move by his right flank to the south side of the James. While the former might have been better as a covering for Washington, yet a full survey of all the ground satisfied me that it would be impracticable to hold a line north

* Mr. Swinton, whose criticism is decidedly unfavorable to the plan adopted by the commander in chief, says: "Grant's loss in the series of actions from the Wilderness to the Chickahominy reached the enormous aggregate of 60,000 men put hort du combat f Lee's loss is estimated not to have exceeded 20,000. In a tabular statement subjoined, the killed no stated at 7,289; wounded, 37,406; missing, 9,856. To these Mr. Swinton adds the casualties in Burnside's corps, about 5,000. The loss in officors was especially severe, being in all 3,000, a loss truly irrepaiable.— "Army of the Potomac," p. 491.


and east of Richmond that would protect the Fredericksburg Railroad—a long, vulnerable line, which would exhaust much of our strength to guard, and that would have to be protected to supply the army, and would leave open to the enemy all his lines of communication on the south side of the James. My idea, from the start, had been to beat Lee's army north of Richmond, if possible. Then, after destroying his lines of communication north of the James River, to transfer the army to the south side and besiege Lee in Richmond, or follow him south, if he should retreat. After the battle of the Wilderness, it was evident that the enemy deemed it of the first importance to run no risks with the army he then had. He acted purely on the defensive, behind breastworks, or feebly on the offensive, immediately in front of them, and where, in case of repulse, he could easily retire behind them. Without a greater sacrifice of life than I was willing to make, all could not be accomplished that I had designed north of Richmond; I therefore determined to continue to hold substantially the ground we then (June 4th) occupied, taking advantage of any favorable circumstances that might present themselves, until the cavalry could be sent to Charlottesville and Gordonsville, to effectually break up the railroad connection between Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley and Lynchburg; and, when the cavalry got well off, to move the army to the south side of the James River, by the enemy's right flank, where I felt I could cut off all his sources of supply except by canal."

Such were Grant's ideas, purposes and expectations; the narrative of further operations in this important field will show in how far he was favored with success, or had to bear up under disappointment. In order to gain time for the contemplated movement to the south side of the James River, and give the rebels no inkling of his real purpose, Grant vigorously maintained the advanced lines of the army; new entrenchments were thrown up at night, and frequent skirmishing took place along the front. Sharpshooting was practised with great success on both sides, and for several nights (the rebels had a penchant for night battles) assaults were made, but uniformly repulsed by our men. Hancock's lines were pushed to within forty yards of the rebel works. Fighting thus day after day, there were numbers of the dead and wounded lying between the two armies; by an agreement between Grant and Lee to this effect, there was an armistice of two hours, during which the dead were buried and the wounded removed from the field. All this while, for more than a week, Grant was receiving reinforcements, having supplies forwarded, and perfecting his arrangements for the important movement to the south side of the James River.

The commanding-general, attaching the highest importance to the possession of Petersburg, endeavored to have it secured, before the enemy, becoming aware of his intention, could reinforce the place. Butler, on the 10th of June, sent a force of infantry, under Gillmore, and cavalry, under Kautz, to gain possession, if possible, of Peters

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burg, and destroy the railroad and common bridges across the Appomattox. Having crossed the river on a pontoon bridge laid near the Point of Rocks, Gillmore, with about 3,500 men, advanced by the direct road to the vicinity of Petersburg, drove back an outer skirmish line, and reconnoitred the fortifications. Kautz, meanwhile, with his cavalry, charged the works on the southerly side, carried them, and penetrated into the town; but, lacking the expected co operation of the infantry, was compelled to withdraw. Both commands now returned to Bermuda Hundred with trifling loss. Grant, still hoping to secure the end he had in view, sent back to Bermuda Hundred and City Point Smith's command, by water, via White House, to reach Petersburg in advance of the Army of the Potomac. So anxious was he in regard to the matter, that he went by steamer to Bermuda Hundred, and gave Butler verbal instructions to send Smith that night, June 14th, with all the troops that could be spared without endangering Butler's position, to make an assault upon Petersburg. On Grant's part, he promised to hurry forward the main bulk of the army, and to reinforce Smith more rapidly than the enemy could concentrate at Petersburg.

Grant's movement from Cold Harbor was begun on the night of Sunday, June 12th; one division of cavalry and the 5th corps crossed the Chickahominy at Long Bridge, and moved out to White Oak Swamp, to cover the crossings of the other corps. During the

VOL. IV.—5(1.

14th and 15 th of June, the crossing of the army over the James River was accomplished, with slight molestation from the enemy and trifling loss. The movement was entirely successful, taking the enemy quite by surprise, and was conducted with great skill and celerity. To use Grant's words in a dispatch :— "Our forces drew out from within fifty yards of the enemy's entrenchments at Cold Harbor, made a flank movement of about fifty-five miles' march, crossing the Chickahominy and James Rivers, the latter 2,000 feet wide and eighty-four feet deep at the point of crossing, without the loss of a wagon or piece of artillery."

Hunter, who had taken the place of Sigel in command of the forces in Western Virginia, following Grant's directions, immediately entered upon the offensive. On the 26th of May, he passed through Mount Jackson, advanced to Harrisburg, and ascertained the presence of the enemy a tew miles in front at Mount Crawford, where they were guarding the approach to Staunton. Making a feint upon their line at the latter place, he turned off his main force to Port Republic. Resting but a night at this place, he moved on, early the following morning, Sunday, June 5th, upon tha Staunton road, and met the enemy a few miles out, in the vicinity of Piedmont. The cavalry, under Gen. Stahl, became at once engaged, and drove the enemy some distance, when Gen. Sullivan brought up the infantry to the encounter. After a battle of ten hours' duration, 1,500 men, three pieses of artillery, 300 stand of small arms,

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