War of the Rebellion: Serial 069 Page 0020 Chapter XLVIII. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS,

May 20, 1864-1 a. m.

Generals CRITTENDEN, WILLCOX, and POTTER:

From information received from General Warren, it would seem that the main body of the enemy are moving down their works in this direction. Whilst I am satisfied that your commands are all on the alert, it will do no harm to send officers out of give additional instructions to keep a good lookout.

Very respectfully, yours,

A. E. BURNSIDE,

Major-General.

HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, NINTH ARMY CORPS,

May 20, 1864-5.30 p. m.

Lieutenant-Colonel RICHMOND,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Ninth Army Corps:

COLONEL: The reconnoitering party, under Captain McKibbin, went as far as the Telegraph road, at a point about 500 yards south of Smith's Mill. At English's house, about 2 miles out on the road to Smith's Mill, found an abandoned caisson with about 40 rounds of ammunition in one of the boxes; having no means of thought we might send for it if the general commanding desired it. Saw a few rebel cavalry, seemingly vedettes, who scattered to the south. Found only one road to the south, a wood road, that they followed but a short distance. The cavalry at Smith's Mill reported that the enemy's cavalry made a dash at them last night from the direction of Stanard's Mill. I inclose a report of a reconnaissance on the Massaponax Churh road, made by Lieutenant-colonel Mitchell.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT B. POTTER,

Brigadier-General.

[Indorsement.]

HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, NINTH ARMY CORPS,

Near Spotsylvania Court-House, May 20, 1864.

Brigadier General R. B. POTTER,

Commanding Second Division, Ninth Army Corps:

GENERAL: In accordance with instructions received from you I proceeded with 300 men, detailed for the purpose from the First and Second Brigades of this division, to make a reconnaissance for the distance of about 2 miles beyond our lines, upon the Massaponax Church road. I made a thorough examination of the country within about three-quarters of a mile to the right of the line indicated, and partially to the left of it, without finding any evidence of the enemy. The reconnaissance, though extended about 3 miles beyond our immediate line, hardly passed over ground not covered by our or Second Corps pickets. I found that our picket-line could be very much shortened, and at the same time embrace more ground by being joined to the pickets of the Second Corps in a direct line through the woods to our left, instead of following the road (Massa-