Cold Harbor Campaign - 1864
Daily Dispatch: May 13, 1864. the fighting around Richmond
The Daily Dispatch: May 13, 1864.
The movements on Richmond — the fighting around Richmond.
Speculation was rife in Richmond yesterday as to the strength of the force now in the vicinity of the city and their designs. The prisoners who were brought in give very different accounts of the force, though all agree that there are "three divisions." What three divisions in the Yankee army number we are unable to say; but of this we may be certain, that if the force had been a very strong one it would never have allowed Stuart's cavalry to dog it all the way from Ashland, attacking it whenever it chose and gaining advantages, without having turned upon it and given battle. The design of the enemy, as at first planned, was doubtless to come to Richmond and make a demonstration upon it, which was to be answered by co-operation from the force on the south side of the river. The appearance of a very large army of Confederates on the southside has interfered with Butler's plans, and prevented the co- operation which was expected, and the heavy force of troops in the city was also a surprise to them. This cavalry raid has now been away from its base of operations for six days, and by this time the forage for their horses and provisions for their men must be nearly exhausted. Their departure from our front, when it does take place, must be made by way of the Meadow Bridge road, the bridges ever which have been burnt by our forces.
The fighting Wednesday evening.
During the fight on Wednesday afternoon three pieces of Stuart's Horse Artillery, under Major Breathed, were captured by the enemy at Half Sink, a point near Yellow Tavern.
Col. Randolph, of the 4th Va. regiment, (cavalry,) was killed in this fight.
Movements During Yesterday.
Yesterday morning, about sunrise, the enemy, finding that the Meadow bridges, over the Chickahominy, were burnt, attempted to go down the Mechanicsville road. On this road they were met by a body of infantry (the name of which command need not be stated) and repulsed, after a brisk fight. They then fell back into a dense body of woods, on Mr. H. P. Taylor's farm, near Scrawberry Hill. To the edge of this woods, which is distant from the city fortifications about a half mile, across a field, they advanced their artillery and some infantry skirmishers, and commenced a brisk fire.--our infantry skirmishers advanced and drove them from the edge of the wood. During most of the day the fighting here was kept up without much effect on either side, very few of our men being killed or wounded.
Yesterday morning, about 9 o'clock, the 2d Virginia regiment, with three companies of the City Battalion, were ordered to attack the enemy on the right of the turnpike, near Brook Church. They went into the fight, and with great gallantry attempted to lodge the enemy from some breastworks of logs and rocks that he had thrown up, but found them too strongly posted. They then fell back across a field to a wood on this side within range of the enemy, and here a spirited firing was kept up until 12 o'clock, when the 19th Virginia, Col. Gant, was sent up to relieve the battalion companies. They, however, declined being relieved, and remained until their ammunition was exhausted. At 4 o'clock the whole force was ordered back, and the firing ceased.
The following is a list of the killed and wounded in the battalion companies:
Company B.--Killed: J S Layne. Wounded Jas Ashford, (in hands of the enemy;) Corp'l John Taylor, side; privates Geo W Mayo, thigh and shoulder; D W McCraw, thigh; C W Norris, breast; W R Patterson, knee; Jas Tilman, neck; David Thomas, knee; R L Wilkinson, hand.
Co. C.--Killed: Serg't J H Thackston, private B C Morris. Wounded: Lieut Jno Randolph, thigh and hand; Sergt's Lewis S Ayres, breast, (in hands of the enemy;) R H Spencer, leg and hand; privates E F Coleman, wrist; T B Harris, breast; Wm Henshall, head; Robert Alice, shoulder and neck; R C Richardson, leg; W M McParr, shoulder Missing; Corp'l A H Brown, private T M Rafter.
Co D.--Wounded: Lt R Motley, private Jas S Baker. Missing: W G Andrews.
The Commander and number of the enemy's forces around Richmond.
The commander of the force which is now operating around the fortifications of Richmond is Gen. Sheridan, who was formerly commander of the cavalry with the Federal army at Chattanooga, and was taken from there with Grant when he came to Virginia. In his experience as a cavalry commander we know of nothing very dashing or successful, nor is his reputation that of a great General. The force under him is represented by prisoners at the round figure of 20,000, all mounted infantry. That its strength is exaggerated is quite certain; that it consists of mounted infantry is equally certain, as in be fight at Brook Church yesterday the enemy's bayonets were plainly seen.
In the fight yesterday the enemy used two pieces of artillery, and seemed to have plenty of ammunition.
The latest from Sheridan.
The latest report from the enemy around the fortifications was brought in last night by a courier, who reported that at seven o'clock they were in force on the Mechanicsville road, cooking their suppers. Some movement was expected to be made by them this morning.
The following is a list of the officers wounded in the fight near the city yesterday who up to nine o'clock last night were received at the officers' hospital: Lieut. W. T. White, G, 33d N. C.; Lieut. J. W. Tate, F, do.; Capt. W. J. Collins, G, do. do.; Lieut. L. Bedrick, G. Cobb's cav.; Lieut. R. F. stead, I, 38th Va; Capt. W. G. Mims, G, 3d Ala., Lieut M. L. Barber, D, 43d Ala.; Lieut R. G. Redwood, K, do. do.; Lieut. P. Arber, C, 5th N. C. cav.; Lieut. T. W. asterling, G, 5th S. C. cav.
Brig. Gen. Gordon, of N. C., is at the me hospital, suffering with a musket-diet wound in the left arm, which it is and will have to be amputated. He was adding his bridle-rein when struck. The all entered the forearm, breaking the bone, d passing through the muscle of the same above the shoulder.
Most of the other officers enumerated ove are slightly wounded.
The following is a partial list of the wounded in yesterday's fights about the city received at the Seabrooks Hospital up to o'clock P M: R Hudgins, G, 53d Va; J Lennings, F, 38th Va; C Everett, I, 38th Va; P G, 42d Va bat; J B Slaughter, D, Va; S H Pollard, I, 32d Va; J L Touk, C, 32d Va; J C Destin, C, 32d Va; C Childress, C, 9th Va; W T Owens, G, 38th Va; R R Sadler, K, 14th Va; J Grommange, I, 38th Va; W G Anderson, D, 25th Va bat; R M Robertson, F, 32d Va; T Wooten, F, 32d Va; T S Hubert, I, 32d Va; J W Clark, C, 32d Va; W Watts, A, 32d Va; J S Baker, D, 25th Va bat; J F Hall, F, 32d Va; W Wickson, F, 32d Va; S Brooks, Thornton's art'y; R B Shelburne, 32d Va; J C Sadler, C, 19th 32d Va; J H Higginbotham, L 32d Va; G Hann, C, 14th Va; F S Armorn, C, 32d N C; G Campbell, I, 54th Va; J W Dry, F, 1st N C cav; D Johnson, K, 1st N C cav; J Ray, A, 1st N C cav; W A Mathews, A, 5th Va; V E May, G, 5th Va; Lt C Patru, C, 5th Va; W J Watts, G, 1st Tex; E Newsome, G, 1st Tex; A Lawson, C, 5th Va; Lt S J Woodward, B, 1st Va.
Death of Gen. J. E. B. Stuart.
During the fight at Half Sink on Wednesday afternoon, Gen. Stuart was shot through the body, the ball entering one side of the abdomen and coming out through the back. He was brought to this city and carried to the residence of Dr. Burwell, where, we learn, he died last night.
The enemy on the southside — another skirmish near Chester.
From the southside we learn that a small force of the enemy's cavalry and artillery made their appearance again on the turnpike between here and Petersburg.
About 11Â½ o'clock they attacked a force of our cavalry near Chester, and a skirmish ensued, in which they were driven off, and went back to the river. Our loss was three killed and six wounded.
They pulled down the telegraph wire and tore up the railroad track near the Junction for nearly a mile.
At Drewry's Bluff yesterday morning there was some skirmishing between our pickets and the enemy, with no result of importance.
The heavy firing at Drewry's Bluff.
The firing heard in the city yesterday from siege guns was from some heavy pieces at Drewry's Bluff, shelling the woods. It is stated that in addition to this, the enemy's gunboats on the river were also shelling the woods along the banks.
Expected raid on the Danville Railroad.
Yesterday afternoon Mr. Gill, the Superintendent of the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad, having gone towards Chester to ascertain the damage done to the road, discovered a large body of Yankee cavalry crossing the road and moving towards the Clover Hill Pits. The force was afterwards ascertained to be about 3,000, and it is believed that they have gone up to cut the Richmond and Danville Railroad, and perhaps to keep on to the canal.
The Spears raid upon Petersburg — it Marches to city Point.
We have some further particulars of Spears's raid on the rear of Petersburg. On Monday, after burning Maj. Belsches's mill and dwelling, and every out-house on his plantation, they proceeded to the premises of Mr. Niblett, not far distant, when they burnt that gentleman's mill, but did not molest his dwelling or out-houses. Late in the day they swung around towards James river, and burnt Baxter's and Temple's mills in Prince George county. On Thursday night they camped at Mt. Sinal Church, in Prince George county, where they cooked up their stolen sheep, hogs, cattle and poultry. A gentleman who saw their camp fires, says they extended for a distance of a mile or more, and presented quite a novel sight to the people in that section.
Tuesday morning, at seven o'clock, the column was moving by the old Baxter road to City Point, leaving Disputanta about a mile and a half to the right. Col. R. M. Harrison, of Prince George county, who saw them, states that their column was about three miles in length, numbering possibly between 1,500 and 2,000 men, and comprising an immense train of stolen buggies, carts, wagons, and pleasure carriages. But few negroes were observed. They had in one of their wagons a dead officer who had died of wounds received in the fight at Nottoway river or Jarratt's. He was evidently an officer of note, or his body would have been buried where he died. In this connection it may be interesting to state, that our troops heard at Jarratt's that Col. Spears himself was mortally wounded.
The enemy burnt the entire village at Jarratt's, except a small dilapidated building, occupied by an aged widow lady. In this case, the claims of humanity were for once regarded, even by Yankee hearts, and the building spared. Mr. Wm. Jarratt, we regret to hear, lost not only his elegant residence, but all his furniture, and much else of great value. Railroad and Government property of every description was of course consigned to the flames. This band of marauders, unlike many of their predecessors, arrested every man they caught who had any connection whatever with the State or Confederate Government. All clerks of Courts, magistrates, salt distributors, tax collectors, assessors of the revenue, constables and sheriffs, were secured.
The falling back of the enemy on the southside.
The retiring of the enemy from their advanced position towards Bermuda Hundreds was first known in Petersburg. A general engagement, it appears, was expected at that city on Tuesday. On every hand he seemed to be pressing his forces, and extending his lines — his extreme right reaching around to Brander's Bridge, north of the city. Contrary to this universal expectation, however, a general engagement did not come off, but there was little or no picket firing or skirmishing. At an early hour it was ascertained that the enemy had withdrawn his advanced lines, and retired several miles.
At a late hour Tuesday evening our scouts reported the enemy rapidly retiring on the road to Bermuda Hundreds. On the east bank of the Appomattox, in Prince George county, where the enemy advanced his negro regiments from City Point Monday, he was not to be found Tuesday, although a movement was made to ascertain his whereabouts, which pushed its search nearly to City Point.
The enemy left many valuable articles on the ground abandoned Tuesday in front of Swift Creek, such as Belgian rifles, canteens, haversacks, muskets, saddles, harness, etc. A gentleman saw the body of one negro soldier, still and stark. He had received a bullet through the breast, and his carcass was left unburied by his friends. There was every evidence of a hasty retreat. The retreat was as sudden as precipitate, for they had thrown up breastworks Monday, and made other preparations for a regular siege.
A gallant night attack.
About half-past 11 o'clock on Monday night, the citizens of Petersburg were startled by several heavy discharges of musketry in Chesterfield county, the sound proceeding from a point due north of Petersburg.-- Anxiety was on tip-toe to ascertain the cause but it was not ascertained until nearly four o'clock, just before the dawn of day. At that hour a guard came in with a Yankee who had come into our lines, and gave the particulars. On the enemy's extreme right, which had been pushed around Monday afternoon, to Brander's Bridge, he placed a heavy picket guard, consisting of a New Hampshire regiment, amounting to 800 men, picked troops. They were somewhat isolated from the main body of the Yankee forces, a fact which our Generals were not slow to perceive. Two companies of the 51st N. C. Regiment, General Clingman's Brigade, were selected to make a night assault on these sons of New Hampshire, and see if they could not be induced to "change their base."
The assault was sharp, sudden, and decisive. With a rush the brave Carolinians got within close proximity of the foe, and poured into him a deadly volley. Before he could recover from his surprise, another galling fire greeted him, and yet another a moment or two after, which proved rather warm for frigid New Hampshire, and the blue coats started off in wild confusion, shaping their course towards Bermuda Hundreds. It was a beautiful star-light night, and the dark moving mass could be distinctly seen, so the Carolinians had but to aim at the mass, and they were bound to hit. The race progressed until we had driven the New Hampshire Yankees back and across the turnpike and on over the railroad, a distance of some two miles or more. It was ascertained Tuesday that we killed and wounded a large number of the enemy in this night assault.
Posted By: Joe Elia