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the military critic cannot refuse the tribute of high admiration at the consummate skill which effected so great a change with scarcely the loss of a man.
The great features of the movement were simply these: For some days previous the attention of the rebels was directed towards the means of crossing the Chickahominy at Meadow bridge, New bridge, Bottoms bridge and White Oak bridge. Strong demonstrations were made at those points, and attempts made to carry them. LEE applied himself busily to the strengthening of those bridges by defensive works. Efforts to carry them would have undoubtedly caused a great loss of life. But it was not General Grant's intention to force a passage there. Hence, whilst LEE was amused by his feints, he was preparing a decisive movement in another direction. When all was ready, Major-General SMITH, with the Eighteenth Army corps, which had come to White House from Bermuda Hundred upon transports, moved back to the former point, and in the same transports returned to the James river. General WRIGHT and General BURNSIDE moved with the army corps under their respective commands to Jones' bridge, about ten miles southeast of Bottoms bridge, where they crossed without hindrance and then marched due south to Charles City Court House; HANCOCK and WARREN crossed the Chickahominy at Long bridge, about six miles southwest of Bottoms bridge. They marched by a road nearly parallel with that leading to Charles City Court House from Jones' bridge, and on the average not more than four miles and a half distant. They came out upon the James at Wilcox's wharf, which is about five miles east of Harrison's Landing. The James was crossed at Powhatan Point, which was formerly Windmill Point, now occupied by Fort Powhatan. At the place of landing the army was not more than ten miles from General BUTLER'S entrenchments at Bermuda Landing. Having left Cold
Harbor on Sunday night, the whole movement was effected and the troops in position for crossing the James river in about thirty hours. In thirty-six hours the whole army had crossed to the south side of the James river, and by tbat time General SMITH's transports were up to Bermuda Hundred and his soldiers had joined their old comrades.
ATTACK ON PETERSBURG.
General GRANT moves rapidly, and never was known to let an opportunity pass without striving to embrace its advantages. On Wednesday, June 15th, General SMITH was ordered to attack and carry the works defending Petersburg. It was believed there were but few troops in the forts, and the object was to take the city before LEE could send it assistance. The assault was promptly and gallantly made, and the first line was taken, together with sixteen cannon and several hundred prisoners. The enemy, however, hastily withdrew a large force from General BUTLER's front, and threw them into the rear line of fortifications, and all the afternoon and evening LEE was hurrying troops from Richmond by rail to the Cockade City. During Thursday and Friday the Second and Ninth Corps captured a number of redoubts, and the investing lines were drawn closer about the beleaguered place.
Several assaults were delivered against the enemy's works which were unsuccessful, and during the week our losses were heavy, amounting to several thousand men in, killed and wounded. The following was the position of the united armies of MEADE and BUTLER, which enveloped Petersburg in about the quadrant of a circle; BUTLER'S force (the Tenth and Eighteenth Army Corps) being placed north of the Appomattox, facing Petersburg on the eastern side, and the Army of the Potomac fronting it from the south, in a line stretching from the Appomattox across the
Petersburg and Suffolk railroad, where our left rested on Poo creek.
It soon became apparent that Petersburg would require a siege, and the Lieutenant-General, to make its investment as complete as possible, set his cavalry to work. General WILSON, with six thousand picked troopers, left Prince George Court House, June 22d, to operate on the railroad communications south of Petersburg and Richmond. The Weldon railroad was struck at Reams' Station, the South Side Road at Ford's Station, and some sixty miles of track, together with bridges, depots, locomotives, and cars, were destroyed. The Sixth Corps, General WRIGHT, co-operated to a certain extent by moving on the Weldon road below Petersburg, and destroying five miles of the trackHeavy fighting frequently occurred in front of Petersburg during the remainder of the month of June.
In July, the enemy, finding it impossible to shake loose the strong band with which GRANT had grappled the throat of the Rebellion at Richmond, resolved to try Another plan, the invasion of Maryland, thereby threatening Washington, and trusting in this to induce GRANT to withdraw his army from the James to the defence of the National. Capital. But the ruse was fruitless.' General GRANT remained confronting LEE, and did not weaken his army to any material extent. He had troops enough and to spare, and sending the Sixth Corps, under General WRIGHT, to the assistance of Major-General LEW. WALLACE, commanding the Middle Department, he contented himself with the situation, satisfied that his own plans would thwart those of his crafty but worried antagonist. His theories were correct. BRECKINRIDGE was defeated before the walls of Washington, and beat a hasty retreat into Virginia, leaving over five hundred of
bis men killed and wounded under the guns of Fort Stevens.
Little was done before Petersburg until the close of July, but in the Shenandoah valley there was more or less fighting.
BURNSIDE'S MINE EXPLODED.
On the 30th of July, 1864, BURNSIDE's mine was exploded under one of the largest of the rebel forts at Petersburg, blowing up a South Carolina regiment, and wrecking the interior of the work. Within a few minutes after the explosion, the two brigades of the First Division -the second, Colonel MARSHALL, of the Fourteenth New York Heavy Artillery, commanding, in the lead, followed by the first, under command of Brigadier-General BARTLETT, of Massachusetts-jumped over the breastworks forming our main line, and advanced at a charging pace. They were hardly in motion when they received a volley from the enemy, who, although surprised by the explosion, were evidently prepared against an attack, owing to the noise inevitably made by the concentration of troops, and the movements of trains and artillery, &c., for hours, close to their front.
The explosion, although it had destroyed the rebel battery, had not affected the abattis and other obstructions in the front, and the attacking column experienced considerable trouble in working their way over them. Part of our lines passed into the fort, and part to the right of it, upon curtain-like entrenchments connecting the right of the battery with the line of breastworks beyond it. The interior of the exploded work was a confused mass of earth, broken guns, camp equipage, and human bodies. It had been occupied by a battery of artillery, manning six rifled field pieces, and part of the Eighteenth and Twenty-third South Carolina regiments. Over two hundred men had gone up with the work, and were buried
among the ruins.
The rifle-pits and entrenchments to the right of the work were occupied by several hundred of the enemy, two hundred and fifty of whom were taken prisoners and sent to the rear.
As soon as the First Division had moved, the Second and Third followed it to the right and left, and closed up with it at the work. The enemy, meanwhile, had opened a vigorous musketry and artillery fire from their entrenchments, that enclosed the work in the form of an angle, giving them an enfilading fire. Several attempts were made by our troops to continue the advance toward Cemetery Hill, but they failed under the severity of the fire.
About six o'clock, the Colored Division, General FERRERO commanding, was ordered to take up the attack, and push to the right of the other divisions for Cemetery Hill, distant four hundred yards beyond. It advanced in line with great steadiness, until it came up in line with the other divisions, and received a severe fire, when the column turned to the left, and the mass of it became mixed
up with troops in and about the work. About one thousand of the colored troops rushed over the parapet into the interior of the work, which the explosion had caused to make a pit-like form, and was already crowded to overflowing with officers and men. The negroes tumbled headlong down the sloping sides, when a scene of inextricable confusion ensued. Efforts were made by officers to get them out of the work and form outside, but they failed, and the strangely mingled mass of human beings continued to crowd the pit, the upper portion of which was about one hundred feet in diameter.
When the attack commenced, all our heavy and light batteries in position, over one hundred pieces in all, opened and kept up a tremendous fire, mostly with shell, upon the enemy's line, but, nevertheless, the Rebel fire in