Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Ole, a moderator at the Civil War Interactive discussion forums.
LATEST FROM GRANT
Gen. Smith Attacks Petersburg with Fifteen Thousand Men.
He Carries the Outer Works.
The Rebels Dumbfounded.
They Expected an Attack from Malvern Hill.
Hancock Joins Smith
We Capture Sixteen Cannon and 300 to 400 Prisoners.
Gallantry of the Colored Troops.
FROM GENERAL BUTLER
The Rebels Abandon the Works in His Front.
He Tears up the Rail Road Between Petersburgh (sic) and Richmond.
Washington, June 17. — To Maj. Gen. Dix: —
The following despatches (sic) have been received by this department. –
CITY POINT, June 15th, via Jamestown Island, 5:30 A. M. June 16th. – Smith, with 15,000 men, attacked Petersburg this morning.
Gen. Butler reports from his observators (???) near Bermuda Hundred, there has been sharp fighting, and that the troops and trains of the enemy were, as he writes, moving from the city across the Appomattox, as if retreating.
Hancock is not near enough to render Gen. Smith any aid.
The Richmond papers have nothing to indicate the suspicion of our crossing the James River. They expected to be attacked from the direction of Malvern Hill.
CITY POINT, June 15 – 5:30 P. M. – Our latest report from Smith was at Beatty’s Honed (illegible) – the colored troops assaulting and carrying the rifle pits with great gallantry, but he had not yet carried the main line.
He describes the Rebel artillery fire as very heavy. He expected to assault this line just before dark.
Hancock is within three miles of Smith.
CITY POINT, June, 16 – 7 A. M. via JAMESTOWN ISLAND, 11:45 A.M. – At 7:20 P. M. yesterday, Smith assaulted and carried the principal line of the enemy at Petersburg, taking thirteen cannon, several stands of colors, and between three and four hundred prisoners.
This line is two miles from Petersburg, Hancock got up and took position on Smith’s left at 3 A.M. to day.
There was heavy firing in that direction from five to six o’clock. No report has been received yet.
DOUT HARD LANDING, Va., June 16, 1 P.M. – After sending my despatch (sic) off this morning from the heights southeast of Petersburgh, (sic) I went over the conquered lines with General Grand and the Engineer officer.
The works are of the very strongest kind – more difficult take than was Missionary Ridge at Chattanooga. The hardest fighting was done by the black troops.
The forts they stormed were the worst of all. After the affair was over, Gen. Smith went to thank them and tell them he was proud of their courage and dash.
He says they are not to be exceeded as soldiers. Hereafter he will send them in a difficult place as readily as his (illegible) white troops. They captured 6 out of 16 cannon which he took.
The prisoners he took were from Beauregard’s command. Some of them said they had just crossed the Jame’s (sic) above Durrey’s (sic) Bluff.
I do not think any of Lee’s army had reached Petersburg when Smith stormed it. They seem to be there this morning, however, and making arrangements to hold the west side of the Appomattox.
The town they cannot think of holding, as it lies directly under our guns.
Petersburg reported in our Possession.
The following despatch (sic) does not designate the hour, but is supposed to be later than the preceding ones.
JAMESTOWN, VA., June 15. – I came down from the pontoon, above Fort Powhat’an, with despatches (sic) for Secretary Stanton. Just as I left, Capt. Pitkin reported to me that Petersburg was in our possession.
CITY POINT, June 16 – 4:15 P. M. – General Butler reports from Bermuda Hundreds (sic) that the enemy have abandoned the works in front of that place. His troops are now engaged in tearing up the rail road between Petersburg and Richmond.
Nothing of recent date has been heard from Gen. Sheridan, but the Richmond Whig contains a despatch (sic) from Gen. Lee stating that Gen. Sheridan had been routed in engagement with Fitz Hugh Lee and Hampton, losing 500 prisoners and leaving his dead and wounded on the field.
From Gen. Sherman a despatch, (sic) dated last night at 9 o’clock has been received. It only states the relative position of the forces. No serious engagement had yet occurred.
(Signer:) E. M. Stanton
Secretary of War1
- “Latest From Grant,” Albany Evening Journal, June 18, 1864, p. ? col. ? ↩
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