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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 51, Part 2 (Supplements)
Page 951 Chapter LXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.--CONFEDERATE.

events and prospects. On Sunday night I received a letter from General Beauregard, accompanied by papers, which notified me of a change of the plan of operations on which we had agreed, and of which I wrote to you. The new feature was that General Whiting, instead of turning the enemy's flank and joining General Beauregard before the attack, should move up the direct road and join on the field of battle. The hazard of the movement was apparent, but the reasons were cogent for prompt action, and the force of General Beauregard, increased by the troops sent from the defense of Richmond, seemed to be adequate, so that Whiting's force might be regarded as a reserve. The plan of battle remained as previously devised, and great hope was entertained that the advance of our left, cutting the enemy off from his base of operations on James River, would be followed by the destruction of his army, and possibly the capture of the large supplies he had accumulated near Bermuda Hundred. Our success in the morning was equal to anticipation. Whiting did not come up, and from causes which it is needless to detail, the enemy made good his retreat back to his line of intrenchments, between Dutch Gap and the Appomattox River. General Beauregard there confronts him on a line immediately in front of the enemy with intrenchments, about two miles in length.

General Evans' brigade, under the command of General Walker, is at Petersburg, with some artillery and cavalry; strength not known. I have ordered Picketts' division and Hoke's brigade to sent up to you. Hoke's, Barton's, and part of Kemper's brigade have gone, numbering 3,377. The remainder of Kemper's and part of Corse's brigade are expected to go this evening, numbering 1,600. Gracie's brigade has been ordered from the south side to relieve Hunton's at Chaffin's Bluff. Its number is 1,600. There will then remain under General Beauregard, including the troops at Petersburg (as reported to me), 14,500 infantry, 2,500 cavalry, and 1,000 artillery. Otheroute from the south, and the first may be esxpected to arrive to-day or to-morrow. I cannot state the number on the road, but do not expect more than about three brigades. I am steadily urging the organization of reserves for the defenseof depots, bridges, and fortified places, and will spare no effort to re-enforce you as troops become available. The cavalry from South Carolina and Georgia have been long on the road, but the last are expected in a few days. If the mounted force can protect, aided by the local guards, the lines of communication, and we get reserves enough to hold the trenches around Richmond and other cities, we shall be able, even as things now stand, materially to augment your force. If, as intended, Butler's force should be withdrawn to re-enforce Grant, we must endeavor, before he reaches there, to send the troops which now confront him, to join your army. There has been great delay in opening the obstructions at Drewry's Bluff, and a passage has not yet been completed for our gun-boats to go out. There have been opportunities when they might have been used with great effect. Whether they could be at this juncture or not is doubtful.

General Beauregard first insisted that you should re-enforce him by a corps of 15,000 men, to enable him to destroy Butler, and then march with a large force to you. I endeavored to show him the impossibility of maintaining your position if your force was reduced. He has since sent to me a memorandum in which it is urged that you should fall back to the line of the Chickahominy, and that he should move up with the 15,000 men to unite with Breckinridge and fall upon the flank of Grant's army, which it is presumed will be following yours, and after the success to be obtained there, he should hasten back, re-enforced by you, to attack Butler's forces, after an absence of three and not to


Page 951 Chapter LXIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.--CONFEDERATE.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 51, Part 2 (Supplements)
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