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CLOSE OF THE CONFLICT.

379

room.

through the starboard side, on the berth-deck, passing through the empty bunkers into the starboard boiler, clear through it, fore and aft, and finally lodging in the ward

In a moment, the steam filled every portion of the ship, from the hurricane deck to the fire-rooms, killing and stifling some, and rendering all movements, for a time, impossible."

Just before receiving this shot, he sent a one hundredpounder, solid shot, against the monster, which broke into fragments against his mailed sides, one of the pieces actually bounding back upon his own deck. The flag-ship, Mattabesett, and the Wyalusing, engaged the ram with equal gallantry, laying their vessels alongside of it, with a boldness never surpassed in any naval combat. They rained their heaviest shot and shell on the huge structure, at close quarters, cutting away the flag, but failing to reach any vital part.

In Arkansas, Steele pushed Price at every point and forced him into disastrous retreat.

CHAPTER XXVIII

MAY-JUNE, 1864.

SURVEY OF GRANT'S POSITION-SIGEL'S FAILURE IN THE SHENANDOAH VAL

LEY-SPOTTSYLVANIA FLANKED-THE RACE FOR THE NORTH ANNA RIVERHANCOCK'S AND WARREN'S CORPS-FIGHT OF THE LATTER AT JERICHO FORD

-GALLANTRY OF GRIFFIN-ASSAULT OF A REDAN BY HANCOCK-GALLANT

CHARGE-THE ENEMY FALLS BACK TO THE SOUTH ANNA-STRENGTH OF HIS

POSITION-TRANSFER OF BASE TO PORT ROYAL-GRANT AGAIN FLANKS THE

ENEMY AND CROSSES THE PAMUNKEY AT HANOVERTOWN-MOVEMENT TO
COLD HARBOR-BATTLE OF COLD HARBOR-GRANT RESOLVES TO TRANSFER
THE ARMY TO THE JAMES RIVER-A DELICATE OPERATION--GILLMORE's
FAILURE TO TAKE PETERSBURG-LEE DECEIVED-THE JAMES SAFELY CROSS-
ED-ATTACK ON PETERSBURG BY SMITH-OUTER WORKS CARRIED VARIOUS
ASSAULTS-BUTLER AGAIN CUTS THE RICHMOND AND PETERSBURG RAILROAD,
AND AGAIN DRIVEN BACK-LAST GRAND ASSAULT-THE POSITION OF AF-
FAIRS--REVIEW
OF THE CAMPAIGN-GRÁNT'S SAGACITY

AND JUDGMENT.

VINDICATED.

DUR

URING the time that Grant lay before Spottsylvania,

waiting for reinforcements to come up, and recruiting his overtasked army, he had ample time to survey his position. As, he said, “ during three long years the Armies of the Potomac and Northern Virginia had been confronting each other,” and “in that time they had fought more desperate battles than it probably ever before fell to the lot of t:vo armies to fight, without materially changing the vantageground of either.” It was not a pleasant reflection to think of these terrible struggles and fearful losses—all made without giving him any "vantage ground.

To make matters worse, Butler had totally failed in his co-operative movement, so that, practically, he must be left out of any plan Grant might adopt to reach Richmond. Sigel also had miserably failed in the Shenandoah Valley, and the

SIGEL'S FAILURE.

381

prospect was that he must look to himself, and his gallant army alone, for success. The part this officer performed in the grand campaign cannot be better given than in the following few sentences of Grant:

“The movement of the Kanawha and Shenandoah Valleys under General Sigel, commenced on the first.of May. General Crook, who had the immediate command of the Kanawha expedition, divided his forces into two columns, giving one, composed of cavalry, to General Averill. They crossed the mountains by separate routes. Averill struck the Tennessee and Virginia railroad, near Wytheville, on the 10th, and proceeding to New River and Christiansburg, destroyed the road, several important bridges and depots, including New River bridge, forming a junction with Crook at Union, on the 15th. General Sigel moved up the Shenandoah Valley, met the enemy at New Market, on the 15th, and after a severe engagement, was defeated with heavy loss, and retired behind Cedar Creek. Not regarding the operations of General Sigel as satisfactory, I asked his removal from command, and Major-General Hunter was appointed to supersede him.”

Grant having, at length, established his base of supplies, and received his reinforcements, gave orders for the army to move on the 18th. Still determined, if possible, to get a field-fight out of Lee, he planned a flank movement around the right of the rebel army to the North Anna River. If he succeeded in reaching this point first, it would place him in Lee's rear, cut off his communications, and compel him to evacuate the strong works at Spottsylvania.

The movement was postponed, however, on account of an unexpected attack of Ewell, who came out of his intrenchments and assailed our right, so that it did not commence till the night of the 21st.

To mask it more effectually, Hancock and Wright were

383

SPOTTSYLVANIA FLANKED.

previously ordered to attack the rebel left, as though it were Grant's intention to turn that flank. After losing several hundred men in this feint, the former was shifted over, by night, to our extreme right, and at once commenced his march for the North Anna. Torbert's cavalry, in the meantime, moved off ten miles east of Spottsylvania, on the Fredericksburg railroad, to clear the country for the march. Hancock at first struck off with his Corps east to Massaponax Church, then wheeled south, and moving rapidly forward all night, and all next day, reached Bowling Green at evening--the head of his column being seventeen miles from Spottsylvania.

Lee, however, having in some way obtained information of this movement, and penetrating Grant's design, at once proceeded to checkmate it. At midnight, the reveillè was beat in the rebel camp, and, by one o'clock, Longstreet's Corps was pushing on through the darkness toward the North Anna. In the presence of such an enemy as Lee, Hancock's movement was a perilous one, for it exposed him to a flank attack while on the march.

To guard against this, he took a somewhat circuitous route, which, of course, gave Longstreet all the advantage in the race, as ře, moving directly to the rear, had a much shorter line to traverse.

Warren broke off from the main army a few hours after Hancock started—taking, for a while, the same road. With a promptness, that could hardly have been surpassed had there been a mutual understanding, Ewell's Corps at once moved off in the same direction. Saturday afternoon, Burn side followed the other two Corps, leaving Wriglt-in com. mand of Sedgwick's old Corps-alone in front of Spottsyl. vania.

Hill, with his Corps still remaining behind in the intrencha ments, at once came out and attacked him, evidently for the

THE NORTH ANNA,

383

purpose of ascertaining the actual force left behind. Breaking through our skirmish line he was received with such a terrible artillery fire that he dared not push his attack, and fell back to the cover of the works.

That night Wright followed the rest of the army, when Hill also moved off, and Spottsylvania, in front of which such rivers" of blood had flowed, was left silent and deserted.

The country, over which these two mighty armies now marched, seeking a new battle-field, had thus far escaped the ravages of war, and sprouting wheat and clover fields, and quiet farm-houses, greeted the eyes of the weary soldiers as they toiled forward toward the North Anna. From the outset, it was plain that, unless the movement could be kept secret for several hours at least, we could not reach the desired point, before the enemy. As he started almost simultaneously with us, there could be but one result to the race, and when, on Monday, the heads of our columns approached the North Anna, the enemy was found to be there in po

sition.

This river was sixty-five miles from the Rapidan, and but twenty-five from Richmond, but though distance had been overcome, the obstacles that intervened between Grant and the rebel Capital, remained g. eat as ever. Hancock struck the stream near where the Fredericksburg and Richmond railroad crosses it—Warren, who had the right, four miles farther up, at Jericho. Griffin's division of the latter Corps, in advance, at once plungia mto the stream, and waist-deep, floundered over the rocky bed to the farther bank. The enemy apparently 110t expecting that any part of our force would cross so high up, had no troops to oppose the passage here. The rest of the Corps rapidly followed, and Griffin moving swiftly over an open space, a third of a mile wide, took position in a piece of woods, and soon encountered a heavy skirmish line of the enemy.

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