Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Brett Schulte.
[MR. EDWARD CRAPSEY’S LETTER.]
Correspondence of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
HEAD-QUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
Thursday, Feb. 9, 10 P. M.
The letter of last night having exhausted the subject, generally speaking, there is nothing in that nature to be said to-night of our recent movement, as to-day has brought us new developments.
The enemy seem to have accepted the occupancy of our new line to Hatcher’s Run, as an accomplished fact which there is no gainsaying, and consequently have not molested us at all. Some little picket firing there has been, but nothing more. Our forces have been kept hard at work all day on corduroys and other tasks incident to a new extension of lines, but they appear to enjoy the thing more than was to be expected.
The Rebels, for a wonder, claim no success at Dabney’s Mills. Their frightful loss, which is beginning to be made manifest in the Richmond papers, shows how idle the stories so current two days ago of the misbehavior of the Fifth Corps. The death of General Pegram is announced, as is also the loss of many other valuable officers.
The Rebel Colonel Manlove, brought into our lines wounded, has since died.
It would probably interest the public to know the new positions taken up by our corps and the parts of our line held by each, but it is well enough to let the Rebel spies and scouts find it out for themselves—a thing they are very likely to do.
A sad event occurred this morning [February 9, 1865] in the death of Captain Forbes, Commissary of Subsistence, of Gregg’s Cavalry Division. Captain Forbes two days since [February 7, 1865] was riding over one of the corduroys, when his horse caught his foot on one of the logs and fell, the Captain coming to the ground with such force as to cause a fracture of the skull, from the effects of which he expired to-day. He was a most valuable officer, and his loss is severely felt.
The total loss of General Crawford in the two days at Dabney’s Mills [February 6-7, 1865], has been put by some of the papers at eleven hundred and eighty. I refrained from sending these figures, as a large number were reported missing, and experience has shown that many of these are men who from different causes get separated from their regiments, and who subsequently turn up.
It is now probable that the loss of Crawford will fall under nine hundred, and as these are all killed and wounded some idea can be formed of the fighting of the division. It is now thought that our total casualties at Dabney’s Mills will not exceed thirteen hundred, a number which that of the Rebels will far transcend.
The old time quietude is coming upon us again, broken only by the sound of the axe and the busy turmoil of the men housing themselves on their new sites. The lively cannonading in front of Petersburg, mentioned last night, appears to have been occasioned by a slight demonstration on the part of the enemy to ascertain if, like our flag, we “were still there.” This information obtained, they withdrew to moralize on the fact that Yankees are settling everywhere around Petersburg, and left us to sleep again.
Many stories are current in the army of what the Sixth Corps did, or did not, in the operations connected with Dabney’s Mills. These tales are not worth investigating, for it is safe to say that the Sixth Corps did what it was ordered to do. Not called to take a prominent part in late events, only by the fact that the reserves were not needed, the Corps would have been honorably heard from if any such disaster had come upon us, as all thought had occurred Monday [February 6, 1865] night.1
- “Grant. Mr. Edward Crapsey’s Letter.” Philadelphia Inquirer. February 13, 1865, p. 4, col. 4 ↩