From The Army Of The Potomac

Heavy Battle Before Richmond


May 23, 1999

Lieutenant General Grant's Report -- Assault on the Enemy's Works -- The Rebels Driven within their Entrenchments at Every Point -- No Decisive Result -- Union Killed and Wounded Three Thousand -- Several Prominent Officers Killed.

The following news was received on Saturday.


War Department, June 4, 10 A.M. -- To Major-General Dix, New York: -- Dispatches from General Grant's headquarters dated 3 o'clock yesterday (Friday) afternoon, have just been received. No operations took place on Thursday.

At half-past four o'clock this (Friday) morning General Grant made an assault on the enemy's lines, of which he makes the following report:

"We assaulted at 4.30 this morning, driving the enemy within his entrenchments at all points, but without gaining any decided advantage. Our troops now occupy a position close to the enemy, in some places within fifty yards, and are remaining. Our loss was not severe, nor do I suppose the enemy to have lost heavily. We captured over three hundred prisoners, mostly from Breckinridge.

Another later official report (not from Gen. Grant) estimates the number of our killed and wounded at about three thousand. The following officers are among the killed: Col. Haskell, 36th Wisconsin; Col. Porter, 8th New York Heavy Artillery; Col. Morris, 66th N New York.

Among the wounded are Gen. R. O. Tyler, seriously -- will probably lose a foot; Col. McMahan, 16th New York; Col. Byrnes, 28th Massachusetts, probably mortally; Colonel Brooks, 53d Pennsylvania.

E. M. Stanton, Sec'y of War.



Later from General Grant -- Particulars of Friday's Fight -- The Rebels Unwaveringly Repulsed -- Gordon's Rebel Cavalry Routed.

War Department, June 5, 1 P.M. -- Major General Dix, New York: A dispatch from General Grant's headquarters, dated half-past eight o'clock last night, has been received. It states "that about 7 o'clock P.M. yesterday, Friday, (the 3d of June,) the enemy suddenly attacked Smith's brigade of Gibbons's division. The battle lasted with great fury for half an hour. The attack was unwaveringly repulsed. Smith's losses were inconsiderable.

At 6 P.M., Wilson, with his cavalry, fell upon the rear of a brigade of Heth's division, which Lee had thrown around to his left, apparently with the intention of enveloping Burnside.

After a short but sharp conflict, Wilson drove them from their rifle pits in confusion. He took a few prisoners. He had previously fought with and routed Gordon's brigade of rebel cavalry.

During these fights he lost several officers; among them Colonel Preston, 1st Vermont cavalry, killed; Colonel Benjamin, 8th New York cavalry, seriously wounded; General Stannard, serving in the 18th corps, was severely wounded yesterday (Friday).

Our entire loss in killed, wounded and missing during the three days operations around Cold Harbor will not exceed, according to the Adjutant General's report, 7,500.

This morning (Saturday) June 4th, the enemy's left wing, in front of Burnside, was found to have been drawn in during the night.

Colonel Cessnold, in command of 5,000 men, arrived here yesterday, having marched from Port Royal.

Telegraphic communication between Carrystone and Fortress Monroe continues interrupted. ...

Edwin M. Stanton,

Secretary of War.


Sheridan's Cavalry Five Miles from Richmond -- Advance of the Whole Union Line -- General Smith's Forces Joining Grant -- Rebel Losses over Two Thousand -- Five Hundred Prisoners.

The Tribune has the following from its special correspondent

Army of the Potomac, June 1 -- Yesterday afternoon Sheridan encountered the enemy's cavalry on the Mechanicsville pike, and after quite a heavy engagement drove them to within about five miles of Richmond, holding his ground.The Fifth Corps soon after pressed forward and formed his rear support; and this morning the Sixth Corps swings around from its old position on the right and moves down to Cold Harbor and Mechanicsville.

Barlow's division on the Second Corps again distinguished itself last night, just before dark, in charging upon and carrying two lines of the enemy's rifle pits.

Nine A.M. -- Hancock is still hammering away at the enemy's advance picket line, eliciting thus far little or no response.

Captain Platt, of the commissary department, who was captured yesterday, it is stated, was at the time reconnoitering outside our lines.

Our extreme left today rests upon the line of the South River railroad, giving us a line of some six or eight miles in extent.

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