From the Richmond Sentinel, 6/4/1864, p. 2, c. 1


Yesterday morning, our city was awakened by the roar of battle, which began with the dawn, between Lee and Grant’s armies. The cannonade was very heavy, and the rattle of the musketry was also distinctly heard from the hills around the city.

The letter of our correspondent details the operations up to about noon. A visit to the lines in the afternoon enables us to add some further items, more particularly as to affairs on our right.

The operations yesterday consisted of heavy and continuous skirmishing all along our line, and of a heavy and determined assault on that portion of it held by Kershaw, (commanding McLaw’s Division) Hoke, and Breckinridge. On this portion, Grant, according to his usual tactics, had massed his strength, and made many repeated assaults in very heavy column. Against Kershaw his particular efforts were directed; and some accounts say that seven, others that fourteen, distinct attacks were directed here. They were all repulsed, and with great slaughter of the assailants; our men escaping almost unharmed.

Against Breckinridge’s line, the assailants are said to have been awarded with a partial but momentary success. We were informed that they passed into our works at one point, and seized, three pieces of cannon; but were swiftly driven out again, and the ground recovered.

The fight, which consisted in an attempt of the enemy to storm our breastworks at the point stated, ended in their complete repulse. We did not advance, but contented ourselves with holding our position.

The loss of the enemy, in his obstinate assaults, was very heavy. Any estimate could, of course, only be conjectural. In front of Kershaw’s line, we were told that there could be counted, from one spot, about five hundred Yankees, either slain or too badly wounded to move themselves. Many of the latter poor wretches would wave their handkerchiefs as a signal to our men to bring them in and minister to their wants. But the incessant skirmish and sharpshooting fire of the enemy made it impossible. – If we take this number as a basis, and bear in mind that Hoke and Breckinridge did their part in the bloody drama, Grant’s loss must be estimated very high – perhaps ten or twelve thousand, in killed and wounded. We took also a thousand prisoners on this part of the line.

The skirmishing of yesterday was particularly noisy and spiteful. It was accompanied at times with artillery enough for a considerable engagement. The enemy’s sharpshooters had some success in picking off our men, and especially our officers, during their skirmishing operations. Armed with their long ranged guns, provided with telescopic sights, they climb trees in the distance, and fire at every one who exposes his person above our breastworks. Our soldiers owe it to themselves and their country to afford them fewer targets for their practice.

The object of the enemy in directing his assault upon the part of the line we have indicated, was doubtless to gain possession of the hills and strong position about Gaines’s Mill, which lies in the rear of our line at that point; and to open up a way, if possible, to Botttom’s Bridge, and a union there with Butler. He has been signally and disastrously defeated of his object.

In short, yesterday was a happy day for us, and a dark one for Grant. In connection with the evening before, we have lost no ground on our right, we have gained largely on our left, we have taken nearly two thousand prisoners, we have put hors du combat perhaps ten thousand Yankee soldiers, and we have suffered very slight loss. – Thank God!

Last evening as the darkness closed in, the skirmishing, which had slackened, has become very brisk and noisy, and wore to the distant listener the sound of an engagement. We shall not be surprised if we learn before putting these lines to press, that the enemy took advantage of the shades of evening to organize another charge on our lines.


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