Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.
GENERAL MEADE’S ADVANCE.
Rebel Intrenchments Carried on Friday—One Gun Captured—Enemy Driven Back Two Miles and a Half—Operations on Saturday—Confidence of the Troops—Hoke’s Rebel Division Repulsed by Butler with Severe Loss.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Sept. 30, Evening—(illegible. . . ) determined by General MEADE to make an attack on the enemy’s right flank southwest of Petersburg, the (illegible) for that purpose were massed near the Weldon Railroad this morning. These consisted of the First and Second Divisions and the Brigade of the Third Division of the Fifth Corps with the Second and Third Divisions of the Ninth Corps, while General [Samuel W.] CRAWFORD with his command, held the works on the flank.
At 11 o’clock the line was ordered to advance, and the enemy’s pickets were driven in. On reaching the residence of Mr. PEEBLES, on the Squirrel Level road, about four miles from Petersburg, a strong line of works was discovered, with an intrenched skirmish line in front, running close to the house. The Second and Third Brigades of the First Division [Fifth Corps] took the advance, and charging, drove the enemy into their works.1
Three guns were opened on our advancing column, but it pushed on, and never halted until the Rebels were driven from the position, with the loss of one gun and about sixty prisoners. Our loss up to this time did not exceed one hundred in killed and wounded.
Colonel WELSH [sic, Welch]2, of the One-hundred-and-sixteenth Michigan [sic, 16th Michigan. There weren’t that many Michigan regiments.], was killed while in the act of leading his men over the enemy’s works. Major [Benjamin F.] PARTRIDGE [of the 16th Michigan], commanding the Thirty-third [sic, Eighty-Third] Pennsylvania Volunteers, was badly wounded in the breast in this charge. Colonel [James] GWYN, commanding the Third Brigade, Second Division of the Fifth Corps, had a horse shot under him, and in falling badly bruised the Colonel, but he kept the field nevertheless. Lieutenant-Colonel [J. Cushing] EDMONDS [sic, Edmands], Thirty-eighth Massachusetts [sic, Thirty-Second Massachusetts], was wounded.
After reforming our lines another charge was made, when the enemy was forced half a mile further back, where they took a still stronger position and made a desperate resistance to our advance, the Ninth Corps having the lead. Here the enemy succeeded in throwing a force around the Pegram House on its left, and threatened to turn our flank, but [Charles] GRIFFIN’S Division being at hand checked the enemy.
The fighting was of the most desperate character, and continued till after dark, our men at that time holding all the ground they had taken from the enemy. Our loss in the battle will amount to about 500, while that of the enemy is probably not so large, as they fought nearly all the time behind breastworks.
Very little artillery was used on our side, the woods being too dense for that purpose.
Contrabands who have come in say that the enemy withdrew nearly all of their troops yesterday towards Richmond, but brought some back this morning, including all the Home Guards.
A heavy battle is expected to-morrow morning, and it is believed we shall take Petersburg during the day. Such is the confidence of our troops.
The prisoners taken belong to the Seventh Confederate cavalry dismounted. Among them are a Major and six commissioned officers.
October 1, morning.—[David McM.] GREGG’S Cavalry were sent out quite a distance towards the left, and found only a small force of [Wade] HAMPTON’S Cavalry, which they drove across Rowantz [sic, Rowanty] Creek.
The main body are reported as having crossed the Appomattox yesterday morning.
Fighting has not yet commenced to-day. Reports from [Benjamin F.] BUTLER’S Department state that [Robert] HOKE’S Division attacked our troops yesterday for the purpose of regaining the ground lost the day previous, but were repulsed every time with heavy loss.3
General [Hiram] BURNHAM, commanding a Brigade in the Tenth Corps, is said to have been killed.
The Seventh New Jersey Regiment leaves for home to-day. This regiment was started by General KEARNEY, and has been commanded by Colonel REVERE, Colonel FRANCINE, who died of wounds received at Gettysburg, and Colonel [Francis] PRICE, son of ex-Governor Price, of New Jersey.
The regiment participated in the campaigns on the Peninsula, at Bull Run No. 2, Chantilly, Bristow Station, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, at the last named place taking a larger number of prisoners than it had men in the ranks.
They also took part in the battle of Mine Run, and in the campaign of this summer. Only 111 are left to return home, while about 800 remain, mostly recruits. Colonel PRICE remains in command.
Cutting of the South Side Railroad.4
A passenger by to-day’s mail-boat, from City Point, brings a report that our forces have cut the South Side Railroad, which, if true, interrupts direct communication between Petersburg and Lynchburg and Danville.5
- SOPO Editor’s Note: The Battle of Peebles’ Farm took its name from this residence. Fighting in the area southwest of Petersburg took place from September 30-October 2, 1864. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Colonel Norval E. Welch was in command of the 16th Michigan during the Fifth Offensive. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: This paragraph refers to the second day fighting at the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm on September 30, 1864. Robert E. Lee wanted to recapture Fort Harrison and tapped Hoke’s Division and Field’s Division to do so. Poor coordination between the two resulted in a disaster for the Confederates. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: This was not true. The Southside Railroad would not be reached by Northern forces until April 2, 1865. ↩
- “General Meade’s Advance.” Philadelphia Inquirer. October 3, 1864, p. 1 col. 4 ↩