War of the Rebellion: Serial 072 Page 0041 Chapter L. GENERAL REPORTS.

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in Alabama; the other from East Tennessee, under Major-General Stoneman, toward Lynchburg - and assembling the remainder or his available forces preparatory to offensive operations from East Tennessee; General Sheridan's cavalry was at White House; the Armies of the Potomac and James were confronting the enemy under Lee in his defenses of Richmond and Petersburg; General Sherman with his armies, re-enforced by that of General Schofield, was at Goldsborough; General Pope was making preparations for a spring campaign against the enemy under Kirby Smith and Price, west of the Mississippi, and General Hancock was concentrating a force in the vicinity of Winchester, Va., to guard against invasion or to operate offensively, as might prove necessary. After he long march by General Sheridan's cavalry, over winter roads, it was necessary to rest and refit at White House. At this time the greatest source of uneasiness to me was the fear that the enemy would leave his strong lines about Petersburg and Richmond for the purpose of uniting with Johnson, before he was driven from them by battle or I was prepared to make an effectual pursuit. On the 24th of March General Sherdian moved from White House, crossed the James River at Jones' Landing, and formed a junction with the army of the Potomac in front of Petersburg on the 27th. During this move General Ord sent forces to cover the crossing of the Chickahominy. On the 24th of March the following instructions for a general movement of the armies operating against Richmond were issued:

CITY POINT, VA., March 24, 1865.

Major-General MEADE, ORD, and SHERIDAN:

GENERAL: On the 29th instant the armies operating against Richmond will be moved by our left, for the double purpose of turning the enemy out of his present position guard Petersburg and to insure the success of the cavalry under General Sheridan, which will start at the same time, in its efforts to reach and destroy the South Side and Danville railroads. Two corps of the Army of the Potomac will be moved at first in two columns, taking the two roads crossing Hatcher's Run nearest where the present line held by us strikes that stream, both moving toward Dinwidie Court-House.

The cavalry under General Sheridan, joined by the division now under General Davies, will move at the same time by the Weldon road and the Jerusalem plank road, turning west from the latter before crossing the Nottoway,and west with the whole column before reaching Stony Creek. General Sheridan will then move independently, under other instructions which will be give him. All dismounted cavalry belonging to the Army of the Potomac, and the dismounted cavalry from the Middle Military Division not required for guarding property belonging to their arm of service, will report to Brigadier-General Benham, to be added to the defenses of City Point. Major-General Parke will be left in command of all the army left for holding the lines about Petersburg and City Point, subject, of course, to orders from the commander of the Army of the Potomac. The Ninth Army Corps will be left intact to hold the present line of works so long as the whole line now occupied by us is held. If,however, the troops to the left of the Ninth Corps are withdrawn, then the left of the corps may be thrown back so as to occupy the position held by the army prior to the capture of the Weldon road. All troops to the left of the Ninth Corps will be held in readiness to move at the shortest notice by such route as may be designated when the order is given.

General Ord will detach three division, two white and one colored, or so much of them as he can, and hold his present lines and march for the present left of the Army of the Potomac. In the absence of further orders, or until further orders are given, the white division will follow the left column of the Army of the Potomac, and the colored division the right column. During the movement, Major-General Weitzel will be left in command of all the forces remaining behind from the Army of the James.

The movement of troops from the Army of the James will commence on the night of the 27th instant. General Ord will leave behind the minimum number of cavalry necessary for picket duty, in the absence of the main army. A cavalry expedition from General Ord's command will also be started from Suffolk, to leave