Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Ken Perdue.
From the Richmond Dispatch, 10th.
From the South Side — A Demonstration near Petersburg.
Information was received last evening that a force of Yankee cavalry, under Kautz, approached Petersburg on the south side of the Appomattox, and about two o’clock yesterday afternoon made their appearance in front of that city. The local forces first engaged them, and lost five or six killed and about the same number wounded. This engagement took place within our outer line of fortifications. They were subsequently attacked by Wise’s brigade and driven back, after which they retired. This was certainly a bold attempt on the part of the enemy. They probably relied upon the assurance of a runaway negro, that Petersburg was ready to surrender, and doubtless expected to enter the city with flying colors, but they found out their mistake before the close of the day.
This movement explains the frequent advances of Yankee cavalry towards Petersburg recently, which may now be regarded as reconnoissances.
Various rumors were in circulation last night relative to the demonstration above alluded to, one of which was that the enemy actually got inside of the city, and were mowed down by batteries posted in the streets, but nothing was known of this in official quarters. We learned at the War Department that a dispatch was received at 5 o’clock, stating that the enemy had been repulsed, and we have good authority for saying that they got no nearer to the city than the water works. The troops engaged on our side were Dearing’s cavalry, a part of Wise’s brigade, and the local forces. Some few of the latter are reported killed, among them Mr. John Friend and Mr. Jones, druggist.
The Yankees, at last accounts, were retreating through Prince George.
The object of these two raids starting almost simultaneously on the north and south sides of the river is obviously to embarrass our transportation and cut off our means of communication.
THE FIGHT NEAR STAUNTON.
We have received some additional particulars of the fight near Staunton, Va., on Sunday last. It is stated that the battle opened at 11 o’clock a. m. at Piedmont, near New Hope, eleven miles northeast of Staunton, on the road leading from Port Republic to Waynesboro, and raged with great intensity until about 4 in the afternoon. During this period the enemy made several desperate assaults upon our position, but were in each instance repulsed with loss. Gen. W. E. Jones, commanding our forces, then assumed the offensive, but was unfortunately killed in leading a charge. His fall created some confusion in our ranks, and caused our left wing to give way, thus necessitating the retreat of the centre and right to prevent being assailed in the rear. Our troops fell back in good order to Waynesboro, about twelve miles distant from the battle ground, where at last advices they were in position to defend the mountain gaps.
Our loss in the fight has been estimated as high as 400 killed, wounded and missing. The enemy’s casualties are believed to have been heavier than ours, from the fact that they made the assaults, and were repulsed. Indeed, Gen. Vaughan, who succeeded Gen. Jones, telegraphed that we inflicted more loss on the enemy than we sustained, and that though having been by overwhelming numbers compelled to fall back, we lost nothing, but brought off all our artillery and wagons.
In addition to the loss of Gen. Jones, it is reported that Col. Aiken, of the 52nd Tennessee regiment, was killed, and General Vaughan slightly wounded. The report that Gen. Imboden is missing needs confirmation.
The Yankee force under Hunter’s command consisted of two divisions of infantry — Couch’s and Sullivan’s — and four regiments of cavalry. It is stated that two of the infantry regiments were negroes.
We have good authority for stating that the enemy entered Staunton on Sunday night, and burnt the Court-House, the railroad depot and water tank. Since the fight at Piedmont, Hunter, it is reported, has been reinforced by Crook with six thousand men, making his entire force thirteen thousand strong. These numbers are probably exaggerated. The enemy still held possession of the place on the 7th inst.1
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- Columbus Daily Enquirer, June 15, 1864 ↩