I received this dispatch from Gen. Meade,
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS,
September 30, 1864-9 p. m.
About 4 p. m. General Parke was advancing to the Boydton Plank road when he was vigorously attacked by the enemy, said by prisoners to have been two divisions of Hill’s corps. Potter’s division, Ninth Corps, was forced back, requiring Hartranft, on his left, to retire a short distance. Warren sent Griffin to Parke’s support and the enemy were checked. Parke has lost in prisoners and wounded left in the advanced position held. The fighting for some time till after dark was very severe, and after the Ninth Cops rallied and Griffin attacked it is believed the enemy suffered heavily. I have directed General Warren to intrench himself in his position and extend if practicable to the Weldon railroad, and General Parke to intrench on Warren’s left. I do not think it judicious to make another advance to-morrow unless re-enforced or some evidence can be obtained of the weakening of the enemy.
GEO. G. MEADE,
CITY POINT, VA., September 30, 1864-9.40 p. m.
You need not advance to-morrow unless in your judgment an advantage can be gained, but hold on to what you have, and be ready to advance. We must be greatly superior the enemy in numbers on one flank or the other, and by working around at each end, we will find where the enemy’s weak point is. General Butler was assaulted three times this afternoon, but repulsed all of them. I will direct him to feel up the Darbytown road to-morrow.
U. S. GRANT,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 249
O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 1121
I received the following report from Gen Meade,
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH CORPS,
[September] 30, 1864-2.25 p. m.
General Griffin, Warren reports, has carried the enemy’s work on the Peebles farm in handsome style, taking a number of prisoners. Warren is getting his command in position, looking to his connection on the Weldon railroad, and Parke is forming o his left. Gregg rapport the enemy’s cavalry has left his immediate front, and, as far as the can ascertain, are across the twenty Creek. I have directed him to watch the Jerusalem plank road and notified Hancock to have his reserves ready to meet any cavalry demonstrations on the Norfolk or Prince George Court-House roads, where I now have only small cavalry and infantry pickets. Benham must look out for the Old Court-House road.
GEO G. MEADE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
September 30, 1864.
If the enemy can be broken and started, follow him up closely. I can’t help believing that the enemy are prepared to leave Petersburg if forced a little.
U. S. GRANT,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 248
O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 1119
So far, I have had no word of fighting on Gen. Meade’s front. I wrote Gen. Halleck,
CITY POINT, VA., September 30, 1864-10.30 a. m.
Washington, D. C.:
I have heard no firing yet this morning. Before daylight I went up to Deep Bottom and found all quiet there. General Meade moved out from his left this morning and must soon encounter the enemy. Rosser’s brigade of cavalry has gone to join Early. The brigade numbers about 1,400 horses. Yesterday an infantry force left Petersburg in the Lynchburg cars. It may be, however, they are going via Burkeville to Richmond. Nothing heard from Sheridan through southern sources since Tuesday evening.
U. S. GRANT,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 242
O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 1117
Although I told Julia I would not have the opportunity to write, I was able to write her a short letter.
City Point, Va. Sept. 29th 1864.
I have been out all day on the battle field and well up towards Richmond. Our troops surprised and captured a very long line of strong fortifications and took some fifteen or twenty cannon. The distance was too great to Richmond or it would have been taken. Before morning I presume the enemy will have his fortifications around Richmond well maned and we will have to stay out for the present. Our advance troops were within three miles the last I heard from them,—I have just received your letter written on the blank part of Jennie’s, You [are] right to tell the principal of the school you propose to send the children too that you understand the citizens of Phila are about presenting you with a house and if they [do] you will go there and take the children with you. If I was going to be at home all the time the boys might go to boarding school. But for me and them both to be away will leave you to lonesome. I feel that the time is now near when I shall be able to spend a good part of each week at home. I hope I shall not be disappointed. Good night dear Julia, I shall be very busy to-night and to-morrow to. There will be heavy fighting commencing at daylight in the morning if the enemy do not commence it to-night. I shall attack then south of Petersburg and East of Richmond at that time.
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 241
With the success of Gen. Butler’s attack today against the enemy’s left, hopefully Lee will shift his forces to oppose him. If so, our attack on Petersburg may succeed in taking the town. I wrote Gen. Meade,
CITY POINT, VA., September 29, 1864-11.30 p.m.
You need not move out at daylight in the morning, but be prepared to start at, say, 8 o’clock, if you find the enemy still further reduced,or if ordered. I will start up to Deep Bottom at 5 a.m., and may be able to judge of the force sent to the north side by the enemy. When you do move out I think it will be advisable to maneuver to get a good position from which to attack, and then if the enemy is routed follow him into Petersburg,or where circumstances seem to direct. I do not think it advisable to try to extend our line to the South Side road, uncles a very considerable part of the enemy is drawn across the James, and then only when we are able to withdraw Butler’s force rapidly and it to you.
U. S. GRANT,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 240
O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 1094
Our attack continues to push forward. I wrote Gen. Halleck,
DEEP BOTTOM, September 29, 1864-4 p.m.
Kautz’s cavalry was in sight of Richmond at last accounts, on the Darbytown road. A division of infantry has been sent to his support. I did not expect to carry Richmond,but was in hopes of causing the enemy so to weaken the garrison of Petersburg as to be able to carry that place. The great object, however, is to prevent the enemy sending re-enforcements to Early.
U. S. GRANT,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 231
O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 1091
I received a telegram from President Lincoln expressing concern about a renewed rebel push up the Shenandoah Valley.
WASHINGTON, D. C., September 29, 1864-9.40 a.m.
City Point, Va.:
I hope it will lay no constraint on you, nor do harm anyway, for me to say I am a little afraid lest Lee sends re-enforcements to Early, and thus enables him to turn upon Sheridan.
The attack we are currently making should put an end to any chance of Lee weakening his position in Petersburg. I wrote back,
DEEP BOTTOM, September 29, 1864-1.40 p.m.
President A. LINCOLN:
Your dispatch just received. I am taking steps to prevent Lee sending re-enforcement to Early by attacking him here. Our advance is now within six miles of Richmond and have captured some very strong inclosed forts, some fifteen or more pieces of artillery and several hundred prisoners. Although I have been at the front, I can give no estimate of our losses. About 600 wounded men, however, have been brought in.
U. S. GRANT,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 228-9
O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 1090-1
Our attacks north of the James River have been very successful so far. I wrote Gen. Halleck,
CHAFFIN’S FARM, September 29, 1864-10.45 a.m.
General Ord’s corps advanced this morning and carried the very strong fortifications and long line of intrenchments below Chaffin’s farm, with some 15 pieces of artillery and from 200 to 300 prisoners. General Ord was wounded in the leg, though not dangerously. General Birney advanced at the same time from Deep Bottom, and carried the New Market road and intrenchments and scattered the enemy in every direction toward Richmond. I left General Birney where the Mill road intersects the New Market and Richmond roads. The whole country is filled with field fortifications thus far.
U. S. GRANT,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 229
O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 1091
Battle of New Market Heights
I wrote Julia,
This letter is from the young lady in Lexington Ky. you have heard Wilson say so much about and in answer to some of his nonsense which he made a pretext to write to her.
The photograph is also hers. Save it for I know Wilson will want it some day. The other Photograph is of Dr. Rodgers’ who officiated 42 years ago last 27th of Apl.
All well. I will write no more. In the morning we fight another great battle and I do not feel like writing any thing more than answers to the many dispatches I will receive, troops will be moving all night preparatory for the great struggle which will commence at the dawn of day. You will hear however through the telegraph all about it before this reaches you.
Love and kisses for you and the children.
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 228
Sheridan’s victories in the Shenandoah Valley have given me reason to believe that a movement against Lee’s lines could meet with great success. Butler will attack north of the James River. Meade will then attempt to catch the enemy off balance by sweeping south around Petersburg. I wrote Gen. Butler,
CITY POINT, VA., September 27, 1864.
Commanding Army of the James:
Prepare your army according to the verbal instructions already given for moving on the morning of the 29th instant. Your lines between the James and Appomattox Rivers can be held with new regiments and such artillery as you deem necessary. All garrisons from your command below the mouth of the Appomattox will be left as they are now. The movement should be commenced at night, and so as to get a considerable force north of the James River, ready to assault the enemy’s lines in front of Deep Bottom, and from Aiken’s house or other point above Deep Bottom, where the two assaulting columns will be in easy supporting distance of each other, as soon as the enemy’s line is broken at the dawn of day. If one good division from each of your corps are over in time for this, with the balance of these corps following, with a pontoon bridge for each, it will answer. The object of this movement is to surprise and capture Richmond, if possible. This cannot be done if time is given the enemy to move forces to the north side of the river. Success will depend on prompt movement at the start. Should the outer line be broken, the troops will push for Richmond with all promptness, following roads as near the river as possible. It is impossible to point out the line of march for an army in the presence of the enemy, make it impracticable. It is known that the enemy has intrenched positions on the bank of the river between Deep Bottom and Richmond, such as Chaffin’s farm, which are garrisoned. If these can be captured in passing, they should be held by suitable garrisons. If not captured, troops should be left to hold them in their position, and should intrench to make themselves strong. It will be necessary, therefore, to have your engineer troops, with their tools, well up with the advance. Should you succeed in getting to Richmond, the interposition of the whole army (rebel) between you and your supplies need cause you no alarm. With the army under General Meade, supplies could be cut off from the enemy in the event of so unexpected a move, and communication opened with you either by the south side or from the White House before the supplies you would find in the city would be exhausted. In case you reach Richmond, the details for garrisoning and holding the place are left to or the senior officer of the troops that get in. One thing I would say, however, all the bridges connecting the city with the south side should be destroyed at once or held beyond a peradventure. As the success of the enterprise depends entirely on celerity, the troops will go right. They will take only a single blanket rolled and carried over the shoulder, three days’ rations in haversack, and sixty rounds of ammunition in box and on the person. No wagons will be taken. They will be supplied, however, with six days’ rations, half forage for the same time, and forty rounds of extra ammunition for men, to follow if they should be required. No wagons will cross the James River till ordered by you. The whole of the force under General Meade will be under arms at 4 a.m. on the 29th, ready to attack Petersburg or move to South Side road, as circumstances may determine. As against any force now north of the James River you can go to Richmond even without a surprise. If enemy resists you by sufficient force to prevent your advance, it is confidently expected that General Meade can gain a decisive advantage on his end of the line. The prize sought is either Richmond or Petersburg, or sa position which will secure the fall of the latter. Please furnish me with a copy of your detailed instructions.
U. S. GRANT,
The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 12, p 219-21
O.R., I, xlii, part 2, p 1058-9