I have not considered it necessary to make an official report upon the operations of General Heckman on the 6th and 7th, and General Brooks on the 7th ultimo, as their reports cover everything. I would only call your attention to the gallant reconnaissance of Captain West, aide-de-camp on my staff, on 7th ultimo, and refer you to his report inclosed. My official report of 9th and 10th ultimo will be forwarded by mail as soon as practicable.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. F. SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS, June 7, 1864.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that on the night of the 11th ultimo the following instructions were received:
HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIELD, May 11, 1864-9.30 p. m.
A movement will be made to-morrow morning at daybreak of the troops in the manner following: General Smith will take all of his corps that can be spared from his line with safety, and will demonstrate against the enemy up the turnpike, extending his line of advance to the left, with his right resting, at the beginning of the movement, on the river at or near Howlett's house, pressing the enemy into their entrenchments, with the endeavor to turn them on the left, in not hotly opposed.
General Gillmore will order one division of his corps to report to General Smith with two day's rations ready to march at any time at or after daylight, at General Smith's order. General Gillmore will make such disposition with the remainder of his corps as to hold the enemy in check if any movement is made upon the rear of General Sixth or upon our lines from the direction of Petersburg, holding such troops as may not be necessary to be thrown forward by him upon the turnpike in reserve, ready to re-enforce either point that may be attacked. Of course, General Smith's demonstration will cover the right of General Gillmore's line of works, unless he-General Smith-is forced back. General Kautz had orders to proceed as soon as the demonstration of General Smith's troops has masked his movements from at or near Chester Station, to make demonstrations upon the Danville road for the purpose of cutting it. It is intended to develop by this movement the entire strength of the enemy in the direction of Richmond, and, if possible, either to force them within their entrenchments or turn them, as the case may be. If successful, it is supposed that the troops will occupy during the night the line of advance secured. General Hinks has orders to seize and hold a point on the Appomattox opposite General Smith's headquarters pending this movement. The commanding general fails to make further orders in detail because of personal explanation given to each corps commander of the movement intended.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
In obedience to these instructions, my command move shortly after daylight on the morning of the 12th instant, in the following order: General Weitzel's division, followed by that of General Brooks, moving from the left of General Ames' line of works by the Widow Howlett's house to the turnpike, General Weitzel's division forming across the turnpike, and General Brooks in reserve. General Turner's division, of the Tenth Corps, temporarily assigned to my command, moved by Dr. Howlett's house, on James River, down near the mouth of Red House [Redwater?] Creek, at which point his line was deployed along the road leading to the turnpike. General Weitzel
8 R R-VOL XXXVI, PT II