NP: June 25, 1864 Richmond Examiner: Additional from the North, June 20

   

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in June 1864

Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.

ADDITIONAL FROM THE NORTH.

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We continue our summary of news from Northern papers of the 20th instant:

THE ATTACK ON PETERSBURG—VIEW OF PETERSBURG FROM THE CAPTURED FORTIFICATIONS—STRENGTH OF THE REBEL FORTIFICATIONS—DETAILS OF THE BATTLE OF THE FIFTEENTH INSTANT.

The special correspondent of the Philadelphia INQUIRER writes:

From an elevated point on the line of the captured fortifications I have just viewed the spires of Petersburg, visible through the foliage of surrounding timber lands at the distance of only two miles.  Here and there a little cloud of smoke bursting suddenly into existence and followed after several seconds by the booming of a cannon, marks the position of a rebel battery.

Most of them are opposite our right wing, and on the opposite side of the Appomattox river, with our right flank resting on the river, our line of battle extending in front and in plain sight of the city, the Eighteenth corps forming the right wing, and the Second corps the left.  The other corps are not yet up and in line, but troops are constantly arriving, and by night or to morrow morning the entire army will probably be in position.

From here is obtained a magnificent view of the surrounding country, spread out like a panorama with fields, hills and valleys, dotted with camps of two opposing armies, with the river and city in front.  Looking at their thick breastworks, deep ditches and strong redoubts commanding the open ground in their front, it takes little deliberation to decide that an assault on such a position must have been a very serious undertaking.

Five thousand men ought to have been able to hold it against twenty thousand, or even a larger number, but they did not hold it, although our attacking force did not amount to anything like the number just mentioned; while it is presumed the enemy had fully five thousand men for their defense.  This outer defence was taken at about 7, P. M., yesterday, and with it fifteen guns and from three to four hundred prisoners, a number of small arms, and camp and garrison equipage of the rebel troops; another gun had been captured in the earlier part of the day, making in all sixteen guns, all in good order, and rifled ordnance, brass twelve pounders.

It was a good day’s work, whether we consider the value of the captures or the importance of the position gained.  To “Baldy” Smith’s Eighteenth corps is due all the glory attached to it.  Skirmishing commenced before 10, A. M., from the main line of fortifications, and at a point two and a half or three miles from these works the enemy were found to have a line of rifle pits, in which they took position and resisted our advance with obstinacy, holding us back for an hour or more, during which time there was quite a sharp fight, a battery or two being vigorously plied.

Hinks’ coloured division was in the advance, and dually charged the pits, took them and one gun which the “Greybacks,” in haste to get out of the way, had to abandon.  The Twenty-second United States coloured regiment is mentioned as one that led this charge, and lost a considerable number of men.  At several other points on the road the enemy contested the ground warmly with our skirmishers, and it was not until near evening that the corps deployed into line of battle before the fortifications of Petersburg.

Before the assault was made our sharpshooters selected positions from which they could pick off the rebel gunners with unerring aim, thus very nearly silencing their batteries and greatly reducing the difficulties of the charge.  The grand assault was made about 7, P. M, and was equally successful along the entire line.  General Martindale’s division was on the right, its flank near the river.—General Brooks, with his own division and two brigades of Ames’, held the centre, and Hinks’ coloured division had the extreme left.

The most formidable of the works were taken in front of the latter division, and the gallant style in which the coloured troops made the charge as well as their general conduct throughout the day, elicited the highest commendation.

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WHY GRANT MOVED TO THE SOUTHSIDE—ITS MILITARY ADVANTAGES—THE PROSPECTS AND OBJECTS OF THE MOVEMENTS AROUND PETERSBURG—THE GAME GRANT PLAYS FOR RICHMOND.

The Washington correspondent of the New York TIMES indulges in the following speculations and comments upon the last great move of Grant in transferring his army from the Chickahominy to the Southside, and the strategy and game he will probably play for Richmond.  We follow him in his letter from the battle of the Chickahominy:

The battle of the Chickahominy was an experiment made for a specific purpose—to test the feasibility of an assault on Richmond from the northern side.  It was an experiment perfectly proper to be made, and it was satisfactory.  It convinced every reflecting mind that nothing was to be gained in that direction.

This was obvious to every one, and every one waited to see what card Grant would play next.—But it was only those who knew something of the boldness of his military conceptions that could have ventured to anticipate a repetition of the Vicksburg strategy, the same strategy, the same audacity, only on a far grander scale!  This splendid stroke, comparable only to Moreau’s passage of the Rhine and flank march on Ulm, stands to-day an accomplished fact; the army of the Potomac, taken up as in the arms of a giant, is transported from the Chickahominy and planted south of the James river and south of Richmond.

Now begins a new act in the grand war drama.—We shall operate on new and unattempted lines, looking to new and hitherto unattainable results.  I think there are few military men who do not now feel that the present position of the army of the Potomac gives us reason to indulge brighter hopes of ultimate success than has been possible any time since the war began.

The Southside is the true line of operation against Richmond, looking to great ulterior results.  Of the three cardinal maxims of strategy, the most important of all prescribes “to operate on the enemy’s communications without endangering your own.”  Now, the operations of the Virginia campaign have been conducted under circumstances that made it impossible to apply this principle.

General Grant has aimed assiduously to bring on a great decisive field fight with the hope of CRUSHING the rebel army.  But from the nature of the country, its prodigious facilities for defence, and the skill of the opposing general, this has been impossible.  We gained victories; we steadily pushed the enemy back, and in an unparalleled campaign of twenty nine days, forced Lee from the Rapid Ann to the front of Richmond; but no DECISIVE results were accomplished.

Lee’s army is an army of veterans:  it is an instrument sharpened to a perfect edge.  You turn its flanks; well, its flanks are MADE to be turned; that effects little or nothing.  All that we can reckon as gained, therefore, is the loss of life inflicted on the enemy, and of having reached a point thus near the objective; but no brilliant military results.  In loss of life we were UNDOUBTEDLY SUFFERING MORE SEVERELY THAN THE REBELS; I think we may fairly say in the proportion of five to their three.

Now it is obvious that we could not have long stood thus.  Whatever preponderance of numbers we might have would soon disappear—would soon become an equality, and presently an inferiority.—The rebel army might have been worn away by attrition, but we should ourselves have been exhausted in the process.  The hammer would have been broken on the anvil.

By the present move a new order of operation begins.  We not only threaten the communications of the enemy, we plant ourselves across his communications.  The communications of the rebel army are the great lines of railroad by Petersburg and Danville and their connections.

Richmond, as a city; Richmond, as a military centre, is strictly dependent on these lines for its supplies.  Cut it off from these and you have a tourniquet around its throat.  It may have a month’s supplies, or three months, or six months, but these exhausted, it must succumb.  If Lee allows himself to be shut up within Richmond, therefore, the problem reduces itself to a repetition of Vicksburg.  Will he do so?  That is a question.

But this is the pitiless alternative to which Lee is now reduced—to stay in Richmond and suffer the fatal lines of circumvallation to be drawn around him, or to come out of his works and give battle.  Now a fair field fight is precisely what the army of the Potomac invites and welcomes; it will gladly give the rebels man for man, and engage to defeat them withal.

If Lee is unwilling to run this risk, he retires within the defences of Richmond, and we then hold precisely the relations held by the allies to Napoleon defending Paris in 1814.  It was in vain then that that consummate master put forth a generalship that recalled the splendours of the first great Italian campaign; in vain he threw his masses on different points of the investing line.  If Lee is not a better general than Napoleon, he can hardly hope for a much better fate.

With the army of the Potomac planted at or north of Petersburg, we there tap the great railroad line connecting Richmond with the Atlantic seaboard and Gulf States.  When there, Grant may be able to throw his left across the Danville road, and in this case Richmond is isolated.  If his plan does not contemplate so great a development of front, he will at least provide for the effectual destruction of the latter road; and this, as well as the destruction of the western (Lynchburg) road and the James River canal will be an easy prey to our cavalry, which, under the hands of Sheridan, has almost put the rebel cavalry out of existence.  The reduction of Fort Darling is an incidental piece of work, which will be gladly contended for by some of the able engineering heads of the army of the Potomac.  In the meantime, we have a perfectly secure and convenient base, the James river, to which all the transportation lately at White House has been forwarded.

There is another aspect of the move to the south side of the James, which, from the point of view of its relations to the whole theatre of war, is not less important than its bearing on the problem immediately before us.  It is a division of the two great rebel armies, and gives us an interior position relative to the army of Lee in Virginia and the army of Johnston in Georgia.

It has been reported that large detachments of Johnston’s army are already EN ROUTE to reinforce Lee, and if not actually under way, we may depend upon it that the able military heads that rule the war councils of Richmond, thoroughly imbued with the conception of concentration, and willing to risk everything to save Richmond, would willingly have sacrificed south western territory to secure the great point in Virginia.

But how does it stand now?  Johnston coming to reinforce Lee would find his progress to Richmond barred by the same opponent who stopped his junction with Pemberton in Vicksburg.  We secure this, therefore, first that the enemy shall receive no addition to his strength, while our position effects a concentration of both the forces of Butler and Hunter with the main operating forces.

While, however, we have reason to look forward to great and important results as coming from the new position of the army, I am very far from looking on our success as a foregone conclusion.  We have opposed to us an enemy of the highest skill handling an army of sufficient strength still to attempt great things, and animated by a spirit of desperation.

I fully expect some bold, audacious initiative on the part of Lee, and the greater the straits in which he finds himself, the more energetically will he attempt to retrieve himself, and the fortunes of the Confederacy bound up with him.

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RESULTS OF SHERIDAN’S RAID.

The Philadelphia INQUIRER, like a number of other Yankee papers, pleads very hard to show that Sheridan won “a great victory.”  This is done by one way only—a way the Yankees understand perfectly—by LYING; infamous, atrocious lying.—If Sheridan won a “victory”—if the Yankees take delight in such treatment as his men received at the hands of Hampton and his men, we wish them joy, and plenty more of the same sort of comfort.  The INQUIRER has a long editorial, sketching the expedition, the greater portion of which we give below, and which is interesting to read, if for no other reason than the audacious lies it tells:

Sheridan left the Pamunkey on Sunday, the fifth of June—two weeks ago yesterday.  After a march through the counties of King William, Caroline, Spotsylvania on (illegible), he reached a point three miles to the north of Trevillian’s station, on the Virginia Central railroad, on the tenth.  Trevillian’s is a depot, nine miles from Gordonsville, sixty-seven from Richmond, and about one hundred from Washington by the route of the Orange and Alexandria railroad.

It was Sheridan’s purpose to break up the Virginia railroad at this station, then to cut the Charlottesville road beyond Gordonsville, and finally to march against Charlottesville itself.  The first part of this purpose he accomplished in a most thorough and effective manner.  He destroyed the whole track of the Virginia Central, from Trevillian’s to Louise Court House, a distance of five miles, burning the ties and making the rails wholly unserviceable.

But before Sheridan was able to proceed to this work he was confronted by the enemy in force in front of Trevillian’s.  It was Lee’s business to protect the railroad and drive Sheridan off; and it was necessary, on the other hand, for Sheridan to whip Lee and his men and drive them away.  There were the issues in the fight of the 11th of June—Of course the parties who accomplished their objects were the victors.

Now what was the result?  On the morning of the 11th, General Torbert and Colonel Gregg attacked Lee’s forces in their intrenchments, and drove them from line after line until they brought up at Trevillian depot.  While this was going on, Custer’s brigade passed along a by-road to the rear of the depot, when the rebels broke in a rout leaving their dead and wounded, five hundred and twenty prisoners, and three hundred horses in the possession of our troops.  The railroad was then destroyed as above described, to the exact extent that General Sheridan designed, an operation that occupied his men nearly the whole of the following day, the 12th.

Here we have the exact measure of a “Confederate victory,” their forces whipped and driven off, their killed and wounded left behind, over five hundred of their men captured, and five miles of the railroad they were sent to protect utterly destroyed.

One of the two principal objects of Sheridan’s expedition was thus effected in the most satisfactory manner.  The other was left undone.  Lee had retreated to the vicinity of Gordonsville, where he was reinforced by a column of infantry, and had thrown up strong intrenchments.  Pickett’s old division was also on the way to join in the defence of Gordonsville.  The position of the enemy was reconnoitered by General Torbert’s division, but no attack was made, as it was thought rather too strong for cavalry.

By this time Sheridan’s ammunition was getting short, and his horses had been two days without forage, and he, therefore, abandoned his attempts against Gordonsville, and withdrew across the North Anna.  His losses were eighty-five killed, four hundred and ninety wounded, and one hundred and sixty prisoners; total, seven hundred and thirty five.  Heavy losses were inflicted on the enemy in killed and wounded, including two brigade commanders and two Colonels, besides three hundred and seventy prisoners brought off by General Sheridan.

The damage done to the Virginia Central railroad is of the highest importance in the present posture of affairs near Richmond.  While our army is beyond the James river, Lee is of course between it and Washington, and although Lee is fully and constantly occupied by Grant, he MIGHT undertake some desperate diversion in the direction of the national capital.  In all attempts of that kind the use of the Virginia Central railroad to Gordonsville is indispensable to the rebel chieftain.  Without the uninterrupted use of that road he is deprived of his only sure and efficient means of supporting an army in the Shenandoah valley or along the line of the Orange railroad, and to that extent he is shorn of the power to embarrass the operations of General Grant.  That is the condition in which Lee is left by Sheridan’s work of the 12th of June.  It is a valuable service well and gallantly performed.

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THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION WITH RICHMOND.

The Philadelphia INQUIRER maps out the following as the lines of communication with Richmond, and congratulates itself that they are all to be cut—that even the canal is “receiving the requisite attention.”

Jefferson Davis’ means for supplying his army near Richmond, and for swift communication with his Southern dominions, consist of three railroads and a canal.  The railroads are the Virginia Central, just broken up by Sheridan at Trevillian’s; the Richmond and Petersburg, now cut off by Smith at one end and Butler at the other and the Richmond and Danville, which is the only one that Davis has left.  This, however, is a very important road on account of its connections.  At Burkesville, fifty-three miles from Richmond and the same distance from Petersburg, it connects with the Lynchburg road, furnishing communication with that place and also with Gordonsville, although by a long and inconvenient circuit.  From Burkesville, the Richmond and Danville road extends eighty-seven miles to Danville, on the boundary of North Carolina, and thence a short link of railroad to Greensboro’, constructed by the rebels since the beginning of the war, connects it with the whole system of North Carolina railways.

It will thus be seen that the Danville road, although it is Davis’ sole means of connection with the South and West, is at the same time a most effective line.  Either Kautz or Sheridan should therefore give it his immediate and earnest attention.  Burkesville is its vital centre.  If it is to be cut, that is the point for the operation.  Eight or ten miles of road destroyed south and west of the junction there will isolate Richmond from Lynchburg, Gordonsville, North Carolina and the whole South.

The James river canal, we believe, is receiving the requisite attention.

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THE STANDING OF THE NEGRO TROOPS.

The army appropriation bill, which has just been adopted by the Yankee Congress, disposes of the vexed question of the stains of the coloured troops.  The following are the conclusions:

First.  That all coloured men who have volunteered under the call of October 17, 1863, for three hundred thousand volunteers, are to receive the same amount of bounty, pay and allowances as white volunteers provided they were actually enrolled and subject to draft.

Second.  All coloured men who were free on the 10th of April, 1861, who have since been mustered into the service of the United States, are entitled to the pay, bounty and clothing allowed to such coloured persons by the laws existing at the time of their enlistment.

Third.  All coloured persons not embraced in the classes mentioned above who were mustered into the service of the United States before January 1, 1864, are to receive the same clothing, rations, equipments, allowances and pay, as white soldiers, but no bounty.

Fourth.  All coloured persons mustered into service since January 1, 1864, or hereafter to be mustered into service, are to receive full pay and allowances; and such bounty as the President may offer in the different States and parts of the United States, not exceeding one hundred dollars to each man.

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MUTINY AT SEA—CONSPIRACY TO SEIZE THE CALIFORNIA STEAMER OCEAN QUEEN—TWO OF THE RINGLEADERS KILLED.

The New York papers give the following conspiracy formed to seize one of the California steamships:

The California steamship, Ocean Queen on her departure from New York to Aspinwall, on the 15th ultimo, took out two hundred and seventeen sailors, most of whom had been transferred from the army to the navy, and she had on board also about five hundred passengers.

On the third day out about thirty of the sailors endeavoured to seize the steamer.  There had been indications of trouble previous to this attempt, but the men failed to put their plot into execution.

It seems that these men had formed a plan to seize the steamship.  Their first object was the killing of all persons who should oppose them, and the conspiracy included the running of the vessel, after her seizure, on their own account.

The intention of the mutineers was to take the vessel on the first night after her departure; but they had no engineer among their number that could work her engines.

Threats of violence had, however, been somewhat openly made, and there was much excitement on board.

On the day mentioned, under pretence that they wished to go into the first cabin, the mutineers attacked Captain Tinklepaugh, who would not permit them to do as they desired.

This was a signal for a combined movement of the conspirators, and the men who were in the plot acted under the leadership of the most desperate of their number.

The ringleaders advanced upon the captain and Commander Ammen, of the navy, who had the sailors in charge.

The captain, who had expected the difficulty and was prepared, aimed his revolver at the head of the foremost man, and warned him if he advanced a step further he would lose his life.

The mutineer, with a horrible oath, called the captain a coward and daring him to fire, sprang forward.  Captain Tinklepaugh kept his word.  The bullet from the weapon, which covered the ruffian’s head, entered his brain, and he fell, almost instantly expiring.

The excitement among the passengers, many of whom were ladies, and also among the mutineers, was at this time intense.  The latter rushed forward, and the mutineer who followed the first was fired at by Commander Ammen and by three or four officers, among whom was the chief engineer of the Ocean Queen.

The short distance from which these officers fired rendered their aim effective in every case, and the mutineer fell, pierced by five or six bullets.

Seeing that their plot was likely to fall in consequence of the adequate preparations of the officers and crew to defend the vessel, the conspirators made no further efforts.  A few minutes after their attack had failed they were entirely quiet; their resolution was gone, and they were easily disarmed and put in irons.

There was no further trouble on board.  The dead mutineers were thrown in the ocean, and the thirty or more men who were put in irons were taken to Aspinwall and across the isthmus.—Eight, however, escaped, and another was shot.

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GENERAL BUTLER AND THE GAMBLERS.

A correspondent, writing from Bermuda Hundred, says:

C. C. Pearson and James Leary, formerly billiard and liquor saloon keepers and gamblers in Norfolk, having smuggled themselves from Norfolk to Bermuda Hundred landing without passes, were recently brought before the commanding General, who issued the following order:

HDQ’RS. DEP’T VIRGINIA AND NORTH CAROLINA,

June 12, 1864.

C. C. Pearson having smuggled himself within my lines, contrary to law, and without a pass, on board the gunboat Pink, Ensign Kenrick master, and being, by his own statement, able-bodied and without any business, is ordered to be set to work in the trenches, until further orders, to supply the place of a soldier who has other occupation—There being constant employement for him in General Hinks’ line, he will be forwarded there.

By command of

Major-General BUTLER.

The same order was issued in the case of Leary.  One of them pleaded that he had served under the General at the beginning of the war.  “Very well,” said the General, “serve with me now at the end of it.”  Pearson begged off, telling the General to remember his family in Norfolk.  “Well, I am not doing anything to disgrace your family.”  “But they won’t know what has become of me.”  “True.  Davenport, print this order in the Norfolk papers, and then his family can see where he is.”

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MISCELLANEOUS.

The Northern papers say “the pursuit of Morgan is virtually at an end, he having pissed the lines with a few hundred men.”

Philip Reade, of Lowell, a nephew of General Butler, has been appointed a cadet of West Point.

At a late meeting of coal dealers in Boston, the price of coal was advanced to fourteen dollars per ton.

General Burbridge has issued an order forbidding the circulation of the Cincinnati ENQUIRER within the limits of his district in Kentucky.

A Connecticut farmer has just discovered that his cows have been regularly milked by black snakes.  He has killed five snakes.

Major General William Farrar Smith, known by the SOBRIQUET of “Baldy” Smith, is a native of St. Albans, Franklin county, Vermont, and is a graduate of West Point.

The New York WORLD speaks of Lincoln and Andy Johnson as “the rail-splitting buffoon” and “the boorish tailor.”

They had good news in New Orleans June 4.  A despatch from Baton Rouge, dated on that day, reads thus:  “Grapevine report, from outside, says Richmond surrendered to General Grant June 1.  The report comes from different parties, and is credited here.”

The House of Representatives of the New Hampshire Legislature, by a vote of 163 yeas against 103 nays, adopted a resolution requesting the representatives of that State in Congress to do all in their power to secure the passage in Congress of the proposed amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery in the United States.

Joseph A. Scoville, the London MORNING HERALD correspondent, under the SOBRIQUET of Manhattan, has been ordered before General Dix.  After being warned of the consequences which would follow any further mendacious and malicious representations of the affairs of the country, he was leniently allowed to depart on his parole.

Secretary Chase, it is said will start for New York to day to negotiate for the residue of the seventy five million dollar loan, only forty one million three-hundred and ninety three thousand two hundred dollars having been accepted, at a premium of four per cent. and over.

It is officially announced, from Rome, that the Right Reverend Bishop McCloskey, of Albany, has been appointed Archbishop of New York, and will soon enter upon his duties.  He is a native of Brooklyn, born in 1807.  He was educated at St. Mary’s college, near Emmittsburg, Maryland, and became priest at twenty seven years, and settled in New York, where he was, in 1814, appointed assistant bishop to aid Bishop Hughes.  In 1856 he was appointed to the Sea of Albany, and now returns to New York as Archbishop.

The Newbern ran ashore the blockade runner Perasy, nine miles north of Beaufort, laden with arms lead, bacon and shoes, on Confederate account.  Her engines and boilers were blown completely out of her a few moments after she struck.  She was a fine iron sidewheel steamer, five hundred and forty-three tons register.  This was her second trip.  The vessel and cargo were valued at $500,000.

A party of boys at Detroit began to “play war.”  They separated themselves into the two great armies of Virginia, and began to fight the battle of the Wilderness.  The leaders of the opposing hosts, Grant and Lee, were armed with pistols—in the heat and high excitement of the conflict, Grant recklessly and patriotically discharged his weapon.  The ball took effect in Lee’s leg, wounding him badly.  He was taken to the hospital, and it is feared it may be necessary to amputate the ambitious youth’s leg.

The design for the Gettysburg monument, awarded to Mr. James G. Batterson, of Hartford, is as follows:  A solid white marble base with four batteries, each supporting a statue representing respectively, History, War, Peace, and Plenty.—From the centre rises a shaft of marble, crowned with a colossal bronze statue of the Goddess of Liberty, fifteen feet high.  The height of the monument will be fifty feet, and the cost will be fifty thousand dollars.1

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Source:

  1. “Additional from the North.” Richmond Examiner. June 25, 1864, p. 3 col. 2-5

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