Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/107

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Battle of Drewry's Bluff. 101

occurred throughout the war. No regular report from the Confede- rate side, except the brief statements of Beauregard, Ransom or Hoke, has ever reached the public, and these contain no details of how Butler's right wing was broken the principal event in that bloody battle.

One reason for this silence on our side is due to the fact that our forces were gathered as they arrived and placed in temporary organi- zation under officers assigned to them for the occasion ; another reason is that all eyes were turned toward the fields of Spotsyl- vania, where the armies of Grant and Lee made music which drowned the thunder of cannons and rattle of musketry at Drewry's Bluff.

THE FORCES ENGAGED.

The Federal army assigned to the capture of Petersburg and Richmond, called the Army of the James, commanded by General Butler, composed of the Tenth and Eighteenth army corps, numbered, according to its own report, thirty-eight thousand seven hundred men and eighty-eight guns, besides a fleet of gunboats and monitors. The Confederate forces, commanded by General Beauregard, consisted of Gracie's, Kemper's, Hoke's and Barton's brigades, forming Ransom's division ; Corse's, Clingman's, Bushrod Johnson's and Hagood's bri- gades, forming Hoke's division, and Colquitts and Ransom's bri- gades under Colquitt.

Attached to this force were three battalions of artillery and three small regiments of cavalry, the whole or gross number being given as seventeen thousand and three hundred. This was the force at Drewry's Bluff engaged on the i6th of May. North of Peters- burg, near Swift creek, General Whiting was in charge, having Wise's and Martin's brigades and Dearing's cavalry with him. This force, however, took no part in the battle. Their number is given as forty-six hundred. Taking the figures representing the aggregate or gross numbers, we have: Federals, thirty-eight thousand and seven hundred ; Confederates, twenty-one thousand and nine hundred.

DETAILS OF THE FIGHT.

It is not my intention, nor am I able to give a true and correct account of the whole battle. I only desire to submit some details which I hope may throw some light on the question of " how Butler's right flank was broken" that morning.

South of Drewry's Bluff, across Kingsland creek, thence over the