War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0036 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter XLVIII.

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Near Swift Creek, May 10, 1864.

Major General B. F. BUTLER,

Commanding Department of Virginia and North Carolina:

GENERAL: I have received your dispatch in reply to the note signed by General Smith and myself. That notice contained simple suggestions, nothing more. It could not have contained any recommendation from me to change plans, as I did not know what the plan of operations was, further than to cut the Petersburg and Richmond Railroad. Presuming that it was desirable to cut all the railroads leading out of Petersburg. I could see no better way to do it than the one proposed. I had had no opportunity to confer with General Smith, until I met him in your presence, and did not converse with him upon the nature of his instructions, or the object aimed at, until after you had left. My orders from you were to destroy the railroad, and afterward, verbally, to support General Smith's movement on Swift Creek. Further orders from you regulating the movements of the two corps seem necessary. At Brandon Brigade the enemy have infantry and cavalry this side of the creek, and the approaches are open and covered by artillery on the other side. No practicable for has been found yet. I am destroying the railroad near the junction.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.

Our forces were withdrawn from Swift Creek during the forenoon of the 10th. Just before this movement commenced, a detachment from General Terry's division, left in rear on the Richmond pike, under Colonel Voris, Sixty-seventh Ohio Volunteers, was attacked and nearly overpowered by a superior force of the enemy from Drewry's Bluff. General Terry, with a reserve force which had been stationed at Port Walthall Junction, hastened to Colonel Voris' assistance. The conflict was severe and sanguinary. The enemy were derived back with a loss of nearly 300 men, as acknowledged by themselves. Two pieces of artillery captured from us were recovered by a gallant charge of the Seventh Connecticut Volunteers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Rodman. The woods took fire from our shells, and many of the enemy's dead and severely wounded were consumed. General Terry held this position until after night-fall, when he was withdrawn, to the entrenchments. Throughout the 11th command remained within our entrenchments. On the morning of the 12th Brigadier-General Turner, with his division, reported to Major-General Smith to take part in a demonstration against the defenses of Richmond. Brigadier-General Ames, with most of his division, was posted at Port Walthall Junction to hold the approaches from Petersburg, while Brigadier-General Terry, with Plaisted's and Hawley's brigades for three regiments each, was conveniently posted a couple of miles in advance of our entrenchments. Colonel Howell, commanding First Brigade, Terry's division, was left command of that portion of the Tenth Corps remaining in our works. On the afternoon of the 12th I move with Terry's command and two regiments of Colonel White's brigade, Ames' division, up the pike, taking position on General Smith's left Turner's division occupying his right next Jamer River. The enemy was directly in our front behind Proctor's Creek.


On the evening of the 12th was ordered my Major-General Butler to move to the left on the following morning and turn the right of the enemy's entrenchments, located on the head of Proctor's Creek, west of the railroad. I moved accordingly with eight regiments