Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.
THE SIEGE OF RICHMOND.
Probable Capture of Petersburg—The Crossing of the James River—“Baldy” Smith’s
Forces—Evacuation of the White House, &c., &c.
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENCE OF THE INQUIRER.
FORTRESS MONROE, June 15, 1864.
We have at least something in the shape of news from the front here at “Old Point,” after a long and tiresome interim, during which the only words that greeted our ears on the arrival of the different boats were “nothing new.” The steamer JOHN A. WARNER, Captain CONE, has just arrived, and she brings the intelligence of the successful crossing of the James River by the whole of General GRANT’S army. Also, that rapid and heavy firing was heard this morning at break of day, apparently at the very outskirts of Petersburg, and the opinion is very general that ere this will reach you, that important town will be patroled by Union troops.
The cannonading near Petersburg commenced about four o’clock this morning, and continued with considerable briskness for some hours. Petersburg is said to be very weakly fortified on the south side, and the presumption is, that the town will be entered from that point, and the troops left for its defense be prevented from making their exit further into “Dixie.”
General “BALDY” SMITH’S forces have been on their way from the White House, passing round this point (EN ROUTE, it is understood, for Point of Rocks, on the Appomatox River,) for the past two days. Quite a number of transports have passed here heavily laden with his troops, and it is thought he has advanced directly on Petersburg.
BURNSIDE’S Ninth Army Corps crossed the James River yesterday, at Wilson’s wharf, on a pontoon bridge sent up the previous evening from Fortress Monroe. On the same day a portion of HANCOCK’S Second Corps and WRIGHT’S Sixth Corps also crossed.
The Fifth Corps, General WARREN crossed to-day, and by 3 o’clock in the afternoon were all over, including wagon trains, &c.
GRANT’S army, on its march to the James River, met with no opposition, with the exception of some desultory firing on the rear-guard. Fears were entertained that desperate attacks would be made on the flanks of the army, but nothing of the kind occurred. The whole movement was a perfect success.
General GRANT, in company with Generals HANCOCK and WARREN, paid a visit to General BUTLER’S head-quarters yesterday morning, and spent some time in consultation.
The JOHN A. WARNER, on nearing Wilson’s Landing, this afternoon, had to wait until the wagon trains of the Fifth Army Corps crossed the pontoon bridge at that point, when several sections of the structure were temporarily removed and she passed through on her way to the Fortress.
The White House, on the York River, is entirely (illegible). This morning the Sanitary and Christian Commissions left with all their stores, and that historic point ceases to be a place of the least interest.
After a season of unusual quietness, events are now transpiring that indicate movements of the most complicated character and which will be fraught with the most important results to the country.
General GRANT is evidently bent on not permitting General LEE to evacuate Richmond without fighting and we all look for a second edition of the Vicksburg campaign, and the belief is general that the 4th of July, 1864, will be fraught with greater results than that national holiday was last year.1
- “The Siege of Richmond.” Philadelphia Inquirer. June 17, 1864, p. 1 col. 1 ↩