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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

From the Peninsula- 1863

The Yankees advancing
The Yankees yesterday were at Tunstall's Station in considerable force, mostly cavalry. Their infantry was no doubt advancing in the fear ready to support them. Their force is variously estimated at from 10 to 25,000 men. Opinions are much divided as to the object of this expedition. Some suppose the design is actually to attack the city; but to us, that seems preposterous. Others think with more appearance of probability, that it is intended merely to keep up an excitement and draw off men from Lee's army. It appears to us that we have force sufficient not only to defeat, but to capture the whole of their army, should it venture near enough.

From the Peninsula.
The Federal forces on the Peninsula are not stationary. We learn through a letter from Turner's ford, ten miles this side of Diascund bridge, written yesterday, that the Yankees were reported to be advancing upon the latter point; but the writer adds that no signs of them have yet been seen. It is stated that our scouts near Diascund captured a Yankee mail Sunday, with a dispatch from Gen. Dix to Keyes, ordering him to march on Richmond, as those were the instructions from the War Department at Washington. It is added that this letter was sent to the War Department here.
From the White House we learn that the Federal have made a slight advance. They occupy Tunstall's station, four miles this side chiefly with a cavalry force. The camp is to the right of Tunstall's station, between the Williamsburg road and the railroad.
The Yankee steamers on the Pamunkey were very busy Sunday and yesterday traveling up and down the river. The person who communicated this did not see whether they were landing troops or not.

From the Peninsula.
The news from the Peninsula is not very definite. Our scouts report correctly that there is no enemy at Diascund Bridge or New Kent Court-House. The train on the York River Railroad yesterday morning brought up a prisoner who was captured by our scouts straggling from the Yankee army. He reports that the Yankees at Diascund fell back towards Yorktown, where they are to get reinforcements and come on to Richmond. There are, he asserts, a plenty of troops at Yorktown. These are the statements of a straggler, who, of course, knows nothing about the intended movements of the General commanding. The assertion that there are plenty of troops at Yorktown is transparently false, for it is well known that the United States strained every point to get up the 15,000 which are making this diversion under Keyes and Gordon. The deserter adds that a party of 1,200 crossed the Pamunkey into King William on Monday to complete the devastation of that county, commenced last week.
The train last evening brought intelligence of no change in the position of the Yankees at the White House or Tunstall's. Their cavalry are encamped on a hill near Tunstall's.
Col. Shingler's men are picketing as far down as Diascund, and to within a short distance of Tunstall's.
The general impression seems to be that Keyes will attempt a march around Richmond to Aquia Creek or to Gordonsville, destroying the roads and crops on his way. A soldier who has been scouting within their lines reports that he saw thirty-two regiments, eighty-eight wagons, and sixteen pieces of artillery. This, in the present depleted state of the Yankee regiments, would give about 12,000 or 14,000 men. The deserter mentioned above says that they only had 10,000 men.

The Federal on the Peninsula — an advance.
The Federal force on the Peninsula made an advance yesterday and the night before. They now occupy the Cross Roads, in New Kent county, about 5 miles from Bottom's Bridge, and 18 miles from Richmond. The reports received yesterday evening by the York river train state that on Tuesday night a force commenced moving from the White House towards the Cross Roads, and that yesterday morning more troops followed. Gen. Dix had arrived at the White House and taken command of the whole army. Gens. Keyes and Gordon were at the Cross Roads. The Federal have been reinforcing at the White House during the past three days, and it is stated that among the reinforcements was Gen. Peck's command from Suffolk. This is, doubtless, true, as the Yankees have been fortifying around Norfolk some time, preparatory to falling back there from Suffolk, and on Thursday last all the "contra bands" at Suffolk were sent down to Norfolk. It is very doubtful whether there is a regiment of Yankees now in town.
A gentleman who lives near Williamsburg states positively that not more than 10,000 troops went from Yorktown by land up the Peninsula. Of course he does not know how many went by way of York river to the White House.
The Yankees still hold the White House, or did yesterday afternoon, probably to make it a point to fall back on in case of a disaster to their arms, which, it appears, they think probable — we know to be certain.
Yesterday morning some of Col. Shingler's men went in the rear of their pickets at Tunstall's and captured a Lieutenant and private; but both of the captives were too drunk to answer any questions intelligibly.
It is hardly probable that the Yankees would have left Suffolk in a comparatively defenceless situation merely to make a grand march around Richmond to Aquia Creek, or upon Gordonsville, nor did they need so large a force as they have collected to make a feint on Richmond — a feat they might have accomplished with much fewer men. It is most likely that they really contemplate an "On to Richmond," which will end even more disastrously than the nine marches they have heretofore made upon the city.

-Richmond Daily Dispatch of June 30, July 1 and July 2, 1863

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