if the boats left the edge of the woods at 11 or 11.30 o'clock, one hour would amply suffice to carry them down, one hour more be more than ample to pass the men over, and, in the moonlight, his forces would suffice to lay the bridges, and eventually ordered the boats to be started at 11.30 o'clock for both crossings.
I asked that General Wadsworth's command might be assigned to aid with the lower boats, and directed Lieutenant-Colonel [William H.] Pettes to call on General Wadsworth as early as he should arrive, to assign about 72 men to carry each boat, and to have told off 60 other men with their proper officers for the passage. This, Lieutenant-Colonel Pettes informs me, he complied with; that General Wadsworth furnished the carrying parties, and that he was informed that the other details were also made.
General Pratt's command was assigned to me for carrying parties for the upper three sets of boats used, and General Sedgwick informed me that General Brooks' division would be the crossing force. When General Pratt reported to me at my camp, between 2 and 3 p. m., I requested him to assign as early as practicable the carrying parties and order them to each boat, and I have the pleasure of saying that he appeared to use every possible effort to accomplish this, though I believe it was scarcely completed till the very last hour.
Of General Brooks I requested (General Sedgwick being present at General Brooks' bivouac, in advance and to the right of the upper trains) that he should assign the men to cross in each boat, as I told him, from 50 to 70 men each. He stated that he proposed to put his left in front, and that on receiving notice of the starting of the boats he would have the squads at the junction of the path from his position to the river road, to join the boats as they passed in succession, which last appeared a good arrangement. I then left for my camp, leaving soon after 9 p. m. with General Hunt, and, after an interview with General Sedgwick, at nearly 11 p. m., I started to make a second visit to the lower pontoons by way of the river road. I gave the direction to my officers of the upper trains to leave positively at 11.30 o'clock if I did not return by that time, stating that I would join them before they got into position, and I requested Captain [Richard F.] Halsted, of General Sedgwick's staff, who accompanied me for the purpose, to remain till the moment of starting, and then push rapidly to inform General Brooks, that he might have his crossing squads ready to meet and accompany the boats as they passed, and Captain Reese, who was to lead, was charged to see that these squads joined him as he passed. In giving the instruction to Captain Halsted for the forwarding and delivery of the message to General Brooks, it may, perhaps, be proper, under the present circumstances, to state that I found it necessary to go over and report them for the third time, in consequence, as it appeared to me, of the difficulty in making him understand them or of keeping his attention to me as I stated it to him.
I then pushed rapidly round to the other boats, and finding General Reynolds, General Wadsworth, as also Lieutenant-Colonel Pettes, I gave my final instruction to him, and during the interview, finding it was then 11.30 o'clock, I directed the pontoons to be at once, dismounted and the movement to commence, stating that I would send an officer to inform them when the equipage and artillery should move.
Returning rapidly, I should judge about or just before 12 o'clock, I found the two or three leading pontoons just entering the field between the road and the river, but without the crossing squads accompanying them. I soon met General Brooks, however, expressing my disap-