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by the soldiers as he rode along the lines. On the 22d, he visited Butler's command on the right, meeting with a like hearty reception from the soldiers and their commanders.
Gen. Sheridan had gained a victory at Trevillian Station, on the Virginia railroad, near Gordonsville, on the 11th of June, after having materially injured the Rebel communications northward from Richmond by a sweeping raid, commenced before Grant's movement from Cold Harbor to the south of the James. On the 13th, he recrossed the North Anna, and aided in covering the movements then in progress. The cayalry of Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee, on the 20th, recalled Sheridan, by attacking the small force under Gen. Abercrombie, at the White House, endeavoring to cut off the former's communications and supplies. This assault was repulsed without severe loss. Sheridan maintained his position at tho White House against all attacks, until, on the 25th, he rejoined Grant, after accomplishing the purpose for which he remained north of the James.
Movements had now been commenced on the Weldon and Southside railroads, by the cavalry forces under Gens. Wilson and Kautz. As the former moved out on the Weldon road, the Second and Sixth Corps were transferred to the left, for the purpose of extending the line across that road. This movement had been anticipated by Lee, and when the Second Corps was near the Jerusalem plank road, it was met by the Rebel corps of Hill, about two o'clock, on the 22d, and an engagement of some severity followed. The Sixth Corps had advanced still further on the left, and a portion of the Fifth Corps was within supporting distance of the Second, on its right. Lee assumed the offensive, with considerable vigor, capturing a battery in the advance, turning the flank of Barlow's division, taking several hundred prisoners and driving back our men, for the time, in some confusion. The Union lines were speedily re-formed, after which the repeated assaults of the enemy were repulsed. Skirmishing was kept up along the whole line during the night, and about midnight the musketry firing and cannonading in front of the Ninth Corps, which held the Prince George county road, were particularly heavy. The
results were unimportant. The locality of the principal action was only three or four miles distant from the Weldon road. On the following day, an unsuccessful attempt was made to extend the lines across that road, resulting in considerable loss.
Wilson's cavalry had struck the railroad at Reams' Station, ten or twelve miles south of Petersburg, and advanced southward, destroying the track and bridges. On the 22d, Kautz struck the Danville road (or rather its connecting route between Petersburg and Burkesville Junction), at Ford's Station, capturing two trains, and inflicting other important damage. He advanced upon Burkesville on the 23d, destroying the station there, and further injuring the enemy's communications. On the 24th, the work of destruction was continued for a distance of about eighteen miles, when a heavy Rebel force was encountered, and the Union cavalry repulsed. On the 28th, the forces of Kautz and Wilson had another engagement at Stony Creek, on the Weldon railroad, about thirty miles south of Petersburg. In the night they effected their retreat to Reams' Station, where, on the 29th, they encountered a heavy force of the enemy, and were defeated, with a loss exceeding 1,000. The Sixth Corps were advanced to the support of the cavalry, but did not arrive in season to take an active part in the battle. On the following day, the force under Kautz reached Grant's lines. Wilson's main force came in on the 1st of July, having lost most of its artillery and trains, the wounded falling into the hands of the enemy. The horses were much jaded, and the men greatly exhausted by this expedition, which was one of the boldest yet undertaken. It had inflicted serious injury, though but temporary, on all the remaining communications from Richmond and Petersburg southward. As one result of this series of movements, our forces effected a secure lodgment on the Weldon road, about four miles from Petersburg.
In the meantime, Hunter had pressed forward with his command, including the forces under Crook and Averill, and appeared near Lynchburg on the 18th of June. The defenses of this place had been greatly strengthened, and a heavy forco bad been sent thither from Richmond. Hunter found it neces. sary to retire, and, having exhausted his ammunition, his utmost skill was required to extricate himself from his dangerous position. He accomplished this by marching rapidly to Gauley Bridge, his men suffering not a little from the privations and hardships to which, during two or three days, they were necesbarily subjected. It may Lave been possible for him, by a more prompt attack, to have occupied Lynchburg--a point too important to the Rebels for him to be permitted to hold it for any time without a much larger army; but even this is doubtful. Situated as he was, he acted wisely in retreating, but to return down the Valley, pursued by a greatly superior force, was clearly impracticable. His retreat into Western Virginia, unfortunately, left open the gateway into Maryland and Pennsylvania, excepting only the small garrisons at the the outposts of Winchester, Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry.
A critical point in the Eastern campaign had now been reached. Sheridan's raid on the Virginia Central railroad, and the less successful expeditions of Wilson and Kautz, had left our cavalry much weakened, and illy prepared for immediate movements on any extensive scale. The main army was apparently at a dead-lock before Petersburg. Part of the army of the James was thrown across the James river, on the 21st, taking position at Deep Bottom, and threatening a movement on Richmond, while our fleet, under Admiral Lee, was not inactive. In spite of all the operations and menacing demonstrations of our armies on the Appomattox and the James, however, a large force, probably about thirty thousand men, was dispatched by Lee to Lynchburg and the Shenandoah Valley. The purpose of this expedition was, evidently, not merely the protection of Lynchburg, but also an offensive movement which would divert Grant's attention, and perhaps gain important advantages, including even the capture of the national capital, no longer covered by the main Union army, or adequately garrisoned. By means of transports, however, a very considerable force could be transferred from City Point to Washington, as presently seen, in twenty-four hours-a movement more rapid than Lee could make in that direction, though under cover of the greatest practicable secrecy.
The invading force was under the immediate command of the Rebel Gen. Early, comprising infantry (the main portion of the army), cavalry and horse artillery. Among the general officers under him were Breckinridge, Rhodes, Ramseur, Wharton and Gordon. After pursuing Hunter, as he retreated westward, until all hope of inflicting serious damage was found to be vain, a cavalry force was advanced down the Valley, to capture the Union supplies at Staunton, or on their way thither, and ultimately to strike the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. The remaining force followed with little delay. While the people were still anxiously looking for definite news of the safety of Hunter, this Rebel expeditionary force was stealthily moving toward the Potomac, and preparing to surprise the often disturbed border with another invasion.
Martinsburg was evacuated on the 2d of July, by the small Union force which occupied it. Sigel fell back from Winchester to Harper's Ferry, on the 3d, the former place being promptly occupied by Early, and the running of trains on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad being suspended. Sigel, with the forces that had retreated to Harper's Ferry, occupied Maryland Heights, on the opposite side of the Potomac, and prepared to hold the place. The tide steadily coming on, and flowing over into Maryland, Hagerstown was evacuated on the 6th.
Gen. Wallace, in command of the Department invaded, having his headquarters at Baltimore, made such preparations as were in his power to stay the progress of the enemy, and to protect the points threatened. He sent out a reconnoitering force beyond Frederick City to Middletown, on the 7th of July, and finding the invaders too strong for the body of troops at his command, he evacuated Frederick on the 8th. Early's Rebels entered the place on the same day, plundering the citizens, as had previously been done at Hagerstown. Wallace took position at Monocacy, on the 9th of July, with such troops as he could collect, mostly new levies, having been also reënforced by the Third Division of the Sixth Corps, under Gen. Ricketts. The scene of this engagement is nearly equidistant (about forty miles) from Baltimore and Washington. The remainder of the Sixth Corps was soon to arrive from
before Petersburg, and the day gained by Wallace's defense at Monocacy, though he was obliged at last to yield, was of great value to the capital, the road to which was immediately taken by Early's main force. He sent out raiding parties of cavalry, however, through Maryland, plundering and destroying. On the 9th, Westminster was entered by Rebel cavalry. On the 10th, the Northern Central railroad was struck at Cockeysvillo and elsewhere, and depredations were committed at various points in the country. On the 11th, a raiding party reached the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore railroad at Magnolia Station, captured two trains, robbed the passengers, burning the cars, and setting fire to the Gunpowder Bridge.
Early reached Rockville on the 10th, and on the morning of the 11th his main army was in the immediate vicinity of the outer fortifications of Washington on the north side, having established his headquarters at Silver Spring, the residence of Francis P. Blair, sr. The house of Postmaster General Blair, a little distance farther from the city, was burned to the ground. The main demonstration was made in front of Fort Stevens, out the Seventh street road. Forces appeared, however, before the works near Tennallytown on the west, and near Fort Lincoln, eastward from the city. A small portion of the Sixth Corps reached Washington on Sunday evening, the 10th. The main arrival was not until the following day. The garrisons of the various forts, and most of the troops within the city, prior to the evening of the 11th, were either inexperienced “hundred days' men,” or new militia from the departments or workshops. By a vigorous assault, with a considerable sacrifice of life, Early might not improbably have entered the capital, had he not lost a day at Monocacy, or even had he not hesitated for a number of hours after his arrival. There was constant skirmishing during Monday and Tuesday, until finally, in the afternoon of the latter day (the 12th), a sally was made by a portion of the Sixth Corps, beyond Fort Stevens, and, after a brief engagement, the Rebels were driven back, leaving a nnmber of killed and wounded on the ground. The President was a witness of this fight, from Port Steveus. During the following night, Early hastily