The general wishes you would keep him informed as to what is going on, though you are just now directly under the order of General Burnside.
I am, general very respectfully,
C. H. MORGAN,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. BIRNEY'S DIVISION, SECOND ARMY CORPS,
May 15, 1864.
GENERAL: At General Burnside's request I occupy the position at Landrum's house with one brigade and a section of artillery, and have placed another brigade between it and General Burnside's right. I hold tow brigades in rear of General Burnside's right. I picket from the Brown house to General Burnside's right. The enemy's skirmishers followed us up, firing on retiring pickets.
You obedient servant,
D. B. BIRNEY,
Major-General of Volunteers.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION,
May 15, 1864. (Received 12.20 p. m.)
Mott's brigades both gave way at the shilling, leaving my own division alone. I will follow your instructions as to the right.
D. B. BIRNEY,
May 15, 1864-12.20 [p. m.].
GENERAL: The order to relieve General Gibbon's pickets did not mean that you were to give up the line, unless you intended to shorten your line, but to replace them, not withdraw them. If you should be ordered by General Burnside to retake the Brown house you can only do it attacking the left (enemy's) of the rifle-pits. You will have to pass to your right and attack from the Ny. I may by ordered back, not likely, or to the front. I hope you will come out all right; I am sorry for the loss on the picket-line. I can understand why some men should be killed, but if the line was properly ordered back at a double-quick in line, and back to the woods on your side [sic]. Your note says "Mott's brigades both gave way." I fear you mean his and some one else. I wait with anxiety to their from you. As you are under Burnside's orders you must refer to him for assistance, but I should be glad to hear always what you are doing, for as long as I am here I will be able to assist you. The colonels of those regiments that broke under a little shelling and a few scattering shots had better be mustered out of service.
WINF'D S. HANCOCK,