War of the Rebellion: Serial 069 Page 0114 Chapter XLVIII. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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marched by way of Harris' Stone to Jericho Ford, and the Fifth Corps succeeded in effecting a crossing and getting position without much opposite. Shortly after, however, they were violently attacked, but handsomely repulsed the assault without much loss to us. We captured some prisoners. The Second Corps holds the bridge just above the railroad, and the Ninth Corps is between that and Jerich Ford, on the north bank, in face of the enemy. It is doubtful whether troops can be crossed except where the Fifth and Sixth Corps are. Everything looks exceedingly favorable for us.




Washington, May 22, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT,

Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: Your dispatch from Bethel Church, dated 6.30 [8] p. m.

yesterday, is received. In accordance with your previous directions Generals Meitgs and Barnard were sent to the James River, with orders to report by telegraph how many troops could be speared and on the means of water transportation. The moment I received it I will give the orders for the proposed movement. If the enemy retreats behind the South Anna, West Point would be the proper place to occupy, but until he does so I think it would be unwise and exceeding hazardous to attempt to hold both City Point and West Point, as the enemy might concentrate on either and crud it out. I shall, therefore, order any troops that Meigs and Barnard think can be spared from Butler's command to Tappahannock of Port Royal; to the latter if you are still in the vicinity of Bowling Green or the North Anna. Whatever I can raise here will be sent to same place till further orders. Permit me to repeat what I have so often urged, that in my pinion every man we can collect should be hurled against Lee, wherever he may be, as his army, not Richmond,is the true objective point of this campaign. When that army is broken, Richmond will be of very little value to the enemy. Demonstrations on that place exhaust us more that they injure the rebels, for it will require 2 men outside to keep 1 in Richmond. I once thought that this could be more than compensated for by destroying their lines of supply, but experience has proved that they can repair them just about as fast as we can destroy them; such at least was the case under Dix and Foster, and I think Butler's operations will have no better result. I have no doubt we shall soon have loud calls for re-enforcements in West Virginia, but I shall not send any unless you so order, for I have very little faith in these collateral operations. The little good they accomplish seldom equals their cost in men and money. If you succeed in crushing Lee all will be will; if you fail, we immediately lose whatever we may have gained in west Virginia or around Richmond. I therefore propose to send to you everything I can get without regard to the calls of others, until you direct otherwise.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General and Chief of Staff.