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The War in America: Night March through Burning Woods

The Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1272, p. 137-138.

August 6, 1864


The Engraving on our front page is from a sketch by our Special Artist and Correspondent with the army of General Lee, in Virginia. Its subject is thus explained by a short extract from his letter:--

"Stokes's division was one of those which were sent across the James River to meet Grant on his approach to Petersburg. Its march

Page 138

formed the most picturesque scene I have ever witnessed. The woods had caught fire in many places from shells thrown into them, and the bright flames leapt up the tall trees, casting a ruddy glare upon the faces of those careless warriors as they passed under the fir-branches which were dropping flakes of fire. Now and then an old shell would explode in the undergrowth; but this was looked upon as an enlivening incident, with which the men were rather pleased. The woods about Bottom's Bridge are filled with dead Federals, whom their humane commander, General Grant, has left unburied. Perhaps the burning of the timber in which these corpses lie will save Richmond from a pestilence they would otherwise create. For miles outside the works of Richmond you meet with such fearful traces of the slaughter which the Federals suffered in their unsuccessful efforts to break through the Confederate lines."

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