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of the James, it was suffering from intense drought and heat, in the presence of an enemy who seemed determined to give it no rest, and disorganization and lassitude inevitably resulted from such continued effort. A contemporary writer thus alluded to the condition of the army in July: “The men, missing the familiar forms and voices that had led them to the charge, would complain that they had not their old officers to follow. On the other hand, more th:in one leader of a storming party was forced to say, as he came back from an unsuccessful attempt against the outworks of Petersburg, ‘My men do not charge as they did thirty days ago.' A few commanders, too, showed the fatiguing effects of the campaign by a lack of health, by a lack of unity and harmony, or of alertness and skill. The attacks on Petersburg of the 22d and 23d of June showed how fatigue was telling upon men and officers. On the former occasion, the Second Corps, whose reputation was unexcelled, fell back, division after division, from the enemy's onset, and one of the very finest brigades in the whole army was captured with hardly a shot fired. But when, in addition to this, the Vermont Brigade of the Sixth Corps was badly cut up on the following day, it became clear that the rapidity of the fighting must be checked a while. There was need of rest, recruitment, and some reorganization. It may be added, that the influx of raw troops and of Augur's troops from Washington, with new officers, had temporarily changed the character of brigades, of divisions, and almost of corps.”
The loss of men in the Valley and in Georgia with Sherman was also very great; and in view of the necessity of filling up the thinned ranks of tbe army, the President issued the following call for volunteers :
“A PROCLAMATION. "Whereas, by the act approved July 4th, 1864, entitled 'An Act further to regulate and provide for the eprolling and calling out the national forces and for other purposes,' it is provided that the President of the United States may, 'at his discretion, at any time hereafter, call for any number of men, as volunteers, for the respective term of one, two, and three years, for military service,' and 'that in case the quota, or any part thereof, of any town, township, or ward of a city, precinct, or election district, or of a county not so subdivided, shall not be filled within the space of fifty days after such call, then the President shall instantly order a draft for one year to fill such quota, or any part thereof, which may be unfilled;'
* And whereas, the new enrolment heretofore ordered is so far completed as that the aforementioned act of Congress may now be put in operation, for recruiting and keeping up the strength of the armies in the field, for garrisons, and such military operations as may be required for the purpose of suppressing the rebellion and restoring the authority of the United States Government in the insurgent States:
“Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do issue this my call for five hundred thousand volunteers for the military service; provided, nevertheless, that this call shall be reduced by all credits which may be established under section eight of the aforesaid act, on account of persons who have entered the naval service during the present rebellion, and by credits for men furnished to the military service in excess of calls heretofore made.
" Volunteers will be accepted under this call for one, two, or three years, as they may elect, and will be entitled to the bounty provided by the law for the period of service for which they enlist. "And I hereby proclaim, order, and direct that immediately after the fifth day of September, 1864, being fifty days from the date of this call, a draft for troops to serra for one year shall be had in every town, township, ward of a city, precinct, or election district, or county not so subdivided, to fill the quota which shall be assigned to it under this call, or any part thereof which may be unfilled by volunteers on the said fifth day of September, 1864.
"In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. "Done at the City of Washington, this eighteenth day of July, in the year of our
Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, and of the independence of [bs] the United States the eighty-ninth.
" ABRAHAN LINCOLX. "By the President: William H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.”
Meantime, there was in progress a new attempt to carry the Petersburg defences by means of a mine, while a feint on the northern bank of the James should draw off the defenders of Petersburg. The line of Grant's army was twenty miles long, and by ostentatiously threatening the enemy from our right it was supposed he would weaken his own right at the point where the true assault, after the explosion of the mine, was to take place. The idea of the mine was due to LieutenantColonel Pleasants, of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania, a regiment recruited mostly among the miners of that State. The point selected was the side of a ravine, surmounted by an earthwork, in front of Burnside's (Ninth) Corps, and the mine was pushed towards a formidable fort of the enemy, situated about two thousand yards from Petersburg. The distance to be mined was about five hundred feet, and the work was difficult. The mine was constructed in the usual method. The surface was carefully measured by triangulation, and the gallery was made in the usual shape, four and a half feet high, and about four feet wide at the bottom, sloping up to the top. A ventilating shaft was sunk near the entrance. The chamber of the mine was about twenty feet below the fort, and wings extended from it right and left, extending under the fort. In these were placed eight tons of powder, connected by a fuse which led out of the gallery. It required thirty days to complete this work. During its progress the Ninth Corps kept up an incessant skirmishing, for the purpose of concealing the movement. The plan of assault was to explode the mine, and immediately to open a terrific cannonading from every gun on the line. This concentrated fire would naturally unnerve the enemy somewhat, and, under its cover, a strong storming party would rush through the gap made by the explosion, and endeavor to carry the enemy's position beyond. In the rear of his first line, a hundred and fifty yards distant, was a very strong crest, which quite commanded the city of Petersburg. To gain this would gain the battle. But the intervening space was difficult and arduous, entanglements and abatis being planted near the fort, and the whole ground being swept by the enemy's artillery. Our own heavy guns had been brought up after much bard and dangerous labor through six weeks, and with much loss of valuable life among officers and men. They now numbered nearly one hundred pieces, some of which were eight-inch and some even heavier mortars.
The assault was fixed for the 30th of July, and preparations for it began by a feint on the right. Across the James at Deep Bottom, Foster's Division of the Tenth Corps was intrenched, with a pontoon bridge in his rear, and protected by gunboats. On the 21st a second bridge had been thrown over at Strawberry Plains, and a brigade of the Nineteenth Corps crossed to hold it. These, with other demonstrations, induced the enemy to add Kershaw's Division to the other troops in front of Foster. On the 27th, the Second Corps left the extreme left of the army, and, followed by Sheridan and Kautz, crossed tbe James; and on the following day a line of battle was formed as follows, from right to left: Sheridan, Hancock, Foster. Foster demonstrated throughout the day, inflicting severe loss on the enemy. On Friday, the 29th, the feint was continued, and long trains of empty wagons were sent north of the river for display. These movements had the effect of causing Lee to send fifteen thousand more men to his left. On Friday evening, however, the Second Corps returned quietly to Petersburg amid an incessant and vindictive fire.
Soon after midnight of the 29th, the troops were in position. The Ninth Corps had been carefully arranged fronting the mine, to head the assault. The Eighteenth Corps was drawn off from the right of the Ninth, and massed in its rear. Mott's Division of the Second Corps was moved into the vacancy left by the Eighteenth, and the other divisions occupied adjoining positions, after arriving. The Tenth and the fraction of the Nineteenth Corps remained on the James and near Bermuda Hundred. The assaulting column, then, was the Ninth Corps, supported by the Eighteenth, with the Second in reserve on its right and the Fifth on the left. The whole force was closely massed, only the necessary garrisons lining the more distant intrenchments. The Ninth Corps was disposed with Ledlie's (First) Division in advance; Wilcox's (Second) and Potter's (Third) next in support, and Ferrero's (Fourth), the colored division, in the rear.
The time for lighting the fuse was half past three o'clock on the morning of Saturday, the 30th. At that hour the troops were all prepared, and alive with excitement. An hour passed, and there was no explosion. The fuse had gone out in the damp gallery. Again it was lighted by some bold soldier. The sun bad already risen, when, forty minutes past four, a heaving and trembling of the earth was followed by a terrific explosion, and huge clods of earth, with all the contents of the doomed fort, guns, caissons, and limbers, and the regiment who manned them, were flung into the air. To the myriad of astonished spectators it resembled a great fountain. Poised for a moment, the mighty column then descended with a resounding thud, and the swaying, quaking, and trembling of the adjacent earth were over. A yawning crater, one hundred feet and more in length, with half as great width, and a depth of twenty feet, with heaps of ruins, was left where once stood a six-gun fort and its camp equipage, and two hundred men. Instantly upon the explosion, a gun broke out from our line, then another, and soon a hundred cannon, from every eminence along the line, joined in a fire which exceeded in intensity even that of Malvern Hill and Gettysburg. The enemy responded with prompt energy, and their entire line added its thunder of artillery and musketry to our own. The alacrity with which the enemy rallied to his task from the sudden
shock, and the steadiness with which he turned his fire to the storming party, in spite of the tremendous shelling with which the Union batteries endeavored to disconcert him and distract his attention, showed that he was in a measure prepared for what had happened.
Meantime, Ledlie's Division was already in front of its intrenchments, with Marshall's (Second) Brigade in advance, and Bartlett's (First) Brigade in the rear. On the left of Ledlie was Hartranft's Brigade of Wilcox's Division, and, on his right, Griffin's Brigade of Potter's Division. The Second Brigade was delayed by some mistake, but soon, with a wild, enthusiastic cheer, leaped to their work, and, rushing across the deadly plain, under hot fire, stumbled down into the horrible breach which the mine had made. The supporting brigades spread out and enveloped the flanking rifle-pits, captured two hundred prisoners, and sent them to the rear. The Fourteenth New York Heavy Artillery were first to enter the gap, amid the wreck of the fort and the upturned earth, with the mangled bodies and dissevered limbs of its occupants protruding here and there from the disordered, fallen debris. . The dense cloud of dust still rolled over the place, thickened by the heavy smoke of battle, which had now shrouded the whole field from view. Here an unfortunate delay took place. Instead of pressing right on for the object beyond, some of the men were set at digging out two of the six cannon of the fort; others threw up hasty breast works against the tempest of shot and shell which already swept the place from the enemy's second line, and began reversing the slope of the intrenchments and extending them. Others exbumed the struggling garrison, such as were living, and carried back the prisoners to our lines, where now ammunition carts and ambulances were hurrying to and fro.
The time spent in trying to intrench to protect a storming column, enabled the enemy to get the range with fearful precision from the commanding works, and a most terrific fire was poured in upon men digging among the ruins of the fort. At length, after an anxious and fatal delay, the Ninth Corps was re-formed, and, with Ledlie in the centre, Potter on the right, and Wilcox on the left, under cover of the fire of the two guns, began the charge. On they went with a will, struggling over obstacles, Marshall's Brigade again leading, and Bartlett's pressing on their heels. · At every step the fire of the enemy from front and either flank concentrated with greater fury on them, and, from the thickly-studded defences of Cemetery Hill, from redoubt and redan, salient and curtain, ploughed up their ranks with bloody slaughter. The charge was checked on the side of the crest, there was a halt, and finally, the whole line, wavering under terrible odds, recoiled to the fort.
The colored division of Ferrero, left as a forlorn hope, was then sent forward, but, after a gallant charge, recoiled, as the others had done, and plunged headlong into the nearest fort for shelter behind the debris. Upon this latter point was now concentrated a very feu d'enfer, disor. ganizing the shattered remains of the first three divisions of the Ninth, many of whose most gallant officers and men were already stretched on the plain. The influx of the Fourth Division, driven back in great rout, redoubled the confusion, and to all minds it was evident that the day was lost.
It was now only the question how best to save the troops. This matter they were left to decide for themselves. The Fifth and the Eighteenth Corps were under brisk fire, and had suffered considerable loss. A division of the Eighteenth, with Turner's Division of the Tenth, had demonstrated on the right (the latter even gaining the crater, and the slope beyond), in useless attempts to distract the attention of the enemy. He directed his fire straight upon the dismantled fort, now a mere slaughter-pen, in wbich huddled the fragmentary brigades of the Ninth Corps, hoping for relief from their comrades, who lay two hundred yards distant in their intrenchments. Now squads of men began the work of retreating. But this was a perilous undertaking. The enemy kept a deadly cross-fire on every rod of the space which intervened between the fort and our lines. In spite of this, the disorderly movement was kept up. About noon, a general retreat was ordered. A considerable part of the survivors of the assault had crossed towards the rear. And now the men in the fort, who had preferred the chances of honorable death in repeliing the enemy to those of the perilous retreat, had discharged nearly all their ammunition. Left unsupported by the rest of the army, a final charge of the enemy, about two o'clock, captured them. Among the captured were General Bartlett and most of his staff. By the middle of the afternoon the bloody day was done. Our loss was in round numbers about four thousand men, of whom the majority were wounded. The loss of the enemy was about one thousand two hundred men, of whom a fifth were prisoners. It is conjectured that nearly two hundred men were destroyed by the mine.
On Sunday, the 31st, a flag of truce was sent for permission to bury the dead. This, on account of an informality, was not granted until Monday, thirty-six hours after the close of the fight. Immediately on the expiration of the time granted, the enemy again opened fiercely with his guns.
Sigel's Movement in the Valley.-Hunter Supersedes Sigel, and Defeats the Rebels
near Staunton.--Occupation of Lexington.-Lynchburg.—Early sent to the Valley.Retreat of Hunter through Western Virginia.-Advance of Early down the Valley and Invasion of Maryland.—Defeat of Wallace.- Washington Threatened.- Arrival of Sixth Corps and Retreat of Early.- Various Encounters iu the Valley.-Hunter Superseded by Sheridan,
Tuat portion of the grand combined attack on Richmond, which consisted of a movement up the Valley of the Shenandoah upon Lynchburg, was confided to General Sigel. This movement, in connection with that of Grant in front and that of Butler on the south, was designed to close the door of retreat upon Lee, and shut him up in Richmond with his communications severed. The enemy's force in the valley was composed of the commands of Echols, Imboden, and