MAY 14, 1864.
GENERAL: I would respectfully suggest that Colonel Onderdonk be sent immediately up the railroad, and rather off to our left, to see what may be coming in that direction. I have heard the cars whistling, and the enemy are reported as feeling our left. This is very important, and should be attended to at once, taken in connection with the rumors afloat regarding re-enforcements sent to Richmond.*
WM. F. SMITH,
In the Field, May 14, 1864-9 p. m.
I think well of the proposed movement upon the enemy's works. I have, therefore, ordered up General Ames' command, with the exception of two regiments, to fill the gap in the line made by taking away the moving column; Ames to be here at 6 a. m. I have also ordered up the Eighth Maine, left below guarding the road at our former headquarters, to report to you. As the Seventh Connecticut has Spencer carbines or rifles I would suggest that regiment should be dolled as skirmishers for the moving column. The choice of troops under your command will be left to your selection for the work. General Gillmore has been ordered to hold himself in readiness to make a vigorous demonstration at the proper moment.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
MAY 14, 1864-10 p. m.
Commanding Department of Virginia, &c.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of 9 p. m. When Lieutenant Michie left here this p. m. I simply requested him to say to you that the only possible chance of carrying the works in front of us,as developed by his reconnaissance, was on the front of the line of rifle-pits between two main works, visible form his point of observation. I did not intend to propose any movement, but simply to indicate to you my opinion as to the only possible point where we could hope for a successful assault on or near my front. If as I understand from you, you wish an assault made, I have to request that Lieutenant Michie may be ordered here to aid me by his knowledge of the country and properly placing the troops, and also to act as engineer officer for the movements. I will most cheerful and to the best of my ability endeavor to carry out any orders which may be given to me, and, if I am not mistaken in the meaning of your note, will make the assault at as early an hour in the morning as the troops can be