Joseph Rutherford to Newport Express

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Camp in the field before Petersburg VaMarch 27th 1865To the Newport Express,

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On the morning of the 25th (Saturday) at about 4 oclock we were exited out of our comfortable bed by very sharp and rapid picket firing a little to over night near fort [].


It soon became a general action and for 4 1/2 hours the battle raged with great fury. At one time their was a fair prospect of this fight extending their whole length of the line of the 9th Corps and all necessary preparations were made to [] any attack that might be made. The attack was made by the enemy. They surprised our pickets by pretending to be deserters bringing in their guns. As soon as they got in the rear of our pickets they turned upon them and made them prisoners, then rushed forward and captured one fort and two batteries and about 300 prisoners, before any alarm was given. The 1st Division of the 9th Corps held their part of the line. But their success was of short desertion. The 3d Div of the 9th Corps lying in [] Commanded by Genl Hartranceft came up and surrounded the rebs and capitol with him in a

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body & caputured our own []. The number of captured was 2300. For a while the fight was most terrific and the loss of the enemy was fearful in killed and wounded. The loss to the enemy in this action in killed wounded prisoners and deserters is estimated to be 4000. The ground in and around the fort was literally covered with the enemys dead


Our troops [] to do this work well, as nearly every rebs was that through the head.


I was told by an officer from our regiment who visited the battle ground soon after the fight that the rebs sent over a flag of truce to get their dead and wounded that a large number of the men sent to perform this duty as soon as they came upon neutral ground deliberately put on their coats and [] into our lines and gave themselves up saying that they had done all the fighting they intended to in a broken down cause. I saw all the prisoners as they passed my quarters on their way to army head Qrts.


But did not [] the events of the day.


In the afternoon the 2d and 6th Corps opened

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upon the enemy. The 2d Corps made a desperate fight for the South Side R.R. and advanced about four miles, and it was reported that they command the road. They captured a large number of prisoners. The particulars I have not yet heard. The 6th Corps did splendidly The Vermont troops suffered considerably as usual. The 10th Vt was on picket and made a charge upon the reb picket [] took their first line of works, took 300 prisoners. The 10st lost two killed and found wounded. Capt Dewry of Co A had command of the picket and [] his accustomed []. Lt Col Dannon of the 10th was remarkable for his coolness and bravery.


The following circular will give you an idea of the result of the 6th Corps operation.


Head Qrts 3d Div 6th Corps March 21st 1865
Circular No 21


The result of the operation of yesterday. Ten (10) battle Flags and three thousand prisoners, captured from the enemy


By comd ofBrig Genl Seymour
[] O.Y. Tracy
Brig Maj & A.A.G
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Since I commenced writing this article firing has commenced a litle north of Petersburg what it may amount to is uncertain.


I have not learned the casualties in the old Vt Brigade.


The campaign has really opened and you may expect to hear of stiring events. The weather is very fine and favorable for military operations.


Yours truly
X


Since visiting the above. I have learned that 400 rebel deserters came into our division in a body.


I have received no paper from you yet
Rutherford