War of the Rebellion: Serial 069 Page 0822 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter XLVIII.

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HEADQUARTERS,

Petersburg, May 21, 1864.

General BEAUREGARD, Commanding, &c., Hancock's House:

GENERAL: I beg leave respectfully to call your attention to a possible contingency by which the enemy may try to regain his lost ground. Could he not mask a movement by holding sufficient force on his lines and throwing across the river by pontoons a division strong enough to take Petersburg?

W. H. C. WHITING,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS,

Petersburg, May 21, 1864.

General BEAUREGARD, Commanding, &c., Hancock's House:

GENERAL: I send you the telegrams* herewith. Every effort will be made to forward the gun on its arrival. I beg leave to call your attention to my note* of 19th about ammunition. General Dearing moved down last night to reconnoiter Fort Powhatan.

W. H. C. WHITING,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS,

Petersburg, May 21, 1864.

General BEAUREGARD, Commanding, &c., Hancock's House:

GENERAL: Your inquiry* of this date, relative to my report+ of operations of the 16th and 17th, is received. The impression produced is correct as to my having received no information of the operations of our main force until too late for action, but not that I made no effort to obtain any. One of my first orders was to direct General Dearing to take the main body of his cavalry, leaving me only enough to watch my right and left, and open communication with you and report. While on the march to Walthall Junction, and engaged with the enemy about the time the fog lifted, I hoard three or four reports of distant artillery, that was all. As soon as I had driven the enemy from Walthall Junction and formed my line of battle, I have my aide, Captain Strong, a dispatch, which he sent by courier, informing you that I had occupied the Junction and was waiting to hear from you. Beyond me all continued quiet during the day, except my own engagements with the enemy. A dispatch from General Dearing, dated 1.30 p. m., informing me of his capture of prisoners, and inclosing one dated Fort Stevens, 9.15 a. m., reached me a few moments before the general himself joined me; entirely too late for me to have moved without going to attack in the dark. The last dispatch I received 7.45 p. m. This was dated 4.15 p. m., later than the other.

I could hear nothing to indicate an engagement all day. Either artillery was very little used or the wind was unfavorable. From 8.30 to near 10 I opened very briskly with my own guns, and again, between 3 and 5, as well as I recollect, firing with great rapidity to clear the enemy from the turnpike on my left.

W. H. C. WHITING,

Major-General.

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*Not found.

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+See Part II, p. 256.