From the Charleston Mercury, 6/8/1864

(From the Richmond Dispatch, June 4.)

The roar of artillery is still ringing in our ears as we sit down to record the most tremendous slaughter that has ever taken place on this continent - a slaughter as far exceeding that of Thursday, the 12th, as the slaughter of Thursday the 12th, surpassed every other field of carnage. The battle commenced yesterday morning for the possession of the Grape Vine, or, as it is sometimes called, McClellan Bridge, over the Chickahominy. It is the same by which McClellan withdrew his troops when they were defeated in the double battle of Cold Harbor and Gaines’ Mill. Had Grant succeeded in obtaining possession of this bridge, he might have passed the Chickahominy and established himself in McClellan’s old fastnesses on this side. It was the object of General Lee to prevent him, and he accordingly took possession of and fortified the position formerly held by McClellan. The ground on which the battle was fought was the same with that on which the battle of 1862 was fought. But the positions were reversed, we holding McClellan’s and Grant holding Lee. According to the accounts of prisoners Grant on the night of Thursday caused a quart of whiskey to be distributed to each of the soldiers, and about four o’clock yesterday morning, having primed them well for the work, commenced an assault upon our works. Repulsed again and again, with unprecedented slaughter, he constantly renewed the attack with fresh troops, sending his men up in columns ten deep, and, in great part, so drunk that they knew not what they were about, and pressed on with the most reckless audacity. Nothing could exceed the coolness with which they were received by our troops, who, standing behind their breastworks and suffering but little, shot them down by thousands, with as much deliberation as though they were firing at so many marks. At 1 o’clock the action ceased along the whole line, our troops having repulsed the enemy, who left several thousand behind him, dead or wounded, on the field. General Lee afterwards rode over the field, and declared that the slaughter far exceeded that of the 12th of May. Many of the Yankees were so drunk that they tumbled over our breastworks, and were either killed or made prisoners; others after firing their guns could not reload them. In a word, the drama of the 12th of May was repeated to the letter. Our lines were considerably advanced in consequence of our success yesterday. Doubtless the enemy will seek to drive us back, and another general battle may ensue. We have not heard how many prisoners and guns were taken. In a battle of this sort, where it is the object of one party to defend breastworks, and of the other to capture them, many prisoners are not usually taken. We saw about a thousand, however, pass down the street yesterday.

The most marvelous thing about this battle is the small loss of our army. At 12 o’clock, we learn from undoubted authority, Longstreet’s corps had not lost a hundred men in killed and wounded. A few hundreds will cover our whole loss. Since New Orleans, when Gen. Jackson said, a sprig of cypress was mingled with the wreathe of laurel, there has been nothing like this. When the Yankees occupied those same lines from which we have just repulsed them with such terrible slaughter, we drove them fro them. At that time they were much stronger than they are now. This fact alone would be sufficient to show which are the best troops. Devoutly thankful should the whole Confederate States be to that Providence which has watched over us in this great crisis, and under Him to that brave army, and that great General, who have turned our day of trial into one of joy. Especially ought we to hold the latter dear, for the skill which has continued to accomplish such a mighty enterprise with so little loss.