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and Twenty-third Georgia, and the Twenty-third North Carolina.
Simultaneously with the assault of the Twenty-fourth, the Second Corps advanced immediately on the opposite side of Hatcher's Run. If the ground was difficult before the Twenty-fourth Corps, it was apparently impassable before the Second. It was a gradual ascent all the way, and covered with a slashing almost unparalleled in the experience of the war. Through it Hayes must go with the Second Division, and through, in some way, he did go. He had with him only his First and Second Brigades, the Third, under General SMYTH, having been sent to operate with General Mott, further to the left.
Under cover of the guns of Battery B, First Rhode Island Artillery, Colonel OLMSTED with the First Brigade, and Colonel MoIvor with the Second, rushed into the two forts before them, and with a loss of less than a dozen, found themselves in possession of five guns (twelve-pound Napoleons) and nearly all of MACOMB's Brigade of HETH's Division, comprising the Fifth, Seventh, Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Seventeenth Tennessee. Here the Nineteenth Massachusetts and Seventh Michigan entered the fort first, of the First Brigades; Massachusetts and Michigan, the far East and far West joining hands this Sabbath morning in the last ditch of the Rebellion ! Of the Second Brigade the Eighth New York Heavy Artillery was abead, Lieutenant JAMES YOUNG, of Company G, going first into the fort with twenty men. The fort on the left was first entered by a sergeant of the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania.
Further to the left of our line, General Mott, with his famous Red Diamonds, kept step with the white trefoil of the Second Division of the Second Corps. The Eighth New Jersey, of MCA LLISTER'S Brigade, is reported as the regiment that first entered the enemy's lines. General
MILES captured the rebel line where it crosses the Boydton road at Burgess' Mill, and he was immediately in full march on the Boydton road toward Petersburg.
AT EIGHT O'CLOCK, We had broken in the entire rebel line from the Appomattox to Burgess' Mill, and the Sixth Corps had swung around, facing the doomed Cockade City from the west; the Twenty-fourth Corps was marching from Hatcher's Run, east, inside the rebel line, and the Second Corps in the same direction, on the Boydton road. No army was ever in more magnificent spirits. Every man seemed to be endowed with intuitive power to understand the full significance of the mighty events they had been enacting. The smile of triumph was on every lip, the sparkle of joy in every eye. At this moment General GRANT rode along the lines towards Petersburg. He had left his headquarters at Dabney Mills a few minutes bofore, and was on his way to personally overlook the work yet to be done. The Army of the Potomac has long out-lived its cheering days. It cheered General MoCLELLAN frequently, but since then its commander has been paid the compliment at rare intervals. But now it greeted General GRANT with shouts of triumph, it cheered him long and lustily. The scene brought vividly to mind those early days of NAPOLEON's Italian campaign, since when we have had no such manifestations of military genius as this day furnished us. The Lieutenant-General acknowledged the salute by lifting his hat, but never stopped riding on at that brisk pace so natural to him.
So far our success had been splendid beyond precedent, perhaps beyond expectation. Would it last? GRANT, surveying the interior lines of LEE, running at right angles with his old line, and from it to the Appomattox, thought so, probably, but as ever before, his countenance
afforded no clue to what he thought. A word in explanation of these interior lines is necessary. Apparently four in number, the three outer ones were isolate forts built as outposts for the fourth and last, which was one of great strength, and looked down upon us most frowningly from the slight range of hills upon which it was located, and it was these outer forts spoken of as lines which were carried.
AT NINE O'CLOCK, The Twenty-fourth Corps being in short supporting distance, the Sixth Corps went to work again. Now comes that portion of the day where everything was seen plainly but nothing certainly known. The spectator beheld the magnificent panorama of war spread out like a map before him, the scene bathed in the soft April sunshine. It was a scene of indescribable grandeur, but out of it, hour after hour, great events emerged. WHEATON still on the right, SEYMOUR having swung to the left, and tearing up the South Side road, leaving GETTY in the centre, the corps advanced on to the first of the rebel lines. We had four batteries of field pieces playing on it, at short range, which, once in a while would elicit a reply from the rebel works, when a shell whizzing as angrily as if ashamed of the cause in which it was sent, whizzed over the heads of our men, to bury itself in the earth beyond, or harmlessly explode over a deserted field. Little our troops cared for all this. Forming in short range of the rebel works as leisurely and orderly as if they were on dress parade, the divisions of the Sixth Corps advanced on the first line. At the double-quick, never stopping to fire, with a wild yell of delight, over they
The enemy fled again, leaving the guns in the fort in our possession. Some few of our men were killed and wounded, but the loss was still insignificant.
It was a strange sight to see the flag of the Union and the cross of the Sixth Corps flying over the rebel lines, and stranger still, after a moment's pause, to see those very guns which but an instant before had been firing on us now turned in the opposite direction and sending their iron hail after the flying foe. After the carrying of the first line there was another halt. The batteries were shifted right and left and advanced beyond the captured line. There was marching to and fro of brigades. The Twenty-fourth Corps came up on the left. GIBBON and TURNER and FOSTER were on the ground to share the further glories. From the right of the line a long line of muskets glancing in the sunshine could be seen, and with a good glass the trefoil of the Second Corps could be distinguished floating over the columns, & symbol of victory as well as the Second Corps. Victory travelled with that column, for HUMPHREYS, MILES, Mott, and SMYTH, and scores of others whose names are historic in the land were there. It may be remarked here, although slightly out of its order, that this column, after travelling the Boydton road to within four miles of Petersburg, turned square off to the left, taking a road leading to the Appomattox, and soon disappeared from the scene.
The Sixth Corps still lay upon the side of the bill facing the second line of rebel works, and while the Twenty-fourth filed by to take position on its left, the batteries opened again, and soon that peculiar light smoke-& strange mixture of blue and a dingy white, known since the days of gunpowder as battle smokearose in fantastic wreaths and covered the field. There was other smoke there. Dozens of houses, an hour ago substantial and elegant dwellings, dotting the splendid landscape, were in flames, and the columns of smoke arising from them in heavy clouds, shrouded our lines for
a moment, and then, lifted by the wind, floated off with it to the northeast.
The pause continued, GRANT had laid out a programme for the army. MEADE, and WRIGHT, and GIBBONS' commands were to execute it, and did. The commanders rode slowly up and down the line. You could see their various flags waving now on some little billock, where they stopped to examine the rebelline, now disappearing in a hollow as the little party trotted on to another part of the line. All was ready in a few minutes. The forts to be assaulted had been selected, and again the command to charge was given. The shrill bugle, sounded over the plain, and WHEATON, SEYMOUR, GETTY, TURNER and FOSTER, moved again. The scene of the previous half-hour was re-enacted again. In three columns they moved on each fort. Again the wild cry of anticipated triumph arose from the ranks of blue. Again the Rebels made a feeble and ineffectual resistance, and again our soldiers swarmed over their works, and planted the flag of freedom upon the ramparts. Once more guns and prisoners, this time from WILCOX'S North Carolina Division. We began to be oppressed with the magnitude of our triumphs. There were repeated, instances where a guard of one man escorted a squad of ten or fifteen prisoners to the rear. In this charge one fort mounting several guns was taken by the Vermont Brigade. There KIEFER and L. O. GRANT shone like gods of war. GRANT showed the persistence of his namesake, our great ULYSSES. Wounded through the hand he refused to leave, had the wound dressed on the field, and continued in charge of his brigade. There were other heroes. GETTY's, and WHEATON's, and SEYMOUR'S Divisions were heroes ; every man. So were TURNER'S and FOSTER'S. The jovial FOSTER, true type of the Hoosier, a man of the LOGAN stamp, enjoyed the work of the morning far more than anything earth could furnish.