HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
July 25, 1864-6.30 p.m.
A deserter from the Nineteenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, Anderson's old division Hill's corps, came into our lines last night. He states that Hood's old division, of Longstreet's corps, is still in our front, on the left of Hill's corps, but that McLaws' division, now commanded by Kershaw, removed to the north side of the Appomattox some days since. It was first rumored they were going to re-enforce Early, but it was subsequently reported they did not go, but are still north of the Appomattox. This confirms the report made to General Foster.
GEO. G. MEADE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
City Point, Va., July 25, 1864. (Received 8.30 a.m.)
Major General G. G. MEADE,
Commanding Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: Before making an expedition down the Weldon road I propose to make a demonstration on the north side of the James River, having for its real object the destruction of the railroad on that side. To execute this, the Second Army Corps, two divisions of Sheridan's cavalry (Sheridan commanding in person), will be required. Kautz's cavalry will also be ordered to report to Sheridan for the occasion. This whole force should be got, if possible, to Deep Bottom without attracting the attention of the enemy and before our own people are allowed a clue as to what is really intended. There are now two pontoon bridges at Deep Bottom, and in the evening before the movement commences a second should be thrown across the Appomattox at Broadway. This would give two roadways the whole distance to be traveled. There are two brigades at Deep Bottom and on the New Market and Malvern Hill road. These troops will continue to hold their present position, thus securing the crossing for our troops on their return. After crossing the James River, the cavalry will advance rapidly as possible on the Virginia Central Railroad (in fact the bridges over the Chickahominy on both roads should be destroyed) as near to the city as possible. From this point they will work north as far as the South Anna, unless driven off sooner. I will direct General Ingalls to send with the expedition 200 his railroad men to aid in the work of destruction. The Second Corps will also advance as rapidly as possible from Deep Bottom until they get opposite Chaffin's Bluff. Here they will take up a line to prevent the enemy throwing a force across the river to cut off the return of our cavalry. If, in the judgment of the commanding officer, his whole force is not necessary for this he will advance toward Richmond with his available force and hold such positions as he may think will insure the greatest security to the expedition. No wagons will be taken with the expedition except to carry necessary intrenching tools and tools for destroying roads. Wagons, however, to carry forty rounds of ammunition and five days' rations and three day's grain, may be sent in advance and parked near the pontoon bridge over the James, ready to be forwarded if required. The troops will carry four days' rations with them, commencing from the time they leave Deep Bottom. To give them these, the commissary at Deep Bottom will be instructed to have on hand 60,000 ration ready to issue. When the work of de-