Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Brett Schulte. Portions of this article not pertaining to the Siege of Petersburg were omitted.
THE WAR NEWS.
A BRUSH WITH OUR GUNBOATS.
About seven o’clock on Saturday morning [October 22, 1864], the newly-erected batteries of the enemy on Signal Hill1 and at the Boulware house opened suddenly on a portion of the James river squadron, which was lying in the stream below Chaffin’s Bluff—Notwithstanding the suddenness of the attack, our gunboats were found ready for the engagement and responded promptly, assisted by Battery Brooke on the south side. None of our numerous batteries on the north of the James participated; the reason of which is yet unexplained. The action continued for above two hours, during which time both parties distributed their compliments of shot and shell with great briskness and vigour. What damage the enemy sustained could not be told, though the practice of our naval gunners was acknowledged to be excellent. On our part no material damage was sustained. A few men were slightly wounded. The smoke stack of one of the gunboats was perforated, and the side of one of the iron-clads was struck by a glancing shot, which inflicted little damage. Ammunition becoming short, our vessels withdrew to the vicinity of Chaffin’s.
With the exception of the above skirmish not a thing of interest has occurred on either side of the river. A truly Sabbath stillness prevailed yesterday [October 23, 1864] along our lines below the city. Mr. McRae, who had been released by Butler in order to consult the Confederate authorities with regard to the retaliation business, returned yesterday and delivered himself up to Butler again. It is said fifteen or twenty Yankee officers came out to meet him, and the interchange of civilities between them and our own officers who accompanied Mr. McRae is represented to have been affecting in the extreme. The touching affability of the pickets continues.—Whether McRae’s mission succeeded we are unable to say, but rather think it did not.
Some wiseacres have taken into their heads that Grant is so well satisfied with what Sheridan has done, that he will not feel it incumbent on him to make an assault on Richmond. These numbskulls miss the mark very widely. Grant must have blood whether or no. His business is to take Richmond, and that without delay, without regard to the lives of his hirelings.2