THE WAR NEWS.
The most important news we have is that contained in the following despatch from General Hood:
“ATLANTA, July 23, 1864.
“HON. J. A. SEDDON SECRETARY OF WAR:
“In the engagement yesterday [July 22, 1864] we captured eighteen stands of colours instead of five, and thirteen guns instead of twenty-two, as previously reported.
“Brigadier-General Mercer was not wounded.
“All quiet to-day except a little picket firing, and occasional shells thrown into the city.
“J[ohn]. B[ell]. HOOD, General.”
From this is will be seen that the battle begun under such favourable auspices on Friday [July 22, 1864] and conducted so successfully, was not resumed on Saturday nor on Sunday [July 23 and 24, 1864]. General Hood, in his first despatch after the fight, was mistaken as to the number of cannon captured by our troops. This is a small matter. If he had killed McPherson and driven Sherman across the Chattahoochee, we should have been content without taking a gun or a prisoner. As far as we are able to penetrate into the state of affairs, the chief fruit of Friday’s operations are, we infer, that we prevented the enemy from enveloping Atlanta from the east. His position west and north of the town is unchanged, or, if changed at all, he has pressed nearer the city. It has been seen from the despatch he throws shell into it. This is uncomfortable proximity, as the people of sister city of our [sic, as the people of our sister city of] Petersburg can testify.1
We have nothing further of McPherson’s death, that event so devoutly to be wished. General Hood said on Friday that “prisoners reported him killed,” and the telegraph man told us that he had been “shot through the heart.” But this same telegraph man told us the fight occurred on our left, when, in fact, it occurred on our right.—If the telegraph man being in Atlanta did not know on which end of our line the battle was fought, is it likely he should know in what part of the body McPherson was shot, or whether he was shot at all? We think not, and very much fear that the accomplished and dangerous McPherson is no more dead than Grant.2
RICHMOND AND PETERSBURG.
Sunday night [July 24, 1864] there was a good deal of musketry firing on the right of our line at Petersburg. It was presumed to be our object in keeping up this fire to prevent the enemy from advancing his lines under cover of the night.3
Yesterday [July 25, 1864] was the most quiet day that Petersburg has had since the siege. No shells were thrown into the city and but two mortars were heard during the day.
From this city some cannonading was yesterday morning [July 25, 1864] heard in the direction of Bermuda Hundred. The enemy have evinced some activity in the neighbourhood of Deep Bottom and Malvern Hill, and it is believed they have thrown across the river five or six thousand men. In the absence of all official information we are inclined to believe this force was sent over to operate against our field artillery that has, for the past two weeks, been annoying Grant’s transports in the neighbourhood of Wilcox’s wharf and threatening to stop his communications.4
FROM THE VALLEY.
We have at last got at the truth of the flying rumour of a reverse to our arms in the Valley.
An official despatch, which has been lying at the War Office a day or two, states that last Wednesday [July 20, 1864] General Ramseur, with a brigade, was sent north from Winchester, on a reconnaissance, and found the enemy in much heavier force than he expected, and was beaten-back with a loss of two hundred and fifty men killed, wounded and missing. Having reached our works at Winchester, the enemy gave over the pursuit. This was a very small affair.5,6
SOPO Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.
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- SOPO Editor’s Note: The above relates to the July 22, 1864 Battle of Atlanta, or Bald Hill, fought east of the city of Atlanta. It was at best a tactical draw for the Confederates while also acting as a strategic disaster, causing casualties Hood could ill afford. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: The telegraph man might have gotten multiple details wrong, but he was correct about McPherson’s death. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: I can find no indication in the Official Records or the Petersburg daily papers why this was happening. If you know, please Contact Us. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Grant did indeed have some troops operating against Confederate artillery north of Deep Bottom. Foster’s force of men from the Army of the James as well as newly arriving forces from the XIX Corps were involved in this fight. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: This was the Battle of Rutherford’s Farm on July 20, 1864. ↩
- “The War News.” Richmond Examiner. July 26, 1864, p. 1 col. 1 ↩