Editor’s Note: This article was found by Brett Schulte at the free newspaper site Historical Newspapers of the Rochester, New York Region and transcribed by Jackie Martin.
The federal army has recently met with several important successes which are thus reported:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Aug. 22.—The following are further particulars of the fight for the possession of the Weldon Railroad:
This brigade was commanded by Gen. _______, who is believed to be a prisoner, as he can’t be found.
Our whole line was thus forced back with heavy loss in killed and wounded.—The enemy, however, suffered worse than we did in this particular, his men lying thick all over the field.
The line was soon reformed, and, being reinforced, a desperate charge was made to recover our lost ground, which was successfully accomplished, so that we held at night the line which had been taken from us in the afternoon.
Col. Earl is reported a prisoner; as is also Col. Harriston. Gen. Crawford was shot through the vest and shirt and narrowly escaped capture. Lieut. Parks of his staff was shot in the arm. Lieuts. Meade and Maryfield, and Capt. Smith of Crawford’s staff, had their horses shot under them while carrying orders.
Capt. Doolittle of Col. Wheelock’s staff was ordered to surrender, when he getting furious at an epithet applied to him, seized a musket and bayoneted the rebel against a tree.
Col. Wheelock’s brigade, 3d division, was flanked, when they faced to the rear, charged and drove the rebels and took a number of prisoners. The entire number of prisoners captured by us was 230 and several stand of colors.
Our loss is estimated at over 3000.
Nothing but skirmishing took place along the line to-day, both parties being busy entrenching themselves.
A battle is looked for at any moment as the enemy seem determined to regain possession of the road while we are as determined to hold it. Prisoners taken belong principally to Beuregard and Hill’s corps, and look healthy, though clad as usual.
Aug. 21—6 P. M.—Considerable firing has been going on on our left since 4 o’clock, and is at times quite brisk.
No musketry can be heard, the distance from headquarters being too great.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 21.—The mail boat which arrived to-day brought from 25 to 30 rebel officers captured in recent engagements of the Army of the Potomac.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Aug. 21—Evening.—This morning the enemy made a vigorous attack on the left of the 5th corps on the Weldon R R, at the same place where they were partially successful on Friday, but to-day they met with a different reception.
Our line was formed about the same time it was on that day, the first division being on the extreme left, connecting with the cavalry which covered the railroad toward Reams Station; Cutler’s 4th division was across the railroad, and the 3d division (Crawford’s) on the right, joining with the 3rd corps, which connected the right of the new line with the left of the old one, near the Jerusalem plank road. During Saturday our men had strengthened the breastworks which they had temporarily erected, besides throwing up others.
Early this morning very heavy cannonading was opened by the enemy from their works further down towards Petersburg, and our guns replied very briskly, neither party doing any particular damage.
About 7 A. M. a small force of the enemy was seen moving as if to make an attack on the 9th corps, but a few well directed shells sent them out of sight rather quicker than they advanced.
Shortly after a strong column of the rebels emerged from the woods on the left of the R. R., and forming in line charged on what they believed to be our left flank, but which proved to be the left of Gen. Ayre’s line.
The rebels advanced in fine style, and with the utmost confidence, evidently thinking the work before them was an easy piece of business, but what was their surprise upon discovering a second line behind extending to the left of the first, from which a row of bayonets glistened, with a battery on the left and another on the right, pouring a cross fire into their ranks, almost every discharge causing large vacancies in their lines.
As soon as they discovered the critical position in which they were placed, the entire command made signs to indicate their willingness to surrender, when the order to cease firing passed along the breastworks.
But as soon as they discovered this a large portion of them broke and started for the woods, the remainder coming in and surrendering themselves.
Our batteries sent several messengers after the retreating party, many of whom embraced mother earth instead of reaching their lines, and still remain where they fell, our guns covering the entire field and preventing the bodies from being carried away.1
- “The War.” Brockport (NY) Republic. August 25, 1864, p. 2 col. 3 ↩