Stations, destroying the road and station-houses; thence he proceeded to City Point, which he reached on the 18th. On the 19th of April, and prior to the movement of General Butler, the enemy, with a land force under General Hoke and an iron-clad ram, attacked Plymouth, N. C., commanded by General H. W. Wessells, and our gun-boats there, and after severe fighting the place was carried by assault, and the entire garrison and armament captured. The gun-boat Southfield was sunk and the Miami disabled.*
The army sent to operate against Richmond having hermetically sealed itself up at Bermuda Hundred, the enemy was enabled to bring the most, if not all, the re-enforcements brought from the south by Beauregard against the Army of the Potomac. In addition to this re-enforcement, a very considerable one, probably not less than 15,000 men, was obtained by calling in the scattered troops under Breckinridge from the western part of Virginia. The position at Bermuda Hundred was as easy to defend as it was difficult to operate from against the enemy. I determined, therefore, to bring from it all available forces, leaving enough only to secure what had been gained, and accordingly, on the 22d, I directed that they be sent forward, under command of Major General W. F. Smith, to join the Army of the Potomac. On the 24th of May, the Ninth Army Corps, commanded by Major General A. E. Burnside, was assigned to the Army of the Potomac, and from this time forward constituted a portion of Major-General Meade's command.
Finding the enemy's position on the North Anna stronger than either of his previous ones, I withdrew on the night of the 26th to the north bank of the North Anna, and moved via Hanovertown to turn the enemy's position by his right. Generals Torbert and Merritt's divisions of cavalry, under Sheridan, and the Sixth Corps led the advance; crossed the Pamunkey River at Hanovertown after considerable fighting, and on the 28th the two divisions of cavalry had a severe but successful engagement with the enemy at Haw's Shop. On the 29th and 30th, we advanced, with heavy skirmishing, to the Hanover Court-House and Cold Harbor road, and developed the enemy's position north of the Chickahominy. Late on the evening of the last day the enemy came out and attacked our left, but was repulsed with very considerable loss. An attack was immediately ordered by General Meade along his whole line, which resulted in driving the enemy from a part of his entrenched skirmish line. On the 31st, General Wilson's division of cavalry destroyed the railroad bridges over the South Anna River, after defeating the enemy's cavalry. General Sheridan, on the same day, reached Cold Harbor, and held it until relieved by the Sixth Corps and General Smith's command, which had just arrived, via White House, from General Butler's army.
On the 1st day of June an attack was made at 5 p.m., by the Sixth Corps and the troops under General Smith, the other corps being held in readiness to advance on the receipt of orders. This resulted in our carrying and holding the enemy's first line of works in front of the right of the Sixth Corps and in front of General Smith. During the attack the enemy made repeated assaults on each of the corps not engaged in the main attack, but were repulsed with heavy loss in every instance. That night he made several assaults to regain what he had lost in the day, but failed. The 2nd was spent in getting
* See Vol. XXXIII, p.278.