≡ Menu

NP: June 20, 1864 Philadelphia Inquirer: Associated Press Accounts, June 17-18


The Attack on Petersburg—Shells Thrown into the City.

HEAD-QUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, June 18, 8 A. M.—The attack, made yesterday morning [June 17, 1864], on the enemy’s lines by [Ninth Corps commander] General [Ambrose] BURNSIDE, was more successful than at first reported.  He drove them from two lines of rifle-pits, with heavy losses, taking four guns and four hundred prisoners, and holding the position.  During the afternoon he again pushed the enemy still further, getting within about a mile and a half of the city and taking some more prisoners.  Shells were thrown into the town, one of which struck a church.

A prisoner taken yesterday [June 17, 1864] reports that thirty-five thousand of [Robert E.] LEE’S men were to have arrived on the field that morning, and trains were running almost hourly from Richmond, bringing troops close to Petersburg landing them and hurrying back.

Many of the men brought in are from Tennessee, this being their first fight in this quarter.  They acknowledge having been completely surprised yesterday morning, and say the Army of the Potomac fights different from the Army of the West.  At the same time they say we cannot take either Petersburg or Richmond.

They had not been accustomed to throwing up breastworks at every change of the line, and were busy at this work when ordered to surrender.

Our success here was most complete, and without very heavy loss.  The fighting on the remainder of the line during the day was rather of a desultory nature and very little change took place in the positions of either party.  Late in the evening our left was still further advanced, and fighting continued nearly all night.

Colonel [Simon] MIX [of the 3rd New York Cavalry, commanding 1/Cav/AotJ], of New York, is reported killed [on June 15, 1864]; also, Colonel [Patrick] KELLY [of the 88th New York], commanding Second Brigade, First Division, Second Corps [2/1/II/AotP] [killed on June 16, 1864]; Lieutenant-Colonel [William H.] BAIRD, [commanding the] One-hundred-and-twenty-sixth New York; Captain [Bernard] S. O’NEIL, sixty-ninth New York [June 16, 1864]; Adjutant [Miles] MCDONALD, Sixty-third New York [wounded June 16 and died June 17, 1864], and Adjutant HEISH1, Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania, all killed.  Lieutenant-Colonel [James E.] MCGEE, [commanding the] Sixty-ninth New York, wounded in the face; Colonel [James A.] BEAVER [of the 148th Pennsylvania], commanding Fourth Brigade, First Division, Second Corps [4/1/II/AotP], wounded in the hip [on June 16, 1864], and Colonel [Levin] CRANDELL, [commanding the] One-hundred-and-twenty-fifth New York, in the face; Colonel [John] RAMSEY [of the 8th New Jersey], [commanding the] Fourth Brigade, [Second Division], Second Corps [4/2/II/AotP], hand shattered [June 16, 1864]; Major [William] BUTLER, [commanding the] Sixty-ninth New York State Militia [aka 182nd NY], thigh fractured [June 16, 1864]; Major [Edwin L.] BLAKE, Eighth New York [Heavy] Artillery, wounded in the head [June 17, 1864, died of those wounds June 19, 1864].

This morning [June 18, 1864] considerable firing is going on, but nothing definite has been learned in regard to it.

The Fifth Corps came up last night, and reinforced our left.

Reports were current yesterday that General BUTLER had advanced to the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad, and was engaged in destroying the track, when LEE surprised him and drove him back to his intrenchments with heavy loss [June 17, 1864].2  Nothing official has been received at head-quarters in regard to the matter.  Troops were sent to his support yesterday afternoon.  Firing at intervals has been heard in that direction.3

SOPO Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.

If you are interested in helping us transcribe newspaper articles like the one above, please CONTACT US.

Article Image



  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: I cannot find the identity of this man.  If you know who he is, please Contact me.
  2. SOPO Editor’s Note: This is the small skirmish on the Bermuda Hundred Front of June 17, 1864.  Butler’s Union Army of the James had taken the Confederate Howlett Line on Bermuda Hundred on June 16, 1864, after Beauregard had removed the troops defending it.  Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia arrived the next day, charged spontaneously, and took back the Howlett line in this skirmish.
  3. “Further by Associated Press.” The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), June 20, 1864, p. 8, col. 1
{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Reply