Monday, November 14, 2016

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Monday, May 30, 1864

Very sultry with intense heat; has not rained today as usual. We were ordered to move from Dr. Pollard's in a westerly course to the right about daylight; have been changing positions all day, and yet we have been cautiously advancing on Richmond; are now within twelve miles of the Confederate capital with the rebel army in our immediate front. In order to get here we crossed Crump's Creek towards Hanover Court House. When nearing Atler's Station about noon we were ordered back to support the Second Corps which was engaging the enemy near Totopotomy Creek. We marched in a sweltering and almost exhausted condition to the Hanover turnpike which we had left in the morning but soon again left it cutting cross-lots through a swamp and heavy oak forest where a road was being cut for artillery, and soon went into line of battle on the left of General Birney's Division about mid-afternoon. We were ordered to charge but the order was countermanded. The lines here ran about north and south. The enemy's picket line kept up a sharp fusilade all night, as a bluff to enable its force here to withdraw in order to form another line called the Totopotomy, so as to cover several roads leading to Richmond including the Shady Grove Church road at Hantley's Corners, and the Walnut Grove Church road as well as the Mechanicsville turnpike, etc. Our line was changed to meet the enemy's, but we made no assault. The enemy was evidently greatly worried as it kept up a heavy artillery fire and made one or two fruitless assaults. Did they but know our strength they would know better than to charge our works; but they are plucky fellows.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 67-8

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