request that in accordance with the usages of military services, that General Heckman's brigade be relieved at once by troops that have not been sent to the front.
WM. F. SMITH,
MAY 10, 1864.
Commanding Department of Virginia, &c.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter directed to General Gillmore and myself, and to reply to it, only so far as I myself am personally concerned. Just after you had left yesterday, General Gillmore proposed this plan, and it seemed to me to be one worthy of your consideration, as having a tendency to save loss of life to a certain extent, and to more effectually cut the enemy's communication, than any infantry force on this side of the river could do. I understood you yesterday positively to say that General Kautz was going south on the railroad which he this plan the weight which I did. The objections to it were, first, that it would have the semblance of a repulse here, and, secondly, that if we could force our way across the creek, we would gain valuable time over the other plan.
These considerations, which I knew would occur to you, were, therefore, unnecessary to mention. The suggestion were made so far as I was concerned merely to call your attention to a plan which seemed to me to possess merit. I am happy to state that General Gillmore's idea received the sanction of General Weitzel and Colonel Dutton. I have made this long explanation for peculiar and private reasons, and can only say in conclusion, that as I have never before been accused of infirmity of purpose, I shall not take the charge as one seriously affecting my military reputation. I had forgotten to mention that the letter was not drawn up or signed by me as a formal protest, but only in a semi-informal manner and in the quickest time of conveying to you the ideas which had been discussed by General Gillmore and myself. Pure consideration for the troops here and the cause in which we are engaged, it becomes my duty to you to express the opinion that the withdrawal from this point must be made in accordance with some well regulated plan published from headquarters of the army, and not according to the separate wishes and interests of corps commanders.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. F. SMITH,
MAY 10, 1864-9 a. m.
I have arrived here (City Point) with my entire command. Have burned the Stony Creek bridge, the Nottoway bridge, and Jarratt's Station. I have about 130 prisoners. Loss in my command about 30 killed and wounded. I want and forage as soon as I can get them.
A. V. KAUTZ,