recrossed the James on the 18th and relieved a portion of the troops holding the intrenched line in front of Petersburg. The remaining divisions withdrew from Deep Bottom immediately after dark on the 20th, marching directly to their old camp near the Deserted House, where they arrived about 6.30 a. m. on the 21st. This march was one of the most fatiguing and difficult performed by the troops during the campaign, owing to the wretched condition of the roads, and the men arrived in camp greatly fatigued. They were permitted to rest barely long enough to cook breakfast, when the two divisions were ordered to a position near the Strong house, from which they were again speedily removed to the vicinity of the Gurley house, in rear of General Warren's position, arriving there about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The following morning, August 22, both divisions were placed on fatigue duty repairing the roads. About noon, the First Division, General Miles commanding, General Barlow being absent sick, was ordered to move on to the Weldon railroad to aid in covering the working party and to assist in the destruction of the road. Nearly two miles was destroyed during the afternoon.
The work was prosecuted on the following day without material incident as far as Reams' Station. The cavalry under Colonel Spear, consisting of two regiments, and the division of General Gregg, were engaged with the enemy's cavalry on the roads leading toward Dinwiddie Court-House, in which affairs the enemy were repulsed. General Barlow, who had assumed command of his division during the day, occupied the entrenchments at Reams' Station at night. The Second Division, Major-General Gibbon commanding, moved from the vicinity of the Aiken house shortly before dark on the 23rd, bivouacking for the night on the plank road and arriving at Reams' Station at an early hour on the morning of the 24th, relieving the First Division from the entrenchments. General Barlow was again obliged to relinquish command of his division to General Miles on account of sickness. On being relieved from the entrenchments, the First Division proceeded with the work of destroying the railroad toward Rowanty Creek, my instructions being to destroy the railroad as far as that point, if practicable. During the 24th the road was destroyed beyond the cross-road known as Malone's Crossing, and to a point, say, three miles beyond Reams'. The advance of the working party was covered by two regiments of cavalry under Colonel Spear, while General Gregg, with his cavalry, held the approaches from the direction of Dinwiddie and Petersburg, picketing to General Warren's left and to my left as far as the plank road. Colonel Spear had some skirmishing with the enemy's cavalry on the road to Stony Creek and Malone's road, but with the assistance of 200 infantry from General Miles' division, drove them from the immediate vicinity of the road. At dark the working party and the division were withdrawn to the entrenchments at Reams', Colonel Spear holding the cross-roads. Orders were issued for the further destruction of the road on the following day by the Second Division. About 11 p. m. 1 received the following dispatch from Major-general Humphreys, chief of staff:
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
August 24, 1864-8 p. m.
Major-General HANCOCK, Commanding Second Corps, Reams' Station:
GENERAL: Signal officers report large bodies of infantry passing south from their entrenchments by the Halifax and Vaughan roads. they are probably destined to operate against General Warren or yourself-most probably against your operations. The commanding general cautions you to look out for them.
A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.