Thursday, July 23, 2020

Lieutenant-General Ulysses S. Grant to Major-General Henry W. Halleck, August 1, 1864

CITY POINT, VA., August 1, 1864.

The loss in the disaster of Saturday last foots up about 3,500, of whom 450 men were killed and 2,000 wounded. It was the saddest affair I have witnessed in the war. Such opportunity for carrying fortifications I have never seen and do not expect again to have. The enemy with a line of works five miles long had been reduced by our previous movements to the north side of James River to a force of only three divisions. This line was undermined and blown up, carrying a battery and most of a regiment with it. The enemy were taken completely by surprise and did not recover from it for more than an hour. The crater and several hundred yards of the enemy's line to the right and left of it and a short detached line in front of the crater were occupied by our troops without opposition. Immediately in front of this and not 150 yards off, with clear ground intervening, was the crest of the ridge leading into town, and which, if carried, the enemy would have made no resistance, but would have continued a flight already commenced. It was three hours from the time our troops first occupied their works before the enemy took possession of this crest. I am constrained to believe that had instructions been promptly obeyed that Petersburg would have been carried with all the artillery and a large number of prisoners without a loss of 300 men. It was in getting back to our lines that the loss was sustained. The enemy attempted to charge and retake the line captured from them and were repulsed with heavy loss by our artillery; their loss in killed must be greater than ours, whilst our loss in wounded and captured is four times that of the enemy.

U.S. GRANT,            
Major-General HALLECK,
Washington, D. C.

See Addenda.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 40, Part 1 (Serial No. 80), p. 17-8

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