I know what to do with; not but that there is much here to do, but I have no means to do it with. I have asked B[utler] to let go me and resume command of my division. Whether he will accede to it or no I know, not but hope that may. [In] that case I will be with you. I have been studying your movements and am still of the opinion that I expressed at Yorktown. Unless I am greatly misinformed as to the strength of the enemy, there is no chance of an advance on the south of the James proving successful, unless with greatly increased forces. The line of the North Anna is yet intact. Lee's army for all that I can see to the contrary, will be mustered behind that line, which, strategically is the strongest in North Virginia. It will have to be turned either by Gordonsville or forced at Hanover Junction, to turn it by Gordosville cannot lead to any important results, to force it at Hanover Junction cuts Lee off effectively from Richmond.
The proper place for Butler's 40,000 men is between Mattapony and Pamunkey threatening Hanover Junction. Take them there and then something can ge done; now they are thrown away, and it is to be feared that Lee, leaving two of his corps on the North Anna, may fall on you with Beauregard's D. H. Hill's, and the re-enforcements. Are your prepared to meet him? If so, well and good; if not, it will have a very sinister effect on success to meet even with a check. Think well over these things. I am aware that being at a distance, and, of course, ignorant of many things, that I amy judge wrongly. If I can get the army I will endeavor to make my views more operand to you. I fear, however, that Butler won't let me go from this point. Is it possible to transfer the army from your present position to that point? Or are you strong enough to walk into Richmond? One or the other of these two things must be done. Our success in upper Virginia hitherto has been entirely due to superior numbers and strategical movements. On the field we have been tactically beaten. I fear that Grant is too weak to force the North Anna; if so, the campaign is over for the present, unless something else can be done. Write if you have time.
Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers.
HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, EIGHTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
City Point, Va., May 14, 1864.
Major General B. F. BUTLER,
Commanding Department of Virginia and North Carolina:
GENERAL: From the most reliable information I can obtain concerning the reconnaissance made by the rebel general Pickett on Tuesday, the 10th instant, I gather the following: He probably came down from Petersburg in two columns, one composed of two regiments of infantry and six guns by the river road, near Spring Hill, and the other composed of two regiments of infantry and tow guns by the middle road, over Cedar Level. These columns united and formed line of battle about a mile this side of Temple's house, and 2 miles from my earth-works. Contrabands state that General Pickets' line when formed was about twice the length of mine on the day before, when I made a reconnaissance with 1,900 infantry and