and in addition to the charge of the siege batteries on that front took that of the batteries of the corps, the artillery of which he reorganized. My aide-de-camp, Lieutenant C. T. Bissell, Fifth Michigan Infantry, was assigned to the personal staff of Colonel Burton.
June 29, having received orders from Major-General Meade to furnish to Major-General Burnside the powder, &c., required for a mine General Burnside was running under one of the enemy's works, I procured the necessary material and selected the positions for the guns to cover the operations. As rapidly as the works could be prepared the guns were placed in position. Those not needed at the time were held ready to be so placed so soon as the necessity should arise.
July 6 to 9, the Sixth Corps, ordered to Washington, left its trains and six batteries at City Point, whence they were soon after ordered to the Artillery Reserve and placed in position on the lines. The batteries thus left were: Parsons' (A), First New Jersey, four 3-inch; Rhodes' (E), First Rhode Island, four Napoleon; Dorsey's (H), First Ohio, four 3-inch; Brinckle's (E), Fifth United States, four Napoleons; White's, Fourth Maine, four 3-inch; McLain's, Third New York, four Napoleons.
July 3, received orders from Major-General Meade to examine, with Major Duane, chief engineer, the enemy's works in front of Petersburg to ascertain whether offensive operations at any point were practicable (see Appendix C).
July 6, after a careful examination of the enemy's position, a joint report from the chief engineer and myself was made, pronouncing an assault impracticable and recommending regular approaches (see Appendix D).
On the 9th of July orders were given from general headquarters to commence operations by regular approaches against Petersburg (see Appendix E).
In pursuance of these instructions I designated the positions of the batteries to be constructed for the operations then ordered. The positions were selected in accordance with a plan submitted by Major Duane and myself on the 10th, and approved and ordered to be executed on the 11th of July (Appendix F, G). The direct object of these proposed operations was the possession of the crest of the ridge behind the enemy's line which dominates Petersburg and the possession of which it was believed would involve the fate of the town.
The operations in view were: First, to destroy the obstructions to an assault on the enemy's line, such as abatis, palisades, 7c. Second, to silence his guns and especially those bearing on the point of assault. Third, to sweep the ground over which his troops must pass to attack our assaulting columns and to hold his troops in check and cover the retreat should the assault fail. To accomplish the first object the batteries were so placed as to bring all the abatis, palisades, &c., under an artillery fire, which could reach them either by a direct slant or enfilade fire, for this field guns were sufficient. The second purpose required that the batteries should be so placed as to give so far as possible a direct fire upon the enemy's embrasures, and especially upon those which flanked the point of attack. These embrasures were placed principally on the face and flank of the enemy's redoubt and works which formed the salient in front of the Fifth Corps, and in sunken batteries near this redoubt. For this purpose siege guns were best and field, was so arranged that all the visible ground between the enemy's line and the crest behind it should be swept by as many of the guns as a compliance with the first two conditions would permit.