Montly Record of Current Events, June 20.
At the close of our last Record the Federal and Confederate armies were confronting each other at Spottsylvania Court House on the line of the Po. The battle had been renewed on the 18th of May, after the lull of a week, during which both armies had been rested and reinforced. In this engagement Hancock, operating against the enemy's right flank, gained two lines of his intrenchments and captured several guns: Burnside drove the Confederate left some distance, but subsequently withdrew.
The next day Ewell's corps made a desperate attempt to turn Grant's right and capture his supply trains, which were loaded with ammunition and subsistence. The attack was repulsed, chiefly by the gallantry of Tyler's Division, consisting for the most part of raw recruits. The Federal loss was
400comparatively small — only 900 killed and wounded, while Ewell lost 1250, besides 500 taken prisoners.
On the evening of the 20th Grant began to manoeuvre his left with the purpose of drawing Lee out of his intrenchments. The position had been attempted over and again, sometimes with partial success and frequently with failure. The greatest success gained was that of the 12th, when Johnston and his division were captured; and if the disposition of the Federal forces had been favorable the advantage gained on this occasion might have been pushed to more decisive results. Having determined to shift his position, Grant extended his left until Spottsylvania Court House stood over on his right. Lee at the same time extended his right, intrenching at every move. In order to compel a retreat Grant had to flank Lee outright by massing his force on the left. On Friday, the 20th, then, Hancock shifted over to Lee's extreme right, and in the evening advanced southward. He continued his march the next day, and on Saturday evening occupied Bowling Green. About an hour after Hancock started, Friday night, Longstreet also moved southward. On Saturday Hancock was followed by Warren, and Longstreet by Ewell; during Saturday night both armies were on the march.
Monday, Grant effected the crossing of the North Anna, in the vicinity of the Virginia Central Railroad. This was not accomplished, however, without an obstinate resistance on the part of the Confederates. The railroad bridge crossing the river at this point was burned by the Federal forces, and Wednesday night found the entire army between the North and South Anna, and within 25 miles of Richmond. On the north bank of the latter river was General Lee's new line of defense.
To all appearances Grant's purpose was to march up and attempt this new line by a series of assaults similar to those directed against the former line along the Po. But Thursday found him preparing to recross the North Anna, and on the last day of May he had his whole army south of the Pamunkey and within ten miles of Richmond, with a new base of supplies established at White House.
The new line ran nearly north and south from a point on the Pamunkey River near Hanover Court House, across Tolopatamoy Creek three miles south of Hanovertown. Grant's head-quarters were on the spot on which M'Clellan's right had rested two years before. The Confederate line stretched from Atlee's Station, along the line of the Chickahominy and the Virginia Central, to Shady Grove Church, five miles north of Richmond. Our forces, ever since crossing the Pamunkey, had been pressing steadily up to this line; and on the 28th a cavalry engagement had been fought, the advance of Gregg's division having met and driven the enemy. On the 80th Warren had pressed close up to Shady Grove; and Crawford's division, getting detached from the main body, was attacked and pushed back. The same day Hancock gained ground on the right.
It was inevitable at this juncture that whichever of the two armies should first acquire a commanding position between the Federal left and Richmond would gain an important advantage. It was for this position that the contest of the next few days was carried on. If Lee should prove successful, then he would be able to cut Grant's line of communications with the White House; while if Grant should succeed, Lee would be compelled to leave the way open to Richmond. On the 31st there were cavalry engagements both on the right and left flanks, in both of which the Federals were successful. The success on the left opened the way to Cold Harbor, on the road from White House to Richmond. On Wednesday, June 1, the Sixth Corps took a position near this place, where it was joined by the Eighteenth and part of the Tenth, sent around from the James; and here a battle was fought by this portion of the army, the result of which was the possession of Cold Harbor by the Federal Forces. Cold Harbor is the key to Richmond on this line of approach; and it only remained to cross the Chickahominy a short distance south to outflank the Confederate army.
It was for this purpose that Hancock was shifted to the left during Wednesday night, and an attack was ordered the next day. This was postponed on account of a severe storm, and the enemy thus gained time to complete his preparations for defense. Thus it happened that on Friday, June 3, the Confederates were as strongly posted on the Chickahominy as they had been on the South Anna. On that day a battle was fought early in the morning, the main interest of which centred on the left. Here the army was carried up in close proximity to the enemy's works. Some important positions were gained at great expense of life, but to no purpose. On the right a heavy cannonade went on, but without sensible effect on the main issue. The attempt to carry the Confederate position by direct assault was given up. In the evening an attack was made by the enemy on a portion of Hancock's corps, but was repulsed, with great loss to the assailants. Several assaults of this nature were subsequently made on Grant's left, with the view of cutting his communications with the White House; but these were uniformly unsuccessful. On the 7th an arrangement was concluded between the two armies for the humane purpose of attending to the killed and wounded on the battle-field; and with this the operations along the Chickahominy were substantially concluded.
The approach to Richmond from the North having been given up. Grant removed his entire army to the south side of the James River, and formed new combinations. The preparations for this movement were in contemplation before the battle of Friday had fairly ended. For more than a week they were going on; and on Sunday night, the 12th, the movement commenced, and was completed by Wednesday morning. The Eighteenth Corps went back to Bermuda Hundred by water; the rest of the army crossed the Chickahominy at Long Bridge and James Bridge, and proceeded thence to the James River, crossing at Powhatan Point. During the march there was no very serious interruption from Lee's army. Smith's corps arriving at its destination sooner than the others, marched forthwith to Petersburg, the other corps following in the same general direction soon after landing.
At the close of our last Record we left Butler in his intrenchments at Bermuda Hundred, to which he had been driven as the result of the fierce assault made by the enemy on the 16th. In the battle which followed, Hickman's brigade suffered severely, and Hickman himself was taken prisoner. After Butler's withdrawal to Bermuda Hundred the Confederates closed about him with great vigor, and made several assaults on his lines, which were repulsed. On the 20th the Confederate General Walter was captured.
With the exception of important reinforcements sent to General Grant, there has since been no
401occurrence of special interest in Butler's department. Kautz on the 19th of May returned from his second great raid, having cut the Richmond and Petersburg and the Danville railroads at various points, destroying a large amount of stores.
Nearly at the same time important successes were achieved in Southwestern Virginia, by Generals Averill and Crook. Besides burning the railroad bridge at Newbern, on the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, several engagements occurred with the enemy, in which the latter, under Morgan and Jenkins, was severely punished. In one of these Jenkins was taken prisoner.
After Sigel's defeat in the Shenandoah, Hunter was appointed to supersede him. On the 5th of June a battle was fought near Staunton, between Hunter and the Confederate General W. E. Jones, resulting in a complete victory. General Jones was killed, Staunton was captured, 1500 prisoners and several guns were taken, and the rebel force was driven to Waynesboro. After the capture of Staunton a junction was effected on the 8th with Crook and Averill. In the mean time Sheridan's command having crossed the Pamunkey on the 7th, were marched to a point south of Gordonsville. This point — Trevilan Station — was reached on the 11th. Here an important victory was gained, and a large portion of the Gordonsville Railroad destroyed; four hundred prisoners were taken.
In the West Sherman, having occupied Kingston and the line of the Etowah, resumed his march on the 24th to Dallas, where he came up with the enemy; on the 28th M'Pherson was engaged, and the Confederates were driven back, with a loss to them of about 3000 men. On Thursday, June 2, Schofield and Hooker moved upon Marietta, a few miles to the left of Dallas; Stoneman's and Garrard's cavalry at the same time taking possession of Allatoona Pass. This advance brings our army out of the mountainous region of Georgia to the fertile plains in the central portion of the State. In regard to the value of Allatoona Pass, Sherman said, in his dispatch of June 7: "I have been to Allatoona Pass, and find it admirable for our purposes. It is the gate through the last, or most eastern spur of the Alleghanies. It now becomes as useful to us as it was to the enemy, being easily defended from either direction. The roads hence from Ackworth into Georgia are large and good, and the country more open."
On the 10th Wheeler, with a Confederate force of cavalry, interrupted the railroad communication between Sherman's army and Chattanooga. At about the same time Forrest, in conjunction with Roddy and Lee, gained a decisive victory over Sturgis at Guntown, Mississippi. General A. J. Smith, who had been operating successfully against Marmaduke, was, after this disaster, placed at the head of the forces against the rebel cavalry acting in Sherman's rear.
In the Southwest affairs have at least assumed a less critical aspect as compared with the situation a month ago. General Banks with his army have returned to New Orleans, having fought two battles on the way, in both of which the rebels were repulsed. Porter's gun-boat fleet was relieved on the 11th of May through the ingenious efforts of Lieutenant-Colonel Bailey, who brought it safely out of its perilous situation by the construction of a dam at Alexandria. General A. J. Smith's army has also been brought down the river, and dispatched against the forces under Marmaduke, in Arkansas. General Canby was at the mouth of the Red River on the 14th of May, where he was collecting together forces to assist Banks. Banks's position remains the same as hitherto; the significance to be attached to Canby's appointment being simply that the Trans-Mississippi Department is now organized under a single command, and Banks reports to Canby just as Thomas reports to Sherman.
Early in the month John Morgan, with 2500 men, made another raid into Kentucky. Entering by Pound Gap, he, with great rapidity, got possession of Paris, Georgetown, Cynthiana, Williamstown, and Mount Sterling. He attacked the Louisville and other railroads, interrupting communications for several days. This force was met by Burbridge on the 9th, and severely beaten, but not so badly used as to prevent further destruction; for Lexington was atterward captured and plundered by Morgan's men, and two Ohio regiments were taken at Cynthiana. On the 12th, however, Burbridge again attacked, and this time with a decisive result, completely routing the enemy and capturing a large portion of his force, besides a thousand horses, which were probably the main object of the raid.
The navy has lost three gun-boats by capture during the month; the Granite City and the Wave at Sabine Pass; and the Water Witch, which was taken by eight rebel gun-boats under the guns of Fort M'Allister, Georgia.
The Cleveland Convention met on May 31. John Cochrane was elected its President. A platform was reported and adopted, made up of resolutions in favor of the Union, the suppression of the rebellion without compromise, of an expression of gratitude to the army and navy, of free speech, free press, the habeas corpus, the abolition of slavery, the right of asylum, the Monroe Doctrine, a one-term Presidency, the confiscation of rebel lands, and their division among the soldiers and sailors of the Union army. John C. Fremont was nominated for President, and John Cochrane for Vice-President. Mr. Fremont's letter of acceptance was every way remarkable. He said that the right to have candidates in the coming election was disputed. He said that the Administration had violated the liberties of American citizens; and that abroad its course had been marked by feebleness and want of principle. Mr. Fremont — the same that in 1861 had, without authority, carried out the widest system of confiscation against Missouri rebels — said, also, that he was opposed to that part of the platform in favor of the confiscation of rebel property. He said that the Administration had disgraced itself by denying the right of asylum, meaning, of course, in the Arguelles case, which is treated of in its legitimate place in this Record. And, finally, he wound up by saying that if the Baltimore Convention would nominate some other candidate than Mr. Lincoln he would support him; but Mr. Lincoln's election he thought it proper to oppose, and, if possible, to prevent, and in that contingency he accepted the nomination of the Cleveland Convention.
On the 7th of June the Baltimore Convention met. Ex-Governor Denison, of Ohio, was elected President. A platform of resolutions was reported and adopted. It was resolved that the rebellion be suppressed without compromise; that slavery be abolished by Constitutional amendment; that an expression of popular gratitude was due not only to the army and navy, but also to the President, that foreign immigration be encouraged; that the rail-
402road to the Pacific ought speedily to be constructed; and that the Monroe doctrine should be maintained. The Convention then nominated Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, and Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee, for President and Vice-President. The nomination was first carried by a call of the States, all except the Missouri delegation voting for Lincoln and Johnson. The nomination "was then made unanimous; a National Committee was elected, and. the Convention adjourned.
According to this memorandum the present Captain-General of Cuba has done all in his power to carry out the treaty obligations of Spain relative to the suppression of the slave-trade; so that for the year ending September 30, 1863, the number of slaves introduced into Cuba is estimated at from seven to eight thousand as compared with 11,251 of the previous year. This diminution would be satisfactory if it were not dependent upon the exertions of the present Captain-General, who is at any moment liable to bo removed; and this officer complains of the want of sufficient power conferred upon him, and of the inadequate provisions of the Spanish penal code for the suppression of the Cuban slave-trade.
In the mean time General Dulce (Captain-General of Cuba) had seized the cargo of slaves. The negroes had been landed in Colon, a district on the south side of the island. Now, the Lieutenant-Governor of this district was Don Jose Augustin Arguelles. It was through this officer that the expedition was captured, for which service he received from the Spanish Government $15,000. Immediately after the capture he obtained leave of absence for twenty days on pretense of a visit to New York to purchase the La Cronica, a Spanish journal published in that city. He did not return from this visit, and it was subsequently discovered that he had retained one hundred and forty of the negroes belonging to the expedition and had sold them into slavery at a profit to himself of a hundred thousand dollars. The United States Consul at Havana forwarded to Secretary Seward a statement of these facts on the 27th of March.
There was no extradition treaty between Spain and the United States by which the former could claim the rendition of Arguelles; but in view of the infamous crime committed by the latter General Dulce was informed that if he would, send to New York a suitable officer steps would be taken, if possible, to place Arguelles in his possession. This action on the part of the United States Government was the more urgently demanded by the fact that without the presence of this notorious criminal in Cuba it would be impossible to emancipate the slaves who had been consigned by him to slavery. Arguelles was arrested on the 11th of May, 1864.
A severe naval engagement took place off Heligoland on May 9 between the Danish fleet and that of the allies. The latter, consisting of three Austrian frigates and two Prussian gun-boats, returned to its moorings on the Elbe, bearing evident signs of having been severely handled.
The Liberal party in England have received great encouragement from a speech recently made in Parliament by Gladstone, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on Paine's Reform Bill, he having on this occasion declared in favor of an extension of the right of suffrage. The news of Grant's movements has created unusual interest in England. The contested case of the rebel rams has been finally disposed of by the British Government; not finding any law for the detention of these vessels, and yet fully aware of the consequences which must follow their release, Her Majesty's Government has freed itself from the perplexing dilemma by purchasing them. The ship-owners of Liverpool, fearing that some time the policy pursued by the British Government in relation to the Alabama might be turned against itself, have presented a petition to Parliament urging that, in case the existing law be insufficient for the preservation of a strict neutrality, such amendments should be introduced into the Foreign Enlistment Act as would secure the end desired. The matter was presented in a very effective manner in a speech made by Mr. Cobden on May 13. He said that the British Government had already does its worst against the American mercantile marine. The injury, considering merely the amount of property destroyed, amounted to fifteen millions of dollars; but this was not all, that which had not been destroyed had been rendered useless. In 1860 tone-hird of the American commerce was carried on in foreign bottoms, in 1863 three-fourths; and this was owing to privateers armed and equipped in English ports.