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NP: October 10, 1864 Philadelphia Inquirer: Battle of October 7 (Darbytown and New Market Roads)

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



From the Army of the James—The Battle of Friday [October 7, 1864].

IN THE FIELD NEAR AIKENS’ LANDING, Oct. 7, P. M.—Quite a severe engagement took place this morning between a force of the enemy and our troops on the north side of the James, in which we suffered considerable loss in men and material, including two batteries of four guns each, besides being driven back some distance from the advanced position gained ten days ago.1  It will be remembered that our troops crossed the James at that time and succeeded in driving the enemy from the lower part of Chapin’s Bluff taking several guns and a number of prisoners.

An attempt was afterwards made to recapture the lost ground, but it failed.  Our army at once intrenched itself there, and since that time has considered its position perfectly secure.  A force of cavalry under General KAUTZ co-operated in all the movements there, and was reported, at one time, as being within a mile or two of Richmond, but had to fall back.  Since then he has been protecting the right flank of the army, his men being strung out so that they presented rather a weak line to the foe.

About six A. M. to-day [October 7, 1864] a sudden attack was made on this cavalry force from nearly every direction and although they were completely taken by surprise it is said they made their utmost effort to hold their ground, but were finally forced to retreat, leaving two batteries without support, which fell into the enemy’s hands.  They were the Fourth Wisconsin and Battery B, First United States.  The latter was commanded by Lieutenant HILL [sic, Robert M. Hall], who is said to have fired all his ammunition and finding he could not get his guns off, spiked them.

The engagement commenced on the Darbytown road, and was continued on the New Market road, near which the right of the Tenth Army Corps reached.  The assault on this part of the line was so desperate that it also was forced back some distance, but the ground was afterwards regained with heavy loss to the enemy.  This ended the engagement, although the picket skirmishing continued all day.

Our loss is not known, but must have been considerable, as some of our cavalry were completely surrounded.  General KAUTZ is said to have been captured, but succeeded in making his escape.  The enemy’s loss was severe.  We took about seventy prisoners, mostly of LONGSTREET’S Corps.  Some of them are fine-looking men, tolerably well dressed, and present the appearance of having been lately called into the service.

[ The date of this despatch is not as late as the official despatch from General BUTLER, embraced in Secretary STANTON’S official gazette of Saturday.]2

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  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: This was the Battle of Darbytown and New Market Roads.
  2. “Another Account by Associated Press.” Philadelphia Inquirer. October 10, 1864, p. 1 col. 3
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