CHAP. LIV.] THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN. 793
We lost one of the finest officers of this corps, Col. G. A. Stedman,
commanding Second Brigade, Ames' division, who was mortally
wounded while in company with General Ames reconnoitering the
ground and preparing to meet any attempt of the enemy to assault.
I inclose a list of casualties, which I am glad to say is small.* Every
effort is being made on my part to protect the men in the trenches and
reduce the daily loss of life.
I am, sir, respectfully, .&c., your obedient servant,
E. 0. C. ORD,
Major-General of Volunteer&
Richmond, Va., June 15, 1865.
SIR : I have the honor to report that on the 28th day of September,
1864, in obedience to orders, I selected from my corps—then on duty
between the James and Appomattox Rivers—about 4,000 men, from
Generals Stannard's and Heckman's divisions, for a movement on the
north side of the James against Richmond, in co-operation with another
column under Major-General Birney, composed of his corps and Paine's
division of mine; in all, that column was about 10,000 strong, and was
designed to reach Richmond via Deep Bottom and the New Market
road, while I was to engage the works nearer the river, and prevent
the interruption of General Birney's column by re-enforcements which
the enemy might send across from the south side of the James River,
where they had a heavy force. The movement was to be a surprise,
therefore I issued no written orders and my verbal orders were not
communicated to the troops until after dark, when all communication
should have ceased with our own picket-line. This precaution was
deemed necessary to prevent the spies which abounded in our regiments
from deserting and giving information of our movement to the enemy.
My move began about 9 o'clock on the night of the 28th of September,
when the men were drawn out of the trenches and marched to the
river opposite Aiken's, where, between 9 and 12 p. m., a bridge was
thrown over the James. By 12 p. m. my troops were at the bridge,
and before daylight were across the river and formed. At the dawn
of day I attacked the enemy's skirmish line with my skirmishers, and
though the rebels were re-enforced we drove them right along toward
Richmond, up the hills, and for three miles through the woods, until
about 7.30 a. m., when we reached the open ground in front of Fort
Harrison, the strongest rebel work on that front, which immediately
opened upon us with several heavy guns. Here I reconnoitered
and rapidly made dispositions to attack this work. Stannard's
division, Burnham's brigade leading,was directed to push forward
in column by division over the open in front of the fort, on the left
of the Varina road, covered with the same regiment which had so
far and so well driven the enemy's skirmishers. Heckman was
directed, as soon as it could be brought up, to move with his
division through and along the edge of the timber, which skirted
the Varina road on the right, keeping his men under cover, until
he came opposite to the fort (Harrison), and then attack it on the
front toward the wood (that is, the east front) as rapidly as possible.
Col. J. W. SHAFFER,
Chief oj Staff; Department of Virginia and North Carolina.
" List (omitted) shows 1 officer (Col. Griffin A. Stedman) and 6 men killed and 3
officers and 20 men wounded.