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length, towards noon, they ceased their efforts to retake the position. But they had successfully disputed our further advance. Part of the captured cannon remained covered by sharpshooters, so that neither party could carry theni off. The only solid advantage gained was the possession of the angle surprised in the morning. The enemy's front remained elsewhere apparently impregnable, every avenue of approach being swept by the withering fire of artillery, and their force being strong enough to hold the position against twice the attacking numbers. After many heroic attempts to force them, the design was abandoned.
General Meade began early in the afternoon contracting his line and massing troops on his left, with a view to turn the enemy's right. All the afternoon the battle raged with great fury. The enemy made corresponding movements from his left to his right. Every inch of soil, muddy with gore, was fought over with desperation, and yielded only when it became impossible to hold it. Neither the rain nor the mire of the roads delayed the rapidity or intensity of the fight. The rival bayonets often interlocked, and a bloody grapple over the intrenchments lasted for hours, the rebel battle-flags now surging up side by side with our own, and anon, torn and riddled, disappearing in the woods. The dead and wounded lay thickly strewn along the ground, and fairly heaped up where the fight was deadliest.
After fourteen hours' fighting, night fell on a battle unsurpassed in severity in the history of the war. For the first time in the campaign a decided success was achieved. Warren and Wright, who moved two hours after Hancock, had not advanced on the enemy's front; but this was not expected, as his position could vot there be carried. On the extreme left, Burnside had severely suffered; while on the left centre, Hancock had stormed and held an important angle of the enemy's works, despite all their efforts to repossess it. Official dispatches add that the day's work also gave us more than three thousand prisoners, and also two general officers, and eighteen pieces of artillery actually brought into our lines. Between forty and fifty pieces had been at one time captured, but the remainder rested on debatable ground, and were subsequently withdrawn by the enemy. The brilliant dash of the morning had secured a strong grasp on the enemy's left centre, and an advance of a mile in our line in that direction. Five determined assaults were made during the day to expel our troops, but all were fruitless. No more gallant, desperate, or long-continued fighting, on either side, for the possession of intrenchments, had occurred during the war; while the severity of the wounds gave proof of something more than musketry fighting
The foregoing movements were thus described by the Assistant Secretary of War, who accompanied the army in its advance :
"SPOTTSYLVANIA COURT-HOUSE, VA., Friday, May 13, 1864—8 A. M. "Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:
"Lee abandoned his position during the night, whether to occupy a new position in the vicinity, or to make a thorough retreat, is not determined.
"One division of Wright's and one of Hancock's are engaged in settling this ques. tion, and at half-past seven A. M. had come up on his rear-guard. Though our army is
greatly fatigued from the enormous efforts of yesterday, the news of Lee's departure inspires the men with fresh energy. The whole force will soon be in motion, but the heavy rains of the last thirty-six hours render the roads very difficult for wagons and artillery. The proportion of severely wounded is greater than on either of the previous days' fighting. This was owing to the great use made of artillery.
"C. A. Daxa."
Meanwhile, on May 9th, a picket body of cavalry, under the imme diate command of General Sheridan,* chief of cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, had left the front on an expedition to the rear of Lee's army, the main object of which was to cut off the rebel communications and supplies. Moving rapidly south along the Negro Foot road towards Childsburg, he crossed the North Anna River at the fords and suddenly pounced upon the Beaver Dam Station of the Virginia Central Railroad, where a rebel provost-guard, having charge of nearly four hundred Union prisoners, was captured. The latter were promptly released. Thence moving towards Richmond, he sent a de tachment to Ashland Station, on the Fredericksburg Railroad, where the track, station-house, and considerable rolling stock were destroyed. On the lith the command, again concentrated, had reached a point within six miles of Richmond, where the rebel cavalry under General Stuartt was eucountered, and, after a sharp fight, defeated, with the loss of several guns, Stuart himself being mortally wounded. On the succeeding morning a detachment penetrated to the second line of defences of Richmond, but not being in sufficient force to make a dash at the city, rejoined the main body, which was moving towards Meadow Bridge, on the Chickahominy. The rebels, aware by this time of the intentions of Sheridan, were moving rapidly in superior force to surround and cut him off, and upon reaching the river the Union cavalry found Meadow
* Philip IIenry Sheridan ras born in Perry 'James River, and in the flanking movement by County, Ohio, in 1931, and graduated at West which Lee was driven out of Petersburg and event Point in 1933. He saw considerable service in the ually destroyed, he held the chief command, deWest, and after the outbreak of the rebellion was feating the rebels with severe loss at the battle of commissioned a captain in the Thirteenth United Five Forks. At the conclusion of the war he went States Tofantry. For nearly a year he acted as to Texas as commander of the military division of chief quartermaster in the Trans. Mississippi De- the Gulf. He is a major-general of the regular partment, and in May, 1962, was appointed colonel ariny. of the second Michigan Cavalry. In June he was + James E. B. Stnart was born in Patrick Connput in command of a cavalry brigade, and for å tr, Virginia, about 132, and graduated at West brilliant victory over the rebel General Chalmers, Point in 19t. lle served in a cavalry regiment un at Booneville, Mississippi, July 1st, he was pro til ihe outbreak of the rebellion, when he resignet! moted, on General Grant's recommendation, to be bis commission and entered the rebel arms, in a brigailer-teneral of volunteers. During the in- which, in September, 1901, he was commissioad vasion of Kentucky by Brazy, in 1-62, he was as- la brigadier-general. In the ensuing winter beor. signed to the command of a division in Buell's ganized the rebel caralry forces in Virginia and army, and subsequently fought at Perrysville and during the Peninsular campaign distinguisted SitMurfreesboro', earning by his valor in the latter self by a raid in McClellan's rear, which was the engagement his promotion to be major-general of precursor of that general's change of base to the volunteers. He participated in the campaign of James River, and of the seven dars' fighting which 1503 artinst Chattanooga, and again distinguished accompanied the movement. Ile commanded the himself at Chickamaugi and the succeeding battle cavalry during the succeeding invasion Maryon Missionary Ridze, In the spring of 194 he land, and a few weeks after the battle of Antietan was summoned eastward to assure command of again rotle around the Union ligus bringing off a the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, in which I considerable amount of 8pils. In the Chancelcapacity he led several daring expeditions against lorsville campaign and Lee's wond invasion or the enemy's communications in August he took the North, his cavalry was active, and, after the charge of the military division of the Shenandoah, battle of Gettysbury effectua'ls morered the rebel guined the brilliant victories of September 19th and retrent. He was mortalls wounded in an encoun21st over Early, and on October 19th won the hard-, ter with the Union cavalry at Yellow Tavern, near fought battle of Cedar Creek, changing by his op- | Richmond, on the lith, and died a few hours later, portune arrival a Union defeat into a signal víc. | He then held the rank of lieutenant-general tory. In March, 1560, he moved his cavalry to the
Bridge destroyed and the Fredericksburg Railroad bridge, which crosses the Chickahominy near this place, commanded by defensive works. To add to Sheridan's embarrassment, another rebel force now came up in his rear, cutting off his retreat and seriously jcopardizing the command.
llemmed in between two fires, with a difficult river to cross, and a vigilant and confident enemy surrounding his tired troopers, Sheridan acted with consummate coolness and judgment. The railroad bridge being under the circumstances impracticable, he immediately commenced to reconstruct Meadow Bridge, though exposed the while to a severe fire, to which his own artillery effectually replied, and obliged to repel the enemy in his rear by frequent counter-attacks. At length, the bridge was completed, and preparations were made to pass his ammunition train across. But as this operation, under the hot fire of the enemy, would be attended with no little risk, he gathered his men up for a final charge, and, putting himself at their head, sabre in hand, drove the rebels in confusion to the shelter of the neighboring woods, their flight being accelerated by several well-aimed shots from the Union artillery. The trains were now quickly passed across the river, and the rebel force on the farther bank was driven through Mechanicsville to Cold Harbor, with the loss of many prisoners. Sheridan encamped that night at Gaines's Mill, the old battle-ground of June 27th, 1862, and on the 14th reached General Butler's headquarters, near City Point, on the James River. He then opened communications with Yorktown, and thence with Washington.
Retrograde Movement of the Enemy.-Bad Condition of the Roads.-Union Movement
to the Left.—Relative Position of Armies.—Re-enforcements.-Irruption on the Rear Repulsed.-Grant Crossing the North Anna. - Impregnable Position of the Enemy. -North Anna Recrossed, and Movement to the Left continued.
Friday, the 13th, continued stormy, but the skirmishers were early pushed out, only to discover that the enemy had fallen back to a new position, made necessary by the loss of the angle occupied by Hancock. The roads were in such a condition that rapidity of movement was out of the question, and the day was occupied mostly in burying the dead. General Meade issued a congratulatory order to the troops. Towards night, new dispositions were determined on. The enemy's right being deemed the only practicable point of attack, our lines were to be once more shifted down to the left, in the endeavor to flank. The Fifth and Sixth Corps were selected this time, for an attempt resembliny that of the Second and Ninth. The position of Thursday, the 12th, as already indicated, ran thus, from right to left: Warren, Wright, Ilancock, Burnside. About nine o'clock, on Friday night, the two right corps were put in motion, and marched all night to their new position. The difficulties of the march through the ankle-deep and knee-deep mud, and amid the furious storm, made the inovement