THE WAR NEWS.
As usual of late, there were no occurrences of interest along the lines in front of Richmond and Petersburg yesterday [July 21, 1864]. There was a rumour, vague and unsubstantiated, that Grant was evacuating the position he has been occupying for the past six weeks. He will not be likely, we think, to retire from his present line until he has lost an additional fifteen or twenty thousand men. The Petersburg papers say he is massing his forces preparatory to a dash across the Appomattox into Chesterfield county.
FROM OUR ARMIES IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.
Some rumours reach us from Northern Virginia via Staunton and Lynchburg. It is said that in the fight at Snicker’s ferry last Monday [July 18, 1864] we captured four pieces of cannon and eight hundred prisoners.1
There is also a report to the effect that the enemy, on Tuesday [July 19, 1864], captured a large wagon train from us, but that subsequently, on the same day, we recaptured the whole train, except five wagons.
The military operations about Atlanta have, within the past few days, become of paramount interest, and every one is looking, with no little anxiety, to their result.
Yesterday evening an official dispatch, dated Atlanta, July 20, from which the following is an extract, was received at the War Office:
“At 3 o’clock to day [July 20, 1864] a portion of Hardee’s and Stewart’s corps drove the enemy into his breastworks. On our extreme right the enemy attacked Wheeler’s cavalry with infantry and were handsomely repulsed.”2
The press despatch, published in another column, was received about the same time as the above.—From this press despatch we obtain some insight into the present military situation about Atlanta, and we confess that situation is neither what we had expected nor desired. The despatch says, “the enemy made strong demonstrations yesterday and this morning on our right, NEAR DECATUR.” Decatur is on the Georgia railroad, six miles EAST of Atlanta. Previously to this, the last we heard of the enemy they had just crossed the Chattahoochee and were six miles west of Atlanta. The despatch goes on, “General Hood attacked their RIGHT at 4 o’clock this afternoon, ON PEACH TREE CREEK, NEAR THE CHATTAHOOCHEE.” This explains the whole thing. Atlanta is between seven and eight miles south of west of the point at which the Western and Atlantic railroad crosses the Chattahoochee.—Peach Tree creek rises some six or seven miles northwest of Atlanta, and flowing in a slightly southwesterly course, enters the Chattahoochee a short distance above the railroad. The enemy, having crossed the Chattahoochee, have pushed their columns up Peach Tree creek north of and six miles east of Atlanta, their left confronting our right at Decatur, their right resting on the Chattahoochee at the point of confluence of Peach Tree creek, and holding the railroad bridge. Their front, which is now turned to the south, stretches over from twelve to fifteen miles of country. Sherman, it will be observed, though attacking Atlanta from a new direction, retains his hold upon the railroad, his source of supplies. It was to cut him off from the railroad that we attacked his right, but it does not appear that we were entirely successful. We drove him INTO but not OUT OF, his intrenchments, and these intrenchments cover the railroad.
It will be seen from both the official and press despatch that in the skirmishing that has taken place up to this time our troops have been uninterruptedly successful.
These Yankees, the people with whom we have been engaged in war for several years, are such liars that to call the daily issues of their press newspapers is a palpable misnomer, however they may deserve to be ranked as works of fiction. Their latest romance that has attracted our attention is a letter in the New York HERALD of the 8th, dated Beaufort, North Carolina, June 29, 1864, which purports to give an accurate account of “one of the most daring reconnoissances made during the war,” which had “just been successfully achieved by Captain Cushing, of the gunboat Monticello.”
The letter-writer says that on the night of the 24th of June, Captain Cushing “took a first cutter, with fifteen men and two officers, and succeeded in passing the forts of the west bar at Wilmington and started up the Cape Fear river. After a narrow escape of being run over by one of the rebel steamers plying the river, he passed the second line of batteries and continued his course until old Brunswick was reached,” when, after being fired on by a “heavy battery, &c., he succeeded in passing unscathed,” and continued his course up the river. At daylight he had reached a point within seven miles of Wilmington, and there hid in the bushes until night, when he and his whole party proceeded to within three miles of Wilmington, examining all the “river obstructions, fortifications and other objects of interest.” The next morning he took possession of two roads leading to Wilmington, and “about eleven o’clock, A. M., captured the rebel courier, with the mails from Fort Fisher and lower batteries, en route to Wilmington. This mail proved to be a prize of value, there being upwards of two hundred documents, private and official, and many of great importance.” After the exploit, Captain Cushing returned, not without great difficulty, and after many most marvelous hair-breadth escapes, to the Monticello, carrying with him ‘information of great value to the service,” but which the author of the letter is “precluded from giving to the publick.”
We have characterized this letter as a romance. By all who are acquainted with the sleepless vigilance of our military and naval authorities at Wilmington, it will be classed with such extravagances as “Gulliver’s Travels,” “A Flight to the Moon,” &c. If we could believe anything of this New York fellow’s story, we should think it a serious matter indeed, and could readily understand that Captain Cushing had really obtained information of great value to his service.3
SOPO Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.
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- SOPO Editor’s Note: The Battle of Cool Spring was fought on July 18, 1864. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: The Battle of Peachtree Creek was fought on July 20, 1864. ↩
- “The War News.” Richmond Examiner. July 21, 1864, p. 1 col. 1 ↩