Primary tabs


Battle Near Richmond.

Exclusively for the Daily Argus.



Official war bulletin:

WASHINGTON, June 30th, 12M. — The government has no accurate information of the state of affairs on the peninsula, by reason of the interruption of the telegraphic communication.

Nothing has been received to warrant the belief of any serious disaster.

NEW YORK, June 29. — The Tribune has issued an extra dated battle field, near Richmond, giving an account of two days desperate fighting.

A company of Bucktails were surrounded and captured.

Our right wing retreated.

Over 125,000 men were engaged.

All civilians are ordered away from White House, &c.

The battle was fought on Thursday and Friday, and was a most desperate affair. It is claimed by some of our officers as a successful strategic movement, into which the enemy had unwittingly been drawn, and which will soon result in the capture of Richmond and the entire rebel army.

The attack was made by the enemy in immense force, who crossed the Chickahominy near the railroad, above Mechanicsville Thursday afternoon.

The rebels fought desperately, but were unable to drive our men a single rod, though they were ten to one.

The only force engaged that day was McCall's division.

The battle lasted from 2 till 9 o'clock p.m., when the division was ordered back.

Gen. McClellan was on the field, expressing himself satisfied with the result.

Thursday about noon the enemy made an attack upon Gen. Stoneman's forces, in the vicinity of Hanover court house, probably for the purpose of accomplishing an outflanking movement on the right, and to engage our attention in that direction.

Shortly afterwards they commenced a furious cannonading from their works an eminence opposite Mechanicsville, about 1 1/2 miles distant, also from two batteries, one above and the other below.

They were replied to by Campbell's Pennsylvania batteries on picket duty, one on the Mechanicsville road, and another behind earthworks at the right of a grove.

About 2 p.m. the enemy's infantry and squadrons of cavalry crossed the Chickahominy in immense force, a short distance above the Virginia Central railroad, making a rapid advance towards Gen. McCall's division, who were entrenched on a hilly road across a swampy ravine, about a mile in the rear of Mechanicsville.

The Penn. Bucktail Rifles, and Campbell's Penn. Battery were on picket duty, all of whom fell back behind the breastworks and rifle pits, except one company, where a line of battle was formed.

Co. K, of the Bucktails, who were on picket beyond the railroad, were surrounded by the enemy, and the last that was known of them they were trying to cut their way through. It is presumed that the greater portion of them were taken prisoners.

The enemy advanced at the rear of Mechanicsville to where our forces were drawn up behind rifle pits and earthworks, on an eminence on the northern side of the ravine, when the conflict became most general.

The rebels with the most determined courage attempted to press forward over miry ground, but the bullets and grape shot fell among them like hail — mowing them down. This continued till dark when they withdrew.

The cannonading was kept up on both sides until about 9 o'clock p.m., when the battle ceased.

Our forces were covered by earthworks, and suffered but slightly.

Late in the afternoon the enemy made a charge with cavalry, about 100 of them rushed down and attempted to cross the ravine, when their horses became mixed. A squadron of our cavalry, seeing their position, made a charge down the hill, when the cavalry men abandoned their horses and fled.

The infantry fight was then renewed, and, according to the statement of my informant, Surgeon Humphries of the Penn. Bucktails, continued till about 7 a.m., when a retreat was ordered, very much against the will of the Pennsylvania boys, who begged to be allowed to hold their position.

The outer forces then began to fall back.

Porter's corps were some distance below Duryea's residence.

Of next day's battle, the correspondent says the cannonading and musketry were terrific. Duryea's gallant Zouaves were lying on the ground for two hours, while our batteries were shelling the woods over them. Finally, towards night, the enemy attempted to break the centre in front of the Zouaves.

The musketry firing became terrific, lasting 20 or 30 minutes.

Shortly afterwards an attempt was made to break through the right which was repulsed, and half an hour latter another attempt was made on the left with the same result.

The battle had them been raging for some hours without any apparent change or advantage on either side. Reinforcements of artillery and infantry then came steadily along the bridge to the field of battle.

The enemy then seemed to make their last desperate, determined effort, and came forcing our men back into the low ground between the hill and the bridge, where they could have been slaughtered by tens of thousands before they could have crossed that long, narrow bridge.

Wagons, artillery, ambulances and men were hurrying toward the bridge, and a panic was almost inevitable, when a strong guard was placed across the bridge.

At the time when the enemy had almost reached the main hospital half a mile from the river, Thomas Francis Meagher's Irishmen, stripped and with bare arms, came over the hill, and were ordered to go in. They gave a yell and went to work, and the result was that the enemy fell back to the woods, and thus matters stood up to 11 o'clock yesterday (Sunday) morning.

At dark an attack was made along the front of the entire line, and was renewed at 2 a.m., in front of Gens. Hooker, Kearney and Sumner without material result.

Another correspondence says of Friday's battle:
Twice all along the front did the rebels attack our lines. Our rifle pits and redoubts, Procter with 5 cannon, and Sumner, Hooker and Ayres' guns mowed them a death harvest.

Their loss in killed and wounded was terrible.

Under date of Friday, midnight, the same correspondent says:
Ten guns were taken from us by a sudden flank attack covered by the thick smoke which hung around.

Count de Paris captured a rebel major who belonged to Jackson's army. He said he had been in the valley of the Shenandoah all winter, and came here yesterday with part of Jackson's army. The rest of it arrived this morning — the whole of it was here.

He said that in the attack on our right the enemy had from 60,000 to 80,000 troops. This will explain the enormous fire under which our men were borne down and swept away. — Precisely as some of the regiments were swept away at Seven Pines.

Yesterday the Pennsylvania reserve drove the attacking regiments of Jackson's command. To-day they were overpowered by the same regiments, reinforced.

Sykes' regulars called up, proved unequal to the task of stopping them, and Slocum's command had to be added.

The Count de Paris testifies to the remarkable good conduct of all the regiments that sustained this unequal attack on Porter's division. They gave way, indeed, but not one of them ran. Their loss is enormous.

The regular 11th infantry is about annihilated, nearly every officer in it was killed our wounded. The 14th also suffered severely. Major Roselle, of the regulars, a kinsman of Gen. McClellan, was killed. Col. Pratt, of a New York regiment, and Lieut. Cols. Black and Swetzer were killed.

Our loss in officers is very marked indeed.

The disproportion in numbers was so extraordinary, and the obstinacy of our troops so unyielding that our losses were inevitably large.

The artillery in both parties of Smith's divisions piled the rebels in heeps. The fire was terribly effective.