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NP: July 16, 1864 Richmond Examiner: Telegraphic Reports, July 11-12




PETERSBURG, July 15 [1864].—The [Washington] CHRONICLE of the 13th [of July, 1864] has been received.  Despatches from Baltimore of the 12th [of July 1864] says all is quiet and the city is strongly defended.  All business places except the drinking houses are open.  The Gilmers, Hoffmans and other prominent secessionists have been arrested.  Gunpowder bridge is not badly burnt, and will be repaired in a few days.

No rebels are believed to be within twenty miles of Baltimore.  The [Baltimore Daily] CLIPPER of Tuesday evening [July 12, 1864] says:  Already we have it certainly that troops levied for the emergency, by General [Darius N.] Couch1, are gathering in front of the rebels, and that every day the rebel hosts linger in the State, the greater is there [sic, their] probable peril.

In front of Washington there was skirmishing all day Tuesday [July 12, 1864], and the [Washington] CHRONICLE reporter from the front says the rebels were being reinforced by the arrival of troops.  He says cavalry and infantry came in from the north side of Seventh street road, and nearly all passed to the right or east side of the road, and other troops, before on west side, passed over to the east side.

The reporter says he left the front with the conviction that the rebel hosts now thundering at the gates of the National Capital have accepted this issue as a last resort, and came hither with the determination to succeed in the undertaking, and will not turn back without a thorough and lasting defeat.

The CHRONICLE says there was irregular skirmishing all day, and it is believed the rebels were retiring to Harper’s Ferry.2

Lincoln’s wife and several members of Congress rode to the front to watch the fight on Tuesday evening.

Couch and Hunter are reported to have formed a junction at Frederick, Maryland, though the rebels still hold the passes of the South Mountains.3

Railway and telegraphic communication between Washington and Baltimore were cut after 12 o’clock Tuesday [July 12, 1864].

Laurel and Point Branch bridges on the Washington and Baltimore railroad were burnt by the rebels on Tuesday [July 12, 1864], and the railroad cut in five different places.

The CHRONICLE says it will take some time to repair the road.

[Senator Charles] Sumner, of Massachusetts, was on board the train with General [William] Franklin, but not being recognised escaped capture.4

The CHRONICLE says the crack of the rebel rifles are heard in the very environs of Washington.

A letter from Nashville, dated July 7th, says the final and decisive battle for the possession of Atlanta must shortly ensue in the vicinity of that city, and adds, should Johnston stand, Sherman will probably cease flanking, and deliver battle.

Owing to the interruption of the telegraphic communication, the CHRONICLE has no despatches north of Baltimore.  Generals Edward Johnson, G. P. Stuart, Frank Gardner, J. J. Archer and Jeff Thompson, have been placed under the rebel fire in forts near Charleston.

The Florida has captured five more vessels.5

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

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  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: Couch commanded the Department of the Susquehanna
  2. SOPO Editor’s Note: The above paragraphs are describing the later stages of the Battle of Fort Stevens, July 11-12, 1864, which included the famous incident where a young Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., then a soldier, told a tall, lanky civilian to “Get down, you damn fool!”.  The civilian was an anxious President Lincoln, at the front to see the danger for himself!
  3. SOPO Editor’s Note: After Jubal Early had attacked and beaten David Hunter at Lynchburg on June 18, 1864, the Federals retreated out of the way and allowed Early the ability to invade the North and threaten Washington.  This article is stating that Hunter was finally moving back toward the action, and may have united with Couch’s new troops from the Department of the Susquehanna at Frederick, Maryland, the location made famous by the Maryland Campaign of 1862 that culminated in the Battle of Antietam.
  4. SOPO Editor’s Note: General William B. Franklin, returning home to recuperate after being wounded at the Battle of Mansfield during the Red River Campaign in Louisiana, was captured by Confederates in a train near Washington, D. C. in mid-July, but got away the next day.  Apparently Senator Charles Sumner, he of the famous caning incident in the pre-war years, was on the same train.
  5. “Telegraphic Reports from the Press Association.” Richmond Examiner (Richmond, VA), July 16, 1864, p. 1, col. 5
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