War of the Rebellion: Serial 069 Page 0245 Chapter XLVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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BATCHELDER'S CREEK, May 26, 1864.

Captain W. HOLDEN, Assistant Quartermaster:

A fearful explosion took place here. So far we have about 15 dead bodies. Please send this number of coffins up at your earliest convenience. If you cannot send them to-night please have them up by the morning train, and oblige,

CLAASSEN.

HEADQUARTERS OUTPOSTS,

May 26, 1864-4.30 p.m.

Captain JUDSON:

A fearful explosion occurred here half an hour ago, whereby several men and officers were killed and wounded. Thus far I cannot trace to any negligence causing this explosion except from idle curiosity, tampering with the torpedoes sent in charge of Lieutenant King up here. Medical aid is wanted up. Dr. Page, with his generous stores, is desirable. I am too sick at heart to tell you more just now.

P. J. CLAASSEN,

Colonel.

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,

Washington, D. C., May 27, 1864.

Lieutenant-General GRANT, In the Field:

GENERAL: It appears from returns just handed in by General Augur, that I have sent to Fredericksburg and Port Royal, since your crossed the Rapidan, May 4, a little over 40,000 troops. I hope within a few days to send you between 5,000 and 10,000 more. As before stated, I have sent to General Butler within the same period about 3,000. He telegraphs to me to-day, that he will send with Smith to White House 17,000 infantry. Some cavalry and artillery will go with them, to cover the landing, escort trains, &c. I think he will make the entire force about 20,000. This will make your entire re-enforcements since you crossed the Rapidan, between 60,000 and 70,000 men. This includes about 1,000 returned veterans, and 1,000 stragglers and deserters, who have been arrested and sent back.

In a telegram from Captain Pitkin to General Rucker, which I have just seen, it is stated on the authority of General Ingalls, that you propose to break up your depots on the Rappahannock about the first of next month, and remove them to West Point, the White House, or some other place on the Pamunkey. This would indicate that when Lee falls back behind the South Anna you propose to make the Pamunkey your base of operations on Richmond. Permit mete repeat to you the opinions which have been expressed to me within the last two years, by officers who are thoroughly acquainted with the country, and who had much experience with General McClellan in his Peninsular operations. They say that any campaign against Richmond based on the Pamunkey, with West Point, White House, or even New Castle, as the point of supplies, will involve the defense of the line of the York and Pamunkey Rivers, and the passage of the Chickahominy and its swamps. This will leave Lee, if he falls back upon Richmond, the James River Canal, and one or more of the railroad south of that river, as communication by which to receive re-enforcements and supplies.