|from The |
| WEDNESDAY MAY 18, 1864
“What do you think of the state of the war now?” said Napoleon after the passage of the bridge at Lodi, to an old Hungarian who fell into his hands. “Think?” replied the old martinet. “Nothing could be worse than your tactics; today on our rear, tomorrow on our flank, next day again in front!, such trifling with the art of war is not to be supported.” Gen. Lee probably sympathizes with the old Hungarian when he was aroused in the early dawn of Thursday morning by Hancock’s magnificent charge upon his works. To show a proper resentment , he resolved to escape from so disagreeable an enemy, and under cover of the first darkness he and his army folded their tents and like the arabs silently stole away.
The latest dispatches from the war department with news from the field to Friday morning, announce the flight of the rebels from their position at Spottsylvania Court house, and the pursuit of them by Hancocks and Wrights (late Sedgwick’s) corps. The country will await with profound interest the result of today's work. If the enemy is overtaken and compelled to fight before reaching his new position, who can tell what vast consequences will depend on the battle?
In the meantime there is everything to encourage the hope of a speedy end to this fearful and bloody struggle. The army is still filled with enthusiasm and spirit. the bulletins from the field are of the most cheerful character. The ranks preserve their morale under circumstances by which few armies were ever before tried; and the leaders are above suspicion, both in their perfect unity of purpose and their resolute confidence of success.
There are reports from Gen. Sigel to Thursday morning. He has been successful in rendering in rendering two railroads in central Virginia useless for military operations; and was probably on his way to strike the only remaining roa connecting Richmond with its kindred. The whole cavalry force operating in this department has been estimated at twenty-three thousand both by rebel and union authorities. A portion of this force has been already heard from in West Virginia under Gen. Crook, making for the Virginia ans Tennessee railroad. but it has well been suggested that to forge a force has probably some greater work in hand than the destruction of a railroad already rendered useless to the rebels by our possession of East Tennessee.
What the work is is unknown. But it is easy to see on the map, How Gen. Crooks cavalry might follow the route of the railroad through the valley to Lynchburg, unite with the force that has been destroying the Gordonsville and Charlotesville roads this side of the mountains, then move eastward to Burksville where four railroads join, and where the last way of escape would be closed against the public malefactor at Richmond.
THE POTOMAC ARMY
Everybody rejoices in the brightening fortunes of the army of the Potomac. For the discipline, endurance and valor it has shown during the last two weeks, it has achieved undying honor. May the God of Battles move by its side a few days longer, till it has gathered the fruit of its daring and brilliant campaign.
The secession of Virginia decided that that state should be the principle theatre of the war. In the beginning, the responsibility of meeting the central military power of the rebellion was thrown upon the army of the Potomac. If it had been fortunate in its early campaigns as it had been during this battle month of May, the rebellion, not then conscious of its strength would have been discouraged and gradually crushed to death.
There was no such good fortune in store for the country. There was a kind of paralysis in high places which forbad the use of means adequate to the end to be consummated. We fought the organized military force of the enemy on fields to which he kindly invited us, and at the same time tried to save his estate from the inevitable ravages of a war he had provoked. No enemy in the world could have been successful under such circumstances. It was not in the nature of things; and the country paid bitterly for its error.
While the army of the Potomac fought with equal gallantry under every variety of leadership and of fortune, its forward movements always ended in calamity and disaster. Some fatality seemed to attend it; and noble men and valiant went down to unrecorded graves without number, before the government learned its radical fault of policy which made success impossible. With all the splendid examples of heroism and manly sacrifice shown by the army during the first two years of its organization, history will dwell on that portion of its career without pleasure, if it does not record its results without honor.
But fairer days have at last dawned. Every step the army has taken forward since Grant led it across the Rapidan, has been watched by a grateful country, with joy, qualified only by the sacrifice its successive victories have required. It is the first time the army has been led by a resolute general who deems it more important to follow up an advantage than to win one, and who does not think a victory is achieved till he holds the fruits of it in his hand.
The most difficult work of the campaign seems to be finished. Driven from his favorite positions with large loss of men and guns, harassed on every side by a vigilant army which is fast closing in upon him, what alternative is left to the enemy but submission or certain destruction? If he retreats to Richmond he would be surrounded. If he moves toward Gordonsville he would do so at the risk of a battle which he is in no condition to fight. If he moves toward Lynchburg he exposes Richmond without escaping from the coil that has been spun for him. If he remains where he is, his weary and many times defeated army must fight an unequal battle with one flush with victory and strengthened by fresh troops.
Thus the key to the position seems to be in the hands of the army of the Potomac at last. For with the defeat of Lee’s army the confederate power is broken, and the absolute supremacy of national authority is again restored. To this end the government is hastening forward all the troops not otherwise imperatively employed, and is furnishing to the army in Virginia all other assistance in its power. If the rebel leaders choose to expose their troops longer to the fate of this universal struggle, to be like Medea, the destroyers of their own children, they will not make the final overthrow of the rebellion less certain than it is now, but will lay up for themselves a more bitter account to be settled when the nation comes to execute justice upon the assassins who sought its life.
THE RECENT BATTLES
Mr. Baldwin, writing from Washington, last Thursday, says he has conversed that morning with a gentleman from the front, who had watched carefully all the battles, a cool shrewd observer, who usually believed too little rather than too much. His energetic report is that “Grant is pounding Lee to pieces.” Nevertheless the struggle is desperate, and Lee acts with a full knowledge of the immense disaster to the rebels involved in the full triumph of our army of the Potomac in the present campaign.
Mr. B. adds “I have conversed with several gentlemen who have just arrived from the army. They agree that Grant is steadily and surely marching on to the accomplishment of his purpose; though very stubbornly resisted.” “One of these gentlemen is a wounded officer of the Massachusetts Fifty Seventh. He tells me that Col. Bartlett was wounded in the head but not dangerously. Capt. Gird was missing, and the men of his company believe he was killed in the ‘Wilderness’ during the battle last Friday; but I cannot learn that anyone knows certainly whether he was killed of taken prisoner.”
“Those with whom I have conversed say it was Lee’s purpose to return to his entrenchments at Mine run, if he failed to defeat and drive our men on Friday. But while he was attempting to flank our right, he was himself suddenly flanked by a masterly movement of Grant’s, and cut off completely from Mine Run. He found it impossible to return there, and accordingly retreated toward Spottsylvania.”
A few hastily written lines have been received from Capt. H. T.
Dudley of Co. A, 15th Mass. regiment, who was wounded at
the battle of the “Wilderness.” He was wounded on the 6th,
in the leg, but says he shall soon be well. He writes from the
hospital at Fredericksburg, and from his letter we learn that the
fifteenth went into battle with not over 200 men, and had from 80 to
100 killed and wounded, with very few missing, and sustained the
honor of the regiment, adding new laurels to those already won. They
lost four officers wounded, viz: Capt. Geo. W. Brown, Capt H.
T. Dudley, Lieut. Nelson, Lieut. Stanton and Lieut. Geo B. Simmonds,
some being wounded severely. The regiment did nobly.
The Thirty-Foirth Regiment.---Major H.W. Pratt of the thirty-fourth writes that they were still in camp near Winchester Va., on the 7th inst., but ready for departure at any moment. The mojor has recently been detached from his regiment and assigned to duty as acting inspector general of infantry on the staff of Major Gen. Stahel.
The Late Gen. Stevenson.--- The funeral of the late Gen. Thomas G. Stevenson took place in Boston Monday. The services were private, the family having declined the offer of the state and city authorities of a public ceremony. Gen. Stevenson was killed while lying under a tree near his headquarters, heavy skirmishing at the time was going on in front. While the funeral services were in progress the flags on all the public buildings and works in and around Boston were at half mast. the following characteristic order was issued by the governor:---
Headquarters, Boston, May 16, 1864
The Great Contest
The Battles of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
From Secretary of War
Washington, May 13, ---5:30 A.M.---
At daylight he attacked with his accustomed impetuosity, piercing the first and then the second line of the enemy’s works, capturing the whole of Edward Johnson's division and part of Early’s, together with Major General Johnson, General J. Stewart and from thirty to forty cannon. The number of prisoners are not given but they are given in thousands.
Gen. Burnside upon the extreme left, opened at the same time as Gen. Hancock, and advanced with comparatively little opposition. His right has formed a junction with Gen. Hancock, and his left is not actively engaged. Wrights troops attacked at 7:15 A. M. and are now at work. Warren is demonstrating to hold the enemy in front of his lines. The rebel works at that point are exceedingly strong.
A dispatch has been received from Gen. Butler, dated, “in the field, Chester Station, Va. May 12, 3:30 P. M.” It states that he is now pushing the enemy near Fort Darling and has before him all the troops from North and South Carolina that have got up. Beauregard's courier, captured this morning, while going to Gen. Hoke, in command of Drury’s Bluff, had a dispatch stating that Beauregard would join him as soon as the troops came up.
Gen. Gilmore holds the entrenchments while Gen. Smith demonstrates against Drury’s Bluff and the enemies line. Gen. Kautz with his cavalry has been sent to cut the Danville railroad near Appomattox station, and can perhaps advance on James river. We have had no telegraphic communication with Gen. Sherman since Wednesday.
E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War
THE NEWS DISPATCH
Headquarters, Fifth Army Corps, In The Field, May 12, & A.
He took his captives completely by surprise, and, having sent his prisoners securely to the rear, turned their own guns in the enemy in the vicinity. As I write this and other batteries are sending shells among the enemy at a rapid and destructive rate; the skirmishers are also pretty heavily engaged, and there is every indication of another severe battle. The news of Gen, Hancock's capture has inspired our forces with renewed enthusiasm. As the news first spread and such good news always spreads rapidly the woods where the infantry columns lie rang with deafening and prolonged shouts of rejoicing.
FULL PARTICULARS OF OPERATIONS THURSDAY
Headquarters Army of The Potomac, Battlefield, Near Spottsylvania
Thursday, May 12.
Our army this morning is engaged in the fiercest of its battles and pressing on to victory. After the sanguinary battle of Tuesday the army yesterday was comparatively quiet. A feeble demonstration against our right wing was repulsed In the forenoon a reconnoissance was made on the right to force the enemy’s left wing. It was intended to assault the enemy’s right in force.
A column consisting of a portion of the 6th corps and Burney’s division of Gen. Hancock's corps were at first intended to undertake this work, which was afterward abandoned. In the meantime considerable sharp shooting and artillery firing on both sides occupied the day. In the forenoon two companies on the left of the 6th corps commenced driving some sharpshooters from a position in a house commanding a partial view of our forces, killing and capturing several of their number. In the afternoon rain to some extent fell, containing until after dark, laying the dust and cooling the atmosphere, and raising the spirits of our troops. Fires were built and supplies cooked. The bands began to play, and were undisturbed for once by the enemy’s shells. Our soldiers eat heartily and rested well.
News arrived towards evening that Gen. Sheridan had penetrated in the vicinity of Beaver Dam, on the Orange Court House railroad, and had torn up about ten miles of track, captured a rebel supply train and recaptured about three hundred of our men taken prisoner in the Wilderness battle. This news was so inspiring that when it was known a general jubilee of cheers succeeded the announcement, and during the night arrangements were pushed for an attack on our side this morning. The enemy had been seen pushing troops towards our right, and ostentatiously erecting an abattis in front of Gen. Hancock's troops. It was shrewdly and as events showed rightly surmised that this was only a blind to the real intention of the enemy, and was therefore anticipated.
After midnight Gen. Hancock’s corps was pushed to the left of the 6th corps (Wrights) between that and Gen. Burnside’s command, and on the left of the Spottsylvania road. At 4:30 A. M., Hancock found the enemy fronting him. Our forces opened a withering canonading, making resistless charges against the very heart of the enemy position. The cannonade was replied to with vigor, and the charge of our men were as vigorously resisted, but the termination of the onset overwhelmed everything. The troops rushed into the rifle pits of the enemy, bayoneting them in their works, cutting their lines and capturing in the first charge over 3000 men and several guns including the greater portion of the Stonewall Jackson brigade, belonging to the division of Gen Johnson, and forming part of Ewell’s corps. Gen. Johnson himself was taken prisoner. The assault was continued until nearly the whole division of the corps was captured and other troops, amounting in the aggregate to 4000 men.
LATER 12 O’CLOCK
It is just now reported that Gen. Hancock has turned the right flank of the enemy below Spottslyvania Court House and is pressing on. The battle is everywhere overwhelmingly in our favor. Terrific firing has just commenced on the left near Gen. Grants headquarters. The battle is going on with terrific energy and our success is said to be certain. Prisoners are constantly coming in. The following is a dispatch sent by Gen. Hancock this morning
Near Spottsylvania Court House, May 12---8a.m.---
Dispatch from Gen. Ingalls
Washington, May 13.---The following dispatch has just been received by Senator Nesanth from Gen. Ingalls. It brings positive information from the army as late as noon yesterday:---
“We have made a ten day strike today. Hancock went in at daylight. He has taken over 4000 prisoners and 25 guns, and is still fighting. everybody is fighting and has been for eight days. We shall have them this pop, thought it may take a day or two more. They (the rebels) fight like devils. Our losses are heavy, can’t say how many.
If Gen. Augur’s forces were here now we could finish them today. Hancock captured Ned Johnson and two other generals. The old republic is firm. Bet your pile on it. Grant is a giant and a hero in war; but all our generals are gallant, and as to our men the world never had better.
Yours in haste Ingalls.
Brig. James C. Rice was killed in the terrific engagement of the 10th. Gen. Rice was a native of Worthington Mass., and was a graduate of Yale College in the class we think of 1854. At the outbreak of the war he was a lawyer in this city, in successful practice. He became adjutant of the Garibaldi Guard but when he found the influence predominant in that regiment he resigned. He was then appointed by Gov. Morgan, lieut. col. of the 44th New York Volunteers, better known as the Ellsworth avengers. During the Peninsular campaign he was promoted to the position of colonel, and last spring was, at the request of Gen. Meade, made a brigadier general. Gen. Rice was a man of intense correctness of purpose, with a strong religious bent, which his war experience had deepened. His courage almost amounted to rashness. He leaves a wife but we believe no children. He has family connections in Albany.
He lived about two hours after being taken to the hospital. Just previously to his death he requested to be turned, and on being as which way, he replied “Turn my face towards the enemy.” Those were his last words. Before he died he suffered the amputation of a leg near the thigh. Brig. Gen. Hobart Ward is among the slightly wounded.
Between seven and eight thousand sick and wounded have arrived here up to tonight. There are supplies enough at Acquia Creek to last 20,000 men a month, all of which have been sent down by the surgeon general, who has sent them to Fredericksburg.
We are happy to announce that Gen. Webb is not dead. He was badly wounded in the leg below the knee. He was at the last advice of his wife-now in Washington at Fredericksburg, awaiting transportation to Washington.
In addition to the lists published here before we have the following…….
15th Regiment- A Dewley, E Greenleaf, Robert Swaine, M. A. Sears, A. M. Jones, I Smith, J Ryan, C. H. Mellen, Michael Leonard, G. F. Mason, H. S. Lane, R. S. G---rell, Wm. H. Nichols, corporal, J. F. Kerout, E. H. Newton, Benjamin Stevens, W. A. Sutton, R. M. Brainard..
21st Regiment---John Gill, Wm. Capen P. J. Dixon.
36th Regiment---W. H. Berry, Michael Lon, J. D. Robinson, J. A. Spears.
57th Regiment---E. A. Bowling, James A. Marshal, J. McDowell, R. F. McCardy, Martin Kenyon, P. B. Randall, J. Vocel, George H. Wood, M. Woodman, C. Knight, T. B. Kendall, Uriah Basset, Asa McRay, H. H. Payne, Chas. A. Wilson, Sergt. William A. Parker, C. S. Chase, P. Howe, Joseph Birney, Alec H. Murdock.
Wounded officers in Washington.
Coo. W. A. Bartlett, Capt. G. O. Parker, and Lieut. G. E. Davis, 21st, Lieut. H. P Dudley 15th.
The Rebels abandon Their position
----Destroy Railroads. Trains of Cars ----1,500,000 Rebel Rations
Washington, May 13, 6:30 P. M.---To Maj. Gen. Dix:--- The following dispatch from Mr. Dana has just reached this department.. (signed ) E. M. Stanton
Spottsylvania Court House---A. M.--- May 13. To E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War---Lee abandoned his position during the night, whether to occupy a new position in the vicinity or to make a thorough retreat is not determined. One division of Wrights and one of Hancock are engaged in settling this question and at 7:30 A. M. had come upon the rear guard.
Though our army is greatly fatigued from the enormous efforts of yesterday, the news of Lee’s departure inspired the men with fresh energy. The whole force will soon be in motion, but the heavy rains of the last 36 hours render the roads very difficult for wagons and artillery.
The proportion of severely wounded is greater than on either of the previously days fighting. This was owing to the great use of artillery.
E. M. Stanton,
Gen. Grant On Hancock’s Achievement
Washington, May 13---2:30 P. M.---to Maj. Gen. Dix;---A dispatch from Gen. Grant has just been received, dated near Spottsylvania Court House, May 12th, 6 P. M. it is as follows. “The eighth day of battle closes, leaving between three and four thousand prisoners in our hands for the days work, including two general officers, and over thirty pieces of artillery. The enemy are obstinate, and seem to have found the” last ditch.” We have lost no organization, not even a company, whilst we have destroyed and captured one division, (Johnson’s,) one brigade, (Dobbs,) and one regiment entire of the enemy.” E. M. Stanton, Sec’y of War
Washington, May 13, 6:55 P. M.---To Maj. Gen. Dix:---The acting surgeon general reports that of five hundred patients from the recent battle field, admitted into the Harwood hospital, not one will require any surgical operation, and that in his opinion two-thirds of the whole number of wounded will be fit for service in thirty days. Reinforcements are going forward to the army of the Potomac.
E. M. Stanton,
Gen. Sheridan’s Splendid Achievement in the Rear of Lee’s Army---He Visits Richmond and Crosses the Chickahominy.
Washington, May 14, 10:40 P. M.---Maj. Gen. Dix:---An official dispatch from Gen. Sheridan, dated Bottom’s bridge via Fortress Monroe, 13th states, that on the 9th inst. , he marched around the enemy’s right flank, and on the evening of that day he reached the North Anna river without opposition. During that night he destroyed the enemy’s depot at Beaver dam, three large trains of cars and 100 cars, two fine locomotives, 200,000 pounds of bacon and other stores, amounting in all to 1,500,000 rebel rations; also the telegraph and railroad track for about ten miles; embracing several culverts, recaptured 378 of our men, including two colonels, one major and several other officers.
On the morning of the tenth he resumed operations, crossing the South Anna river at Ground Squirrel bridge and went into camp about daylight. On the 11th he captured Ashland station, destroyed here one locomotive and a train of cars, engine house and two or three government buildings, containing large amounts of stores; also destroyed six miles of railroad, embracing six culverts, two trestle bridges and the telegraph wires. About seven A. M on the 11th he resumed the march on Richmond. He found the rebel Gen. Stuart with his cavalry, concentrated at Yellow Tavern, and immediately attacked him, and after an obstinate contest gained possession of Brockle Turnpike, capturing two pieces of artillery and driving his forces back toward Ashland, and crossed the north fork of the Chickahominy, a distance of four miles. At the same time a party charged down the Brockle road and capture the first line of the enemy’s works around Richmond.
During the night he marched the whole of his command between the first and second line of the enemy’s works on the bluffs overlooking the line of the Virginia Central railroad and Mechanicsville Turnpike. After demonstrating on the works and finding them very strong he gave up the intention of assaulting and determined to recross the Chickahominy at Meadow bridge. It had been partially destroyed by the enemy, but was repaired in about three hours under a heavy artillery fire from a rebel battery. Gen. Merritt made the crossing, attacked the enemy and drove him off handsomely, the pursuit continuing as far as Gaines’ Mills.
The enemy observing the recrossing of the Chickahominy, came out of his second line of works. A brigade of infantry and a large number of dismounted cavalry attacked the divisions of Gregg and Wilson, but after a severe contest were repulsed, and driven behind their works. Gregg’s and Wilson’s divisions after collecting the wounded recrossed the Chickahominy
On the afternoon of the 12th the corps encamped at Walnut Grove and Gaines Mills. On the morning of the 13th (yesterday) the march was resumed, and it encamped at Bottom’s Bridge. The command is in fine spirits. The lose of horses will not exceed one hundred.. All the wounded were brought off except eighty cases of mortal wounds, and those were well cared for in the farm houses of the county. The wounded will not exceed 230. Total loses not over 350.
The Virginia Central railroad bridges over the Chickahominy, and other trestle bridges, one over 60 feet in length, one 30 feet, one 20, and the railroad some distance south of the Chickahominy were destroyed. Great praise is given division commanders Gregg, Wilson, Merritt, and Davis, and cols. Gregg Devine, Chapman, McIntosh, and Gibbs, and the brigade commanders. All the officers and men behaved splendidly.
Washington, May 14.---The Sanitary commission is doing a great work among our wounded. One hundred and fifty agents have already been sent to them, and they are rendering efficient service at Fredericksburg and Belle Plain. Supplies are being sent down the river in large quantities daily by the commission. It is feeding and otherwise ministering to thousands of our wounded at belle Plain, at Fredericksburg and at the wharf at Washington.
Among the officers killed on the 12th, are Maj. Truefoot, 119th Penn.; Lieut.Col. Merriam, 16th Mass.; Col. Hennings and Lieut. col. Miles, 49th Penn.. Wounded---Col. Carrol, commanding a brigade in Gibbons division, 2d corps; Major Totton, 5th Wisconsin,; C. H. Hurd, A. A. G. to gen. Russell; Capts. Bingham and Browns of Hancock’s staff; Lieut. Col. Dunks, 63 Penn.; Col. West, 17th Maine; Col. Craig and Lieut. Col. Greenwall, 105th Penn.; Lieut. Col Stoughton, 2d U. S. Sharpshooters, Col. Cummings, 124th N. Y.; Major Mattox, 16th Maine; taken prisoner, Dr. Dougherty, medical director; Lieut. Col. Bills, 99th Penn.
The 3d brigade of Gen. Russel”s division of the 6th corps, has but one field officer on duty, viz: Maj. Hickman.
May 15---1230A. M. ---In a dispatch this morning received from Admiral Lee, he reports to the secretary of the navy that the Richmond papers of yesterday mention the death of Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, shot in battle. This no doubt happened in battle with Gen. Sheridan.
Washington, May 14.---The total number of wounded brought up from the battle field is so far 13,700. of this number 1400 have been placed in hospitals in Alexandria, and the remainder distributed throughout the hospitals of this city. An army surgeon who came up this evening says that we have about 1500 remaining at Fredericksburg and Belle Plain. These figures include many skedaddlers, who, when separated from the wounded, will decrease the number materially.
The Losses on Thursday.
New York, May 15.---The Herald’s 5th corps correspondent says the fight continued through the afternoon of the 12th, and terminated before nightfall with victory for our troops. the fight was more terrible there than, in the forenoon. We added largely to our prisoners, and punished the enemy more severely than any previous day.
We have over 8000 prisoners, while we have not lost half that number and only three spiked guns. Every battery in the corps was engaged, averaging over 500 rounds each. Nearly all the battery’s in the other corps were similarly engaged. Gen. Wright and two of his staff were slightly wounded by a shell. the wounded in the 6th? corps sum up over 800 in two days fight.
The 9th Massachusetts which left Culpepper Court House with 600 muskets has but 93 muskets left. The 2d Vermont which had 530 muskets, has but 130 left. The 4th Michigan which (had) at the first fight, now numbers only 17 men. The rebel general Johnson of Hill’s corps, was killed yesterday.
Washington, May 15,---Among the wounded who have arrived here are Lieut. Solomon Pierson, 35th Mass, Major J. T. Wiston, 18th Mass, adjutant H. Moulton, 39th Mass, adjutant C. E. Mudge, 1st Mass. By order of the Sanitary Commission two hundred boxes of lemons are sent to the hospitals.
Baltimore, May 15,---Eight hundred wounded soldiers have arrived here from Washington, most of whom are slightly wounded, and have been distributed among the various hospitals here. Col. Chase. E. Philips of the 7th Maryland volunteers, who was wounded and taken prisoner last Sunday at the battle of Spottsylvania was among the five hundred men recaptured by Gen. Sheridan at Beaver dam on Monday last, and has arrived at Fortress Monroe.
Washington, May 14,---For at least twenty four hours reinforcements have been joining Gen. Grant. By this time a sufficient number have joined him or are on the way so to make up the entire loss of twenty thousand, while we doubt not that a sufficient additional number will soon be in motion to the front to replace all his loses through Thursday last. One hundred day troops are arriving rapidly at Washington. The first detachment of one thousand volunteers from Ohio, and one regiment of cavalry reached there Saturday night.
Gen Wadsworth's Death
New. York, may 15.--- The heralds correspondent on the battle field, may 13th, 6 p. m. says: One of our staff officers informs me that he conversed with a rebel lieutenant, a prisoner, who gave who gave him some interesting facts regarding the late Gen. Wadsworth. The general, he says, lived three days after he fell into their hands, and was very kindly treated. He was conscious up to the hour of his death, and his only regret was not that he should die, but that he should die among the enemies of the country for which he had given his life.
What The Rebels Admit
Bermuda Hundred. May 13, 8 p.m., viz. Fortress Monroe, 14th. A rebel prisoner, captured last evening, says that gen. Lee admits a loss of 30,000.
the Petersburg Register of may 12th says: Gen. Walker of Virginia was wounded at Spottsylvania. He lost a foot. The enemy certainly are fighting with desperation and valor. Gen. Hayes of Louisiana was wounded yesterday. Gen. L. A. Stafford of Louisiana died yesterday. in Richmond.
Wilmington, May 9.---The iron clad Albemarle engaged nine of the enemy’s gunboats, sinking one of them.
The Yankee raiders have burned the bridges on the New river on the Virginia and Tennessee railroad and destroyed the Dublin depot., with all the supplies, ect., Averill’s work. The central railroad is destroyed by the enemy at beaver Dam, in Hanover county.
Gen. Jenkins, of S. C. is killed; Gen. J. M. Jones killed; Gen. Pegram, seriously wounded; Gen. Benning, seriously wounded; Gen. Stafford, died of his wounds; Col. Francis of S. C., killed; Col. Gaillard of S. C. wounded; Col. Kennedy wounded; Col. Herbert of Ala. wounded; Col. Houlef, wounded; Col. Jones of N. C. wounded; Col. Grace killed; Col. Sheffield of Ga. wounded; Col. Whitehead of Ga. wounded; Col. Board of Va., wounded; Col. Winston, of N. C. wounded; Col. Lane of N. C., wounded; Col. Sanders of N. C., wounded; Col. Falume of Ga. wounded; Col. Carter of Ga. killed; Col. Miller of S. C. wounded; Col. G. H. Forney of Ala. killed; Col. Avery of N. C., killed; Coil. Davison of N. C., captured; Col. W. W. Randolph, killed; Col. Forney of Miss killed. The Register gives the names of 85 captains and lieutenants killed and wounded. Bushrod Johnson has a command in Petersburg.
The Petersburg Register of the 13th inst. gives an additional list of 72 killed and wounded.
GRANT AT SPOTSYLVANIA
The Eight Days Fight
During Thursday night the Corps commanders has a conference with Gen. Meade, and in consequence, orders were issued to the effect that on the following morning a general advance should be made along the whole line. The attack was ordered to take place at five o’clock precisely. The line of battle was preceded by a heavy cloud of skirmishers. The assault was sudden and vigorous. The enemy retired slowly and stubbornly before the deadly fire that was poured into their ranks. But the speed of the rebels increased as our forces continued to advance. It was soon discovered that in the midst of this vast wilderness the enemy has constructed a defensive line of works, similar to those our troops had thrown up on the Brock road; for our victorious soldiers soon encountered a fresh line of the enemy, posted behind these breastworks.
When both belligerents met in this position the fire was terrific and the slaughter was tremendous. Our troops immediately made a gallant charge, and, with exultant cheers which went ringing through the wilderness, they drove the enemy from the defensive line and took possession of the breastworks.
Three rebel colors and several hundred prisoners were taken at this time. Gen. Birney continued to advance to the right of Hancock’s line, swinging it around on a pivot, of which the left was the center. he pushed it forward a mile and a half in the advance. It was expected that troops of other corps still further to the right of Hancock’s front, which were to have joined in the attack, would have opened their part of the engagement by this time, but Gen. Birney ascertained that the right of his line was exposed to a flanking force of the enemy in consequence of a gap which existed in that direction.
The enemy threw in large masses of troops to endevor to check this vigorous advance, whereupon Gen. Webb’s brigade was moved to the support of Gen. Birney, and, in conjunction with Gen. Wadsworth’s division, succeeded in checking for a time the counter onslaught of the enemy.
For two hours and more the battle was of the most sanguinary character. Troops changed positions; brigades and regiments which had expended all their ammunition retired behind the breastworks and refilled their cartridge boxes from the wagons which were brought up to the front, and troops which had formed other lines were sent forward to continue the assault. At the same time Gen. Meade recommenced that, wherever it could be done, ammunition should be economized and the bayonet used instead. Fresh outbursts of musketry would occasionally indicate how the enemy had withdrawn his shattered forces and formed new lines in front.
At this time all of Gibbons brigades had been sent to Gen. Birney, and were placed on either side of the plank road for the support of our position on the right. For three hours the battle raged without a moments intermission, and almost every foot of ground of that mile and a half along which our troops advanced through the Wilderness was covered with the killed and wounded of both armies. In some places where the rebel armies would make a stand, the positions of the lines of battle were distinctly marked by the lines of the killed and wounded.
The grand center of attraction was Hancock’s line. Finding such a fearful fire in his front, Gen. Meade sent his staff officer to say that troops from Gen. Burnside’s command would be at his disposal if they should be required; and presently an officer announced that the 1st division of Burnside’s corps, under command of Gen. Stevenson, was close at hand, on its way to report to Gen. Hancock .Immediately after its arrival it was massed at the junction of the Brock and Orange Court House roads, ready to be sent to either the support of either Birney or Gibbons. At the same time two other divisions of Burnside’s corps were marching out on another road to Parkers store, to attack the enemy on the right. Burnside was to develop the lines of those divisions to the left, the tendency of which would be to engage the attention of the enemy, and thus relieve our troops to Hancock’s front.
When Gen. Hancock, who was continually darting up and down the line, proceeded again to the junction of the roads he was met by Gen. Wadsworth, the venerable hero, who with generals from other corps, had been instructed to report to him; so that at the time Hancock had command of nearly half the army. Gen. Wadsworth had had two horses shot from under him. He appeared as calm and unconcerned as if he were superintending agricultural operations on his own estate.
Soon after this Gen. Grant arrived and at this point there was a grand array of distinguished officers and a formidable force of troops. About nine o’clock Gen. Birney pushed the attack once more upon the right, and presently the whole line was again engaged. The enemy had evidently taken advantage of the lull to mass troops on this portion of our line; for presently a fearful fire was concentrated on Gen. Wadsworth’s front. The rebels were coming around his division on the right, and in order to prevent the success of this movement Eustis’ brigade was sent to fill up the vacancy which was now discovered to exist near the angle between Wadsworth’s right and Warren’s left; for Warren’s troops were formed at nearly right angles with the right of Hancock’s line; but the force of the enemy was so great, and their attack so vigorous, that our troops could not drive them back, and in the efforts to inspire his men with superior valor, even in the face of such tremendous fire, Wadsworth, the gallant old soldier, fell mortally wounded among his men. Gen. Getty was wounded by a shot through the shoulder. Many other noble officers were killed and wounded at this time.
It was ascertained that a vacancy existed between he left of Burnside's troops and the right of Hancock’s line, and a brigade of Gen. Stevenson’s division, which had been sent to report to Hancock, was thrown into the breach. Gen. Burnside drove the enemy and carried a portion of the breastworks.
About the same time one of the most magnificent assaults and successful repulses ever known in the history of war was witnessed. The rebel Gen. Longstreet, who for several hours had been massing his forces for the grand assault, came pouring down on Hancock’s front in four imposing lines. They came pushing with determined impetuosity through the heavy wilderness until they came in contact with the heavy line of skirmishers we had thrown out in front of our breastworks. The skirmishers, of course were compelled to retire before such formidable forces, and the rebel lines continued to advance until they came within a few hundred yards of our defenses. They opened a very vigorous fire upon our men, who replied with fatal effect. Hancock’s line in the road and the rebel line in the wilderness kept up a continuous fire of the most fearful character. The loss of the enemy in this engagement was very great. As the front lines of Longstreet’s corps were shattered, the reserves were pushed into the front, and kept up the fire. Our gallant troops manfully sustained their part and checked each onslaught of the enemy. it is universally acknowledged there never was such stubborn fighting in the annals of this eventful war. The officers commanding the troops all along the line behaved in a splendid manner, and some of the general and staff officers were killed and wounded. Gen. Birney’s orderly was shot dead beside him
The loud and continued roll of musketry continued three quarters of an hour, when in one position of the line near where the wilderness had been on fire and our breastworks were demolished, the enemy pressed in with a shout of anticipated victory and planted the rebel colors on our works; but it was only for a moment. At this particular point our first ands second lined had given way; but a couple of batteries of artillery, which had been already in position, opened a destructive fire on the enemy; two of Col. Carroll’s regiments were brought to the spot double quick; Gen. Hancock, with hat in hand, surrounded by his staff, rallied the retiring troops; Col. Carroll’s regiments charged with a cheer to the vacated spot, drove the enemy from the ground, and regained the position we had momentarily lost. Capt. Bronson was the only member of Gen. Hancock’s staff who was wounded. This closed the conflict for the day. Gen. Longstreet has been gallantly and successfully repulsed, and we retained possession of the field.
In this repulse the enemy’s loss was very serious in both officers and men. Gen. Longstreet himself was wounded; Gen. Pickett and Gen. Jenkins killed, and other prominent officers placed hors de combat. The whole affair was one of the most brilliant operations of the war. The subsequent operations of Hancock's corps have been mentioned in the dispatches already published.
A Later Account
The Army of the Potomac has achieved the greatest victory of the war, after some of the severest fighting ever recorded in history. The battle of yesterday is acknowledged to be the heaviest of all, lasting from daylight till after dark, renewed about 9 P. M. and continuing till nearly 3 A.M.; both parties contending during the night for the possession of a line of rifle pits, from which our men had driven the enemy during the morning. The rebels fell back early this morning and skirmishing is now going on, our troops following them up through the woods.
The scene presented today is entirely beyond description. The dead and dying in front and behind the breastworks, are lying in some places in piles three and four deep, many of them wounded in several parts of the body. The enemy had removed a large portion of their dead and wounded during the night from portions of the line. But there were places which they could not reach, and there they lay as thick as our men. It was Birney’s division of the second corps which charged this position, and lost about seven hundred men. Many colors have been taken, but the captors still retain them as trophies.
Careful investigations fix the total losses of the Army of the Potomac in killed, wounded and missing, including prisoners captured by the rebels, and stragglers, up to the commencement of the battle on Thursday, at 20,000 not 40,000 as had been represented in unofficial dispatches.
The Star: says “From the fact that no cannonading was heard yesterday from the front, it is believed that Lee, in shifting his position, has taken care to put himself out of immediate fighting range, if he has not actually moved off rapidly towards Richmond. The public may expect to hear soon of the occurrence of the next fight, if Lee has not been so weakened so as to compel him to seek the cover of the Richmond fortifications, or to retreat rapidly in the direction of Lynchburg and Staunton, from which points his army has received its supplies ever since Grant crossed the Rapidan.”
We may add that we do not share the apprehensions of many around us, that Lee can make a more obstinate defense on the North or South Anna rivers, than he has made on the Po; as the lines to be held on both of these rivers are much longer than that on the Po, and therefore much weaker and more easily pierced or turned.
The following are reported among the wounded in addition to those heretofore published:…….
15th Regiment.---Thomas Collins, B; J. A. Richardson, B; D. Sherwood, I; W. Knight, I; John Ryan, sergeant, E; H. Newton, H; W. Dunn, H
25th Regiment---Lyman A. Prentice, A.
36th Regiment---Frank Canto, I; J. A. Bixby, C; Walter Clissold, C.; F. S. Gates, C.; J. E. Heywood, C.; Corp. Lucius, F.
57th Regiment---Lieut. L. Goodwin, W. Hall, D; C. K. Dinsworth, H; Charles Leonard, H.; W. A. Mutton.
THE WAR IN VIRGINIA
Gallant Dash by Gen. Hancock
(from the Tribune)
Headquarters Army of the Potomac, near Spottsylvania Court House, May 15, A. M. Rain fell all day yesterday, and but little except picket skirmishing occurred along our lines on Friday night. Our lines were again changed, the 5th and 6th corps moving down to the Spottsylvania and Fredericksburg pike, and extending at nearly right angles across it, the several corps forming one unbroken line, posted in the following order: The 2d, 9th, 5th, and 6th. Our troops now occupy the crests of the hills over the New York river, and are within a half a mile of the Court House. Our line fronts southwest and toward Spottsylvania Court House.
A grand and it is believed a successful attack on the right wing of the enemy was to have been made early yesterday morning, but owing to the delay of the 6th corps in getting into position, the original plan was not consummated. had not the almost impossible condition of the roads delayed the march of the 6th corps, Grant would undoubtedly have inflicted another severe blow to Lee’s army. The country around Spottsylvania Court House is more open than our former battle grounds, and presents more advantages for the use of artillery. A short engagement, in which the 5th corps participated, occurred last night at seven o’clock. The enemy were forced back at all points. Rumor credits our troops with the capture of a rebel battery.
May 15,---10 A. M.---At the date of my last dispatch a column was in motion, led by Gen. Ayres’s brigade, to capture a strong position in front of our left center, from which we had been driven by a sudden dash yesterday P. M. The affair was brilliant and successful. The rebels were driven out precipitately. A large force was put in the position, artillery with infantry supports planted to command it, and the night closed with another decided advantage to our arms. Our losses were light. Gen. Ayres ‘s orderly and sergeant, commanding a company of the 2d United States Infantry, are among the killed. Gen. Lee considered the intermediate country between the Ny, Po and Ta rivers and the Massapony, eight or ten miles south of this susceptible of defense, and erected substantial earthworks last year immediately in front of our present position. They are sodded and seem to mount heavy guns. Our troops are between the Ny and Po rivers from one to two miles north of Spottsylvania.
The 2d corps has lost 1100 killed, 7000 wounded and 1400 missing. The 6th corps has lost 1000 killed, 6000 wounded and 1200 missing. The total losses of the three corps is 27,000. Burnsides losses are nearly in the same proportion, and will swell the total to about 35,000. The proportion of slightly wounded is extraordinarily large. The erection of a telegraph line from here to Belle Plain commenced today. At present dispatches boats run from Washington to the telegraph station, twenty miles below, every four hours. None but government dispatches are allowed to pass over the wires. Appearances indicate the making of Belle Isle a permanent base.
New York. 16th---The Herald’s special Washington dispatch says reinforcements have been sent forward to Gen. Grants army. There can be no harm in making known the fact that the losses in killed and wounded has almost been made good by the reinforcements which have already reached the Army of the Potomac.
Troops have been pouring through this city from the west and elsewhere during the last few days of the past week. It is believed that the number will not amount to less than 20,000 fresh men. So heavy a reinforcement must have a most inspiring effect upon the army, and must add fearfully to the pressure upon the rebel ranks.
Casualties We have intelligence that Lieut. Henry W. Nichols of West Brookfield, of the 6th Mass regiment, was killed in last Thursdays battle. We have the following additional names of wounded in the recent battles:---
15th Regiment---J. Pecot, Orland Wetherbee, Co. B; Hersey, D. Balreet, E; Lieutenant Charles H. Oakes, G; Geo. Y. Mason, C; H. S. Land, F; corporal Richard L. Jewell, A; Wm. H. Nichols, F; R. W. M. Brainard, G; Frank C. Bullard, H; Elsin D. Bemis, I.
21st Regiment---James Lackey, Co. C.; Elazias Whitney, A; Samuel t. Niles, F; Geo. F. Whitney; Edward Ely, C; lieutenant Robert B. Chamberlain.
25th Regiment---Wm. Carter, Co. A. shoulder; Henry K. Samson, sunstroke; Benjamin D. Thayer, D, sunstroke; Horatio Whitcomb, A, sunstroke; Dwight Moore, C, sunstroke; Walter Knox, A, sunstroke; Samuel Weston, A, sunstroke.
36th Regiment---Corp. Nourse, I; Sergt. Todd, B; ----Wescott, B; Myron Daniels, C; Corp. Rich, A.; A. J. Morgan, F; ---- Carter, A.; Corp. Patton, I.; D. Childs, I.; Josiah Horton, I.; Lieut. L. L. Aldrich, Capt. J. F. Thayer, Major, Wm. Draper, Lieut. James R. Marshal, Samuel Dodge, Joseph Haskell, G.
57th Regiment----Warren W. Garreys, B; Frederick Pontius, H; John Clark, D; S. B. Kendall, D; James Walsh, A; Lieut. Levi Lawrence, Capt. Charles D. Hollis, Missell Mallet, G; K. N. Kenfield, Oliver Goslin, E; E. Sykes, C; Michael Kelly, C.; J. G. Daniels, I; Wm. M. Drake, G; Corp. P. Crowe, B; Corp. J. S. Kirke, G; H. H. Prime, E; Daniel A. Brown, H; C. E. Ruitere, I; Edward Payne, F.
Funeral of General Sedgwick
West Cornwall Cr. May 15.--- The funeral of Major Gen. Sedgwick was largely attended today at his residence. there were a number of distinguished persons present, among whom were three of the general staff, ex-Gov. Halley, Maj. Gen. Pratt and Hon. O. S. Seymour . There were 600 wagons and probably 3000 people. Rev. Chase. Westherty preached from the text, “How are the mighty fallen in battle.”
No Fighting Yet
Washington, May 16, 5 P. M. ---to Maj. Gen. Dix---We have dispatches from Gen. Grant to eight o’clock this morning. he states that offensive operations have necessarily been suspended until the roads become passable, that the army is in the best of spirits, and feel the fullest confidence of success. The two armies are now concentrated on the main road from Fredericksburg to Richmond.
The operations of Gen. Sherman yesterday after two days of hard fighting forced Johnson to evacuate Resaca at midnight last night. Gen. Sherman's forces are in vigorous pursuit. No dispatches have been received from Gen. Butler. At the latest reports he was still operating against Ft. Darling.
Edwin M. Stanton, Sec. of War.
THE LATEST REPORTS
Washington, May 16---
Some of the three months troops are here and more are arriving. The retreat of the rebels from Dalton is embarrassing to Gen. Sherman, who meant to force Johnson into a pitched battle at some point not too far removed from our base of supplies.
Three thousand wounded soldiers have already left this city for the Baltimore and Philadelphia hospitals. All of the men wounded in the recent battles will be sent north, and the hospitals here will be left for future use. The latest news from the front shows that Lee holds his position below Spottsylvania Court House. Gen. Grant is preparing for another battle. There is a very confident feeling in the war department this morning. A special dispatch to the Commercial says rumors from the front say Lee has received heavy reinforcements from North Carolina and Georgia.
Washington. May 16.---
The second corps occupied the right of the new line on the Fredericksburg and Spottsylvania plank road with Burnside on its left, the 5th corps on the old stage road, and the 6th reaching half a mile further east. About eight A. M. the regulars of the 6th corps, about 300 strong, were ordered to advance across the Nye and dislodge a regiment of rebels in an entrenchment behind a house, which they did in gallant style, killing and wounding some, capturing about a dozen, and driving the remainder to the woods. Our guns in the center opened and shelled the troops in front, without any reply from the enemy, although they could be seen through the grass busy throwing up entrenchments. Their new position is deemed a strong one, but as soon as the army can get into position and their guns to bear on it they will make them answer or evacuate.
The rebels made a sudden and unexpected attack on Saturday afternoon, on the position from which they were dislodged in the morning across the Nye river, on our left, and succeeded in gaining possession of the point.
Portions of the 1st and 2d brigades of the 1st division, 6th corps, were placed there to hold it, but were attacked by three or four times their number and were compelled to fall back to this side of the stream, losing about a dozen wounded and half their number captured.
Gen. Meade had been visiting the line at this point just at the time of this occurrence, being at the house of Mr. Anderson , who has a very handsome residence there, and the rebels had nearly reached the house before he was apprised of their approach. He however, got away in safety, and troops were at once sent to meet and drive back the enemy.
A heavy fire of artillery was also opened on them, from which they suffered much, as the shells were seen to explode in their midst. Our infantry finally drove them back across the river, and captured a number of prisoners. A rebel major and other officers were taken during the day. Later in the morning our guns on the right opened on a section of a battery on their front, scattering the infantry supporting it, when the first brigade of that division, second corps charged and captured guns with their limber, & ect., and a squad of rebels. our loss is very light. Prisoners say that lee has issued an address to his troops, congratulating them on the report that Butler has been defeated and driven back to his gunboats.
Our loss during the past ten days is about 45,000 killed, wounded and missing, a large number of the latter being stragglers.
FROM BELLE PLAIN
Washington, May 11.---
He further states that Longstreet lies yet in a rebel camp, very badly wounded in the shoulder blade, which is shattered. He further confirms the fact that the paragraph from a late Petersburg paper that Lee is wounded is untrue. According to his belief the rebels are very advantageously posted, and will be dislodged from their present position only after very desperate fighting.
It is now stated that Gen. Owen of Pennsylvania, who has twice been reported killed in this campaign, was still alive yesterday. He has had two horses shot from under him. The last one was three days ago, which fell so heavily upon him as to render him disabled. He had to be carried to the hospital where he was lying yesterday, but was soon expected to be in the saddle again.
Among the wounded officers at Seminary Hospital, in Georgetown not heretofore mentioned is Gen. Wm. H. Gerris, of the 1st brigade, 3d division. 6th corps. Since the army began to move mail facilities have necessarily been suspended.
Mr. O. Judd working in the sanitary commission writes : A News nearly a week old, I chanced to have was a great treat. It was read by a wounded man in the hospital at Fredericksburg to his comrades, and passed through the different rooms, and so read till it was totally worn out I find the same feeling among many hundreds of men. They have been fighting, and now want to know what the papers say and what people know about their deeds. let all having ant papers, published this month mail them post paid to the soldiers whose address they know. All papers that cannot thus be sent can be forwarded to the United States sanitary commission, and they will be rapidly distributed among the different camps with the sanitary stores.
The roads from Fredericksburg to Belle Plain are in horrible condition. Wagons sink to the hubs of the wheels. It takes six to eight horses to go the distance. deeds. men out.
The Exchange of Prisoners Resumed
War Department Adjutant General’s office. Washington, May 7, 1864.---It having been officially reported that Mr. Ould the rebel commissioner of exchange, has declared that without consulting the authorities of the United States that all rebel prisoners delivered at City Point up to the 20th of April were exchanged, it is ordered that all Federal prisoners of war and all civilians on parole prior to May 7th, 1863, be declared exchanged accordingly. It is further announced that after deducting the number of federal officers and men embraced in this order as exchanged, the rebels will remain indebted to the federal government according to tables carefully prepared by the commissary general of prisoners from official data. 33,596 for which no equivalents have been received by the federal government. All parolled officers and men herein declared exchanged who are in camp will be immediately forwarded by the commandants of camps to their regiments and commands, and reported to the commissary general of prisoners accordingly. Those who are absent without leave on the expiration of their leave will repair forthwith to the parole camps of Annapolis or Columbus, Ohio.
By the order of the Secretary of War.
Edward Townsend, Adj. Gen.
ON TO RICHMOND
The Battles In The Wilderness
Flight of the Rebels
We gather from various sources a full and consecutive narrative of events in Virginia from Thursday when the hard fighting began, to Sunday when Gen. Grant was master of the field, and Lee’s army was on the retreat to Richmond. (from the New York Herald)
The Battle on Thursday
We were in line of battle on Thursday, with the best corps on the extreme right—The sixth—the fifth with the second forming our extreme left. The cavalry had been skirmishing in the meantime with a newly discovered body of Stuarts men near Chancellorsville. These were soon found to have augmented, and the skirmish speedily swelled into the proportion of a battle. Gen. Wilson with a portion of his command was cut off from the main body, but joined them later in the day. The fighting here established the great superiority of our cavalry to Stuart’s favorite partizans. The latter were badly worsted in the days engagement and retired towards Fredericksburg, to join Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, of whose command Gen. Stuarts is a part.
On taking the different positions assigned them each corps began the hasty construction of field breastworks in front of its first line of battle, and soon had them capable of offering formidable resistance. The face of the country and the character of its growing timber was found to be the most unfavorable imaginable for offensive operations. The roads were narrow generally, tedious and bounded on either side with a dense growth of young pine, clunkapin and scrubby oak, with an undergrowth of hazel in many places that rendered the forest impenetrable. The pines were low limbed and scraggy and the chinkapines the stiffest and bristliest of their species. An advance in line of battle was almost impossible. Artillery could not be brought into action at all. a few places on the immediate line of the road were the only positions possible for planting batteries.. Over three hundred pieces lay idle during the first days fighting.
The position was admirable for defense, and was selected by Gen. Lee instantly on learning that Gen. Grant had out maneuvered him and gained a crossing without a battle. Many of the ravines were deep and impassible, but a majority were not so on account of precipitous declivities The main objects we had to contend against was the thick growth of scrub timber that prevented the proper handling of the troops and concealed the enemy’s presence and disposition of his forces. Our grand line of battle formed by all the corps was fully five miles in length from northwest to southeast with the center thrown forward making it a convex force. The rebel line was of equal if not longer length as was proven by their maintaining their positions in our front and on one or two occasions temporarily turning our flank.
Gen. Warren’s corps began battle by advancing along the lines of the turnpike in line of battle on both sides. The fighting was sharp and vigorous on both sides, with occasional intervals, till dark, with indifferent success to either. Our first dash from the center of Warren’s corps was met with a deadly volley that threw their line into momentary confusion. The rebels took advantage of this, and made a battery charge on battery D, 1st New York artillery, capturing two of their brass Napoleons or 12 pounders. The battery seems to have been imprudently exposed and indifferently supported. Sharpshooters had previously shot down the horses and many of the men. The captain was wounded early in the fight. These were the only guns we lost in the battle. at dark Warren nominally held positions a half mile in advance of his breastworks.
Gen. Sedgwick may possibly have been feeling the enemy earlier than Warren, but was not hotly engaged till afternoon. The fighting on his front was terrific for a considerable period. At night he seemed to have gained a considerable advantage, and at one time it seemed probable that Lee was withdrawing troops from that point and concentrating on our left. Subsequent events contradicted this theory, and the 6th corps was compelled to meet one of the most violent assaults of this or any other war. gen. Hancock opened on the rebels from the left of our line at half past four on Thursday afternoon, and fought furiously till night. He found himself confronted with veteran troops, who resisted his impetuous assaults with the coolness of well trained soldiers, and when forced back always retired in better order that would be possible for fresh recruits. From the moment of attack until dark the crash of musketry was incessant and deafening. The rebels were finally driven fully a mile. Gen. Hancock was severely pressed at one time in the evening, and two brigades were thrown into the gap between his right and Warren’s left. The fighting here was of the most obstinate character possible. As the sun sunk below the horizon the grand conflict of the day lulled into irregular musketry firing, and finally ceased altogether. Gen. Burnsides corps was not engaged through the day, but was held in position to support the 6th.
From the New York Tribune.
The Battle of Friday
The fighting was renewed on Friday morning as soon as it was light. Gen. Sedgwick and two of his divisions, Rickett’s and Wright’s, has fought upon the right; Gen. Hancock, with the four divisions of his corps, viz., Birney’s, Carr’s, Barlow’s, and Gibbon’s, with Getty’s division of the 5th corps, has fought upon the left; and Gen. Warren with his full corps and Stevenson’s division. of the 9th corps, has fought in the center. Burnside’s corps has constituted the reserve, and has marched and counter marched incessantly and gone in by brigades in the center and on the left. Sedgwick was to advance at 5 a. m., but Ewell who commands opposite him attacked at 4.45. Sedgwick say’s Ewell’s watch must be 15 minutes ahead of his. This action on our right was spirited and well fought. At the expiration of an hour the rebels were handsomely borne back, the firing ceased, and each side held the ground they had bivouacked upon. Our losses were severe, and the enemies could not have been less.
Gen. Sedgewick’s staff were brilliant and ubiquitous throughout, while the old general was the man of Antietam and Fredericksburg repeating himself. This action hardly over, and suddenly we heard from the extreme left that peculiar monotonous swell and volume of sound which tells of large numbers engaged, so many that single shots and even long volleys of long lines are not distinct, but are merged in the mighty noise of a great battle. Hancock was engaged.
Only 10 o’clock and Lee had tried each wing and had met in each case more than he could overcome, and we asked ourselves what next. All his movements were silent and invisible, and unknown until he developed them in the event. We can deliver blows over in the direction whence blows are dealt us, not against an enemy advancing in bold sight, but against one who has mysteriously gathered and poised himself for a deadly spring. But the suspense is not long both combatants are too eager to (complete?) the issue for either to delay another and yet another encounter. Shots began to rise all along the six miles of front. At 11 o’clock the enemy press close upon Warren and Sedgwick, and train a number of guns exactly upon the latter’s headquarters. A man and three horses are killed within twenty feet of the general, and in the very center of his grouped staff.
Finding the enemy disposed to renew the engagement of the early morning, Sedgewick accepts the challenge, and advances his whole line. The men go in with more dash and hold on more sturdily than in the morning. Ewell is driven back to his second line, where his guns are in position, and they make a stand. At this junction, Warren, who connects with Sedgwick’s left, is extremely anxious to go in with all his might, but the enemy’s position in his front seems to formidable. I see a group of horsemen riding rapidly up to the perilous edge of battle, and recognise Warren and his white horse as Jehu was recognized by the prophet of old, for they came furiously. With him came Gens. Griffin and Hunt, and officers of Gen. Grant’s and Meade’s staff. Halting at the first line they dismount and walk more than half a mile in front of the men who are flat upon their breasts, and firing rapidly. We hold the woods on one side of an open space, perhaps one fourth of a mile across, and the rebels lay along the bend of the woods upon the other side. Their entrenchments are plainly visible, and the open mouths of their artillery peek over. No, it will not do to charge them. It were-----madness the sharpshooter may continue to reply to this, but no man shall start across the plain and live. Warren had perhaps hoped his own judgment would be overruled by the officers with him, but all declare no advance can be made here. But more to the left, where Wadsworth’s and Robinson’s divisions of Warrens corps---up to Hancock’s the prospect is better and there an assault is ordered.
Its noon and Sedgwick’s record fight is over, and he again rests on the line of his last nights bivouack. Wadsworth’s advance finds the enemy---A. P. Hill’s corps---strong and prepared. The divisions on his right and left become engaged with him, and the work is warm. Here ,as elsewhere , the contest is in a tangled jungle, and the soldiers push aside bushed and find mortal enemies bursting through the adjoining growth of bushes, and face to face with him. half or three quarters of an hour of alternating success and repulse, and Gen. Wadsworth orders a charge to recover his command from a slight wavering. He is cheered loudly by his men who loved the grey haired chieftain. One horse is shot under him. He mounts a second and spurs to the front, hat in hand, and we should have won then, but his men saw him fall. He was shot through the head and killed instantly, and his body fell into the hands of the enemy. His command fell back to the original position in comparative order. Wadsworth's death was a heavy loss, scarcely an officer in the army but could have been better spared and none would have been more deeply regretted Yesterday and today he had displayed such marked ability and gallantry as to compel the recognition on all hands as an able soldier, who, now that he is gone, can hardly be replaced. He was a true man, a beloved, a high toned gentleman, to be respected, an unshrinking patriot, to be emulated, an accomplished soldier, dead on the field of honor, to be mourned.
But this battle does not pause for a hero slain. From noon until 5 o’clock a number of sharp assaults at various points were made and invariably repulsed, whether made by us or the enemy. Prisoners came in at the rate of 100 an hour. The day was excessively hot, and the men were much exhausted. We had neither gained or lost ground, but continued this thing long enough, and we hoped to finally wear them out. At 5 ½ o’clock Hancock was preparing for a grand movement of our entire left. he did not make it, for the enemy anticipated him, and he had to repel perhaps the most wicked assault, thus far encountered, brief in duration but terrific in power.
The first few minutes we were staggered. Stragglers for the first time in all this fighting streamed to the rear in large numbers choking the roads and causing a panic by their stampede and tales of frightful disaster. It was even reported at general headquarters that he enemy had burst entirely through and supports were hurried up. Grant and Meade seated their backs against the same tree, quietly listened to the officer who brought the report, and consulted a moment in low voices. The order for sending re-enforcements were given, and for a little while not a word was spoken in the group of more than twenty officers. They just looked into each others faces. At length Grant says with laconic emphasis, :I don’t believe it.” He was right. Long before that Hancock had recovered from such a shock, held his own a while and now was gaining ground. In forty minutes from this attack the enemy was completely beaten back with tremendous slaughter, and the loss of some hundreds of prisoners.
It was now nearly sunset. From one end of the line to the other not a shot could be heard. The day’s work seemed over. Our line of tonight would be that of last night. the auguries are good. In two days fighting we had lost heavily, but not more than the enemy/. Our assault had been futile, but the enemy’s had been equally so; and it is by these massed assaults that he has ever achieved his victories. the inference was clear that we had overmatched him fighting at his best and strongest. Men separated in the heat of the day, now chancing to meet, congratulated each other. The rebels can’t endure another such day, and we can, was the expressed conviction of all hands, and this statement epitimizes the situation at sunset.
The sun went down red. The smoke of the battle was more than two hundred thousand men destroying each other with villanus saltpeter through all the long hours of a short day, filled with valleys, and rested upon the hills of all this wilderness, hung in lurid haze all around the horizon, and built a dense canopy overhead, beneath which this grand army of freedom was preparing to rest against the morrow. Gens. Grant and Meade had retired to their tents. Quiet reigned, but during the reign of quiet the enemy was forging a thunderbolt.
The Attack On Sedgwick’s Corps
Darkness and smoke were mingling in grim twilight, and mingling into thick gloom, when we were started out of repose, and into grim excitement. The forged thunderbolt was sped, and by a master. A wild rebel yell away to the right. We knew they were massed and were charging. We waited for the volley we knew Sedgwick would meet the onset. We thought it but a night attack to ascertain if we had changed our position. We were mistaken, it was more. They meant to break through, and they did.
On Sedgwick’s extreme right lay the 2d brigade, 3d division of his corps, under Gen. Seymour, who had been assigned to it but two days before. The brigade is new to the corps and is known as the Milroy brigade; connecting on the left of Seymour by Shaler’s and Neill’s brigades, the latter being a brigade of Getty’s division that had not been sent to Hancock. These troops were at work entrenching when fallen upon. The enemy came down like a torrent, rolling and dashing, in living waves, and flooding against the whole 6th corps.
The main line stood like a rock, but the extreme right was instantly and utterly turned. The rebel line was the longer and surged around Seymour’s brigade, tided over it, and through it, bent against Shaler, and bore away his right regiments. All this done in ten minutes, perhaps not five. Seymour’s men seeing their pickets come running back, and hearing the shouts of the rebels, who charged with all their chivalry, were smitten with panic, and, and standing on no order of going, went at once, and in an incredibly short time made their way through a mile and a half of woods to the plank road in the rear. They reported, in the frantic manner usual of stampeded men the entire corps broken.
Grant as in Hancock’s case didn’t believe it. But when three of Sedgwick’s staff rode in to army headquarters separately and stated how they had ridden from Sedgewick’s to keep Seymour’s men to their work, had been born back by the panic, and had last seen Sedgwick and Wright hard to the front, working like Trojans to hold the wavering line, the situation appeared more critical. No word came in from Sedgwick, It began to be feared that he and Wright distaining to fly were prisoners. Artillery moved quietly to commanding positions, to be prepared for the worst, and cool heads felt that were the whole sixth corps broken, the army, still as an army would be invincible.
Warrens corps is instantly, but in perfect composure, disposed to meet the situation. Grant and Meade and Warren , are in Grant’s tent, to and from which officers come and go with a certain earnest air which bespeak urgent and important cares. so during an hour. No firing has been heard the last three quarters of an hour. The rebels thrust have ceased to advance, but how far; but how far have they penetrated, and what is the present situation? The 6th corps flag comes in. Where is the 6th corps chieftain? My watch says ten o’clock at night. A dispatch received. John Sedgwick safe. Wright safe. The 6th corps holds a strong line; only Semour’s and a part of Shaler’s brigade have been broken. The enemy cam do nothing more. The 6th corps proper has not lost its pristine glory. Compelled to withdraw, under orders after the defection of its right, it is still invincible, is now and ever shall be.
Riding in the thickest with rare presence of mind and rare judgement, they won and deserved John Sedgwick’s emphatic commendation. Gens. Seymour and Shaler were captured. it should be said, both are awarded by their division and corps commanders every credit for doing all men could do to recover their troops from panic, communicated to the latters brigade, not beginning there.
It is estimated we have taken 3000 prisoners, while our loses in captured are somewhat in excess of this number. The lowest estimate in killed, wounded and captured made here is about 7000, the highest 15,000. Perhaps 10,000 would be as nearly accurate as can be determined upon amidst the excitement and confusion of a great battle, still proceeding. there are very great numbers of slightly wounded. Thus closes up the day and night of Friday, gloomily for us; and yet Gens. Grant and Meade seem as fully assured and determined to fight it out to the bitter end as at the beginning.. They are constantly at their posts, receiving and dispatching orders, or in the saddle personally directing movements.
(From the New York Herald)
Operations on Saturday
The battle recommenced at daylight, but the firing was scattering. No fierce attacks were made on either side. A few sharpshooters along the lines kept the air resonant with the sharp crack of their rifles, the veriest military tiro could see that both generals were intent on strategy, and neither was anxious to bring on a general engagement. Lee seemed intent on cutting off our communication via Germania ford. Gen. Grant appeared utterly indifferent to this, and seemed rather to court it by withdrawing Sedgwick from his position and throwing it back on the (rebels?) and pushing Burnside out on the Spottsylvania court house road, and thus threatening Lee’s line of communications. The new line of battle thus formed by the change of position of corps extending nearly north and south, and gave Lee the choice of being cut off from his capital or risking everything upon the gauge of battle.
At two o’clock in the afternoon Burnside was well under way to Spottsylvania. Lee had thrown infantry on to our right, and drove in the cavalry pickets on the Germania road. The result could only be a precipitate retreat on the part of Lee to prevent our army being thrown between himself and Richmond, or a deadly contest in open battle, that could only end in his extermination. He soon discovered his error, and to all appearance had started in hot haste for another line of defense. Some think it will be found at North Anna River , while others are equally certain there is no tenable position for him to fall back to between this and Richmond.
Lieut. Gen. Grant and Gen. Meade were in hourly consultation during the whole of the terrible battle, and it is believed agreed upon the propriety of every order issued. Gen Grant was frequently on the field and under fire. His insensibility to danger is only equaled by his external immobility of feature and expression. I left at three p. m. with dispatches, but was captured , as previously stated, and robbed of all I could not secrete or destroy. At that time Lee was retreating, subsequent events confirm it.
Lists of Officers Killed and Wounded
Killed---Brig. Gen. James S. Wadsworth, Brig. Gen. Alexander Hays, Brig.Gen. Alex. S. Webb; Brig. Gen. Baxter; Col. Chapman, 51st N.Y.; Col. H. F. Ross; Col. Lombard, 1st Mich.; Col. Mercer, 147th Penn.; Col. Woodward, Penn.; Col. Carrol, 95th Penn.; Col. Griswold 56th Mass.; Col. Stone 2d Vt.; Col. Staples; Major Abbot, 20th Mass.
Wounded---Gen. Getty; Col. Fisher, 4th Vt.; Col. Lewis, 5th Vt.; Col. Barney, 8th Vt.; Col. Reed 2d R. I.; Col. Marsh, 9th N. Y.; Col. Carrol commanding 3d brigade, 2d division; Col. Wilson, 42d N. Y.; Col. Stone, 2d Vt.; Col. Stone, Penn. Bucktails; Col. West, 9th Me.; Col. Gwynn, 118th Penn.; Col. George b. F. Danby, 100th N.Y.; Col. Macy, 20th Mass.
Casualties in Worcester County Regiments
Fifteenth---Wounded, Lewis Thompson, Co. H. Chas. Ritter, Co. H.
Thirty-Sixth--- Killed, Joshua Reed. Wounded, Major Draper, H. H. Merrill, Wm. N. Smith, Edward O. Young, W. F. Colburn, S. P. Reed, George Reed, H. Wetherbee, J. H. Pierce, Henry S. Farrell, Joseph Petree.
Fifty-Seventh---Killed---J. Sullivan, E. J. Harvey, Davis L. Houlton, Capt. Gird, Wounded---Col Bartlett, Major Abbot, mortally, Josiah B. Hall, J. Crosby, M. W. Sawyer, Gustavus L. Holden, Albert C. Wheeler, G. Thurston, J. E. Sullivan, E. J. Hardy.
The Fighting on Sunday
Headquarters Fifth Army Corps, May 8.
This corps was again heavily engaged today. The closest and severest contest of the day has only just ended. Our column marched all night. It was the last to leave the entrenchments where the battles of the wilderness were fought; and, first in the fight here. Taking the brook road by way of Todd’s tavern, and moving separate from trains our march was unobstructed and rapid. It was not known, of course, where we would meet the enemy. A rumor prevailed that only Ewell’s corps was staying behind, and that the rest of the rebel army was hurrying with all possible speed to resist the advances of gen. Butler on to Richmond. The days events developed a different state of affairs. There has been a cavalry fight in front of us, and a report came to Gen. Warren that only cavalry and some artillery could be seen and prisoners said there was no infantry near us. The result showed this statement to be incorrect.
Advancing from Todd’s tavern, on the road to Spottsylvania Court House, four regiments of Gen. Bartlett's brigade, of Gen. Griffin’s division, the 1st Michigan, 4th N.Y., 83d Pennsylvania and 18th Massachusetts regiments were sent ahead as skirmishers. As we passed down the road shells were hurled at us with great rapidity. Gen. Warren and staff were passing down the same road, Gen. Warren had his horse disabled by a piece of shell. Lieut. Col. Locke, his assistant adjutant general, was hit in the cheek by a fragment of a shell, inflicting a severe but not dangerous wound. The general and staff, , however, marched on regardless of the dangerous missles falling about them furiously and fast. Several casualties occurred among the troops by the shelling. As we advanced the enemy fell back, making only slight resistance. Reaching what is called Allsop’s Farm, we came into a clearing of about a hundred acres, and triangular in form. The battle line as formed comprises Gen. Griffin’s division on the right, and gen. Robinson’s on the left. The enemy’s artillery was located in a clearing on a ridge fronting us.
The line of battle advanced through the clearing. Having driven the enemy up to this point two miles into the woods fronting us, our force pushes them; and now began the serious opening of the days work. Our troops ran into three lines of the enemy, the last line behind earthworks. Two corps of the enemy, Ewell’s and Longstreat’s it was afterwards ascertained, were here awaiting us. The fight was terrible. The remaining divisions of the corps, Gen. Crawford’s and Gen. Wadsworth’s, the latter now commanded by Gen. Cutler were hurried forward rapidly. The fight became general and lasted four hours. Our troops behaved magnificently, keeping at bay more than treble their number. It will be understood that the remaining corps of the army, which had taken the road by way of Chancellorsville for this point, were still behind. It would not do to be driven back, and our men fought with a desperation, showing not only their usual firm courage, but fullest appreciation of the position of affairs and the importance of holding their ground.
In the afternoon there was a succession of other battles, the 5th still being engaged. Just before night one brigade of the 6th corps went to the assistance of the corps, and with this exception the 5th did all the days fighting. The closing struggle of the day was, if anything, more desperate than the one of the morning. The fiercest effort was made by the enemy to drive us back and get on our flanks; but the coolness and courage of our men repelled every effort. We have beaten the enemy; but it has been a most costly victory. Our losses are set down at 1300, killed, wounded and missing.
Tonight our division is commanded by a colonel. Brigades have lost their commanders, and I know of one regiment, the Fourth Michigan, that is commanded by a first lieutenant. Gen. Robinson, early in the engagement of his division, was shot in the knee. The bone is thought to be shattered, and that the limb will have to be amputated. Several regiments have suffered terribly. The First Michigan, which went in with nearly two hundred men, came out at the end of the closing fight with only twenty-three men left. The 32d Massachusetts regiment, Col. Prescott, captured the 6th Alabama regimental flag. At half past five p. m. both lieut. Gen. Grant and Gen. Meade visited the scene of action. They rode directly to the front. Not only did the troops not engaged cheer them lustily, but the men in battle, knowing their presence, fought with more determined desperation.
The Situation on Monday
Headquarters Army of the Potomac
May 10, 1864---Six days of continuous marching and fighting has found us exhausted almost to the last extremity; but we are in as good a spirits as tired and sleepy men well can be. Our ranks are thinned, but what are left are as ready to resume our dangers and trials as we were anxious to commence them; and notwithstanding the hardships we have endured, and the grief we are experiencing for the loss of our brave comrades in arms, we are willing to suffer still more for the country of our birth and adoption.
Yesterday we had a respite from the fearful ordeal of conflict. Early in the day we had orders to hold the position we had taken, but not to fight unless we were attacked. Occasionally, however, a report from a musket would be heard, and then the hellish whistle of a minnie ball above our heads; but there was none of that continuous rattle of small arms, or the booming of artillery, already so commonplace and our weary troops rested from their labors on the ground which their valor had won.
We have gradually pushed the enemy toward Richmond, and have penetrated to the Ny river, which is about two miles to the northward of the Spottsylvania Court House. The enemy are in force upon our front. Ewell holding the town and heights this side of the Court House. It has been a contest of generalship thus far between Grant and Lee, and time and combinations can only determine which is the greatest.
Reports Sent Monday
Washington, May 10,---The army of the Potomac has had a portion of a day to recuperate. Gen. Sedgewick was shot through the head on Monday morning, while superintending the emplacement of some heavy guns in an angle the men had just prepared. There was no skirmishing at the time, just an occasional sharpshooter sent a bullet in that direction, which caused the men to be on the alert to dodge them. General Sedgewick, who was standing near them, was smiling at their nervousness, when a ball struck him in the forehead, he fell back dead into the arms of his adjutant general.
In Fredericksburg today there were over 12,000 of our wounded who have been crowding into the town since Saturday morning. When the first party of 300 maimed and bleeding soldiers came into the city mayor Slaughter, and Mr. Mayer, a prominent citizen, rallied a few guerillas and marched them into the rebel lines as prisoners of war. Mayor slaughter and his friends are now in the guardhouse of Fredericksburg.
Pontoons have been laid across the Rappahannock below Fredericksburg, over which there will be communication to Aquia Creek, where our transports lie, a distance of about eight miles from Fredericksburg. Guerrillas abound throughout the country in our rear. The bodies of Gens Sedgwick, Wentworth, and Hays reached Washington tonight. A large number of wounded have arrived from Aquia Creek.
Gen. Owen of Philadelphia is reported killed. It was Warren’s 5th corps that drove the enemy on Sunday. It is plain from the general tenor of the advances that the most stubborn fighting has been done since Sunday morning, mainly our artillery, to get Gen. Lee across the Po River. We have taken more prisoners during Lee’s retreat than during all of Thursday’s and Friday’s battles. Coil. Carruth of the Mass. 35th was sun struck on Friday and borne from the field. The 56th mass lost their colors. The 57th mass. lost theirs also, but recovered them after a desperate charge, in which Col. Bartlett was wounded.
Up to Saturday night we had lost six colonels killed and 22 wounded. Sunday was sultry and there were many cases of sunstroke. The fighting that day was three miles north of Spottsylvania Court House. The 11th Mass. regiment was sent forward as skirmishers. As the 5th corps advanced the enemy fell back, making only slight resistance. Reaching Allsops farm, we came into a clearing of about a hundred acres, and triangular in form. The rebel artillery had been stationed in this clearing. The battle line as formed, comprised Gen. Griffin’s division on the right, and Gen. Robinson’s on the left.
The enemy’s artillery was now located in a small clearing on the ridge fronting us. Capt. Martin’s 3d Mass battery and the 5th U. S. artillery were stationed on the right fork of the road and commanding the rebel batteries. They sent back counter shells. The line of battle advanced through the clearing. Having driven the enemy two miles into the woods fronting us, our forces pushed them, and soon began the serious opening of the days work. Our troops ran on to three lines of the enemy,, the last behind earthworks.
Two corps of the enemy, Ewell’s and Longstreet’s, as afterwards ascertained, were hid awaiting us. The fight was terrible. The remaining divisions of the corps , Gen. Crawford’s and Gen. Wadsworth’s, the latter now commanded by Gen. Cutler, were hurried forward rapidly, the fight became general and lasted four hours. Out troops behaved magnificently, keeping at bay more than treble their number. The remaining corps of the army were still behind. This opening fight commenced about 8 a. m.. In the afternoon there was a succession of other battles. The fifth still being engaged just before night, one brigade of the 6th corps went to the assistance of the corps, and with that exception the 5th did all the day’s fighting. We have beaten the enemy, but it has been a most costly victory.
We have been out six days, and have been fighting continuously. we have eaten and used up a very large proportion of the supplies which we took with us. Our losses have been terrible, probably as follows, Killed, 3000; wounded, 18,000; missing, 6,000. Total 27,000
KILLED and WOUNDED
The following lists of killed and wounded are reported in addition to the lists published.
Twenty-Fifth--- wounded---corporal A. K. Lovell, J. D. Gunn, E. Klien, G. N. Nixon, F. Weiser, F. Barnes, Thomas Coulton, C. Johnson, J. Ralton.
Fifteenth Regiment---wounded---Rufus Belding, N. E. Cole, John O’Neill, John Roach, N. A. Srunen, Edwin R. Tanner, J. H. Williams, Thomas Collins.
Fifty-Seventh---wounded---Capt. Lawrence, Co. F., Fitchburg; Lieut. Barker, Co. F., Fitchburg; Lieut. Goodwin, Co. H., Worcester; Lieut. Dewey, Co. H., Greenfield; sergeant major Murdock, Worcester; Capt. J. W. Gird, reported missing; G. W. Cheeny, J. A. Sullivan, J. Mcdowell, Harry Ainsworth, John Haleran, H. C. Maloney.
THE FIGHTING ON TUESDAY
Headquarters Army of the Potomac
Wednesday, May 11---8a. m.
At 1 ½ o clock yesterday the most desperate of all battles yet fought was commenced. It continued up to nearly 8 o’ clock . In dogged stubbornness, Waterloo and Solferino pale before the terrific onslaught of Tuesday afternoon on the banks of the Po. Two divisions of Burnsides corps held the right, the 5th and 6th corps the center, and 2d corps the left. Our line stretched six miles on the northeast bank of the Po, the rebels occupying the southwest bank and the village of Spottsylvania.
At 2 our artillery gained a good range and poured shot and shell, grape and canister into their ranks, as they, with frantic recklessness of life, charged forward upon our infantry lines. The enemy used but little artillery in reply. Prisoners state they were deficient in ammunition and could not . The impression prevailed at headquarters that during the forepart of the day that Ewell’s corps had left for Richmond on Monday. All prisoners taken were from Longstreets and Hills corps, but before yesterdays battle Ewell returned, if he had left, as is probable, and Lee’s entire army and our whole force were pitted for three hours at a hand to hand struggle without a parallel in history.
Gen. Grant and Gen. Meade were in the saddle constantly personally directing movements. It was arranged that the entire 9th corps should charge the enemy’s right flank, but pending the severest onslaught made by Lee just before dark, it was discovered that he had advanced around our right flank and was moving down in dense columns for a last and after dark struggle to break through our lines and dash upon our supply trains, then known to be packed on the plank road to Fredericksburg.
This changed Gen. Burnside’s purpose, and he securely held his ground, and threatened the enemy’s extreme right, while the 6th corps charged his right center, and at (7 o’clock) drove him from his first line of rifle pits, capturing five guns and between to and three thousand prisoners. The quick eyes of our chieftains, however saw the rebel maneuver. Our men were faced about, our trains all moved to the rear, new positions instantly secured for our artillery, and the enemy’s expected coming patiently awaited during all the long hours of lat night. No demonstrations were made however, and except the occasional shout of pickets, all was quiet up to 8 o’clock today when I left.
It was believed that the enemy had suffered so severely that he could not in his crippled condition avail himself of the decided advantage he had gained. By others it was supposed that he had attempted another flight, but as his communication is believed to have been severed by Sheridan, and his flanks and rear constantly harrassed by our forces, he must surrender, or kill his “last man” in battle as he seems determined in frantic rage to do. In so horrible a strife it must not be supposed that we escape the severest punishment. Our losses in yesterdays fight we much greater than in any of the battles of the previous week. It is true there is a smaller percentage of killed in proportion to the number wounded than in any previous battle, and a very large number are slightly wounded. Roads, fields and woods are literally swarming with these suffering heroes who have defied wounds and death that the nation might servive.
So incessant have been the marching and fighting that many are being overcome with fatigue, and several have been sun struck; yet never was seen so cheerful, so resolute, and even exultant body of men on any of the worlds great battle fields. All honor to this sublime heroism, which so nobly welcomes death and wounds. Rebel prisoners assert that Lee ordered all his wounded men able to hold a musket to take their place in the ranks again for yesterdays battle. Our wounded are being conveyed with all possible dispatch to Fredericksburg, and thence, via Belle Plain to Washington .But for a tender regard for these disabled heroes, abandoned to their fate and burning up in the woods left on fire, (as the rebels also leave their dead unburied) our army ere this would have been thundering before the rebel capital: but we can afford to wait.
Men who have faced musketry and cannon for a week and fought better each succeeding day, are invincible, and they will soon win the complete triumph their valor so richly merits. Time after time did they hurl back in disorder the solid masses of the foe, and if perchance they staggered with the shock, it was only for more superhuman energy to charge back upon him. The old guard at Waterloo pales before these men. Our entire losses thus far, in killed, wounded and missing must reach near 40,000. The enemy’s loss in killed is much greater than ours; has wounded about the same. He is supposed to hold some 2000 of our prisoners, and we must have at least 4000 of his men, while our scouts report the roads literally alive with his stragglers. It is a mathematical question requiring only a few more days to determine the limit of his endurance.
We crossed the River Po on Tuesday, but withdrew. We charged across it again last night after the enemy had weakened his right in order to mass all his forces on our right. It was the Vermont brigade that charged the enemy at the rifle pits, and the 2d Vermont held them until midnight., when Gen. Meade relieved them. Thus far we have not lost a single gun since the second day at the Wilderness, nor a single wagon since the campaign opened. All prisoners unite in asserting that Lee is dumbfounded at the present conduct of our army. Immediately after his getting orders from Jeff Davis to return to Richmond and withdraw from our front at the Wilderness, he dispatched a brigade across the Rapidan and planted artillery so as to command Germania ford, supposing of course that we were to pursue our usual course of fighting and then falling back. The brigade remained there one day and two nights without any chance of attacking our retreating column., and only had the effect of turning back our wounded. The pertinacity with which Grant hangs to him is so unusual and so unexpected that Lee is perfectly bewildered. Up to Monday night the reserve artillery had not been brought into fire. It was supposed to have been hotly at work yesterday beyond Spottsylvania Court House.
ANOTHER ACCOUNT OF TUESDAYS BATTLE
From the New York Herald
Headquarters , Fifth Army Corps, In The Field
May 11, 1864
My dispatch of yesterday afternoon left the army in the midst of a terrible battle, as terrible a conflict, for the time it lasted, as any in the recent series of fights. heretofore our contests have been invariably musketry. In this battle the roar of artillery was as fierce, incessant and almost as deafening as at Gettysburg. The battle continued until night, and darkness closed the sanguinary struggle.
Like those preceding, almost without the pale of possible description is the latest battle. Some may elaborate the details, may give all the lights and shadows of the grand struggle, may reveal the heroes of the day, but the aggregate struggle and general results are the only things thought of, and, in fact, known at present; and these can be told in few words.
Our army has added another to its list of battles, and has added another to its list of victories. In the morning a change was made in the disposition of our lines. Meanwhile our men had greatly strengthened their earthworks, had thrown up additional abatis, and everything evinced a determination to make the day one of decisive results. Very active skirmishing all the fore part of the day merged at length into a general engagement, and the engagement, as the hours wore on waxed hotter and hotter, and fiercer and sharper were the rattle of musketry and louder was the roar of artillery. The most determined and persistent effort which has been made since the commencement of the fight in this locality was made to turn our right. Charge after charge was made by the enemy on the right of our column to turn and break it. our men repulsed each charge most valiantly. At length the 5th corps drove the enemy, compelling him to fall back into his third line of defenses.
The effect of this repulse was apparent. The rebel dead at point lay piled in heaps. In one of these gallant charges fell the brave brigadier general Rice. He was at the heard of his command, as he has been in every fight. Busy in the midst of the terrible conflict was maj. gen. Warren. He rode up and down his lines directing movements, regardless of showering shells and bullets. Another horse was shot out from under him, the third within the last four days. We made a general assault at 7 P. M.. it was the most magnificent and terrible one of the war. Col. Wainwright took personal supervision of the artillery of this corps. Our batteries through the cutting down of tree were placed in very advantageous positions, as likewise the batteries of the other corps. Simultaneously these cannon hurled their murderous missiles of shrapnel, canister and shell into the ranks of the enemy, accompanied by a general volley of musketry; and from this hour till dark the combat deepened. Our boys thought of the victories of Sherman and Butler, thought of the network gathering about the enemy, and resolved that there should be no failure to co-operate with Sherman and Butler, that the gathering network should not be broken.
Night left us victorious on every side. Our lines now advanced, and we had taken more prisoners than we had lost; but it had been another expensive victory to us. Our losses are heavy; but it is believed that that of the enemy far exceed ours. Lieut. Col. Pierson, thirty ninth Massachusetts, is among the wounded. Capt. Benj. Davis, twenty-second Massachusetts is killed. He had captured a rebel flag and was killed trying to bring it away with him. Sergent Winons, eighty-third Pennsylvania regiment, came upon a rebel colonel and asked him to surrender. “Surrender to a private!” said the colonel “Never” “I shall shoot you if you stir, “ spoke the sergeant, leveling his musket. The rebel did stir and attempted to get away, and the sergeant put a bullet through his head, killing him instantly. He brought away the colonel’s hat and sword. I mention the incident as illustrative of the pride of our men.
Further Important Details
Washington, May 11.--- Advices just received from your correspondent at the front bring down the narrative to this morning at ten o’clock, when your letters were brought up on the same boat by which Representative Washburne came with dispatches from Gen. Grant to the government. Our position at sunrise on Tuesday morning was the arc of a circle on the north side of Spottsylvania Court House. Gettysburg over again, but with places reversed, we being situated as the rebels were at that battle. Nothing but skirmishing occurred through the forenoon. Grant was in front at the time examining positions, and was often on a line with out outer pickets.
A general attack was ordered at five o’clock, but Lee was ahead of him and precipitated the action by pouring heavy masses of men against Hancock and Warren. Shortly after one in the afternoon they were handsomely repulsed, and some changes in the disposition of our forces were made. At half past thee o’clock a terrible charge was made against our right center. It was met by Birney’s, Cutler’s, Gibbons’ and Barlow’s divisions, and under terrific fire it melted away, and was finally driven back in broken masses. This over Hancock ordered an advance. His charge struck Heth’s division of Longstreet’s corps and shattered it on the instant.
The slaughter here was terrible, and the advantage gained might have been important, but the rest of our line failing to advance at the exact time they were ordered, Hancock had to fall back. The rebels made no further attempt at the 2d corps. Just before sunset, Burnside and Wright (late Sedgwicks) corps made a fierce attack. Wright carried the rifle pits on his front, and Burnside pushed forward with very heavy fighting, almost to the Court House itself. The negro troops were not in the charge. Upton’s brigade of the 6th corps captured Darle’s brigade of Ewell’s corps, but in the melee only brought off twelve hundred. Three guns were taken and lost again; 37 officers and a great number and a great number of battle flags were taken and lost again. gen. rice was wounded on the leg, it was amputated, and he shortly afterward died.
Up to 10 o’clock today there was constant skirmishing, and there were expectations that Lee would attack again. Our troops are in splendid spirits; they regard their six days fighting as a continued series of successes. We have lost twelve generals---Sedgwick, Wadsworth, Stevenson, and rice killed; Bartlett, Getty, Robinson, Morris, and Baxter wounded, and Seymour and Shaler prisoners. Our losses in men are very heavy. Rebel prisoners report that they have been on half rations; that the rebel officers told them they must depend henceforth upon the Yankee supply trains. They have got none of them yet, but we have taken 30 of Lee’s wagons. Col. Carrol, 95th Pennsylvania volunteers commanding a brigade in the 2d division, 2d corps, reported killed is only slightly wounded, and still retains his command on the field. Our prisoners number about 4000.
Grant Will Fight it Out
Washington, May 11---11:30 P. M.---To Major General Dix:---Dispatches from Gen. Grant, dated at 9 o’clock this morning, have just reached this department. he says;---“We have now ended the sixth day of very heavy fighting. The result to this time is much in our favor. our loses have been heavy as well as those of the enemy. I think the loss of the enemy must be greater.
We have taken five thousand prisoners in battle, while he has taken from us but few except stragglers.
I PROPOSE TO FIGHT IT OUT ON THIS LINE IF IT TAKES ALL SUMMER.”
The government is sparing no pains to support him.
Edwin M. Stanton.
Hospital Scene After the Battle of the Wilderness
from the New York Herald
The hospitals of the several divisions at the battle of the Wilderness presented a fearful picture of suffering. Long trains of ambulances were continually bringing in men wounded in every place and in every way the imagination can conceive. The few minutes I spent in one of the field hospitals has left a picture of horror on my mind that will not soon be obliterated. Some lay pale and quiet, seeming almost dead; others were frightfully disfigured in the face, and the bleeding from their wounds formed pools upon the ground. Oaths, prayers, sighs, groans and shrieks ascended together. The tired and overtasked surgeons were constantly at work, probing wounds, dressing contusions, and performing amputations, while outside the fly where they worked lay piles of arms, legs, hands, feet and fingers. To add to the discomfort of our wounded the weather was unusually warm and many of the poor fellows had but little protection from the rays of the sun. They lay groaning with the anguish of their wounds, and half suffocated with heat. The surgeons at the different hospitals and upon the battlefield did all that was in their power to mitigate the sufferings of the men.
When the army advanced from the Wilderness our sick and wounded had to be loaded in the ambulances and empty baggage wagons and taken along with us. It is a work of considerable importance to transport from twelve to fifteen thousand wounded men under such circumstances as attended the present march. As many as could be transported were lain in the wagons and taken along. One thousand at least, some say more, were left behind, unable to be removed. Large numbers of our wounded men left the hospital on foot as soon as they heard they were to be left behind, preferring to limp and crawl after the army; all day yesterday disabled soldiers were dragging themselves along after our wagon trains, some substituting a pair of muskets for crutches, while others might be seen to weak to support themselves, but each assisted along between two comrades, both of whom were nearly as bad off as himself.
The following lists of wounded have been received in addition to those heretofore published”
General officers Killed---Brigadier General Baxter, Stevenson’s division, 9th corps, Brigadier general Robinson, Brigadier general Morris.
Mass. Field Officers wounded---Colonel Gainey, 9th, mortally; Colonel Hays,16th; Col. Shurtitle, 10th; Col. Allen, 12th Massachusetts.
13th Massachusetts--- Corporal Edward Borra, both legs; Corporal John Burt, leg and hand, Co. G.; Lyman Haskell, Co. K, neck; Thomas Woolford, Co.G.
15th Massachusetts---Corporal Elliot Robbins, Co. K. right leg; 1st Sergeant Chas. H. Oakes, Co. G. left arm; Vernon Negus, Co. I, right hand; Charles H. Miller,do, left leg; Daniel Sherman,do. right arm; Terrence Riley do, reported killed; James Berry, Co. C, left lung, very severely; sergeant A. H. Rice, Go. G. killed; W. J. Knight, Co.K. right leg; Wm. Farrel, do. hip; Thomas Welch, do. right hand; Peter Kane, Co. D. left hand; captain Dudley, Knee; capt. Brown, left finger; adjutant Stanton, right shoulder, slightly; capt. Symonds, Co.F., slightly; Joseph Berry,Co. C. left shoulder, seriously; N. E. Cole, Henry Dunn, C. A. Nutting, Co. K.; N. Seaver,Co. H.; Herman Grades, K. Lathrop, R. Carlton, O. V. Wright, Wm. Lawla, Rufus H. Baldwin , Co. H.; Melvin B. Rowe, Co. E.; Peter Dawson, Co.(?),; Andor Waaman, Co. I.; Alfred Rahlah, Co. H.; Joseph O’Neil, Co. B.; F. G. Hurley, Co. E.; J. B. Marye, Co. A.; John B. Marcy, Co. E.; Frank J. Kirby,do.
21st Mass.---Capt. Geo. E. Parker, wound in face, in Washington, doing well; acting adjutant Geo C. Davis, hand , in Washington; Lieut. Geo. H. Bean, H. eye, slight; J. H. Ames, A. at Hanson Hospital; Chas. H. Blackerman, A., do; Lieut. William B. Sawyer, at National hotel; Asa F. Hiper, killed; Herbert Joselyn, do; Lyman B. Mason, killed; missing after a charge, Wilber A. Potter, A. wounded missing probably a prisoner; John A. Osgood, A. do; Cohen, B., hand; Edward Ely,C. arm; sergeant major Frank B. Gettings, missing; A. B. Owen.
36th Regiment.---James Pierce, H.; Charles H. Sherman, D.; Richard Easler, Niel McMilian, Sumner L. Niles, Edward P. Hadley, Silas J. Howett, Henry A. Thompson, A; corp Michael Long,A.
57th Mass.---First Lieut. McCarty, Co. C. right arm; Alonzo eddy, head; Thomas Rutledge, Co. C. hip; sergeant Horace H. Paine, E, Head; Nahum Bryant, E. left arm; Robert McCoy, E, Do.;Oliver Demens, E, left wrist; Asa D. Burleigh, arm and side; Edwin Cudworth, E. leg; Cephas Pasco,E, face, severely; E. J. Hardy, shoulder; sergeant Thomas Griffin, K; Frank Smith, G; Marstan Regan,E; F. F. Kendall, B; Robert McCurdy,D ; corporal Patrick James, C; sergeant Patrick Gilman, D; Jesse Walsh, A; John B. Clark, D; John Pluss A; Park Thompson I; W. H. Worthy, G; George F. Wood, B; J. Wilkinson, F; lieutenant Barker, Lieutenant Dewey,; H. C. Maloney.
First Mass. Cavalry; Capt. G. Parker, 21st Mass recheck; Lieut. Stewart, 13th Mass..