Number 351. Petersburg Campaign Reports of General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army, commanding Army of Northern Virginia, of operations August 16-December 27

   

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in Part 1 (Serial Number 87)

No. 351. Reports of General Robert E. Lee, C. S. Army, commanding Army of Northern Virginia, of operations August 16-December 27.1

CHAFFIN’S BLUFF, August 16, 1864-4 p.m.

The enemy has made a determined attack on our line between the Darbytown and Charles City roads. At one time he broke through, but was repulsed, and we now occupy our original positions.

R. E. LEE.

SECRETARY OF WAR.

CHAFFIN’S BLUFF, August 16, 1864-8.30 p.m.

The enemy did not renew the attack after his repulse mentioned in my first dispatch. His force on the Charles City road, after advancing to within two miles of White’s Tavern, was driven back across White Oak Swamp. Our loss was small.

R. E. LEE.

Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR.

CHAFFIN’S BLUFF, August 18, 1864.

(Received 11.15 p.m.)

This morning our skirmishers reoccupied the hill north of Dutch Gap, from which the enemy had been driven by our gun-boats. This afternoon the left of our line north of James River advanced against

the enemy’s right to discover his strength and position; drove in his skirmish line, and finding him strongly intrenched withdrew. About noon the enemy in front of Petersburg moved his Fifth Corps toward the Weldon railroad, when he was met by General Heth, who drove him a mile, capturing 150 prisoners.

R. E. LEE.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

CHAFFIN’S BLUFF, August 20, 1864.

(Received 9.20 a.m.)

General Hill attacked the enemy’s Fifth Corps yesterday afternoon at Davis’ house, three miles from Petersburg, on Weldon railroad. Defeated and captured about 2,700 prisoners including 1 brigadier-general and several field officers. Loss on our side believed to be smaller than that of the enemy.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

DUNN’S HILL, August 21, 1864.

The enemy abandoned last evening his position north of James River and returned to the south side. This morning General Hill attacked his position on Weldon railroad. Drove him from his advanced lines to his main entrenchments, from which he was not dislodged. Over 300 prisoners, exclusive, of wounded, were captured. Our loss was principally in Hagood’s brigade, which mounted enemy’s entrenchments. Supports failing, many were captured.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable J. A. SEDDON.

HEADQUARTERS,
August 26, 1864. (Via Petersburg.)

General A. P. Hill attacked the enemy in his entrenchments at Reams’ Station yesterday evening, and at the second assault carried his entire line. Cooke’s and MacRae’s North Carolina brigades, under General Heth, and Lane’s North Carolina brigade of Wilcox’s division, under General Conner, with Pegram’s artillery, composed the assaulting column. One line of breast-works was carried by the cavalry under General Hampton with great gallantry, who contributed largely to the success of the day. Seven stand of colors, 2,000 prisoners, and 9 pieces of artillery are in our possession. The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded is reported to be heavy, ours relatively small. Our profound gratitude is due to the Giver of all victory, and our thanks to the brave men and officers engaged.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

DUNN’S HILL, September 17, 1864.

At daylight yesterday the enemy’s skirmish line west of the Jerusalem plank road was driven back upon his entrenchments along their whole extent and his location ascertained. Ninety prisoners taken in the operation. At the same hour General Hampton attacked his position, north of Norfolk railroad, near Sycamore Church. Captured about 300 prisoners, some arms, wagons, large number of horses, and 2,500 cattle. General Gregg attacked General Hampton on his return in the afternoon at Belches’ Mill, on the Jerusalem plank road, but was repulsed and driven back. Everything was brought off safely. Our entire loss does not exceed 50 men.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

CHAFFIN’S BLUFF, October 1, 1864.

Yesterday evening General Hetch attacked the enemy’s infantry, who had broken through a portion of the line held by our artillery on the Squirrel Level road, and drove them back. General Hill reports that they were severely punished and 400 prisoners captured. General Hampton, operating on Heth’s right, also drove the enemy, capturing 2 stand of colors and about 500 prisoners, including 4 colonels and 13 other officers.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
Chaffin’s Bluff, October 7, 1864.

General Anderson to-day drove the enemy from his position near exterior line of defense at Charles City road to vicinity of Ne Market road, where he was found strongly intrenched and was not dislodged. Ten pieces of artillery, with their caissons, some horses, and prisoners were captured. Our loss said to be small; enemy’s not known. The brave General Gregg of the Texan brigade, fell dead at the head of his men.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS,
October 8, 1864.

SIR: In my report of yesterday I was mistaken as to the number of guns captured. A later report states there were 9 guns, 10 caissons, 2 stand of colors, about 100 horses, over 100 prisoners, a large number of entrenching tools, and a quantity of forage. Please correct the error as to the number of guns.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.

CHAFFIN’S BLUFF, October 13, 1864.

At 7 this morning enemy endeavored to advance between the Darbytown and Charles City roads, but was repulsed in every attempt. The most strenuous effort was made about 4 p.m., after which he withdrew, leaving many dead. Our loss very slight. General Breckinridge reports that a force of the enemy came to Greeneville on the 12th, and was defeated by Brigadier-General Vaughn. Some prisoners, two stand of colors, many horses and arms, were captured. The enemy lost many killed and wounded. Our loss slight.

R. E. LEE,
General.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

CHAFFIN’S BLUFF, October 27, 1864.

The movement of the enemy against our left to-day was repulsed. Two attacks upon our lines were made-one between the Henrico Poor-House and Charles City road, the other on the Williamsburg road. Several hundred prisoners and four stand of colors were captured. Our loss very slight. On the 25th Colonel Mosby, near Bunker Hill, captured Brigadier-General Duffie, several other prisoners, a number of horses, and killed a number of the enemy. He sustained no loss.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

CHAFFIN’S BLUFF, October 27, 1864-11 p.m.

General Hill reports that the enemy crossed Rowanty Creek below Burgess’ Mill and forced back the cavalry. In the afternoon General Heth attacked and at first drove them, but found them in too strong force. Afterward the enemy attacked and were repulsed. They still hold the plank road at Burgess’ Mill. Heth took colors and some prisoners.

R. E. LEE,
General.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

CHAFFIN’S BLUFF, October 28, 1864.

General Hill reports that the attack of General Heth upon the enemy on the Boydton plank road, mentioned in my dispatch last evening, was made by three brigades under General Mahone in front, and General Hampton in the rear. Mahone captured 400 prisoners 3 stand of colors, and 6 pieces of artillery. The latter could not be brought off, the enemy having possession of the bridge. In the attack subsequently made by the enemy General Mahone broke three miles of battle, and during the night the enemy retired from the Boydton road, leaving his wounded and more than 250 dead on the field. About 9 p.m. a small force assaulted and took possession of our works on the

Baxter road in front of Petersburg, but was soon driven out. On the Williamsburg road yesterday General Field captured upward of 400 prisoners and 7 stand of colors. The enemy left a number of dead in front of our works and returned to his former position to-day.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR.

CHAFFIN’S BLUFF, October 29, 1864.

General Hampton followed the enemy on his withdrawal from Rowanty Creek, driving his rear guard across and pursuing the cavalry behind the lines of their infantry. Several hundred prisoners were captured, and the enemy burned some of their caissons and ambulances. Our lines are re-established.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
October 31, 1864.

General Mahone penetrated enemy’s picket-line last night near Petersburg and swept it for half a mile, capturing 230 officers and men, without the loss of a man. Total number of prisoners captured on the 27th below Petersburg, according to General Hill’s report was 700.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

PETERSBURG, November 18, 1864.

General Pickett reports that last night a portion of enemy’s picket-line in his front was taken possession of an held. One colonel 2 captains, 2 lieutenants, and 113 privates were captured besides the dead and wounded left on the ground. Our loss was 1 killed and 9 wounded.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON.

PETERSBURG, December 2, 1864.

The enemy attacked Stony Creek Depot yesterday and burned most of the buildings, consuming some stores and corn, but most of the latter was saved. The railroad is unharmed. General Lee, coming up as the enemy was retiring, attacked and drove him rapidly eight miles, capturing some prisoners, but could not bring him to an engagement. The depot was occupied by about 150 men, under Captain Waldhauer, about 125 of whom are said to have been captured, among them, I regret to state, Major Fitzhugh, quartermaster. The enemy left some dead at the depot and along the route of his retreat.

R. E. LEE.

Honorable J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

PETERSBURG, December 10, 1864-11 o’clock.

Hampton, after driving enemy’s cavalry upon his infantry, on afternoon of 8th recrossed the Nottoway and reached Belfield at daylight yesterday. In the afternoon enemy attacked the position, but were successfully resisted. This morning enemy is reported retiring and Hampton following. The bridge over the Meherrin was saved. Our loss, as far as known, small. The garrison, under Garnett, and the reserves behaved well.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

PETERSBURG, December 10, 1864.

About noon yesterday the First Division of Second Corps of enemy, supporting their cavalry, forced back our cavalry pickets on the Vaughan road south of the Appomattox and advanced toward Dinwiddie Court-House. To-day our cavalry, re-enforced by infantry, drove them back across Hatcher’s Run, capturing a few prisoners, and re-established, our lines. General Longstreet made a reconnaissance of enemy’s lines to-day on north side of James River as far as New Market Heights, driving in their pickets, and found them fortified along the whole distance.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
December 23, 1864

General Leventhorpe reports the enemy attempted, on the 20th, to land a force at Poplara Point, three miles from Fort Branch, on the Roanoke. The attacking party consisted of three gun-boats and barges loaded with troops. After a combat of three hours they were repulsed with loss. The attack was renewed on 21st and their skirmishers landed, which were attacked and driven to the boats. The gun-boats have resumed the position they occupied previous to their attempt to land troops at Poplar Point.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable J. A. SEDDON.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
December 23, 1864.

General Leventhorpe reports that he attacked the enemy’s gun-boats yesterday off Poplar Point and drove them away. Our infantry kept up and fought them with determination for four miles. Colonel Whitford, who behaved with great gallantry on the occasion, was slightly wounded.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
December 24, 1864.

General Bragg reports that enemy’s fleet moved in about 1 p.m., Ironside leading, and opened fire on Fort Fisher. A gun-boat last night in pursuing one of our steamers grounded, was abandoned and blown up.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
December 25, 1864-12 m.

A dispatch from General Bragg, dated 10 p.m. yesterday, states that the bombardment of Fort Fisher was kept up by some fifty vessels, including two monitors, until after sunset, when the ships withdrew. Our casualties were 23 wounded, including 2 officers. Damage to work and armament slight.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
December 27, 1864-9.30 p.m.

General Bragg reports the enemy having re-embarked under cover of his fleet. The damage to Fort Fisher slight, though the bombardment was very heavy. Major-General Whiting, commander at the mouth of the river, Colonel Lamb, commander of the fort, and the officers and men of the garrison, deserve special commendation for the gallantry efficiency and fortitude displayed on the occasion.

R. E. LEE,

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.

Source:

  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XLII, Part 1 (Serial Number 87), pages 850-856

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