Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Ole, a moderator at the Civil War Interactive discussion forums. This article is slightly different from the norm here because it also covers events away from the Siege of Petersburg. It is also interesting because a Northern newspaper is reprinting information from Confederate papers from the previous weeks.
SOUTHERN NEWS VIA RICHMOND.
Richmond papers of the 15th instant have been received within our lines. The Examiner of that date has the following in reference to Gen. Grant’s change of base:
“Early yesterday morning (14th) heavy cannonading was heard along the right of our lines, and soon the report came to the city that the enemy were moving off. Later information stated that he had thrown a portion of his forces across to this side of the Chickahominy, and was moving in the direction of Malvern Hill, which position he is reported to have occupied.
“There were a number of rumors flying through the city, but all that seemed to be privately known was that the enemy had abandoned his works, moved over to this side of the Chickahominy, and was making in the direction we have indicated.
“The War Department was in receipt of no further information last night, and our authorities seemed perfectly easy and undisturbed by this movement of the enemy. If this news be true, then Grant holds about the same position that McClellan did in 1862, after his defeat and on his retreat to the James River. Surely we have nothing to fear from him in this position, for how can he hope, with a whipped and demoralized army, to accomplish from the Peninsula what McClellan failed to do with his large, well-appointed and well-disciplined army, urged on by confident expectations?
“A gentleman who came up last evening reports that the enemy crossed the Chickahominy at the Long Bridge, commencing to cross on Tuesday night soon after dark. They were still crossing yesterday morning, and about seven o’clock a sharp fight ensued near Riddel’s shop, on the Charles City road, their advanced forces coming upon some of our cavalry. After a gallant resistance they fell back before the enemy, who were in large force with infantry and artillery.
“On discovering, yesterday morning, that the enemy had moved off, our lines advanced and captured about one hundred and fifty prisoners, who still lingered about their abandoned fortifications.
“It is reported that the enemy landed troops near Malvern Hill from their gunboats in the James river on Sunday night.”
The same paper has a letter, dated at Gaines’s Mill at four o’clock in the afternoon of the 14th instant, which says:
“Grant is again in motion on our right, and our generals are making the proper movements to meet him. He commenced retiring from our front last night, but the movement was not discovered until this morning, when our line of battle was advanced and it was discovered that the enemy were gone.
“Grant commenced crossing at Long Bridge with infantry, artillery, and cavalry this morning, after a feeble resistance on the part of the forces there stationed. Grant is therefore across the Chickahominy, and it cannot be long before a collision occurs.
“It is quite true that Grant has been taking up and burning the York River railroad, which indicates that Grant either intends to cross to the south side or to take the James river as a base.
“This morning troops are landing from transports near Malvern Hill. It is impossible yet to say where our lines are likely to be established. Grant has, by this movement, secured possession of Malvern Hill it is believed. No collision of any magnitude has yet occurred, but before tomorrow’s sun shall stet you may expect another battle.
“There was an engagement this morning near Ridley’s Shop on the Charles City road, about fifteen miles below Richmond, between the enemy’s forces, consisting infantry, artillery, and cavalry, and a body of our cavalry. Our cavalry, however, owing the superiority of the enemy’s numbers, were forced back. The enemy is also said to be moving up the river road. Grant has gotten no nearer Richmond by this move. He has, however, reached the south side of the Chickahominy.
“The breastworks which Grant has left were all of the most formidable character, and were six lines deep.”
HUNTER, CROOK, AND AVERILL.
The Richmond Enquirer of June 12th contains the following telegraphic reports:
HEADQUARTERS, Mountain Top, June 8, 11 A.M. –
Crook and Averill joined Hunter to-day at Staunton. A portion of their forces are east on the Greenville and Middleborough road. Five hundred cavalry made a demonstration at 3 P.M on Waynesboro’, on the Greenville and Staunton road, and were repulsed by General Imboden. The enemy retreated to Staunton, burning the Fisherville depot.
Pope, with a force of four thousand strong, is moving down the valley to reinforce Hunter. The enemy have no supplies, but subsist on the country. Our troops are in fine spirits, and an advance is anticipated to morrow.
MOUNTAIN TOP, JUNE 9 — The enemy advanced to day with cavalry, and were driven back by Imboden’s infantry.
The Petersburg Express has a telegram sent to Governor Smith, of Virginia, from Lynchburg, stating that Gen. Hunter entered Lexington (Lovington ?)[unclear] on the 11th. The rebels estimate Gen. Hunter’s strength at sixteen thousand. His advance was resisted by Gen. McCausland.
The Richmond Enquirer of the 13th has official intelligence that Gen. Crook, with eight thousand men, was at Amherst Court House, only twelve miles from Lynchburg is defended, as the enquirer says, by a much larger force than had been expected, aided by militia.
[Lovington is a post village, the capital of Nelson county, situated on the Charlottesville and Lynchburg railroad. It is on the bank of the Tye river, which is one of the tributaries of the James. The town has three churches, and, when the war broke out, about three hundred and fifty inhabitants. After leaving Lovington, Gen. Hunter probably followed the railroad track to Arrington, eleven miles below, where he burned the bridge over the Tye river. Thence his advance, under Gen. Crook, proceeded to Amherst Court House, seven miles below, and about twelve miles from Lynchburg. This coures indicates that his purpose is to capture the latter city, and thus effectually occupy the grand railroad line leading from Virginia into East Tennessee. By seizing this place he will also hold the James River canal, running along the river on which it is situated.]
THE FIRST ATTACK ON PETERSBURG
The Petersburg Express of the 10th instant has a long account of the attack made upon Petersburg on the 9th by Gen. Gillmore and Gen. Kautz. This account states the rebel casualties at 9 killed, 21 wounded, and 6 captured. It says our forces were almost in Petersburg. They could use its spires and steeples and many of the houses on the suburban limits, and is thankful that the Divine arm again “saved the city from the tread of the northern invader.” After giving the details of the attack and the defense, the account concludes as follows:
“Kautz was in command of this force, and prisoners taken variously estimate it from 3,000 to 5,000. There is no doubt it was intended to capture the city, and all the circumstances are strongly corroborative of this view. Thanks to a kind Providence who has nerved the hearts and strengthened the hands of our brave men, we have been again preserved. The enemy crept up behind the residence of Wm. A. Gregory, ascended to the roof, and knocking off the shingles, were enabled not only to obtain an excellent view and ascertain the number of our forces, but through the openings thus made fired upon and killed many of our men behind the breastworks. The residence of Timothy Rivers, Esq. fell into the possession of the invaders. After our forces had retreated, the scoundrels not only ransacked and robbed it of all its contents, but the applied the torch and burnt it to the ground, they having also carried Mr. Rives off as a prisoner.
NEW CAVALRY COMMANDER.
Major Gen. Robert Ransom, of North Carolina, has been relieved of his command of the Department of Richmond and appointed to the chief command of all the cavalry forces in the valley, vice Gen. Jones, who was killed in the fight about a week ago near Staunton. Gen Custis Lee is likely to be Ransom’s successor in command of the forces about Richmond.
THE WAR IN MISSISSIPPI.
The Examiner contains the following dispatch, received by the Confederate War Department on the evening of the 13th, in reference to Forrest’s defeat of Sturgis:
BALDWIIN, JUNE 11, via MOBILE, JUNE 12.
General S. COOPER: The battle of Tischamingo Creek, fought yesterday by Maj Gen Forrest, is one of the most signal victories of the war for the forces engaged.
The secured results on the field, so far, are two hundred prisoners, twelve pieces of artillery, and one hundred and fifty wagons, most loaded, and more still coming in. Most of the animals were ridden off by the enemy. The rout was complete. Our forces are in close and vigorous pursuit. Our loss so far will not exceed four hundred in killed and wounded. Too much praise cannot be awarded the gallant Forrest and his brave command.
S.D. LEE, Major General.
[A previous dispatch from Gen. Lee states that Gen. Forrest attacked the enemy at 10 A.M, six miles west of Baldwin, and fought until 5 P.M, gaining a complete victory. The force of the enemy was estimated at 10,000. The enemy had already been driven 10 miles.]
OKALONA, via MOBILE, JUNE 13, 1864
Gen. S. COOPER: Gen. Forrest reports from Selma, on the 11th, that he has scattered the forces of the enemy, and was still pursuing them. The loss of the enemy so far amounts to two thousand killed and wounded, and one thousand prisoners, twenty pieces of artillery, and two hundred and fifty wagons and ambulances. The rout is complete.
S.D. LEE, Major General.1
- “Southern News Via Richmond,” Washington National Intelligencer, June 18, 1864, p. ? col. ? ↩