GRANT! Advices from General Grant Down to Monday. THE HERALD DESPATCHES. NO FIGHTING ON SUNDAY. THE BATTLE OF FRIDAY. OPERATIONS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CORPS. Mr. John A. Brady's Despatches.
HEADQUARTERS, EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
IN THE FIELD, June 3-Midnight.
ANOTHER STRUGGLE NEAR COAL HARBOR.
Today has inaugurated another battle. Still in front of the rebel position
at Coal Harbor, we commenced this
morning a series of manoeuvres, accompanied by the hardest kind of fighting, with the design of driving the enemy from their intrenchments; and night has found us in possession of their first line, with a good position from which to renew our attack to-morrow.
The morning opened dark and cloudy, with rain at intervals. The day was cool, however, and far more favorable for fighting than the hot, dusty Wednesday that witnessed our last struggle.
THE ENEMY IN FORCE.
In a previous letter I hazarded the surmise that the enemy were retiring on their old line behind the Chickahominy, and that only a heavy rear guard was on our front. I find, however, that I was mistaken, and that Gen. Lee's entire command is between us and that river.
AN ATTACK ORDERED.
Yesterday morning an attack was ordered for the afternoon, but this was afterwards countermanded, and a general assault on the enemy's works ordered to be made at daybreak this morning.
Major General Smith and his staff were throughout the whole day continually under fire. Captain West, Major Tyler and Lieutenants Duer and Tucker were repeatedly on the extreme front with orders, and General Smith himself, on the first sign of hesitation or panic among any of the regiments, was immediately in their midst and restored their confidence and courage at once. The General had a horse shot under him at the commencement of the action, and one of his orderlies was wounded in the leg. It is a matter exciting universal surprise through the corps that the General and his staff escaped the shower of flying balls that rattled around them both to-day and on Wednesday.
Straggling has heretofore been something almost unknown in the Eighteenth
corps; but the severe march that preceded our fight on Wednesday, and the
arduous service of that and the succeeding day, so exhausted the men that
numbers, taking advantage of the slightest excuse, commenced falling to
the rear. With his usual promptness, Gen. Smith at once put an end to this
state of things. Captain Denny's Provost Guard, with a detachment of the
Eleventh Pennsylvania cavalry, under command of Captain Roberts, was spread
along the rear of the corps, and all stragglers seized and examined by
medical officers. Those really unable to perform duty were passed through,
while those who were evidently intending to shirk were driven back to the
front. At length an order was issued to Captain Denny to hang the next
straggler caught. In a short time a candidate, for the rope was procured,
and every arrangement made to elevate him. As the rope began to tighten
around his neck, however, he made an appeal to the mercy of the Provost
Marshal, and upon promising better behavior for the future, was allowed
to rejoin his regiment. This example had a great moral effect, and straggling
ceased to be an institution in this corps.
During the morning as three stragglers were sitting under a tree in the woods, a shell fell in their midst, killing them all. A short time after another straggler had his back broken by the fall of a tree struck by a solid shot.
GOING TO RALLY,
General Smith during the day met a man in full retreat for the rear. On stopping him the man stated that he was going back to rally. The General advised him to got to the front and rally there, and as the demoralized individual found his retreat cut off he followed the General's advice.
A NEW STYLE OF INTRENCHING TOOLS.
During the day the fire on the field in front of our line of battle was so excessively hot that the skirmishers resorted to a novel plan for throwing up intrenchments. Every man went to work with tin cup or plate, and dug a hole in the ground sufficiently large to burrow into, and these impromptu works, slight as they might seem, were impregnable to every assault of the enemy.
Our losses are again heavy, and will probably exceed two thousand. The rebel losses must have been attended with great sacrifice of life. It would be impossible for me to give at present any complete list of the wounded, as the latter are immediately sent to the rear. Colonel Frederick M. Mead, of the Ninety-eighth New York, is among the killed.