May 31, 1864.
The inspection return dated May 29 includes all the men of the Eighteenth Army Corps left behind. A detailed return will be sent to-morrow. If any return has been sent in without being signed officially it was an inadvertency.
Q. A. GILLMORE,
May 31, 1864-7 p. m.
The lookout on the Curtis house reports five steamers at Chaffin's. Admiral Lee know it. The 20-pounders will be in position to-morrow a. m. as directed. The returns asked for and ordered are not in yet.
Q. A. GILLMORE,
HEADQUARTERS SIEGE ARTILLERY,
Near Hatcher's, May 31, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel EDWARD W. SMITH,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Tenth Army Corps:
COLONEL: I have inspected the line of defenses, as directed in your letter of 29th instant, and have the honor to make the following report, which has been delayed twenty-four hours by special duty assigned me by General Butler: The general disposition of the artillery I regard as the best which can be made, except in the location of the 20-pounder battery of Ashby, which should be placed on the bank considerably below its present location, where a fine opportunity to enfilade the river from a height of about 50 feet is offered. A parapet would be required there to protect the guns from the Howlett house battery. I have found it impossible to form a good idea of the number of infantry soldiers available at different points of the line, owing to the miscellaneous character of the troops.
I think that there ought to be at least 4,000 good infantry between Battery Numbers 1 and Numbers 6, this being the probably point of attack-this to be exclusive of the pickets. The troops should be near the parapet, so as to be able to take cover promptly from the enemy's shells, which are very dangerous a short distance in rear of the parapet, or else be held in reserve at least half a mile back. Our reduced numbers seem to render the former the best disposition. I think the strengthening of the new line in rear of Batteries Numbers 4 and 5 is the most pressing work now demanded. General Kautz informs me that he has some 800 cavalry, armed only with pistols. There are also many included who have apparently no arms. It seems to me that this requires immediate attention.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY L. ABBOT,
Colonel First Connecticut Arty. and Chief of Arty. Defenses.