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NP: June 18, 1864 Cincinnati Enquirer: Latest to Associated Press

Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Ole, a moderator at the Civil War Interactive discussion forums.



General Smith’s Success at Petersburg.


 Capture of 13 Cannon and 3,000 or 4,000 Prisoners.




Abandonment of the Works in Front of Bermuda Hundred by the Rebels.




Loss of 500 prisoners.


Reported Death of the Rebel General Bishop Polk.


Explosion at the Washington Arsenal, Destruction of Life.


Fight Near Petersburg – The move-ments of the Federals – The Error of the rebels.

Washington, June, 17

To Major General Dix:

The following dispatches have been received by this department:

“City Point, June 15, via Jamestown Island, 5:30 A.M. June 16 – Smith, with 15000 men, attacked Petersburg this morning. General Butler reports that from his observatory, near Bermuda Hundred, thee has been sharp fighting, and that troops and trains of the enemy were moving from there across the Appomattox, as if retreating. Hancock is not near enough to render Smith any aid.

“Richmond papers have nothing to indicate a suspicion of our crossing the James River. They expect to be attacked from the direction of Malvern Hills.”

CITY POINT, 1:30 P.M., 13th – Overland reports from Smith are that at 6 P.M.  He had carried a line of intrenchments at Beatty’s House, the colored troops assaulting and carrying the rifle pits with great gallantry. He had not yet, however, carried the main line. He describes the rebel artillery fire as very heavy. He expected to attack the line just before dark. Hancock is within three miles of Smith.


Success of General Smith at Petersburg – Capture of thirteen Cannon the Three or Four Thousand Prisoners.

CITY POINT, June 16 – 7 A.M. via Jamestown Island, 11:40 A.M – At 7:20 P.M. yesterday, Smith [assaulted?] and carried the principal line of the enemy before Petersburg, taking thirteen cannon, several stands of colors and between three and four thousand prisoners. Our lines are two miles from the city. Hancock came up and took position on the left.  At 3 A.M. to-day there was heavy firing in that direction, from 5 to 6 o’clock. No report has yet been received.

DON’T-HARD LANDING, VA., June 16, 1 P.M. – After sending my dispatch of this morning, from the hights [sic] south east of Petersburg, I went over the conquered lines with General Grant and the engineer officers. The works are of the very strongest kind, more difficult to take than was Missionary Ridge at Chattanooga. The hardest fighting was done by the black troops; the forts they stormed were the worst of all.

After the affair was over General Smith went and thanked them; told them that he was proud of their courage and dash. He says they can’t be excelled as soldiers, and hereafter he will send them to a difficult place as readily as the best white troops. They captured six out of sixteen cannon, which they took from Beauregard’s command. Some of them say they had just crossed the James River, about Drury’s Bluff. I do not think any of Lee’s army has reached Petersburg. When Smith arrived they seemed to be making arrangements to hold the west side of Appomattox. The town they can’t think of holding as it lies directly under our guns. The weather is splendid.

Abandonment of the Works in front of Bermuda Hundred – Defeat of the Federal General Sheridan – Loss of 500 Prisoners.

             CITY POINT, June 16, 4:15 P.M. – General Butler reports, from Bermuda Hundred that the enemy have abandoned the works in front of that place. His troops are now engaged in tearing the railroad up between Petersburg and Richmond.

The following dispatch does not designate the hour, but is supposed to be later than the preceding ones:

JAMESTOWN, VA. – I came down  from the pontoon above Fort Powhattan with dispatches for Secretary Stanton. Just as  I left Captain Pitking reported to me that Petersburg was in our hands.

No dispatches of late date have been received from General Sheridan, but the Richmond Whig of the 15th has a dispatch from Lee stating that Sheridan had been routed in an engagement with Lee and Hampton, losing five hundred prisoners and leaving his dead and wounded on the field.

From General Sherman a dispatch dated last night has been received. It only states the relative position of the forces. No serious engagement had yet occurred.


[Signed] E.M. Stanton1


  1. “Latest To Associated Press,” Cincinnati Enquirer, June 18, 1864, p. ?col. ?
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