War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0295 Chapter XLVIII. ENGAGEMENT AT PETERSBURG.

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A statement of verbal communication held between Major General Q. A. Gillmore and Brigadier General E. W. Hinks on June 9, 1864.

When General Hinks left the main column with his command I was ordered by General Gillmore to attach myself to his staff and to return as soon as he established his line, and report the shortest line of communication. At 8 a. m. General Hinks took a position in front of the enemy's works and moved to the attack, but finding a battery on his right which could enfilade his line, he halted and ordered up his artillery, directing me to return to General Gillmore, and report that he could not advance until the battery on his right was taken. I returned by way of the road, but reported that possibly communication could be established across the country. About 9.15 a. m. General Gillmore directed me to return to General Hinks and state that Colonel Hawley was about to advance and would drive the enemy within their fortifications and hold them there, and that he (General Gillmore) wished General Hinks to do the same and that if he saw an opportunity to assault with success he would do so. In this last General Hinks was to use his discretion and not to consider it an order to assault. This time I found a road leading almost direct to General Hinks' headquarters. General Hinks replied that the enemy was much too strong for him, and that he had withdrawn his right to the edge of the woods, from which position he could hold the enemy within their works. He also directed me to inform General Gillmore that there was a full field battery of brass pieces in each of the batteries in his front; that re-enforcements of two regiments had been seen to enter the fortifications from Petersburg, and that "it would be slaughter to attempt an assault," or words to that effect; also that he (General Hinks) had seen the works in front of Colonel Hawley, and considered them formidable. About 11 a. m. I was again sen to General Hinks to inform him that the enemy was advancing a strong skirmish line, and that disposition had been made to oppose them. In case of retreat General Hinks was to be governed by the report of Colonel Hawley's firing. At General Hinks' headquarters I met one of his staff, who reported that General Hinks considered his present position unsafe, as his flanks were exposed, and that he was about to retire to a stronger position half a mile in the rear, but should still hold his present skirmish line commanding the enemy's works. After an unsuccessful attempt to find General Hinks I returned to General Gillmore's headquarters. At 1 p. m. General Gillmore directed me to request General Hinks to fall back to the clover-field, but not to enter the City Point road until Colonel Hawley had passed down with his command. This last was delivered at 1.30 p. m. At 1.40 p. m. General Hinks was retiring.


First Lieutenant and Acting Aide-de-Camp.


In the Field, near Hatcher's, Va., June 11, 1864.


WASHINGTON, D. C., June 22, 1864.

I certify that the verbal orders which I sent Brigadier-General Hinks, June 9, 1864, and the messages brought back from him by Lieutenant Barnard, acting aide-de-camp on my staff, are correctly given in the within statement to the best of my knowledge and belief.