Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Bryce Suderow and is included in a collection of Union and Confederate accounts of the fighting on July 27, 1864 at the First Battle of Deep Bottom. His transcription of this article is published here with his written permission.
Gen. Butler’s Headquarters, Thursday July 28 –
Sunrise: Hancock and Sheridan marched night before last all night and yesterday at 1 p.m. began crossing the James on a pontoon newly laid, a little below the one connected with Foster’s lodgment at Deep Bottom on the left bank. Barlow’s division, the first over, pushed rapidly ahead, swinging up the river and flanking the Rebel position opposed to Foster. Two hundred and thirty men of the 183rd Pa., Colonel Lynch Miles’ brigade, charged and captured a battery of four 20-pound Parrots with a loss of only 20. The guns proved to be those of Ashby’s battery lost by Gen. Smith in the early part of the campaign. While this attack was making in flank, Foster demonstrated in front which doubtless helped toward the result. Hancock then as his divisions came over advanced a mile up the river and Sheridan, Torbert’s and Gregg’s divisions, crossing immediately afterward, turned off on his right and with Merritt’s brigade struck the New Market and Long Bridge road at its junction with the Malvern Hill road some four miles above the latter place. One regiment charged and stampeded 300 rebel cavalry taking a dozen prisoners. The position was Foster with troops from the 10th Corps with his left resting on the James, the 2nd Corps on his right, then Sheridan’s cavalry feeling out all the roads and swinging round upon the enemy’s left flank, the general direction of the line being from southwest to northeast. But the Rebel position was a range of hills, very strong and he was known to have two full divisions – Kershaw’s of Longstreet’s corps and Wilcox’s of Hill’s. It was almost night and no further advance was attempted. The casualties number perhaps 50. In simply holding his line the day before Foster had lost as many. Fully 100 prisoners were taken. 200 was the number reported, but I could not count so many. If the day’s operations did not effect all that was expected and if nothing more should come of it, the movement may be considered successful and rather useful in the cheering effect of guns and prisoners taken without loss and in the threat it affords in the breaking of the monotony that had begun to look like a siege. Gens. Grant and Ingalls were on the field.
- New York Tribune, July 30, 1864, p. 1, col. 2 ↩