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NP: June 13, 1864 Richmond Examiner: General Lee’s Army, June 12, 5 P.M.

General Lee’s Army

Army of Northern Virginia
Near Gaines’ Mill, June 12 [1864]— 5 P.M.


My last letter bore date of June 7th, five P.M. from this point. Since that writing nothing especially noteworthy has occurred, except the armistice which was agreed upon by Generals Lee and Grant, and which lasted from six to eight o’clock on Tuesday evening last [June 7, 1864]. Between those hours, the enemy buried their dead and took off their wounded.

From that time until this nothing of a general or public interest has transpired. Now and then there is a discharge of artillery, and ever and anon the crack of the rifle tells that the sharpshooters are busy at their work of death, but with this saving, nothing of a warlike character is going on. The lines of the two armies are now exceedingly near each other. The distance between Hoke’s lines and those of the enemy are said to be not forty yards, and in no place are they more than seventy to one hundred yards apart. Grant has ceased to dig parallels and zigzags and seems to be more concerned for himself in the defensive than the offensive. His works are exceedingly formidable, and every day seems to add to their already very great strength. Our men are, of course, not idle.

It is of course impossible to say what the next move will be. The scouts report that Grant is tearing up the York River railroad behind him, but surely this is a mistake. If, however, he is thus engaged, it is very clear that he is going to the Southside.

The new position of the enemy since the contraction of their lines on Monday last [June 6, 1864] seems to be in the shape of a V with the apex at a point about one and a half miles in front of Walnut Grove church, which is about midway between the Mechanicsville turnpike and Gaines’ Mill on the road leading from Gaines’ Mill to Pole Green church.

Among the rumours of the camp is one that Lieutenant General Longstreet will return to the field in about two weeks, with the temporary rank of full General, and will have command of the right wing of the army, whilst Ewell will be similarly promoted and have command of the left wing—. It is possible, though not probably, I think, that these appointments will be made. If, however, they should be, it is needless almost for me to say that they would give general satisfaction.

To day [June 12, 1864] has been remarkably quiet. A few discharges of artillery and the inevitable sharpshooting constitute the sum of its performance.

Another act of liberality on the part of our troops deserves honourable mention. Yesterday [June 11, 1864] Richardson’s battalion of scouts, guides and couriers at General Lee’s headquarters, generously gave up their entire day’s rations to supply the pressing need for subsistence on the part of a number of our citizens who had come hunger stricken from the enemy’s lines. Verily our brave men shall have their reward.


SOPO Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Mark Hinson.

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  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: I do not as of yet know the identity of this war correspondent.  If you have identified him, please use the Contact button at the top of the page.
  2. “General Lee’s Army.” Richmond Examiner. June 13, 1864, p. 2 col. 3
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