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8 Series I Volume XXXVIII-I Serial 72 - The Atlanta Campaign Part I

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Page 8 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

a part of the battle-field. From this it was evident to my mind that the two days' fighting had satisfied him of his inability to further maintain the contest in the open field, notwithstanding his advantage of position, and that he would await an attack behind his works. I therefore determined to push on and my whole force between him and Richmond, and orders were at once issued for a movement by his right flank. On the night of the 7th the march was commenced toward Spotsylvania Court-House, the Fifth Corps moving on the most direct road. But the enemy having become apprised of our movement, and having the shorter line, was enabled to reach there first. On the 8th General Warren met a force of the enemy which had been sent out to oppose and delay his advance, to gain time to fortify the line taken up at Spotsylvania. This force was steadily driven back on the main force,within the recently constructed works, after considerable fighting, resulting in severe loss to both sides. On the morning of the 9th General Sheridan started on a raid against the enemy's lines of communication with Richmond. The 9th, 10th, and 11th were spent in maneuvering and fighting, without decisive results. Among the killed on the 9th was that able and distinguished soldier, Major General John Sedgwick, commanding the Sixth Army Corps. Major General H. G. Wright succeeded him in command. Early on the morning of the 12th a general attack was made on the enemy in position. The Second Corps, Major-General Hancock commanding, carried a salient of his line, capturing most of Johnston's division, of Ewell's corps, and 20 pieces of artillery. But the resistance was so obstinate that the advantage gained did not prove decisive. The 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th were consumed in maneuvering and awaiting the arrival of re-enforcements from Washington. Deeming it impracticable to make any further attack upon the enemy at Spotsylvania Court-House, orders were issued on 18th with a view to a movement to the North Anna, to commence at 12 o'clock on the night of the 19th. Late in the afternoon of the 19th Ewell's corps came out of its works on our extreme right flank, but the attack was promptly repulsed with heavy loss. This delayed the movement to the North Anna until the night of the 21st, when it was commenced. But the enemy, again having the shorter line and being in possession of the main roads, was enabled to reach the North Anna in advance of us, and took position behind it. The Fifth Corps reached the North Anna on the afternoon of the 23d, closely followed by the Sixth Corps. The Second and Ninth Corps got up about the same time, the Second holding the railroad bridge and the Ninth lying between that and Jericho Ford. General Warren effected a crossing the same afternoon and got a position without much opposition. Soon after getting into position he was violently attacked, but repulsed the enemy with great slaughter. On the 25th General Sheridan rejoined the Army of the Potomac from the raid on which he started from Spotsylvania, having destroyed the depots at Beaver Dam and Ashland Stations, four trains of cars, large supplies of rations, and many miles of railroad track; recaptured about 400 of our men on their way to Richmond and prisoners of war; met and defeated the enemy's cavalry at Yellow Tavern; carried the first line of works around Richmond, but finding the second line too strong to be carried by assault recrossed to the north bank of the Chickahominy at Meadow Bridge, under heavy fire, and moved by a detour to Haxall's Landing, on the James River, where he communicated


Page 8 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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