AUGUST 13-20,1864

     Deep Bottom, Va., Aug. 13-20, 1864.  2nd and 1Oth Army 
Corps and Gregg's Cavalry Division.  Early in August Gen. Grant 
received information from various sources that led him to be-
lieve Lee had sent three divisions of infantry and one of cav-
alry to reinforce Gen. Early in the Shenandoth valley, leaving, 
according to Gen. Butler's estimate, only 8,500 men to hold the 
entrenchment's north of the James.  At noon on the 12th Grant 
ordered Maj.-Gen. W. S. Hancock to move with his own corps, the 
2nd, the 10th corps, Maj.-Gen. D. B. Birney commanding, and 
Gregg's cavalry to the north side of the James at Deep Bottom 
and threaten Richmond.  The movement was almost identical with 
that of the latter part of July (see preceding article), except 
Hancock was to embark his corps on steamers at City Point and 
move up the river to the lower pontoon bridge during the night 
of the 13th, Birney's corps crossed at the upper bridge and the 
cavalry at the lower.  It was intended to have all the troops 
on the north side of the James and ready for an advance by day-
light on the 14th, but owing to delay in disembarking it was 
well toward noon when the advance was commenced. 

     The plan was for Birney to attack the enemy on the west 
side of Four-mile creek at daybreak, and if successful he was 
to move over the roads leading to Chaffin's bluff and Richmond. 
Mott's division, as soon as it was disembarked, was to move up 
the New Market road, drive the enemy into his entrenchment's on 
the west side of Bailey's creek, and farther if practicable.  
Barlow was to move to the right of Mott and attack the enemy's 
works near Fussell's mill, and Gregg's cavalry was to cover the 
right flank.  If Barlow succeeded in carrying the lines in his 
front he was to move to the left and uncover Mott's front, af-
ter which the two divisions were to advance on the New Market 
road and form a junction with Birney.  The object of these com-
bined movements was to turn the Confederate position and gain 
possession of Chaffin's bluff, which would be an important step 
toward opening the James river to the Federal gunboats.  Barlow 
carried one line, held by dismounted cavalry, and about 4 P.M. 
assaulted the works near Fussell's mill, but the attack was 
made with only one brigade and was not a success.  His advance 
was so threatening however, that the enemy weakened his right 
to strengthen the line near the mill, and Birney, taking advan-
tage of this, carried a part of the line west of Four-mile 
creek, capturing 4 guns and a few prisoners.  Gregg advanced up 
the Charles City road and carried a line of rifle-pits, and at 
night a strong picket line was established along the entire 
front.  During the night the troops were disposed for an attack 
on the next morning.  Birney's command was massed in the rear 
of Barlow, with instructions to find and turn the Confederate 
left.  The dense woods made a reconnaissance difficult, and the 
operations of the 15th were begun without knowing just how the 
enemy was located.  Slight skirmishing occurred at several 
points during the day, but Birney did not come upon the Confed-
erate line until nearly 7 P.M., and as the ground was not fa-
vorable for a night attack further operations were postponed 
until the next day.  Early on the morning of the 16th Gregg 
moved out on the Charles City road and drove the enemy before 
him across Deep creek, nearly to White's tavern.  In a skirmish 
near Deep creek Confederate Gen. Chambliss was killed.  About 
10 A.M. Terry's division of Birney's corps carried the works 
above Fussell's mill, capturing about 300 prisoners.  Craig's 
brigade and the colored troops under Brig.-Gen. William Birney 
made an assault on the right and captured the entrenchment's, 
but were unable to hold them.  In this action Col. Craig was 
killed. About 5 P.M. Gregg was driven from his position on the 
Charles City road and forced back across Deep creek.  When 
night closed the Federals held only the advanced rifle-pits of 
the enemy.  During the night of the 16th a fleet of steamers 
came up from City Point to Deep Bottom to convey the impression 
that the Union forces were withdrawing, in the hope that the 
enemy would come out of his works and attack, but the ruse was 
not successful.  Nothing was done on the 17th, but about 5 P.M. 
on the 18th the Confederates sallied out. of their works above 
Fussell's mill and attacked Birney.  While the fight was going 
on Miles, now in command of Barlow's division. struck the enemy 
on the left flank, driving him in confusion and with consider-
able loss.  The 19th was spent in looking for a weak point in 
the Confederate line, but none could be found.  Grant's infor-
mation, regarding the number of troops sent to Early, was er-
roneous, only Kershaw's division having left Richmond, and as 
soon as Hancock crossed the James, Mahone's division and Hamp-
ton's cavalry were sent over from Petersburg to reinforce the 
lines on the north side of the river.  Finding the position 
there too strong to be carried, Grant ordered Hancock and 
Birney back to their original positions on the Petersburg 
lines, and immediately after dark on the 2Oth the troops were 
withdrawn, Birney covering the movement.

     The Union loss in the operations about Deep Bottom was 328 
killed, 1,802 wounded and 721 missing.  The Confederate loss 
was not ascertained, but it was probably somewhat less, as they 
fought most of the time behind breastworks.  Among their killed 
were Gens. Chambliss and Girardy, both of whom fell on the 

Source: The Union Army, vol. 5