THE SIEGE OF PETERSBURG.
Fighting up to Two O’clock Sunday Without Decisive Results—Our Troops Gaining Ground—Capture of Artillery—General Gillmore Relieved of his Command—Generals Grant, Butler and Admiral Lee in Consultation—Capture of a North Carolina Regiment— Loss of the Second and Fifth Corps—A Flag of Truce Refused.
BERMUDA HUNDRED, June 19.—There was fighting in front of Petersburg up to 2 o’clock yesterday [June 18, 1864] without decisive result, but our troops have been constantly gaining ground upon the enemy. Another piece of artillery, which was captured from the enemy, was brought into General GRANT’S Head-quarters yesterday.
It is understood that the advantage gained on the enemy yesterday [June 18, 1864] will be vigorously followed up to-day, and decisive results are expected soon to occur. General [Quincy A.] GILLMORE and staff left for Old Point on the steamer WYOMING1, at 12 o’clock last night [midnight of June 18-19, 1864], the general having been relieved of his command.2
Everything is moving very satisfactorily with the army.
BERMUDA HUNDRED, June 20.—Sunday, the 19th [of June, 1864], is comparatively quiet with the army about Petersburg.
The operations of the day were confined to reconnaissance, slight skirmishes and some sharpshooting along the lines, which now extend some distance around Petersburg, and up the Appomattox River.
Generals [Ulysses S.] GRANT and [Benjamin F.] BUTLER went up the James River yesterday [June 19, 1864] and had an interview with Admiral [Samuel P.] LEE.
June 20, 10:30 A. M.—Some little cannonading has been heard from 8:30 A. M. to this time.
Additional Details of the Siege.
HEAD-QUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, June  5 A. M. [?]—Yesterday [June 19, 1864] was a quiet day along the lines of both sides, the two armies seeming desirous of enjoying a rest after the severe struggle of the two previous days.
Skirmishing and artillery firing occurred at intervals, and the Fifth Corps lost probably one hundred men during the day, their lines being so close to the enemy that it was dangerous to enter or leave them. An attack was made on the centre of the line, about (illegible) o’clock, but it was quickly repulsed.
In the charge made by the Fifth Corps on Friday evening [June 17, 1864], the Third Brigade of General [Samuel W.] CRAWFORD’S division [3/3/V/AotP], Colonel [James] CARROLL [sic, Carle] commanding, took the Twenty-ninth North Carolina Regiment3 prisoners, numbering about sixty men, with their officers, flag. The regiment was on the right of a column who were preparing to make a charge on our works, but were surprised and astonished at being ordered to surrender.
General CRAWFORD had two of his aids wounded, Captain SUTTON and Captain CHESTER, in the fight that evening.
The loss of the Fifth Corps will reach about two thousand for the past three days. The Second Corps has the heaviest, the figures being four thousand two hundred since Wednesday [June 15, 1864].
The flag of truce was sent to the enemy’s lines yesterday [June 19, 1864], for the purpose of getting the dead and wounded between the works on each side, but it was refused.4
The negro who was tried some days since [on June 9, 1864] for an attempt at rape upon a white woman [on June 8], at Cold Harbor, has been sentenced to be hung, and this morning [June 20, 1864] at nine o’clock, is the time designated to execute him. He was employed in the Quartermaster’s Department, but has confessed that he belonged to [illegible] Colored Regiment and had deserted.5,6
SOPO Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.
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- SOPO Editor’s Note: There were multiple steamers named Wyoming during the Civil War. I believe this steamer is what the Dictionary of Transports and Combatant Vessels, Steam and Sail, Employed by the Union Army, 1861 – 1868, edited by Gibson and Gibson, refer to as Wyoming No. 2, because she was in the James River in the Spring of 1864. If you have evidence that shows me to be incorrect, please use the Contact button at the top of the page. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Quincy A. Gillmore had been in command of the Tenth Corps, Army of the James (X/AotJ), but he had been relieved of command on June 14, 1864 for his poor performance on June 9, 1864 at the First Battle of Petersburg. I hadn’t realized he stuck around this long after being relieved. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: The 29th North Carolina was not at the Siege of Petersburg. I am unsure which North Carolina regiment this might have been. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Most of the paragraphs above describe fighting during the Second Battle of Petersburg, fought from June 15-18, 1864. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: William Johnson of the 23rd United States Colored Troops was the soldier hung. However, there were multiple men of that name in the regiment and the exact identity of the man hung is not known. Photographers Mathew Brady and Timothy O’Sullivan both recorded his hanging on June 20, 1864 at Jordan’s Farm east of Petersburg. See Grant and Lee: The Virginia Campaigns 1864-1865 by William A. Frassanito, pp. 216-223 ↩
- “The Siege of Petersburg.” The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), June 22, 1864, p. 1, col. 1 ↩