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Hundred at midnight on the 14th. General Grant, who was then at that point, immediately ordered him forward to Petersburg. General Lee was still watching the movements of General Meade's army, and the defences of Petersburg were almost without a garrison.

"General Smith," says General Grant in his report, "got off as directed, and confronted the enemy's pickets near Petersburg before daylight next morning, but for some reason that I have never been able to satisfactorily understand, did not get ready to assault his main lines until near sundown. Then, with a part of his command only, he made the assault, and carried the line northeast of Petersburg from the Appomattox river for a distance of over two and a half miles, capturing fifteen pieces of artillery and three hundred prisoners. This was about seven P. M. Between the line thus captured and Petersburg there were no other works, and there was no evidence that the enemy had reënforced Petersburg with a single brigade from any source. The night was clear, the moon shining brightly, and favorable to further operations. General Hancock, with two divisions of the second corps, reached General Smith just after dark, and offered the services of these troops as he (Smith) might wish, waiving rank to the named commander, who he naturally supposed knew best the position of affairs and what to do with the troops. But instead of taking these troops and pushing at once into Petersburg, he requested General Hancock to relieve a part of his line in the captured works, which was done before midnight." On the 16th, General Lee threw in reënforcements, and the golden moment passed. In this movement, a division of colored troops, under Brigadier General Hinks, seem to have won the brightest laurels. They first attacked and carried the enemy's outpost at Bailey's Farm, capturing one piece of artillery in the most gallant manner. On their arrival before Petersburg, they lay in front of the works for nearly five hours, waiting for the word of command. They then, in company with the white troops, and showing equal

bravery, rushed and carried the enemy's line of works, with what glorious success has already been related.

While these operations had been going forward, General Sheridan had proceeded with his cavalry as far to the rear as Gordonsville, having considerable fighting, and destroying the railroads running north from Richmond. With Washington secure and the eighteenth corps well on its way towards Petersburg, General Grant directed General Meade to move his army across the James.

The movement commenced on the night of the 12th. It was skilfully performed. The withdrawal of the troops was made almost without the knowledge of the enemy. Certainly General Lee did not know until he heard the intelligence of General Smith's attack upon Petersburg, to what point the Army of the Potomac was moving. He supposed, up to the last moment, that General Grant intended attacking Richmond by way of the river roads. General Warren, with his corps assisted in producing this impression by halting on the road through White Oak Swamp, and making a feint upon Richmond from that direction. The march of the army was thus completely covered from the enemy's observation.

The Ninth Corps was withdrawn with great secrecy. Even the retirement of the pickets was wholly unknown to the enemy, who continued for at least an hour after the departure of the Corps to fire artillery upon one of our vacant earthworks. The Corps moved out to Tunstall's Station, where it arrived about daylight on the 13th. The roads were filled with the trains of the army, which by some mistake, had got in the way of the marching columns. Considerable delay ensued, which the men improved by taking a little rest along the roadside. As soon as the way was cleared, the Corps was again put in motion, and, marching by way of Baltimore cross roads and Olive Church, gained a point about three-fourths of a mile from Sloane's Crossing of the Chickahominy about nightfall. The sixth corps was then crossing the river by a ponton bridge and the Ninth went into bivouac for the night. At an early hour

the next morning, the Ninth Corps crossed the Chickahominy and marched on the 14th by way of Varden's, Clopton's, and Tyler's Mills, reaching the James river that evening and taking position on the right of the sixth corps. This position was fortified and the Corps remained there during the 15th. On the evening of the 15th, it crossed the James on a ponton bridge above Fort Powhattan, and immediately pushed on to Petersburg to participate in the operations of Generals Smith and Hancock. The sixth corps had been immediately in advance of the Ninth, but was now diverted to assist in an ineffectual movement upon the enemy's communications between Richmond and Petersburg. The second corps had been carried across by transports and ferry boats at Wilcox's Landing, landed at Windmill Point, and was now in front of Petersburg. The fifth corps followed the Ninth, and was also put en route for Petersburg. In the march of the Ninth a body of engineers under Major Morton of the staff led the van, General Willcox's division headed the main column and General Potter's brought up the rear. The entire movement was made by the whole army without casualty or molestation from the enemy. Atten o'clock on the morning of the 16th, the advance division had arrived at our lines before Petersburg awaiting orders for an assault. An hour or two afterwards the remainder of the command had come up, and at one o'clock in the afternoon, the entire Corps was placed in position upon the extreme left of the line.

The original design of General Meade was to attack the enemy at four o'clock in the afternoon. But some delay occurred and the assault was not made till six o'clock. The attack was delivered by General Barlow's division of General Hancock's corps. General Griffin's brigade, reporting to General Barlow, participated in this movement. The attack was not, however, attended with important results. General Griffin succeeded in securing a few rifle pits, and amid heavy skirmishing, the night came down upon the combatants. General Grant, not satisfied with previous operations, determined to

make another attempt to carry the place by assault. During the night of the 16th, orders were issued to attack at an early hour on the morning of the 17th, to make trial of the enemy's defences, and if possible to secure them for ourselves.

General Potter's division was selected from the Ninth Corps for the assaulting column. General Ledlie was to support the attack with the first division. To General Griffin's brigade was assigned the post of honor and of danger, and to General Griffin himself was given the duty of planning and executing the immediate attack. Colonel Curtin's brigade was to support. General Griffin arranged the movement with great daring and skill. Under cover of the night, he led his troops to a ravine within a hundred yards of the enemy's position, and there formed his column of attack-his own brigade in two lines, the 17th Vermont, 11th New Hampshire, and 32d Maine in front, and the 6th and 9th New Hampshire, 31st Maine and 2d Maryland in support. Colonel Curtin formed his brigade with the 45th and 48th Pennsylvania, and 36th Massachusetts in front supported by the 7th Rhode Island, 2d New York Rifles and 58th Massachusetts. The enemy occupied an estate at the head of the ravine, belonging to a Mr. Shind, with his headquarters in the house, and his artillery commanding the approaches. So near were the enemy's lines, that only in whispers could the necessary orders be communicated. General Griffin enjoined the strictest silence upon his men, and ordered them, when advancing, not to fire a shot but to depend upon the bayonet for clearing the works. Even the canteens were placed inside the haversacks to prevent their rattling. At the first blush of the morning the word "forward!" was passed quietly along the column. The men sprang to their feet, and noiselessly, rapidly, vigorously moved upon the enemy-Griffin to the right, Curtin to the left. They burst upon him with the fury of a tornado. They took him completely by surprise. They swept his lines for a mile, gathering up arms, flags, cannon and prisoners all along their victorious pathway. A stand of colors, four pieces of artillery with their caissons and horses,


fifteen hundred stands of small arms, a quantity of ammunition and six hundred prisoners were the fruits of this splendid charge. A wide breach was made in the enemy's lines, and it seemed as though the defences of Petersburg were within our grasp. But the energetic movement of General Griffin was not followed up. Colonel Curtin had most gallantly done his part, and General Potter was promptly on the ground to direct the assault. But where were the supports? General Ledlie was not at hand with his division. Fallen timber and other obstructions lay across the way, and the men, stumbling over them in the darkness, made but slow progress. When the junction was finally made, it was too late to do any more than to secure the advantage already gained. Had the supporting division been present at time, a very brilliant and decisive victory would undoubtedly have been the result. As it was, General Potter could only maintain his position, pushing up his pickets and skirmishers close to the new line upon which the enemy had retired.

Not long after noon, General Willcox was ordered to attack. A little delay occurred in the formation of the troops and the direction of the assault. This being remedied, the troops were put in position and moved forward to the charge. General Hartranft's brigade dashed on to the attack in a specially vigorous and gallant style, and its left succeeded in reaching the enemy's main line of rifle pits. By some mischance the line was so deflected as to expose it to a tremendous fire both of musketry and artillery, which inflicted great loss upon this brave brigade. Notwithstanding the most resolute attempts, General Hartranft was compelled to withdraw his suffering troops, as his line was melting away beneath the hot fire of the enemy. Colonel Christ was more fortunate. His brigade secured a lodgement about midway between his first position of attack and the enemy's line. From this point all the efforts of the enemy could not push our tenacious troops. They held

*MS. Narrative of the 6th New Hampshire.

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