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1864 June 11: The Battle of Piedmont and News from Georgia

June 11, 2014

The Polk County Press of June 11, 1864, does not have its usual “news summary” column, so instead we are presenting their “very latest” column as the first article for this week.

The last item concerns the Battle of Piedmont, which was fought on June 5, 1864, in Augusta County, Virginia; it was part of the Lynchburg Campaign.  The Lynchburg Campaign—including the Battle of Piedmont—was part of General Ulysses S. Grant’s 1864 initiative to keep Union forces on the offensive.  Grant had relieved General Franz Sigel in the Shenandoah Valley following his defeat at New Market, and placed General David Hunter in command instead.  Hunter’s quick advance on the heels of the Union defeat at New Market caught the Confederates off guard.  After severe fighting north of Piedmont, Confederate General William E. “Grumble” Jones was shot and killed and the Confederates were routed.  Hunter occupied Staunton on June 6 and soon began to advance on Lynchburg,

The Very Latest.

WASHINGTON, June 8, 12 M.

To General Dix [John A. Dix] :

A dispatch from Gen. Grant  dated yesterday at 3:05 P. M., reports that all have been very quiet to-day.  No casualties are reported.

A dispatch from Gen. Sherman [William T. Sherman], dated at Altoona [sic]¹ yesterday, 6 P. M., says I have been to Altoona [sic] Pass¹ and find it very admirable for our purpose.  It is the gate through the east or most eastern spur of the Alleghany.²  It now becomes as useful to us as it was to the enemy, being easily defended from either direction.  The roads hence from Ackworth into Georgia are large and good and the country more open.

Details of the position of our troops and contemplated movements are given but are not needed for public information.

The dispatch further states the enemy is not in our immediate front, but his signals are seen at Lost Mountain and Kenesaw [sic].

Dispatches from Gen. Canby [Edward R. S. Canby], dated June 3, have been received, which reports satisfactory progress in the organization of his command.

(Signed)     E. M. STANTON [Edwin M. Stanton],
.                   .    .Secretary of War.

WASHINGTON, June 8 – 1:45 A. M. }

To Maj. Gen. Dix :

A dispatch from Mr. Dana [Charles A. Dana] at Grant’s headquarters, dated last night 8:30 P. M., announces a victory by Gen. Hunter, twelve miles beyond Staunton, Va.  Gen. Jones was killed on the field.  His successor retired to Waynesboro, and now holds the mountains between Charlottesville and Staunton.

The paper further states no hospitals or stores were captured by Gen. Hunter.

Another dispatch announces that our forces occupy Staunton.

(Signed)     E. M. STANTON [Edwin M. Stanton],
.                   .    .Secretary of War.

1.  The Battle of Allatoona, or Allatoona Pass, will be fought here on October 5, 1864.
2.  The Allegheny Mountains—also spelled Alleghany—are a mountain range that is part of the Appalachian Mountains. The Alleghanies sit on the border that separated the Union and the Confederacy, and were a significant barrier to travel by land in the 19th century due to their ruggedness.

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