HDQRS. SECOND ARMY CORPS, May 31, 1864.
I am advancing my skirmish line along my whole front to find out whether the enemy have changed their position, and am making only such changes as may be necessary to keep my line well up against the enemy. I have been engaged in this for the last two hours. My delay in answering your dispatch* arises from my having been absent.
WINF'D S. HANCOCK,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
May 31, 1864-10.45 a. m.
The commanding general desires to know whether your skirmishers have advanced, and, if so, with what result. General Hancock reports General Barlow in possession of enemy's first line of rifle-pits for the distance of a brigade front. The enemy has withdrawn his guns. General Birney has possession of the line occupied yesterday by the enemy's skirmishers and artillery.
A. A. HUMPHREYS,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS,
May 31, 1864-2.25 p. m.
General HUMPHREYS, Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I should have reported before, but have ben unable to obtain any definite knowledge of the enemy's works until now. We have advanced our skirmishers about a mile, and our main line of battle about three-fourths of a mile. We find the enemy posted very strongly on the crest of a ridge with a heavy line. The ground that has been passed over is very difficult, and that between us and the enemy is still more difficult. Our connection with the Second Corps has been kept up as perfectly as the nature of the ground will allow. We will continue to push forward as far as possible.
A. E. BURNSIDE,
HANCOCK'S, May 31, 1864-2.30 p. m.
I am informed you have posted Potter's division between Warren's and Hancock's, and have two divisions in reserve. You will communicate with Warren, who is advancing to feel the enemy's position, and you will advance Potter to keep up the connections now existing, and in case Warren's movements should make a gap, you will promptly fill it with your command.
GEO. G. MEADE,
P. S.-Should Warrent require any aid give it to him from your surplus.
(Copy to Warren.)
*See Burnside to Hancock, 8.30 a. m., p. 377.