War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0628 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter XLVIII.

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great numbers. My object in having them sent to Belle Plain was to use them as an escort to our supply train. If it is more convenient to send them out by train to march from the railroad to Belle Plain or Fredericksburg send them son. I am satisfied the enemy are very shaky, and are only kept up to the mark by the greatest exertions on the part of their officers, and by keeping them entrenched in every position they take, Up to this time there is no indication of any portion of Lee's army being detached for the defense of Richmond.




Washington, May 11, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

Yours of 9.30 a. m. yesterday is received. Acting on your previous dispatches, I have sent about 3,000 men from here to General Butler. I hope to send to Belle Point to-day from 3,000 to 4,000, and more as soon as they arrive. None of the Western militia, nor of the troops relieved by them in the West, have yet reached here. General Benham has promised to have the bridge at Fredericksburg completed by night. Your orders on this matter and in regard to supplies have been anticipated. Everything with Sherman looks well, but no general engagement yet. All dispatches received for you will be sent forward from War Department. Please keep me advised of your position and the condition of affairs, and we shall probably be able to anticipate most of your wants.

Your, truly,


Major-General and Chief of Staff.


May 11, 1864-8.15 a. m.

Major-General MEADE,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:

Send back to Belle Plain every wagon that can be spared, retaining here only sufficient to move what ammunition and other stores that cannot be carried on the person. Two days of the present supply of rations should be unloaded to issue to the men, and ammunition enough to fill all the cartridge-boxes. These wagons can go back with a small escort, relying on re-enforcements expected to give them a strong escort back. All the wagons should start back with a heavy load, say from 2,500 to 3,500 pound, the amount depending upon the strength of the team. I would advise also the sending back to Belle Plain all the Reserve Artillery. This, however, I leave to your own discretion. General Burnside will be instructed to send back as an escort to the wagons all his cavalry, and, if necessary, his division of colored troops.