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the breach, and to wall it around with resolute and tenacious infantry. When at last the troops of the Ninth Corps went forward, it was uncertainly and timidly, for want of proper leadership and staff service, while large numbers huddled together in the “crater,” or deep chasm formed by the explosion, where they were ultimately captured. During this affair Mott's division held Ord's intrenchments to enable the Eighteenth Corps to be massed for assault. The remaining divisions of the Second, which had come in at daybreak after an all-night march from Deep Bottom, were held in reserve. Between the 31st of July and the 11th of August the Second Corps remained in its old camps, in the neighborhood of the Deserted House, General Hancock being employed in the important duty of presiding over the court of inquiry appointed by the President to investigate the causes of the failure at the Mine. On the Ioth of August General Grant telegraphed to Secretary Stanton : “I think it but just reward for services already rendered that General Sherman should be appointed a major general, and W. S. Hancock and Sheridan brigadiers in the regular army. All these officers have proved their worthiness for this advancement.” So fully did these recommendations fall in with the feeling entertained by the President and the Secretary of War that, with but an interval of two days, Sherman and Hancock were appointed respectively major general and brigadier general in the regular army, Sheridan's promotion being delayed a few weeks. On the 11th of August the corps received orders to undertake another movement across the James. On arriving at Deep Bottom it was to be joined by Birney's Tenth Corps and Gregg's cavalry, all under Hancock's orders. It was on the morning of the 14th of August that the Second Corps debarked from the steamers by which it had come from City Point, and formed upon the plains which had witmessed its operations in the last days of July. The temperature of the opening day was something dreadful. The columns, as they moved out from the landing, passed literally between men on both sides of the road lying dead from sunstroke. Before noon General Mott reported that in two regiments of his division one hundred and five men had been overcome by the heat. The rays of the August sun smote the heads of the weary soldiers with blows as palpable as if they had been dealt with a club. Grant's orders for the expedition had been issued under the impression that the Confederate lines had been depleted by the dispatch of three divisions of infantry and one of cavalry to re-enforce Early, then operating in the Valley of Virginia, where he was opposed by Sheridan with the Eighth and Nineteenth Corps, together with the Sixth Corps which had been withdrawn from the Army of the Potomac. Grant's information on this point was, however, erroneous. When our troops advanced to the familiar line of Bailey's Creek the works were found fully manned ; and when Barlow, at about four o'clock, with his own division and that of Gibbon (this day commanded by Colonel Thomas A. Smyth), delivered an attack near Fussell's Mill, he was easily beaten off. It should frankly be confessed that the troops on our side engaged behaved with little spirit. Only one brigade—that commanded by Colonel George N. Macy, of Massachusetts—did anything like its full duty. When it is added that the two brigades most in fault were the Irish brigade and that which had been so long and gloriously commanded by Brooke, it will appear to what a condition the army had been reduced by three months of desperate fighting. For six days longer Hancock's command remained on the north bank of the James, trying the enemy's lines here and there, or seeking to turn their flank. Several severe actions resulted, in one of which the Tenth Corps displayed great gallantry, while sustaining heavy losses. Gregg's cavalry, Supported by Miles's infantry brigade, fought the enemy upon the line of Deep Creek in an action which redounded greatly to the honor of both those commanders. But Grant had by this time satisfied himself that the information on which the expedition had been undertaken was erroneous, and that nothing was to be gained by further fighting; and he ac
cordingly directed Hancock, on the evening of the 18th, to send Mott's division back to Petersburg to support Warren in his contemplated movement to the Weldon Railroad. On the 19th, however, the lieutenant general telegraphed that it was believed the enemy were sending troops to Petersburg, and instructed Hancock not to hesitate to attack if an opportunity offered. No opening or weak spot had yet been discovered; but Hancock, ever ready to obey both the letter and the spirit of his orders, made a close personal reconnoissance and selected a point a short distance to the left of where Barlow had been repulsed. It was thought that the line might be broken there; but Hancock was unable to perceive that any decided results would follow, and, as the enemy were present in great force, he even doubted whether the position could be held if carried. The situation was fully described by telegraph to General Grant, who stated in reply that he did not wish an attack made unless with a chance of surprise or with the prospect of some marked advantage. The assault was therefore not delivered. During the afternoon of the 19th one of Gregg's brigades was sent back to Petersburg. Nothing of interest occurred on the 20th. During the day Hancock was instructed to withdraw his command from Deep Bottom; and immediately after dark the troops commenced the movement, by way of Point of Rocks, to their old camps. Rain fell continuously during the night, and the roads were heavy, but the
two divisions accomplished their long march by daylight of the 21st. The losses of the corps during the first expedition to Deep Bottom had been only one hundred and ninety-two; during the second they reached nine hundred and fifteen, among the killed being two valuable officers, Colonel Craig, of Pennsylvania, and Colonel Chaplin, of Maine.