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during the afternoon, the Rebels retiring to safer positions. The enemy, about half-past three o'clock, succeeded in maintaining a cross-fire for a short time on some of our advancing columns, but the well-directed fire of some of our batteries soon put a stop to such work. About dusk the general headquarters were removed a mile nearer to the front. Shortly before the close of the day's fighting, Generals GRANT and MEADE, occompanied by their staffs, rode to the front and took a position affording a fine view of the operations in front.
Late in the day a line of Rebel intrenchments were assaulted by one of our divisions, and carried, after a bloody resistance. Our men were compelled to crawl over these intrenchments on their hands and knees, and precipitate themselves on the other side. Late in the afternoon, a heavy body of Rebels made an onslaught on UPTON's Brigade, of the Sixth Corps, and got for a brief period to the rear of our lines. It did not take them long to find out that they were caught in a trap, for our lines at once closed in on them, and the whole party, about two thousand in number, were captured, including several pieces of artillery.
A piece of strategy of General LEE was displayed during the day, which, if it had been carried into successful effect, would have materially deranged the plans of General GRANT. He had been massing troops in front of our centre, for the purpose of breaking our line of battle at that point, and as a blind, had sent two brigades of infantry to make a demonstration on our right, in order to draw the attention of General GRANT to that point. It so happened that both rival Generals bad conceived the same idea at the same time, for both were strengthening their centres for an assault.
General LEE, when he commenced his movement on our centre, found to his surprise that the dodge of making a
feint on our right did not work, for no troops had been sent to counteract the flank movement, and LEE found such force directly in front of bim that the only result of the movement was a most desperate attempt on the part of either side to break the line of the other.
The losses of both armies in this day's engagement were very heavy. Many thousand men were killed and wounded and a large number of officers were placed hors du combat. The fighting was of an extraordinary nature, as indeed it had been during the series of battles fought since crossing the Rapidan. The men felt that it eclipsed all the engagements on the Peninsula in 1862, and they realized that at last there was a man at the head of our armies who was in earnest in his efforts to put down the rebellion by force of arms.
WEDNESDAY'S OPERATIONS.-SECOND DAY'S
BATTLE AT SPOTTSYLVANIA. On Wednesday morning, May 11th, the fighting was again renewed, and continued with varied success until about eleven o'clock, our line being somewhat advanced. At that hour a flag of truce was sent in by General LEE, who asked for a cessation of hostilities for forty-eight hours that he might bury his dead. General GRANT replied that he had not time to bury his own dead, and would advance immediately, and some parts of our line were, therefore, pushed forward. The woods were shelled, but no response was met from where the enemy's centre had been a few hours before. The prisoners captured on Tuesday and Wednesday numbered over four thousand, and the rebel dead and wounded were found covering almost every foot of ground wherever our troops surged forward and the rebels gave way. The slaughter amongst our troops was terrific, but not near so great as that of the enemy, and but few captures were made by the latter.
The same morning, Lieutenant-General GRANT telegraphed as follows to Secretary STANTON : .
“ HEAD-QUARTERS IN THE FIELD. May 11, 1864, 8 A. M.
“We have now ended the sixth day of very heavy fighting. The result, to this time, is much in our favor.
“Our losses have been heavy as well as those of the enemy. I think the loss of the enemy must be greater.
“We have taken over five thousand prisoners by battle, whilst he has taken from us but few, except stragglers.
6+I PROPOSE TO FIGHT IT OUT ON THIS LINE IF IT TAKES ALL SUMMER.'
“U. S. GRANT,
“the Armies of the United States." THURSDAY'S BATTLE-HANCOCK'S SPLENDID
VICTORY. Thursday, May 12th, was destined to witness one of the most complete triumphs ever vouchsafed our arms. The Lieutenant-General had ordered General HANCOCK, in whose gallantry, heroism, and ability, he had unbounded confidence, to move during the night quietly toward the line of intrenchments held by EWELL'S Corps, who were in his front. Slowly and surely bis men crept forward, and the dawn of day found them close upon the sleeping and unsuspecting Rebels. At the proper moment the order was given to charge, when, with a yell the devoted band of heroes sprang forward, and ere the Rebels were aware of the proximity of their opponents, and before they had time to recover from the surprise of the attack, HANCOCK's men were leaping over their intrenchments and using the butt end of their muskets, in all directions, on the devoted heads of the Rebels. The firing amounted to little or nothing; there was no time or necessity for such work. The shelter tents of the enemy, erected near their line of intrenchments, were entered by our troops before the Rebels had time to escape from them; they were surrounded, cornered, hemmed in and fairly dumbfounded, and on the command being given to surrender, they at
once dropped their arms and became passive, resistless prisoners of war. The artillery had not time to limber up and get away or fire a single volley before our dashing troops were among them. Even their General, whose quarters were somewhat in the rear, did not escape, and he, together with the greater portion of his command, became subservient to the orders and commands of the gallant HANCOCK.
The results of the morning's surprise were, that between thirty and forty pieces of artillery were taken, all of which were successfully brought within our lines. General E. JOHNSON, who commanded the surprised and captured Rebel division, was taken to General GRANT's headquarters about seven o'clock, A. M. He was treated with becoming courtesy and entered freely into conversation with Generals GRANT, MEADE, and other officers. Information was imparted by him to some of our Generals regarding the condition of different Generals in the Rebel service, with whom some of our own were class-mates at West Point.
At nine o'clock in the morning, the artillery firing on the right of HANCOCK'S Corps was tremendous. In addition to the brilliant night advance mentioned, which culminated 80 successfully, the whole line of HANCOCK'S Corps advanced during the morning, and although ground was gained inch by inch, the Rebels contesting every point with great determination, still we advanced, and in the face of such desperate resistance every foot of ground gained was a triumphant success. Before
the whole line was actively engaged in the fierce and bloody strife. All the morning it rained in torrents, and the terrible nature of the contest in the front, the uncertainty as to the issue, the tired condition of the troops after seven days hard fighting, the drenching rain, the incessant volleys of musketry and roar of cannon, the anxiety depicted upon
every countenance at headquarters, all combined to make the time a trying one.
An incident occurred during the morning that illustrates the coolness and self-possession of the Commander-inChief of the Armies of the United States. While the heaviest artillery firing was in progress, General GRANT was standing, in company with General MEADE, near a fire, talking and endeavoring to keep themselves dry, when a Rebel shell struck within a few feet of the twain. A disposition to move was manifested on the part of a number of officers standing around, when General GRANT, looking slowly around and fixing his eye on the spot where the shell struck, asked at once for a pocket compass, which, being furnished, he examined the course of the shell, found out the location of the battery, and it was not long before shells were thick among the men working said battery.
Perhaps we could not epitomize the activity of our armies during these eventful days better than by inserting here the official despatches of Secretary STANTON to Generals Dix and CADWALADER, all appearing on the same day, May 14, 1864. They reveal the magnitude of GRANT'S combinations, and show how well they were being executed by his Generals.
FIRST BULLETIN FROM SECRETARY OF WAR.
HEADQUARTERS, PHILADELPHIA, May 14, 6 P. M. The following despatch has just been received from the Secretary of War:
“ To MAJOR-GENERAL CADWALADER : WASHINGTON, May 14th, 4 P.M.—Despatches from General Grant, dated yesterday evening at six o'clock, have reached this Department. The advance of Hancock yesterday developed that the enemy had fallen back four miles, where they remained in position. There was no engagement yesterday. We have no account of any general officers being killed in the battle of the preceding day. Colonel CARROLL was severely wounded.