21 June 1864: “. . . the hardest fighting of the war may yet be looked for within sight and sound of the Cockade City.”

Item Description: “Petersburg” (editorial), The Daily Journal (Wilmington, N. C.), 21 June 1864.




It may be that while we write shot and shell are busy around the devoted city of Petersburg, for Grant has commenced a new campaign against Richmond on the Southside of the James River, and has transferred the bulk of his forces to this side. The attack on Petersburg will probably be made from City Point, as that is on the same side of the Appomattox with Petersburg, namely, the lower or Southeastern side.—Grant probably thinks that Petersburg is the key to Richmond, and with his accustomed activity his blows will fall thick and fast, with a view to the capture of that city.

Rapidity of movement is one element of military success that Grant evidently possesses in a large degree. With what other elements it may be combined, rendering it rather a source of weakness than of strength, we do not now propose to consider. One thing is certain: Unless opposed by more than usual ability, Grant is a dangerous man, and the very audacity of his movements may snatch victory almost by accident.

To say that he found Petersburg weak, is to give no information to the enemy. He has measured the strength of our works, for he has been in part of them and found them wanting. For this no blame can attach to General Beauregard, for he has been in command there too short a time to enable him to make any due preparation in the way of permanent works. The works defending Petersbnrg on its City Point approaches, do not seem to have amounted to much. The enemy certainly has gotten within shelling distance of a portion of the city and has shelled it, with more or less destruction to property and danger to life. We do not think he can maintain himself, but the hardest fighting of the war may yet be looked for within sight and sound of the Cockade City. Grant, keeping his eye on Richmond, will leave nothing undone to capture Petersburg, since to fail at the weaker place would be to confess the folly of attacking the stronger.

We are happy to know that Petersburg still stands, and is likely to stand. We suppose the “new campaign” on the Southside will last until Grant has exhausted all the resources of his strategy and realized the failure of them all. Who shall say what may next occur? Why, Grant may fly off at a tangent, if his own official head has not already fallen, and make a dash at both Wilmington and Charleston. That, however, is a remote contingency. An admitted failure at Richmond ends the military career of Lieutenant General Grant, hence his impatient flying around to conceal anything that might be construed into such admission.

We have been permitted to see a letter from an officer in the 51st N. C. T., written on the 17th.  In the action on the night of the 16th, as well as on the morning of the 17th, the casualties in the regiment were very few; not over ten or twelve. On that occasion Hancock’s corps attacked the line held by Hoke’s division, but were easily repulsed. There had been no regular fighting on the morning of the 17th up to the time when the letter was written. Only skirmishing. No one from this immediate section is mentioned among the hurl.

About 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon, we heard a report that Col. Devane, of the 61st, had been mortally wounded in a fight then going on. We trust not. We will soon hear more.

Item Citation: “Petersburg” (editorial), The Daily Journal (Wilmington, N.C.), 21 June 1864, page 2, column 1. Call number C071 W74j, North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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