Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin.
THE SITUATION AT PETERSBURG.
It is the impression along our lines at Petersburg that the enemy is massing his forces on the left, and in the immediate vicinity of the Weldon railroad. There are certain indications that render this statement correct almost beyond question. A Petersburg paper of Saturday [September 3, 1864] says of the situation:
The enemy are known to be fortifying to the west of the railroad, from the Yellow Tavern down nearly to Wyatt’s crossing, a distance of about three miles. Despite his great VICTORY below Reams’ station, on Thursday the 25th instant [August 25, 1864], he still feels uneasy about the [Weldon] railroad, and fears the rebels may make another effort to realize such a drubbing as, the Yankee Generals and newspaper correspondents will insist upon it, was given them on that occasion.
On Friday morning [September 2, 1864] about four hundred Yankee cavalry rushed into our lines on the Squirrel Level road, from the direction of Davis’ dwelling on the railroad, and succeeded in partially surprising our pickets, some ten of whom they captured. They quickly scattered around, visiting the residences of Messrs. Boswell, Pegram and Robert H. Jones. The house of Mr. William Peebles was also visited, and that gentleman is reported to have been seized and carried off. When within one and a half miles of the Boydton Plank road they were opened upon by Dearing’s cavalry brigade, who also got a favourite howitzer into position and soon caused a hasty retreat. The Yankee horsemen did not stop this side of their strongholds on the railroad. Here they re-formed, and, being heavily reinforced, started up Vaughan’s road, hoping, no doubt, to cross without opposition and reach the Southside railroad in that direction. They had not proceeded far before they ran afoul of a brigade of Hampton’s cavalry, and were again compelled to take the back track.1
On Thursday evening last [September 1, 1864] a squadron of Yankee cavalry sallied down in the vicinity of Reams’ station, and ventured up the Brunswick stage road a short distance to see if any of “Hampton’s d___d rebel cavalry” would dare show themselves. Their curiosity was soon gratified. They had not proceeded more than a mile before a portion of Rosser’s brigade rushed upon them with a yell. About face! was the evolution, and an eye-witness informs us that it was one of the most exciting races he ever saw. They were pursued nearly to Wyatt’s crossing, leaving ten fine horses, with their riders and equipments, in our possession. We had one man killed and two wounded.
On our left and centre yesterday there was nothing worthy of note, save the great difficulty of procuring an exchange of newspapers. At various points where, previous to yesterday, the pickets were anxious for an exchange of papers, yesterday they could not be induced to do so.—This is owing to the vigilance of officers, who have of late discovered that desertions from the Federal lines are becoming alarmingly numerous.2
- SOPO Editor’s Note: This quick dash by the 2nd Brigade of Gregg’s Cavalry Division to see if the Confederates had the Boydton Plank Road well protected is called the “Reconnaissance beyond Yellow Tavern.” The Union cavalry stumbled into the camp of Dearing’s Brigade and a short skirmish ensued. The Petersburg paper the Examiner was quoting, probably the Petersburg Express, was correct about the capture of William Peebles. ↩
- “The Situation at Petersburg.” Richmond Examiner. September 5, 1864, p. 2 col. 5 ↩