War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0131 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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our left flank, which is not altogether unlikely, particularly if we should fail in our assault and be compelled to withdraw.

I am fully impressed with the importance of taking some immediate action, and am satisfied that, excepting regular approaches the springing of Burnside's mine and subsequent assault is the most practicable, and I am not prepared to say the attempt would be hopeless. I am, however, of the opinion, so far as I can judge that the chances of its success are not such as to make it expedient to attempt it.*

Very respectfully, yours,

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General, Commanding.

P. S.-I inclose you a report of Major Duane, which confirms my view. If Wright is soon to return, and we can extend our lines to the Weldon railroad, we could then advance against the salient on the Jerusalem plan road, and make an attempt to carry them at the same time we assaulted in Burnside's front. This was my idea some time ago, and we have been preparing the necessary siege works for this purpose. Under your instructions, however, none of the heavy guns and materials have been brought to the front, and it would take, perhaps, two days to get them up.

G. G. M.

B 2

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

OFFICE CHIEF ENGINEER,

July 24, 1864.

Major-General MEADE,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: In reply to your communication of this date I have the honor to state that the line of the enemy's works in front of General Burnside's is not situated on the crest of the ridge separating us from Petersburg; that the enemy have undoubtedly occupied this ridge as a second line. Should General Burnside succeed in exploding his mine he would probably be able to take the enemy's first line, which is about 100 yards in advance of his approach. Beyond this I do not think he could advance until the works in front of the Fifth Corps are carried, as the Ninth Corps columns would be taken in flank by a heavy artillery fire from works in front of the center of the Fifth Corps and in front by fire from the works on the crest near the Cemetery Hill. I do not believe that the works in front of the Fifth Corps can be carried until our lines can be extended to the left so as to envelop the enemy's line.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. C. DUANE,

Major Engineers, U. S. Army.

C.

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,

City Point, July 24, 1864.

Major-General MEADE,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:

GENERAL: Your note, brought by Colonel Comstock, is received. It will be necessary to act without expecting Wright. He is now in

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*For version of this letter, as received by General Grant, see Part III.

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