War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0296 Chapter XLVIII. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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Major-General GILLMORE:

The works defending Petersburg I found very strong, and such as could not have been carried by assault had they been properly manned. In the works carried by my command on the 15th, one fourth the assailing force, unless surprised, should have made a powerful if not a successful defense.



Numbers 3. Statement of Brigadier General Robert S. Foster, U. S. Army, Chief of Staff, Tenth Army Corps.


In the Field, Hatcher's, Va., June 12, 1864.

GENERAL: In answer to your inquiry for my opinion as to the propriety of having assaulted the position of the enemy in front of Petersburg, on the 9th of this month, I have the honor to state that I was a great portion of the time with Colonel Hawley (commanding brigade) while he was in front of the enemy's defenses. I made a careful survey of the position, and found it to be along a rising piece of ground, with redoubts, connected by rifle-pits. The approaches to the position were in some places almost impassable, and in others the troops would be necessarily obliged to march to the assault over open ground, commanded by artillery in the redoubts. The troops were already under the fire of the enemy's infantry and his artillery. Colonel Hawley's line was necessarily along their line, and did not connect with General Hinks (to the left). After talking with Colonel Hawley, and carefully reviewing the position, I reported to you my opinion was against an assault from this point; as I believed then, and do now, that the chances were greatly in favor of its being unsuccessful. What I received and thought was fair information as to the strength of the enemy, also strengthened my objections to an assault, and in no event (in my opinion) could it have ben accomplished without serious loss of life.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General of Volunteers and Chief of Staff.

Major General Q. A. GILLMORE,

Commanding Tenth Army Corps.

Numbers 4. Statement of Lieutenant Colonel Edward W. Smith, Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Army.

NEAR HATCHER'S, VA., June 16, 1864.

GENERAL: In compliance with your verbal request, I have the honor to submit the following statement:

On the 9th instant I accompanied you as your assistant adjutant-general on the expedition against Petersburg. Your column started from the pontoon bridge at 3.40 a. m. I am certain of this fact, hav-