17,000 men, lost heavily on the way, and came from Mechanicsville yesterday. Their timely appearance with relieve us from sharpshooters, and facilitate our operations now in progress for clearing out torpedoes.
S. P. LEE,
DEEP BOTTOM, JAMES RIVER, May 14, 1864-5 p. m.
(Via Jamestown Island, 15th. Received 7.15 p. m.)
Honorable GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy:
The Richmond Enquirer extra, dated 2 o'clock this afternoon, just received by a flag f truce from Richmond, states that nothing of interest occurred on Wednesday. On Thursday, at daylight, our forces made a most vigorous assault on Jones' brigade, of Johnson's division broke their line, pressed over their breast-works, captured several pieces of artillery and a number of prisoners. At 10 o'clock thursday on Field's division.
At 2 p. m. Thursday General Grant was making a desperate fight on Ewell's front. The musketry firing Thursday was the heaviest of the war. The battle extended along the whole line, and was fought by our army with more vim and bravery than any other fought on Virginia soil. Rebel Brigadier-General Perrin and Colonel Garnett killed, Brigadier-Generals Walker and McGowan wounded; Generals Ed. Johnson and G. H. Steuart missing, and supposed to have been captured us. They claim to have captured 2,000 of our wounded at the Wilderness, and that our loss must be much larger than theirs, as they fought behind beast-works and our troops on the open field. General Grant put fresh troops into the fight Thursday.
A second dispatch from Spotsylvania, received yesterday, 13th (received at Richmond to-day), says the battle of Thursday lasted all day. Their loss is reported to be ten times less than ours. Rebel Colonels Baker, Fetter, Harding, and Minor killed. The musketry-fire was so severe that trees were cut down by it. General Grant expressed a determination not to recross the river while he has men left. Our troops were on Friday still in front, strongly fortified, and showed no signs of falling back. In Thursday's fight some of the rebels were bayoneted in the breast-works. Mayor Slaughter, telegraphing from Guiney's Station May 14 (Saturday), says he left Spotsylvania Court-House last evening. All quiet then and now.
The enemy attacked us furiously in our works all day Thursday, and were repulsed with tremendous loss. Our loss comparatively light in killed and wounded. We lost some prisoners and artillery. The armies are still confronting each other. One of General Sheridan's officers reports that Lee's communications with richmond are entirely cut off.
S. P. LEE,
Actg. Rear-Admiral, N. Atlantic Block. Squadron.