War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0293 Chapter XLVIII. ENGAGEMENT AT PETERSBURG.

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from the bridge at 3.40, and drove in the enemy's pickets at about 6 on the City Point road (see statement of Colonel Smith, &c.*). I sent no dispatch stating that I moved from the bridge at 5.30. I was just leaving Copsa's at that time, and General Kautz's command was then probably some 3 miles in advance, closely followed by the infantry. General Kautz informed me that it would take about four hours for him to each the enemy's works from Copsa's. It actually took about seven hours, although he was in advance of the infantry, and did not delay for them. The plan of following in the rear of the infantry suggested by General Kautz, I changed to prevent unnecessary delay. Where I first speak in my report of driving in the enemy's pickets shortly after 6 o'clock, I mean of course driving them back, and not into their fortifications at that hour. For orders given to General Hinks, and messages received from him on the filed, I refer you to the statement of Lieutenant Barnard, of my staff, who will testify under oath to the correctness of his statement.+ I gave to General Hinks no orders, and received from him no messages conflicting with these. I understand General Hinks to have been unqualifiedly opposed to making an assault; I have not seen him since that day. On page 39 you say that "General Kautz carried the works and penetrated the town of Petersburg." His own report, now before me, shows that a small force which he drove from the entrenchments successfully opposed him, "at a deep ravine intervening just before reaching the city." He never got beyond that ravine, and never was opposed by any of the troops lining the entrenchments in front of the infantry. The allegations upon page 41 that I failed to state in my report the composition of my command, the time at which I was ordered to act and move, the nearness of my column to the enemy's works, how far in advance or in rear I was of General Hinks, are, I submit, all sufficiently answered in the report as corrected. It must be remembered that by your peremptory order I made the first report in two hours and fifty minutes.

The statement of the force in Petersburg (1,500 men) given on page 43 of your communication, I have good reason to believe is incorrect. I acted upon information much later and more direct than any which could have been at yours headquarters. Subsequent events have most fully confirmed me in my opinion. It is intimated on page 45 that the infantry portion of my command should have kept up communication with the cavalry force. I submit that this was impossible, and that General Kautz, as having a mounted command, and being a subordinate officer, should have kept up communication with me.

I touch upon the foregoing points not because they have any importance bearing upon the question at issue, but because they are mentioned with great stress in your communication to me. I submit that they do not touch the merit of the case at all. The question is, did I disobey any order of yours? The facts are these: The expedition to burn the bridges at Petersburg was planned by yourself. I, having expressed a willingness to go, was intrusted with the command. Darkness delayed the troops forty minutes in starting toward the enemy's works. That delay was of no consequence whatever, for there was no special advantage in one hour for an attack over another. The troops advanced upon the fortifications at three points


*See p. 296.

+See p. 295.