Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/120

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114 Southern Historical Society Papers.

there on the 22<d, and promptly commenced the destruction of the railroad track. His infantry force consisted of Gibbons' and Miles' divisions, and in the afternoon of the 25th, he was reinforced by the division of Orlando B. Wilcox, which however, arrived too late to be of any substantial service to him. Gregg's division of calvary, with an additional brigade, commanded by Spear, was with him. He had abundant artillery, consisting in part of the Tenth Massachusetts bat- tery, Battery B First Rhode Island, McNight's Twelfth New York battery, and Woerner's Third New Jersey battery.

On the 22d Gregg was assailed by Wade Hampton with one of his cavalry divisions, and a sharp contest ensued. General Hampton, from the battle-field of the 22d, sent a note to General R. E. Lee, suggesting an immediate attack with infantry; that great commander, realizing that a favorable opportunity was offered to strike Hancock a heavy blow, directed Lieutenant- General A. P. Hill to advance against him as promptly as possible. General Hill left his camp near Petersburg on the night of the 24th, and marching south, halted near Armstrong's Mill, about eight miles from Petersburg.

On the morning of the 25th he advanced to Monk's Neck bridge, three miles from Reams' Station, and awaited advices from Hamp- ton. The Confederate force actually present at Ream's Station con- sisted of Cook's and McRae's brigades, of Heth's division; Lane's, Scales and McGowan's brigades, of Wilcox' s division ; Anderson's brigade, of Longstreet's corps ; two brigades of Mahone's division; Butler's and W. H. F. Lee's divisions of cavalry, and a portion of Pegram's battery of artillery. General Hampton, commanding cavalry, marched at daylight on the morning of the 25th, and drove the Federal cavalry before him at all points. Both of his divisions united atMalone's crossing, about two and one-half miles from Reams' Station, having moved against the enemy by different routes. Here Hampton was attacked by a portion of Hancock's infantry, when he dismounted his entire force and a spirited fight was in progress when the col- umns of A. P. Hill appeared in sight, with the purpose of attacking Hancock's force from the front. Hancock's infantry, who were ex- pecting an attack from Hill, had entrenched themselves strongly on the west side of the railroad and a short distance from it. Hill or- dered the first assault about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. The assault- ing column consisted of Anderson's Georgia brigade and Scales' North Carolina brigade. These two brigades, after a severe conflict in which both fought well, were repulsed. The second assault was made about 5 o'clock in the afternoon by the three North Carolina