« 上一頁繼續 »
and a vast quantity of stores were captured.
The day following, Hunter marched into Staunton, where, on the 8 th of June, he was joined by the forces of Crook and Averill, who had crossed the mountains to meet him. A vast quantity of property was destroyed at Staunton, including army clothing and stores, and railroad buildings and factories. The railroad was also destroyed in the vicinity, on both sides of the town. From Staunton the joint forces advanced to Lexington, which they reached on the 11th, burning the Virginia Military Institution at that place, destroying boats laden with stores, etc. Hunter, taking the route by Buchanan, struck the Tennessee Railroad at Liberty, west of Lynchburg, the vicinity of which place he reached on the 16th of June, having been joined by Averill's cavalry, which had made a circuitous route, destroying portions of the Lynchburg and Charlottesville Railroad by the way. Reinforcements were sent by Lee from Richmond to Lynchburg, which arrived in time to strengthen the defences of the place, and arrest the further progress of Hunter in this quarter. After some skirmishing on the 17th and 18th of June, Hunter, owing to a want of ammunition to give battle, retired from before the place.* As this lack of ammunition compelled him to take the
* Pollard, in terms more forcible than elegant, contradicts the narrative above given: "On the 18th of June, Hunter made an attack upon Lynchburg from the south side, which was repulsed by troops that had arrived from Gen. Lee's lines. The next day, more reinforcements having come up, preparations were made to attack the enemy, when he retreated in confusion. We took thirteen of his guns, pursued him to Salem, and forced him to a line of retreat into the mountains
route by way of Kanawha, it deprived Grant of the use of his troops, for several weeks, in defending the north. "Had Gen. Hunter," is Grant's comment in his report, "moved by way of Charlottesville, instead of Lexington, as his instructions contemplated, he would have been in a position to have covered the Shenandoah Valley against the enemy, should the force he met have seemed to endanger it. If it did not, he would have been within easy distance of the James River Canal, on the main line of communication between Lynchburg and the force sent for its defence."
Early in June, Sheridan was sent with a cavalry force of two divisions, against the Virginia Central Railroad, with instructions to Hunter, whom Grant hoped he would meet near Charlottesville, to join his forces to Sheridan's, and, after performing their work thoroughly, to return to the Army & the Potomac by the route marked out in the instructions. Sheridan, with his usual activity and zeal, entered upon the expedition with which he was charged, for the details of wThich we must refer to his official report. He crossed the Pamunkey, June 7th, and encamped on Herring Creek. He re sumed his march the next day, and on the 10th, crossing both branches of the North Anna, encamped near Trevilian
Station. He intended to cut the railroad, but found the enemy's cavalry in force. A severe contest ensued, which resulted in driving the rebels in confusion. On the 12th of June, Sheridan destroyed the railroad from Trevilian to Lorraine Court House, and sent his advance to attack the enemy near Gordonsville. An engagement took place, which Sheridan pronounced "by far the most brilliant one of the present campaign;" but Sheridan, not feeling himself strong enough, was compelled to retire, and crossed the North Anna the next day. His loss, in killed and wounded, was nearly 600, of whom about 500 were wounded. He captured 370 of the rebels, but lost by capture about 160. On his return march, Sheridan reached "White House, June 19th, just as the enemy's cavalry had begun an attack, and compelled it to retire. After breaking up the depot at that place, he moved to the James River, which he reached in safety, with his large army train, after very heavy fighting. He commenced crossing, on the 25th of June, near Fort Powhatan, without further molestation, and rejoined the Army of the Potomac.
In concluding the present chapter, some remarks of Gen. Grant, in his official report (p. 18), are worth quoting: "During three long years the Armies of the Potomac and Northern Virginia had been confronting each other. In that time they had fought more desperate battles than it probably ever before fell to the lot of two armies to fight, without materially changing the vantage ground of either. The southern press and people, with more shrewd
ness than was displayed in the North, finding that they had failed to capture Washington and march on to New York, as they had boasted they would do, assumed that they only defended their capital and southern territory. Hence, Antietam, Gettysburg, and all the other battles that had been fought, were by them set down as failures on our part, and victories for them. Their army believed this. It produced a morale which could only be overcome by desperate and continuous hard fighting. The battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna, and Cold Harbor, bloody and terrible as they were on our side, were even more damaging to the enemy, and so crippled him as to make him wary ever after of taking the offensive. His losses in men were probably not so great, owing to the fact that we were, save in the Wilderness, almost invariably the attacking party; and when he did attack it was in the open field. The details of these battles, which for endurance and bravery on the part of the soldiery have rarely been surpassed, are given in the report of Major-General Meade, and the subordinate reports accompanying it."*
* Compare with this a note from Swinton on p. 439. This writer, commenting sharply upon Grant's determination " to hammer continuously " upon the enemy, goes on to say:—" So gloomy was the military outlook after the action on the Chickahominy, and to such a degree by consequence had the moral spring of the public mind become relaxed, that there was at this time great danger of a collapse of the war. The history of this conflict truthfully written will show this. Had not success elsewhere come to brighten the horizon, it would have been difficult to raise new forces to recruit the Army of the Potomac, which, shaken in its structure, its valor quenched in blood, and thousands of its ablest officers killed and wounded, was the Army of the Potomac no more"—Swinton's "Army of tkt Potomac," p. 495.
FURTHER OPERATIONS IN VIRGINIA DURING THE SUMMER.
Gen. Smith's movement against Petersburg—Unfortunate delay—Results — Assault ordered — Only parti, ally successful — Butler's movement against the railroad — Wanting in promptitude — Repulse of oar men — Direct assault on Petersburg ordered by Grant — Unsuccessful — Demonstration against the Weidon Railroad — Repulsed — Cavalry expedition againt Danville Railroad— Wilson's and Kautz's exploits
— Results — Rebel movement under Early in the Shenandoah Valley — Efforts made to resist his advance
— Grant sends troops to Washington — Battle of the Monocacy — Rebel depredations and advance towards Washington — Retreat, and pursuit by our troops — Raid into Pennsylvania — Burning of Chambersburg— Averill pursues the raiders — Investment and siege of Petersburg — Construction of a mine under the enemy's works — Movement to Deep Bottom — Lee's action — Assault on Petersburg ordered — The mine blown up — Terrible scene — Failure of the assaulting column to move rapidly and secure the crowning crest — Swinton's account and criticism — Woodbury's defence of Burnside— Grant's statement — Movement threatening Richmond on north side of the James — Severe fighting and general result—Warren's advance on the Weldon Railroad — Fierce attack of the rebels to drive him off — Warren's important success— Battle at Ream's Station — Hancock's report, and the result.
Gen. Grant's eager desire to obtain possession of Petersburg, as an essential element in his plan, and the steps wbich be took for this purpose, we have already spoken of (p. 440); and while Lee was probably thinking of an attack upon Richmond by way of Malvern Hills, and the north side of the James River, Grant's special efforts were bestowed upon the immediate seizure of Petersburg, before it could be reinforced and its works manned by the rebels. Gen. Smith, as directed, moved promptly upon the northeast defences of Petersburg, on the 15th of June, and confronted the enemy's pickets before daylight the next morning. Skirmishing soon after occurred, and the negro troops, under Hincks, behaved with spirit, and captured a line of rifle pits and two 12-pounders. The major part of the day was con
sumed in arranging for an attack in force, a circumstance much to be regretted, inasmuch as every hour of time was of the greatest value towards securing the end had in view; and, as Gen. Grant pithily says, "for some reason that I have never been able satisfactorily to understand, Smith did not get ready to assault the enemy's main lines until near sundown."
About seven P.m., Smith began the attack, with a part of his command only, and succeeded in carrying the lines north-east of Petersburg, from the Appomattox River, for a distance of more than two miles and a half, capturing fifteen pieces of artillery and over 300 prisoners. Unfortunately, Smith did not push forward at once, as he ought to have done; for there were no works between him and the city, the enemy had not yet been able to bring even a
brigade into it from any source, and it was a bright moonlight night, affording every opportunity for further operations. And, what made it still more vexatious, Hancock having come up with two divisions of the 2d corps, just after nightfall, and waiving his right to assume the command, Smith did not take these troops and march into Petersburg, but used them simply to relieve some of his own men in the captured works, and suspended hostilities until morning. The auspicious moment for capturing the place was thus lost, and the rebels, well aware of its value to them, began to pour in troops rapidly for its occupation and defence.
On Grant's arrival the next morning, June 16th, the rebels were found to be in force, ready to oppose a formidable resistance to our further approach. During the earlier part of the day, Warren and "Wright were hastening forward with their corps to the scene of action, and Burnside, about noon, reached Petersburg with the 9th corps. All the arrangements having been made, an assault was ordered by Meade. It was begun at six o'clock in the afternoon, and the fighting continued, with but little intermission, until six o'clock the next morning, June 17th; the result, however, was of no particular advantage, except that Burnside, at daylight, assaulted the enemy's line to the left of Hancock's corps, and captured three redoubts, five guns, and about 450 prisoners.
Butler, having discovered that the rebels, anxious about Petersburg, had withdrawn, June 16th, a large body of troops from his front, took advantage
of the opening at once, and promptly moved a force on the railroad between Petersburg and Richmond, to destroy, and if possible hold it. Grant also ordered two divisions of the 6th corps which were at the time embarking at Wilcox's Landing for City Point, to march directly to the support of Butler, at the same time urging upon him the importance of holding a position in advance of his present line. Some two or three miles of the railroad track were torn up, in the vicinity of Walthal Junction, and an advance was begun on the Richmond turnpike. The two divisions, just spoken of, joined Butler on the forenoon of the 17th, and while he was holding with a strong picket line the enemy's works. But instead of putting these troops into the works to hold them, he unwisely allowed them to halt and rest some distance in the rear of his own line. The consequence was, that the rebels under Longstreet made a vigorous attack upon Butler, and in the course of the afternoon drove in his pickets, and re-occupied and strengthened their lines at that point.
Grant, determined, if possible, to take Petersburg, now resolved upon a general direct assault. During the day, June 17th, our line was strongly posted, and being carefully adjusted, was gradually moved up towards the enemy. At four o'clock, on the morning of the 18th of June, the skirmishers found that the rebels had abandoned their second line, and retired to a strongly intrenched interior line, a mile nearer the city. Within this, they resisted successfully all our assaults. Never men fought more gallantly than those engaged in the present attempt; * but victory was not within their grasp. Advantages in position were gained by our men, and though the 2d, 5th, and 9th corps met with severe losses, and were not able to expel the enemy from Petersburg, yet our army proceeded to envelop the city toward the Southside Railroad, as far as possible without attacking fortifications, f
The losses in the Army of the Potomac, during these last few days' operarations, were very heavy, amounting, in killed, wounded, and missing, to nearly 10,000.
The capture of Petersburg, by direct assault, having been found impracticable, early efforts were made to cut off its supplies in the rear, by operations upon the railroads south of Richmond. A demonstration against the Weldon Railroad was made by way of the Jerusalem road, on the 21st and 22d of June. The advance, on the first day, was resisted by the rebels, who, fully warned of the movement, came down in force on the following day, under A. P. Hill, and, by a flank attack, inflicted a heavy blow, capturing a large number of prisoners and four guns. The disaster of the day was checked by subsequent movements on the field, in which
* Gen. Grant, in a dispatch on the 17th of June, ■poke in the highest terms of the bravery and endurance of the soldiers :—" Too much praise cannot be given to the troops and their commanders, for the •nergy and fortitude displayed the last five days. Day and night has been all the same, no delays being allowed on any account."
f Coppee, in his rather flowery way, says:—" Grant had laid upon the devoted city of Bichmond the first coil—ever tightening—of that anaconda grasp, never to be released until the monster should be strangled and lie lifeless in the embrace."—" Chant and his Campaigns" p. 353.
Meade brought up the bth corps, and the shattered 2d recovered a portion of its lost ground. Another attempt was made upon the railroad the next day, by a part of Wright's corps; but it met with repulse, the enemy taking a number of prisoners, and our loss, in killed and wounded, being quite heavy.
On the 22d of June, Wilson's division of cavalry, with Kautz's brigade, was dispatched for the purpose of breaking the line of the Danville Railroad. The force, numbering about G,000 men, with three batteries of four gunB each, moved on the morning of the day just named, struck the Weldon Road at Ream's Station, and crossed the country to the Lynchburg Railroad at Ford's Station, where, as at the former place, the track was broken up and the buildings and other property of the road destroyed. The next day, the 23d of June, Kautz, taking the lead, reached the junction with the Danville Road at Burkesville, where he broke up and burnt several miles of the track. Wilson, following on the Lynchburg Road, encountered the enemy at Nottoway Court House, and a sharp skirmish ensued. On the 24th, Wilson continued his advance, destroying the Danville Railroad to Roanoke Bridge, a distance of more than twenty-five miles. Here he found the enemy too strongly posted to be dislodged. Crossing the country to the Nottoway River, he reached the Weldon Railroad at the vicinity of Jarrett's Station. A push was made for Ream's Station, on the supposition that it was in our possession. At this place he was met by the rebel cavalry, support