HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, NINTH ARMY CORPS, June 8, 1864-12.30 a.m.
Major General A. E. BURNSIDE,
Ninth Army Corps:
GENERAL: I think it more than doubtful if I can make the assault I contemplated with any prospect of success. The attack this afternoon seems to have been made with Early's division, of Ewell's corps. They commenced fortifying the position at once, which is a natural bastion on the front. They paid no attention whatever to the flag of truce, working hard all the time, and opening a very heavy fire on our lines, as soon as our fire was slackened, from the two sides only on which we can approach. The position is almost unapproachable. I think it a good deal harder place to attack than Fort Sanders. If Major Morton puts the guns in position and has them ready by morning, in conjunction with those I am placing in position, I think we ought entirely to control the enemy's fire. If we can find a way to get guns to the Bosher house and out again, if necessary, I think we could make the place untenable to the enemy, and such a route I think can be found. There is no doubt but that there is at least one full brigade (with one in support) strongly intrenched on the hill we want to get.
The attack we contemplated making, unless purely a surprise and complete stampede of the enemy, can hardly help failing, for unless attacked in the flank or rear the place ought to be held against six or eight lines the number of the division. They have tried to advance two or three times on my front, but without success. I find neither the colonel nor lieutenant-colonel with the Second Mounted Rifles, which is mostly made up of new men and officers, about one-eighth, as the major in command reports, being old men. It will be very difficult to make the attack on the two roads simultaneously, as they are quite distant by the roundabout way we have to go. On the whole, an attack from the road on our right, I think, would promise most favorably, but I cannot feel that there really is any prospect of success, although it may be worth taking the risk, and the effect of a repulse should be taken into consideration. It will take some little time to get ready for the attack, if ordered. The orderly who brings this will wait until you have something for him to bring back. The whole of Crittenden's division should be ready to support the attack when made, if decided on.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBERT B. POTTER,
HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS, June 8, 1864-1.20 a.m.
Commanding Second Division:
GENERAL: Your note just received. I am satisfied that the attack should not be made. Keep the regiment until morning, and we may think of some other plan.
A. E. BURNSIDE,