The Great Fight Near Richmond.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
TURKEY ISLAND, July 5.
The following is an account of the battles fought in from of Richmond on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, being the fifth, sixth, and seventh days of the engagement:
On Sunday morning, the corps of General Sumner and Gen. Franklin were left in the works at Fair Oaks, with instructions to evacuate and protect the baggage and supply trains on their way to James River. — They had hardly left their position, and were falling back on the railroad and Williamsburg turnpike, when the rebels discovered the movement and immediately started in pursuit with their whole force. So rapidly did the rebels approach that our officers had barely time to put their men in position to receive them before they were upon them.
The enemy advanced to the attack about two o'clock, which was promptly met by our men. The battle lasted until dark, during which the enemy suffered terribly. Advancing in solid masses to within a short distance of our artillery, the effect of our guns on their ranks was terrible and fearful, killing and wounding them by hundreds.
At dark the enemy was repulsed and forced to abandon their position. This battle took place about one and a half miles from Savage's Station.
While this battle was in progress, other important events were transpiring. The railroad bridge across the Chickahominy was burned, and a train of twelve cars under full head of steam was run overboard. All the commissary and quartermaster's stores, unable to be moved, were committed to the flames, together wish a large amount of ordnance stores. The large house at the station and adjoining grounds, which was filled with sick and wounded, whom it was impossible to remove, were left in care of our surgeons, with all necessaries at hand for their comfort. They numbered about 700, and are now in the enemy's hands.
The troops which had fought the battle of Sunday retired under cover of the night to White Oak swamp bridge, a distance of about twelve miles, there to await the advance of the enemy. The disposition of the troops on Monday, the sixth day of the battle, was as follows:
Gen. Smith's division, supported by Gen. Nagle's brigade, occupied the right of the bridge, while Gen. Sumner's and General Franklin's corps occupied the left. Gen. Heintzleman's corps, with Gen. McCall's division was out on the road to meet the enemy, who were approaching from Richmond. The enemy came up boldly in the morning, having been heavily reinforced by the troops who had fought the battle of Friday on the opposite side of the Chickahominy.
About 3 o'clock it was evident that some portion of our lines must give way, as the rebels were constantly throwing fresh troops into action. Our troops in front of the bridge new fell back to within three and a half miles of Turkey Island, where the fight was shortly afterwards renewed and continued with the greatest determination on both sides.
The loss on Monday was very heavy on both sides.
During the day all the cattle and the greater portion of the transportation had safely crossed Turkey Island bridge. — Some of the rear wagons had to be abandoned and fired to make room for the passage of artillery.
The fight was renewed early on Tuesday morning by the rebels, they evidently intending to crush our army. It lasted about three hours, resulting in considerable loss to both sides. The enemy then retired, leaving the field to us.
The rebels again advanced about three o'clock, in considerable numbers, but retired after being shelled by the gunboats and artillery for about two hours, without coming near enough for musketry to become engaged.
The loss of our army during these severe engagements is not known, but 20,000 is considered as near an estimate as can at present be given in killed, wounded, and missing. Many of those at the present time unaccounted for may have straggled away through the country, and may hereafter return.
The loss of the enemy in killed must have been very heavy, far exceeding that of our army.
We have taken about seven hundred prisoners, among whom are three Lieutenants and one Major. The reported capture of Gen. Magruder is probably a mistake. — The loss in field artillery is about 30 pieces during the seven days.
Gen. Reynolds and Capt. Kingsbury of his staff are prisoners, as also Col. Stockton, of Michigan.
Gen. Meade, of Pennsylvania, was severely wounded. Gen. Burns was wounded in the face. Gen. Sumner and General Heintzleman were both slightly wounded, in the left arm, but never left the field. — Gen. McCall was seen to fall from his horse during the battle, and was taken prisoner. The extent of his injuries are not known. Gen. Goslin, of the 54th Pennsylvania Regiment, was killed. Capt. Cample, of the 5th Regular Cavalry, was also killed. Col. Pratt, of the 31st New York, was wounded in the face.
The army are now encamped on high rolling ground, on the banks of the James River, fifteen miles from Richmond. The transports are already unloading supplies at the wharves.
The Commanding General feels confident of successfully meeting any attack the rebels may make on his present position. The reinforcements the rebels received from Jackson and Beauregard gave them a force double that of the army of the Potomac, and many of the prisoners taken belonged to Beauregard's army.
WASHINGTON, July 5.
Dispatches have been received from Gen. McClellan, dated as late as 1 o'clock P. M. of the 4th. The following is their substance, omitting details not proper for publication: There had not been any fighting since Tuesday night, when the enemy were moved to the position now occupied, because it affords superior advantages for the co-operation of the gunboats, of which seventeen are now in the river protecting the [unknown line] the casualties of the severe battles of the eight days, cannot yet be furnished. Our forces were not beaten in by conflict, nor could they be driven from the field by the utmost efforts of the enemy. No guns have been lost, since the 27th, when McCall's division, at the onset, was overwhelmed, and 25 pieces fell into the hands of the enemy. — The sick and wounded are being sent to hospitals. At 1 o'clock yesterday the army was drawn up in its positions for review. — The bands were playing, and national salutes being fired, and things looking bright.
WASHINGTON, July 9.
An army letter to the Herald says: — Rebel prisoners say that long before the evacuation of Corinth troops from Beauregard's army began to arrive at Richmond, and continued to arrive steadily until that event took place, by which time 50,000 had arrived, and that, subsequent to the evacuation, 25,000 more arrived from Corinth, and those 75,000 are the flower of Beauregard's army. The whole number of troops at Richmond amounts fully to 200,000. — General Lee has the chief command, and Generals Beauregard, Johnston, and Jackson were commanders of the corps under him.
In regard to the report of General Jackson's death, they speak in such a manner as leads me to think it a mere ruse.
I infer from what these officers say that the eight forts or earthworks on the north and east of Richmond are not of any great strength. They rely mainly for the defence of the city on Fort Darling, the obstructions and batteries in the James River, and upon the fighting of their troops. They declare it is an utter impossibility for the Union army to take Richmond either by land or water — on land, on account of the number of troops, and by water on account of the defences of James River. — Of the latter Fort Darling is but one. Besides this fort three iron batteries have also been erected, mounted with heavy guns, and casemated for the protection of the gunners. There are also two submerged iron batteries, each one containing five tons of powder connected with the iron batteries by wires, and so arranged us to explode at any desired instant. As regards the obstructions sank and driven into the bed of the river, they are such that it will require such a vast amount of time and labor to remove them that it never can be done under the fire of the guns, and no vessel can pass while they remain.
A letter in the N. Y. Times places our loss in the recent battle at 25,000.
A letter to the Herald reports the death of Col. Woodbury, at the head of the 4th Michigan Regiment. This regiment has been terribly cut up — 85 killed, 33 missing, and 158 wounded. Among the officers killed is Capt. Rose. He was Principal of the Union Academy, Monroe, Mich. In his company were a large number of his former pupils, 11 of whom are among the killed and wounded. Captain Depue, a talented young lawyer, is among the killed. Among the wounded are Adj. Earle and Capt. Paulding. The latter was erroneously reported killed. Both these gallant officers left to-day on recruiting service. They say they will return within thirty days, with the complement of their regiments restored.
A boat came through from Newbern, via Norfolk and the canal, yesterday, and returned to day. It is rumored that Burnside, with a considerable force, was preparing to co-operate with McClellan. Rumors to the effect that he had advanced from Newbern were without foundation.
The statement that McClellan has been recently reinforced by 40,000 men is an exaggeration.