on my front, I desire to inclose the opinions of my division commanders in front.* My judgment is averse to an assault, unless it is a necessary matter, and then it should be made with great power by a large force. I am averse to an assault, simply because my men have been so constantly out at the front, lying in the trenches all the time for three days, and are so fatigued that I fear they have not the dash necessary to carry them through the obstacles of a second line. They have lost the officers who have been accustomed to lead them, and as the enemy have been working constantly since we came here, the obstacles are now materially grated than they were on the first day. Whatever may be the officers they will be cheerfully obeyed and faithfully executed. The enemy cannot take our works I feel pretty well assured,and I think that their works are better opportunity of constructing them.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WINF'D S. HANCOCK,
Major-General of Volunteers, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
June 6, 1864-4.10 p. m.
What is the firing?
GEO. G. MEADE,
HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS,
June 6, 1864.
The enemy picked out 100 men from two of their brigades and sent them forward on a charge against our skirmish line to ascertain how we were posted. This was in General Barlow's front. This was the cause of the recent firing. I sent 9 of them over to you.
WINF'D S. HANCOCK,
[JUNE 6, 1864.]
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:
This evening I notified General Birney that he must press the enemy's skirmishers back on this side of the Chickahominy. A great disadvantage resulted u to-day from General Birney's pickets making an arrangement with the enemy that neither side should fire. I disapproved it, but General Birney previously had the officer of the picket, who sanctioned it, arrested. Still the truce continued, which gave the enemy an opportunity to look into our lines on the left. The facilities for this arrangement arose, no doubt, from the fact that the flags of truce went out and came in at that point.
*See reports of Barlow and Gibbon, pp. 646, 47.