The Virginia in the Civil War Message Board

Newspaper Accounts of Cold Harbor I


Battle of Sunday

Special Dispatch to the New York Times
Near Cold Harbor, Sunday Evening, June 5

The enemy appear to be exceedingly anxious to break up our lines,

particularly on the left, so as to cut off all com unication with White

House Landing. During the last three days they have made several

assaults, but in each instance were repulsed with fearful loss. The last

attempt of this kind was made just after dark this evening in front of

Smythe's brigade, late Carroll's, of Gibbons' Division, Second Army

Corps. The weather was peculiliarly favorable for the movement, as the

rain of last night was succeeded by a hot murky day, and in consequence,

the whole lower strata of atmosphere was a dense mist. Under cover of

this impenetrable fog the enemy advanced a strong line of battle, and

succeeded in reaching a point within pistol range of our works before

discovered by the advanced pickets. No sooner did the outpost give the

alarm than one sheet of fire belched forth from our ranks in front and on

both flanks of the enemy. In about half an hour he fell back, leaving

the ground covered with his dead and wounded.

At a little later moment there was apparently a similar demonstration

about to be made in front of Russell's Division of the Sixth Corps, but

that was speedily checked.

These night attacks have got to be so frequent that they cease to create

an alarm, for the whole army is always on duty, ready at any moment to

meet any emergency. Gens. Grant and Meade are constantly on the alert,

so that a surprise is practically an impossibility.

But while these attacks at night create no alarm there is something

romantically interesting about them. It is a pyrotechnic display of

gigantic proportions. The continued explosions of thousands of rockets

would be no comparison.

The loss on our side in this last assault was small owing to the fact

that the men were behind earthworks.

Lieut. McCune, Fifth Excelsior, of Gen. Hancock's staff, had his leg

taken off whil standing near Gen. Hancock's headquarters.

The Second Cavalry Division, Gen. Gregg, gained an important position

to-day on the left.

E.A. Paul NY Times, June 8, 1864, p. 1


The Siege of Richmond

The Position on Sunday - All Quiet - Unauthorized Truces - Casualties

Special Dispatch to the New York Times
Headquarters Army of the Potomac
June 11 - p.m.

The past few days have been quite uneventful to the Army of the Potomac.

Our lines are scarcely nearer the enemy than was the position at the

close of the battle on Friday, more than a week ago. The troops on both

sides each behind their intrenchments have kept up a desultory but

useless fire, just sufficient to make it apparent that the respective

works were not vacant. Both armies in fact have been enjoying a repose

much needed after the hard fighting and rapid marching of three weeks'

campaigning from the banks of the Raidan. To-day the silence was even

more marked than before. The south of musketry whas scarcely been heard

along the entire front. A few blurts of artillery and the explosion of a

shell or two high over the trees about the centre of the line, have been

the only reminders this afternoon of the enemy's presence. From present

indications, it is not likely that there will be fighting for several

days to come; but the storm is brewing, and may burst in quarters least

expected by the enemy. It is not proper at this time to say precisely how

Gen. Grant will attempt to discomfit the enemy.

Yesterday an order was issued by Gen. Meade forbidding unauthorized

communication with the enemy. The men on both sides have been holding

intercourse with each other for interchange of newspapers and the barter

of coffee and tobacco. In this way a great deal of mischief was likely

to result, as information of vital importance is always apt to leak out.

The opposing lines of rifle pits, it must be borne in mind, are not a

hundred yards apart - in some parts of the line much closer. For any

portion of the body to be exposed, the penalty is certain wounding, if

not death. But the men are utterly weary of loading and firing. They

have kept up this heavy skirmishing for days and no visible advantage has

been gained by either side. The fire gradually slackens. Officers

become careless about urging the men to their work. A tacit and magnetic

spell influences with equal power our own men and their mortal enemies.

It is very curious The combattants are entirely hidden from each other's

sight. The last shot is fired and the lull in the battle storm is

perfect. Adventurious spirits on both sides cautiously raise their heads

above the earth works. "How are you, Johnny?" "How are you, Yank?" are

questions usually bandied. "Won't you shoot?" says one. "No," says the

other. "Well, we won't" chimes in all and immediately the parapets are

swarmed with the men who have been concealed and protected behind them.

Out jump the fellows from the rifle-pits, and putting down their guns,

stretched their cramped forms upon the grass. Sharp-shooters covertly

slide down from their perches and loll around in utter abandon. Trade is

quickly opened, and all sorts of commodities are exchanged. The men have

keen pleasure in their singular armistice, bantering each other sharply,

and several overstepping the half-way line which separates their

respective fortifications. Suddenly the cry is raised, "Run back,

Johnnys" or "Run back, Yanks," just as it happens to be "We're going to

shoot" and the hostilities begin again. It is always understood however

that the first shot shall be aimed high and the veriest dawdler gets back

to shelter safely. While this fraternal scene is being enacted on one

limited part of the line, the battle rages hotly on other portions of the

extended front which measures by miles. Was ever such strange warfare

known before. It is easy enough to see however that these anomalous

episodes may be abused. The rebels availed themselves of such a truce

the other day to strengthen a battery which had been reduced to silence,

and had kept still for nearly a week. The work consequently has had to

be done over again. I have seen a great many prisoners lately. Their

appearance entirely refutes the current state that the rebel army is in a

destitute and starving condition. It is simply idle to talk about

starving the enemy into submission. The rebel soldiers, as a general

thing, are stout, strong and the very picture of health. It is insulting

to our own brave men that the statements so industriously circulated

respecting the feebleness and lack of power of endurance of the southern

soldiers should be believed. The rations of the rebel troops may not be

in as great a variety as those furnished to our men, but they have proved

to be as fully nutritious. This fact cannot be gainsayed. H.J.W. New

York Times, June 14, 1864, p. 1



The Evacuation of the Position at Cold Harbor - The Movement of the

Eighteenth Corps - The Enemy Do Not Interfere - His Suspicions Awakened

From Our Special Correspondent,
White House, Va., Monday, June 13, 1864

The Army of the Potomac is again on the move. That it was about to

retire from the position in front of Cold Harbor has been evident for

some days to the most superficial observer. The immense trains of

forage, ammunition, commissariat, and other supplies began to days since

to pass to the rear, and their thousands of wheels plowing through the

soft and dry roads have covered the country with a pall of gray dust,

hiding everything and choking everybody in the diretion of the White

House, although the main portion of the supplies have not gone back so

far as that point. The prospect now is that operations will be conducted

from a base on the James River.

It has been fully understood that Gen. Grant was determined not to waste

the lives of our brave army uselessly in further assaulting the

formidable works of the enemy near Cold Harbor, against which the army

"butted" with a terrible shock on the 1st and 3d inst., and there has

been patient waiting for the developments of time.

Yesterday the word came to move. The Eighteenth Corps (Smith) was

ordered to White House, and the remainder of the army took up the line of

march for the Chickahominy. The intention is to cross that stream at

Long Bridge, at the eastern limit of the White Oak Swamp, aiming to

strike the James River as near Bermuda Hundred as possible. Smith's

forces are embarking at the White House, and will go up the James River

to rejoin Butler. Warren's Corps has the advance in the movement across

the Chickahominy.

The enemy must have had a shrewd suspicion that Grant intended tochange

his basde. For several nights past there has been a very perceptive

dimunition of his camp fires, and other indications that his lines at

Cold Harbor were materially weakened.

Last night our forces withdrew very quietly from their works. There was

no attempt made to follow them up on the part of the enemy. If there had

been ample means were at hand to meet it, as strong works commanding the

roads on our line of retreat were thrown up, at intervals, for some miles

in the rear.

I have just heard of the splendid coup de main which Gen. Butler made a

day or two ago. He crossed the Appomattox with a large portion of his

force and moved on Petersburgh. The cavalry charged through the town and

would have held it but for the dilatoriness of the infantry supports.

J.J.W. New York Times, June 17, 1864, p. 1

Affairs on Saturday

Our Men Intrenching Themselves - Vicksburg Repeated - Close Proximity of

the Rebel Lines - Sharp-shootig Made Easy - The Rebel Repulse of Friday

Night - List of Casualties

Special Correspondence of the Inquirer

Headquarters Army of the Potomac
Cold Harbor, June 4 - 8 p.m.

To-day has been comparatively quiet, nothing occurring save the

inevitable skirmishing that always takes place when two hostile armies

are as close as ours and the Rebel army are now.

The question with the army now is, whether we can or cannot, make another

approach to Richmond, by flank movement; or any ostrategic maneuvre, so

as to avoid the necessity of digging our way over the space now

intervening between us and the Rebel Capital. What the plans of Generals

Grant and Meade are is, of course, unknown, but the general impression

appears to be that - but to know this we must wait till we see.

At present we are digging like beavers. Our men have fully learned the

advantagew of this process, and they work with a will. Crawling forward

as near the Rebel rifle-pits as possible, without showing themselves, our

sharp-shooters having gained a position to their liking will set to work

quietly with the bayonet to loosen up the earth, which they will

afterwards scoop out with their hands, a tin cup, or any instrument that

comes nearest to hand.

At many parts of our line we have our breastworks almost in contact with

those of the enemy, and throughout the whole extent are able to keep them

under such a fire that a Rebel can scarcely show his head above them

without being shot. At a few posts they have found their works

untenable, and withdrawn to others a short distance to the rear, but we

cannot always occupy these abandoned pits, as they are so constructed as

to enable the enemy completely to enfilade them from another part of the


This is the case in front of Gen. Eustis' Brigade, Russell's Division,

Sixth Corps, the men of which are throwing up their own breastworks right

against those of the enem. Col. Cross' Brigade of the same division has

occupied the Rebel line in their front, abandoned last night. An

enterprising Yankee of the Second Connecticut Heavy Artillery was tempted

by the sight of a Rebel flag, hanging over their breastworks, to crawl

forward and attempt to take it. Reaching up with his hand he caught hold

of the coveted bunting and began to pull it towards him.

The Rebels on the other side, not daring to raise their heads, caught

hold of the staff, and there was a trial of strength between them and our

friend from the land of wooden nutmegs. The latter succeeded in getting

down the flag, but dared not return with it by the same path on which he

had gone out, and has not yet made his appearance. It is probable,

however, that he will work his way back in the night, and may be also

succeed in bringing off his trophy.
Our own men, like the Rebels, are obliged to lie quiet behind their

works. A whower of bullets from Rebel sharp-shooters instantly quieting

everyo one who exposes himself to their side. Colonel Morris, of the

Seventh New York Heavy Artillery, was shot this morning by one of them,

while walking in company with General Barlow. Colonel McKean, of the

Eighty-first Pennsylvania, commanding the First Brigade of Gibbons'

Division, was also shot, and it has of yet been impossible for our men to

venture out and bring in his body.

The repulse of last night was a very severe one to the enemy. Seven

batteries, Dow's (Sixth Maine, Clark's (Co. B of the First New Jersey),

Sleeper's (Tenth Massachusetts), Brown's (Co. B, First Rhode Island),

Arnold's (Co. A, First Rhode Island), Roder's (C. K, Fourth United

States), Burton's (Eleventh New York Independent), all opened fire at

once, most of them with grape and canister, and, as we soon afterwards

found, with tangible effects. Their dead lay upon the ground in heaps.

An assault made by them on our right about the same time with the one on

the left was equally well repulsed.

Our wounded have nearly all been sent off.

The enemy have disappeared in front of Warren's and Burnside oon the

extreme right, but will doubtless reappear at another point.

Philadelphia Press
June 8, 1864
p. 1 col. 1-2

Associatted Press Accounts

The Saturday Night Attack - A Bloody Repulsed - 300 Rebel Killed, and

1000 wounded - Care of Our Wounded Unfounded Reports

Wite House, June 6 - The news from the front has been meagre for the last

ten days. Nothing but skirmishing has occurred, except the usual nightly

attacks for the purpose of feeling our lines, and to learn whether any

changes of position is being made.

The chrge made on the Second Corps on Saturday night resulted in a loss

to the Rebels of about 300 in killed and over 1000 in wounded, but few of

whom were carried away, owing to our command of the ground.

The wounded are nearly all brought in from thje front and this place is

very much crosded. The facilities for their shipment to Washington seem

very limited, although a large number are being sent off. There is a

great lack of physicians here, hundreds of wounds remaining undressed for

hours, resulting in many deaths.

The aid societies are very busy distributing their supplies, but the

demand is so great that it is impossible to reach all. Some States are

unrepresented, New York among the number, excepting by the Sanitary and

Christian Commissions.

A meeting was held this evening to organize a system of relief, and to

facilitate the shipment of supplies to this point. Delegates were

appointed to go to Washington and make arrangements.

Headquarters Army of the Potomac, June 5 - The Rebels attacked the Second

Corps, and a portion of the Sixty Corps last evening, but were handsomely

repulsed after a desperate struggle. They advanced several times, their

lines being cut to pieces, and each attempt to reach our works failed.

Their loss must have been fearful, as our men shot them at short range,

while our batteries swept them down in masses. Our loss was very light.

A shell exploded among General Hancock's staff, taking the legs oof one

of them. His name has not been ascertained.

The report of a train having been captured turns out to be incorrect.

The trains are guarded all the way from the White House to the front,

principally by the colored troops. Our men are busily engaged digging

towards the works of the enemy, and the attack last night was on a

working party.

Philadelphia Inquirer
June 8, 1864
p. 1 col. 1

Operatations of Sunday

The Enemy Feeling our Lines in the Night - Our Men too Wide Awake for

Them - Hancock's Headquarters Under Fire - One of His Staff Wounded -

Interesting Incident of Friday Night's Repulse

Special Correspondence of the Enquirer

Headquarters Army of the Potomac
Cold Harbor, June 8, 1864 Night

With the exception of the usual skirmishing, every thing to-day has been

tolerably quiet; but tonight, about eight and a half o'clock, we were

suddenly startled by loud volleys of musketry on our left, which were

shortly mingled with the stunning reports of some artillery. The

stillness of the night air renders every sound far more distinctly

audible than during the day, and greatly diminishes the apparent

direction from which it proceeds. Thy volleys of musketry suddenly

breaking upon the night's silence, has in it something truly errible, and

to one unaccustomed to it would convey the impression that a fierce and

deadly conflict was progressing; yet, these sudden and terrific outbursts

are often nothing more than volleys fired in air at an imaginary foe,

occasioned, perhaps, by the discharge of a single Rebel rifle. These

false alarms are entirely natural. Our men lie in face of an active and

wily enemy, ready at any moment to avail himself of our slightest

relaxation of vigilance. He may attempt a surprise at any moment, and on

any portion of our line, and the vigilance of our men is therefore kept

constantly at its utmost tension. The report of a musket, a low voice or

whisper, the sound of a bootstep, the breaking of bushes, is heard in

front of some point of our line; for aught we kniw, it may indicate a

stealthy foe advancing silent and cautious, to attack us; and the

possible danger is greeted with an instantaneous volley.

For this reason it is difficult at night to form any judgment of events

by the amount of noise made. To-night, however, the firing was so

severe, and kept up so long, as very naturally to produce the impression

that the enemy was making a most desperate and determined assault on our

left wing. Inquiry subsequently elicited that although an attack had

been made, its magnitude was slight in proportion to the amount of powder

exploded and the clamor made. The firing was chiefly along the front of

Gibbons' Division of the Second Corps, and Russell's Division of the

Sixth. Of the formerdivision, the Second Brigade, General Owen, and the

First Brigade, Col. Ramsey, report that the enemy fired from their

rifle-pits, the object being to stop our working parties on the

intrenchments; but the Third Brigade, Colonel Smyth, report that in their

front the Rebels actually approached our works, crawling on their hands

and knees almost up to our front breastworks. They were, however, glad

to retire again to the cover of their own works as soon as our men opened

fire; but if they were out in line of battle, as it is said they were at

this point, they must have left many dead and wounded behind them. At

other parts of the line it was merely an exchange of volleys and

artillery fire between the opposing works. Shells and even bullets came

far to the rear of our line of battle, and the head-quarters of General

Hancock was exposed for a time to a very heavy fire. Captain McEwan of

General Hancock's staff had his leg struck by a shell while standing in

front of his own tent. The wound is such as to render amputation

necessary. With this exception our casualties are supposed to have been

insignificant. The duration of the firing was about forty-five minutes.

The body of Colonel McKeen, Eighty-first Pennsylvania, whose death I

ennounced to you yesterday, was this morning brought off the field and

sent to an hospital for embalment, then to be forwarded north at the

earliest opportunity. Major Hancock, Assistat Adjutant General of

General Barlow's Division, at considerable risk of his own line, went out

to the body while it lay under the rebel fire, but ascertaining that life

was extinct, brought away such papers and other articles as were on his

person to forward home to his family.

Colonel Porter, of the Eighth New Jersey Heavy Artillery, was killed

yesterday morning, a short distance outside our rifle pits. It was very

difficult to get his body inside the works, owing to the vigilant

attention of Rebel sharp-shooters, but with the aid of a rope it was


Since taking up our present position we have had a battery of Cohorn

mortars employed, which threw shells of twenty-four pounds, and at the

short range at which we are now operating, must be highly effective.

I heard to-night an incident worth relating in connection with the Rebel

assault of two nights ago. About forty Rebels, somewhat more daring than

their fellows, crawled on hands and knees up to our breastworks on a part

of General Barlow's front. On coming up they met with no resistance from

our men, the latter, on the contrary, lending a helping hand to each

Rebel who came in their way, by seizing him by the collar and bringing

him over head fore-most into the rifle-pits, where of course he found

himself a prisoner.
To-day a flag of truce was sent out in charge of Col. Lyman, of Gen.

Meade's staff and Major Mitchel, of Gen. Hancock's Staff, to effect an

arrangement for getting off the wounded from between the two lines of

battle. The proposition ought to be acceptable to the enemy, as its

object is purely humanitarian, but I have not yet heard whether it has

been acceded to.

Heavy cannonading was heard this afternoon to the southeast. It may have

been our cavalry on the extreme left of the army, but it is quite as

likely to have been the sound of heavy artillery on the James River.

I heard that Gregg's Division of cavalry has had some brisk fighting

t-day, near Bottom's Bridge, but am unable to as yet give any

particulars. Philadelphia Inquirer, JUNE 9, 1864 P. 1 COL. 1-2

The Siege of Richond

Special Corespondence of the Inquirer

Near Head Quarters Army, Three Miles
From Cold Harbor, June 6, 1864
Mnday 10 a.m.

A brght day of summer bathed in sunshine and cooler with a bracing air,

succeding a yesterday of drizzling rain and heavy atmosphere; scarcely

the dropping shots of a picket line, when yesterday closed with a short

but terrible storm of iron hail bursting on Barlow's lines, theare some

of the changes of war and weather we are experiencing on the sacred soil

of war-wasted Virginia.

Our Positions

When I attempt to give you an idea of the formation of our line this

morning, I opine the task a hard one, for it is exceedingly tiresome work

for the unpracticed mind to obtain a decided opinion here on the ground.

However, like Colonel Miller, "I'll try." . . .

A week ago to-day, our line faced the Cental Railroad, and to the west

with Mechanicsville and Richmond on our left flank; to-day, as a

consequence, of our gradual sliding (I can use no other term) to the

left, our right has been swung around, and our whole line so crept down

the Chickahominy, that we now face to the southwest, with that stream

before us, and with Mechanicsville and Richmond almost in front of our

centre. This is a change of but a few miles in distance, but a vast one

in position.

What Is Before Us?

Lee's army and a difficult task. If that army of the enemy were out in

the open field he woud make extraordinarily short that work of them, but

unfortunately they are not.

Just now they are in an improvised series of works northeast of the

Chickahominy, not, properly speaking, a part of the defenses of Richmond,

which all lie behind that historic stream.

Across the Chickahominy are

The Defenses of Richmond

Which, from the conversations with citiziens, I find to be in five lines,

or series of works. Meantime as the two armies lie close fighting is the

order of the day. It is the days of Vicksburg over again. The

skirmishing lines are hardly forty yards apart, andeach line is not much

more than that in advance of the line of earthworks. That debatable

ground between the lines of skirmishers would hardly be called pleasant

just now. Sometimes a rashly adventurious spirit advances into it, but

only a little way, for to be Union or Rebel, he is sure to fall, killed

or wounded. Happy for hm if the former, for if wounded only he must lie

where he falls, suffering the agonies of thirst, heat, pain and suspense

until the friendly cover of night will enable his comrades to go to his


Even division head-quarters are not agreable places of residence.

Russell, Gibbon, Barlow, Potter and many others have the whistling music

of minnies mingling with the routine of their domestic bliss. Even corps

head-quarters are honoed occasionally by these tokens from across the

borders. Night before last a bullet splintered the pole of Baldy Smith's

tent, but did not damage beyond that, not even ruffling the temper of the

imperturable commander of the Eighteenth Corps.

But nobody seems to consider all this of any moment. Riding along the

front of the Second and Sixth Corps this morning, it was instructive to

note the various occupations of the men; in the third line of

breastworks, where shells were liable to alight at any moment, and in the

second, where musket balls were intruding themselves constantly, men were

writing letters, playing cards, cooking meals or eating them, ddoing

anything and everything that men would do anywhere else, and doing it

with a sang froid that was delightful.

The Philadelphia Brigade

In every fight of the campaign, where the Second Corps has been engaged,

this Brigade, led by the chivalrous Owen, has been conspicuous. How

General Owen has thus far escaped death or wounds is a miracle. Always

in the thiest of the battle, has has since the campaign opened had one

horse killed under him and three wounded. Captain Searbury, his Adjutant

General, has been killed, Captain Hall, his successor, wounded, and on

the 34d Lieutenant Hontoon, one of his Aids, was mortally wounded. These

facts tell where General Owen has been during the campaign, and where he

has led his Brigade has cheerfully followed. The 69th Pennsylvania,

Major Davis, 71st, Colonel R. Penn Smith; 72nd, Colonel D.W.C. Baxter;

106th, Captain Bridenbaugh; 184th, Major Charles Klickner, are regiments

of whose records neither General Owens or Pennsylvania need be ashamed.

Their long list of mortality speaks volumes for their bravery and their

devotion to the cause of their country. On the morning of the3rd

Adjutant Willey of the 69th and Captain Townsend of the 106th, in dying

for their country but added their names to the already long roll of honor

of the brigade.

Another Philadelphian, Captain Gleason, is the Quartermaster of the

Brigade, and how well he does his duty is attested by the fact that Corps

and Division Quartermasters keep him busy on detailed duty all the time.

To my scribblings of the morning I can only add that so far the day has

been quket enough. The picket firing and cannonading has been as usual,

neither heavier nor lighter than yesterday, or any other day of late.

Undoubtedly in an hour or two we shall have an attack, some rattling

vollies, some heavy artillery firing, and then probably things will quiet

down again.

Friday, 7th 6 a.m. - An hour and a half of daylight and not a shot so

far. What does it mean? If Lee has retreated, it has only been to fall

behind the Chickahominy, a mile or so from his line on this side.

We had a quiet night too. Only an occasional shot. nothing like an

attack by either side. No material change in position either.

Philadelphia Inquirr, June 10, 1864 p. 1 col. 1-2.

The Operations of Tuesday

A Flag of Truce - The Proceedings Under It - Burying the Dead and

Bringing in the Wounded - A Voluntary Armistice - Successful movement of

the Fifth Corps - Rebel Railroad Battery

Special Correspondent of the Inquirer

Headquarters, Army of th Potomac, Coal Harbor, June 7, Night - The most

interesting event of to-day was a truce of two hours between six and

eight o'clock this evening for the purpose of burying the dead and

getting of wounded, if any should be found on the ground between our own

and the Rebel lines. Flags of truce had been exchanged for the purpose

on this subject yesterday, but up to last night nothing had been offered.

This morning, however, the arrangement was made, that a truce of two

hours would commence at six p.m. None but officers of the Medical

department and stretcher bearers, and such men as were absolutely needed

for the work in hand, were allowed go to upon the ground.

Although it has been comparatively quiet for two or three days past, it

was a strange and unusual time to hear for two hours no sound of war.

At just 6 plm. men at various parts of the lines raised a white flag over

the breastworks, mounted on the top and waved it. The same action was

repeated at the opposite side of the narrow space that separates the

opposing ranks, then both advanced, met midway of the interval and held

some little conversation.

Not a word of the military situation was to pass the lips of any one on

either side. A sergeant with stretchers, bearers and burial party from

each brigade went out and looked over the ground for the bodies of our

dead, which they covered with earth; a similar party from each Rebel

brigade performed the same office for theirs. So far as I have been able

to learn, the number of dead on each side was nearly equal, and not large

on either. I have not heard of any wounded having been found, most of

them having either crawled off themselves or been brought away by parties

of men who ventured out nightly, under cover of darkness. Many of the

dead bodies had also been previously buried in the same way.

Among the bodies found was that of Colonel McManus, commanding a regiment

of the German Legion, in Gibbon's Division of the Second Corps.
At eight o'clock the sullen booming of a cannon announced the termination

of the situation, and every head disappeared behind the shelter of the


The frequent crack of the sharp-shooters rifle, and occasional report of

a cannon, soon indicated that hostilities were resumed. It is an

incident worth mentioning, that in front of one division a truce was

agreed upon between the men, without reference to higher authorities, and

faithfully observed throughout the greater part of the day. The two

lines were within easy conversational distance of each other, and the

men, coming to the conclusion that their mutual slaughter had no

influence upon the general result, agreed to cease firing until an

advance or some other movement on one side or the other should be


Last night a party of Rebels, consisting of two officers and five men

were taken prisoners while outside their lines searching for a wounded

colonel belonging to some North Carolina regiment. The colonel himself

was found and brought into our lines. He was severely wounded in the

head, and not likely to recover. A remarkable instance of tenacity of

life came to my knowledge this evening. A corporal, who was wounded in

the first engagement near Coal Harbor, six days ago, was brought off last

night still living. His first wound was a sefgre one in the thigh, and

on each successive day he had received another shot in different parts of

his body, until his wounds numbered six. During all that time he had not

a drop of water except what he obtained by sucking the moisture from the

dewy grass at night, or spreading his blanket on the ground to receive

the dew, and afterwards applying it to his mouth. His sufferings must

have been intense, and it is difficult to conceive the possibility of his

surviving so long. Had I received it on any other than the best

authority, the account would appear incredible. Little does the

comfortable home-staying public know how much it is indebted to the men

who fight the battles, or how far beyond price are the sacrifices they

make for their country.

Yesterday the Fifth Corps was withdrawn from the extreme right, and, at 8

a.m., the First Division, General Griffin, and the Fourth Division,

General Cuttler, under the immediate command of the former General, were

ordered down to the left with instructions to drive the enemy over

Sumner's Bridge, and the railroad crossing on the Chickahominy.

Arriving at the point designated at about 6 a.m. they deployed, and

without difficulty drove the enemy across the river as directed, the 18th

Massachusetts Regiment forming the skirmish line and being the only one

engaged, our casualties were but trifling. The enemy was picketing this

part of the river with cavalry, but had also two regiments of infantry at

the railroad crossing, and a brigade at Meadow Station, a mile or two

nearer Richmond. Near the railroad crossing they had a small

earthworks, mounting two guns, and another of the same kind about half a

mile above, from both of which occasional shots have been fired during

the day.

At General Girrfin's headquarters, I saw a shell (one of two or three)

which had been fired at his lines during the day, from a sort of

iron-clad car on the railroad, which at this point runs obliquely to the

river, and for some distance is within easy range of the northern bank.

Officers who saw the car at first supposed it to be a water tank, were

were speedily undeceived. On nearing it belched forth a great volume of

flame and smoke from the mouth of a 70 pounder rifled gun. The shell I

saw measured six and a half inches in diameter, and weighted fifty seven

pounds which, added to the weight of a piece of of copper, broken off one

end, just about seventy pounds.

When I left this paqrt of the line the men were busily intrenching their


I shall indulge in no particulars as to future movments, but let events

speak for themselves as they transpire.

Trains are running on the Richmond and York River Railroad, from White

House to Despatch Station, and supplies are brought up to the army in


A present all his very quiet. Philadelphia Inquirer June 11, 1864 p. 1

col. 1-2

Our movements Near the Chickahominy

Associated Press Accounts

Despatch Station, Richmond and York River Railroad, June 8, 1864

The First and Fourth Divions of the -- Corps reached here this morning.

It was three o'clock a.m. wshen the men began the march. When day dawned

the Rebels on the north side of the Chickahominy observed the moving

column and opened on them with two guns of very heavy calibre. Several

men were injured while marching in the ranks. Colonel Hoffman's Brigade

of the Fourth Division imediately took possession of this side of the

railroad bridge.

A barricade was thrown across the railroad about half a mile below this

station. Between us and the Rebels flows the Chickahominy, a sinuous,

sluggish stream, bounded on either side by jungles and morasses, from

which is continually ariving dampness and noxious vapors. At this point

the stream is not more than one hundred yards in width, but the bridge is

three times as long. All the rack is in excellent running orders, a

little rusty from long disuse, but still quite complete, with switches

and side tracks in good repair.

During the afternoon the Rebels mounted a heavy piece of ordnance upon a

truck and approached within a short distance of the bridge. They threw

some 6 inch shells over our men, which elicited considerable criticism

from those happening to make narrow escapes. rifle pits were dug and a

long line of fortifications begun. For a time the skirmishers were

friendly, and conversed with each other across the river, but before dark

they were using every species of finese to cause one another to expose

his body to be shot.

Washington, June 10 - Headquarters Army of th Potomac, June 8 - Nothing

of interedst has transpired today. Along the greater part of the line

the utmost quiet prevailed until about 5 p.m. when some skirmishes took

place on the left.

Capt. McEwen of Gen. Hancock's staff, who lost his leg by a shell on

Sunday evening, with still alive, although no hopes are entertained of

his recover. Philadelphia Inquirer, June 11, 1864 p. 1 col. 2

Further News from Grant

Associated Press

Cessation of Picket Firing - Position of Beauregard's Troops - Rebels

Fortifying on the Chickahominy

Head-Quarters, Army of the Potomac, June 9, 1864 - There is nothing

especially interesting to report on a part of the lines. Picket firing

has been kept up all day, while, at other portions oit would seem, as if

by mutual consent, this practice has ceased.

Last evening a battery in General Birney's Division oepened on a house on

the left, which, according to a deserter who came in this morning, was

occupied by General Wilcox. Three shells went through it, causing the

occupants to leave rather hastily. The fire was returned with very good

aim, but without loss to us. The deserter says that Beauregard's

troopsare posted from Bottom's Bridge all the way to the James River,

watching for the apperance of an army in that direction.

June 10, Afternoon - The enemy are busy throwing up fortifications in the

vicinity of Sumner and Bottom bridges. The spires of Richmond are

perceptible from the signal stations at these points, and the wgon trains

can be seen moving within three or four miles of the city, where the road

for a short distance is visible.

Very little firing has taken place today and no change in position has

been made within the past two days.

Last evening, as Colonel McAllister of the 11th New Jersey Voluynteers

was riding along the lines, he was fired at by a rebel sharp shooter,

nothwithstanding there had been a tacit agreement that no picket firing

should take place. The ball passed across the colonel's breast and

entered the breast of Wilson Brooker, the colonel's orderly, who was

riding with him. The entire command was put under arms, expecting an

attack, but nothing further occurred. Philadelphia Inquirer, June 13,

864 p. 1 col. 2.


Associated Press Account

No Change in Position - Skirmishing on the Right and Cenre - The Men Well

Preotected by Breastworks - Sociability Between our Men and the Enemy - A

Naval Gun - Bisit of General Meade

Head-Quarters Army of the Potomac, June 11 - Both armies occup their old

positions. About the right and centre considerable skirmishing and

cannonading have occurred, but no damage has been effected by either

side. The men are well protected behind high and strong breastworks.

Their soldiers converse with ours in the most amicable manner, but

opinions being too freely exchanged, as well as sugar and tobacco, such

familiarity has been stopped by special order.

The Rebels have a large gun mounted on a rail-truck. It throws a six

inch shell, and is the object of much mirth amongst our men.

General Meade rode through this portion of our line yesterday afternoon.

His visit was entirely unexpected and unostentatious.

The railroad has been torn up by our troops from Despatch station to

White House and the rails and ties have been carefully carried away.

Philadelphia Inquirer, June 13, 864 p. 1 col. 2.