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CHAPTER VI.

The Richmond lines.-THE FALL OF FORT HARRISON, ETC.--The attempt to retake it. -Why it failed.-ENGAGEMENT ON THE CHARLES CITY ROAD.--Death of General Gregg.-ENGAGEMENT ON THE WILLIAMSBURG AND BOYDTON ROADS.-ANOTHER GRAND ATTEMPT ON RICHMOND.-A shameful failure.-The "electoral necessity" at Washington.-THE CAMPAIGN IN THE VALLEY OF VIRGINIA.-Early's mission in the Valley;-How a part of the combination to protect Richmond.--Sheridan's command. His strategy.-BATTLE NEAR WINCHESTER.--A critical moment.-The enemy's centre broken.--He recovers.-Misconduct of the Confederate cavalry.Early retreats to Fisher's Hill.-THE BATTLE OF FISHER'S HILL.-A most unexpected reverse to the Confederates.-Misgivings and alarm in Richmond.-The capture of Staunton.-Sheridan's devastations of the Valley.-" Barn-burning."— An affair of Rosser's cavalry."The Saviour of the Valley."-BATTLE OF CEDAR CREEK.-Two-thirds of Sheridan's army completely routed.-Early's awkward pause. Plunder of the Yankee camp.-The enemy regains the day.-Shameful rout of the Confederates.-The Valley campaign virtually ended.-SOUTHWESTERN VIRGINIA.-Breckinridge's campaign.--The Yankees capture the salt-works at Saltville.-Destruction of the works.

THE events on the Richmond lines in the fall months of 1864 were not without importance.

THE FALL OF FORT HARRISON, ETC.

Early on the night of the 28th of September it was discovered that the enemy was crossing a force to the north side of the James, at Deep Bottom, and in a few hours developed the fact that he was crossing infantry, cavalry, and artillery in heavy columns. General Gregg, who was in command at that point, after notifying General Ewell of the situation, placed two brigades of Field's division in readiness to meet an attack.

At daybreak on the 29th, our pickets were driven in at several points, showing that a formidable advance was being made, and that the force to oppose it was inadequate to cover all the ground threatened. The best disposition possible, however, was made of the small force present. The first determined assault was made near the Phillips House, on both sides of the Four Mile Run. The Texas brigade was hastened in double

quick to that point, and placed in position just in time to repel the attack. The enemy, in very heavy force, had reached the abattis, thirty or forty yards in front, but were there met by a most terrific and galling fire, which mowed them down with terrible slaughter. The white troops fled in great confusion, but, the entangled brush greatly impeding their speed, many of them fell under the fire of the well-aimed rifles of the Texans.

The negroes, who were driven up at the point of the bayonet, lay flat upon the ground, just in rear of the abattis, hoping thereby to shield themselves from the sad havoc in their ranks, but the Texans, mounting the works, shot them like sheep led to the shambles. The New York Herald said one hundred and ninety-four negroes were buried upon that spot. Counting the wounded at five times as great, which is a low estimate, at least twelve hundred killed and wounded cumbered the ground in front of that little brigade.

Beaten back at this point, the enemy immediately hurled another column of white troops against General Geary, near the Drill House, on New Market Heights, and met a like bloody repulse.

Beaten back with terrible slaughter from the heights of New Market, the Yankees determined to accomplish, by flank movements and overwhelming numbers, what their courage failed to do.

A heavy column moved up the river for the purpose of attacking the works on Chaffin's farm, while others moved up the Darbytown and New Market roads. A force of Confederates was hastened off in double-quick to reinforce Fort Harrison and adjacent works; but before they could reach them the enemy assaulted the fort, which, after a very feeble resistance on the part of the artillery and a portion of Colonel Maury's command, was abandoned to the enemy. This fort occupied a commanding position below Drury's Bluff, and constituted the main defence at that point.

In the mean time the force that moved up New Market road had massed in a ravine on Taylor's farm, northwest of Fort Gilmer, and were moving in two heavy columns upon it and the works to the left. Law's brigade of Field's division (under Colonel Bowls), which had just arrived, opened a destructive

fire on the line advancing upon the works to the left and repulsed them. The whole force was then hurled, with great impetuosity, against Fort Gilmer.

The open plateau in front gave the Confederates, in and to the left of the fort, an opportunity to pour a galling and destructive fire into the enemy's front and flank for several hundred yards before they could reach the goal at which they aimed. The negroes, as usual, were in front, and rushed forward frantically, under dread of the bayonets at their backs, shooting but seldom, and wide of their mark. Their only object seemed to be to gain the ditch, and save themselves from slaughter. The white soldiers never reached the ditch. They were repulsed, and fell back in confusion.

The total sum of the day's labor was six battle-flags, two guidons, and about five hundred prisoners, besides at least seven hundred of the enemy killed, and three thousand five hundred wounded.

General Field arrived just prior to the assault upon Fort Gilmer, and, after a careful survey of the situation, favored an attack upon Fort Harrison that evening, before the enemy could strengthen the position. But his superior officers thought it best to defer it until the next day. The sequel shows that General Field was right. Twenty-four hours elapsed, during which time the enemy greatly improved and strengthened his position. The plan determined upon was to attack at two o'clock on the evening of the 30th. Generals Anderson's, Bratton's, and Law's brigades, of Field's division, were to make the assault in front, while Hoke attacked at the same time the side next to the Bluff. By means of a ravine the latter was enabled to form within two or three hundred yards of the fort, while Field was probably three times that distance. At the expiration of a certain time, after a given signal, the assault was to commence. As soon as General Field's line moved up, on a line opposite to General Hoke, he was to advance, and the attack was to be made simultaneIn accordance with this arrangement, the assaulting columns were put in readiness, and the signal given. In order to cause no delay, and to make sure of getting all the men out of the trenches, a short while before the time expired, General Field ordered General Anderson to move his brigade in front

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of the works he then occupied, adjust his line, and make the men lie down until the other two brigades could form upon it. General Anderson failing to give his men the necessary instruction as to his object, as soon as they leaped the breastworks they rushed forward with a yell, and he was unable to control them. This necessitated rapid movement on the part of the other brigades. General Hoke, awaiting the expiration of the time, did not move forward as was designed, in concert with the brigades of Field's division, and thus the enemy was enabled to concentrate his fire upon both assaults.

The troops did not attack with their usual impetuosity. Law's brigade accomplished its object, in sweeping up the old works, retaking a redan to the left of the fort, and thus protecting our left flank. But the main attack failed. Hoke met a like repulse. Had General Field's plan to attack the evening before been adopted, in all human probability the fort would have been recaptured, and the enemy driven back across the river.

ENGAGEMENT ON THE CHARLES CITY ROAD.

On the morning of the 6th of October, the Yankee host, forty thousand strong, lay encamped on the north side of James River, the main body in the neighborhood of Fort Harrison, ten miles southeast of Richmond, the Tenth (Birney's) army corps and Kautz's cavalry being five and a half miles nearer the city, and in position between the Darby town and Charles City roads.

With the first early light, General Geary's brigade of cavalry and a considerable force of our infantry struck the enemy's right, resting on the Charles City road, at a point from four and a half to five miles from the city. The Yankees were completely surprised, and with little resistance fled into their intrenchments, a short distance in their rear. Here they were in strong force, and prepared for a desperate resistance; but our troops, following up their first blow with great impetuosity, carried the works and drove the Yankees out, capturing nine pieces of cannon, one hundred artillery horses, and several hundred prisoners.

General Geary, by this time, had Kautz on the run, and was driving him ahead of the infantry.

Our infantry continued to press the Tenth Corps back. Our troops then pressed forward towards a second line of the enemy's intrenchments, which were carried after a sharp contest, and the enemy routed and pursued some distance towards Fort Harrison, when our men were withdrawn from the pursuit to the enemy's line of intrenchments just taken.

The enemy, in the course of an hour or two, having been rapidly reinforced from the grand army at Fort Harrison, advanced with confidence to the recapture of their former position. They were, after a long and desperate fight, repulsed with great slaughter, and as night closed in we held all the ground we had taken.

In this fight the brave and chivalrous General Gregg, commanding the Texan brigade, fell at the head of his troops, pierced through the neck by a minie ball.

ENGAGEMENT ON THE WILLIAMSBURG AND BOYDTON ROADS— ANOTHER GRAND ATTEMPT ON RICHMOND.

On the 27th of October, General Grant moved against the Confederate right and left flank. An interval of a month had occurred since his capture of Fort Harrison, and the extension of his right to the Darbytown road. The armies of the James and the Potomac moved simultaneously.

It was soon ascertained that the Eighteenth Corps had made a detour around White Oak swamp, and was advancing in heavy columns up the Williamsburg and Nine Mile roads. The object of this movement was to find, and if possible turn, Lee's left flank. General Longstreet at once ordered General Field to take position on the Nine Mile road.

He moved the division with great celerity, and gained the Williamsburg road just in time to repel an assault and save the fort and guns immediately on the road.

On his arrival, he found that the enemy's heaviest force was massed upon that road, and that would be the point of main attack.

Two or three brigades of negroes had been sent up the Nine

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