Numbers 17. Reports of Major General Winfield S. Hancock, U. S. Army, commanding second Army Corps.
HEADQUARTERS MIDDLE MILITARY DEPARTMENT,
Baltimore, Md., September 21, 1865.
GENERAL: I have the honor to forward my report of the operations of the Second Army Corps form June 13 until July 26, 1864, which is the time designated by Major-General Meade as the fifth epoch of the campaign.
The troops reached Wilcox's Landing, on the James River, at 5.30 p. m. on the 13th. Myself and the officers of my staff were busily engaged during that night and the following day and night in conducting the embarkation of the troops and material of my corps, which were all safely landed on the south bank of the James, at Wind-Mill Point, near upper landing, at an early hour on the morning of the 15th. My headquarters remained on the north bank of the river until the troops had crossed, communication being kept up by the signal telegraph.
I had been directed by General meade on the evening of the 14th to hold my troops in readiness to move, and informed that it was probable I would be instructed to march toward Petersburg, and that rations for my command would be sent me from City Point. Later in the evening the following instructions reached me from General Meade:
General Butler has been ordered to send to you at Wind-Mill Point 60,000 rations; so soon as they are received and issued you will move your command by the most direct route to Petersburg, taking up a position where the City Point railroad crosses Harrison's Creek, where we now have a work.
On receipt of the above instructions I at once sent my chief commissary to the James to receive and issue the expected rations.
About 4 a. m. on the 15th I wrote General Williams, assistant adjutant-general of the Army of the Potomac, that all of my troops, save one regiment of Infantry and four batteries, were disembarked on the south side of the James, but that the rations which I had been informed I would receive from City Point had no arrived, and that I feared that a good deal of time would be required to issue them when they came. About 6.30 a. m. I again reported to General Williams that no rations had arrived.
I delayed the order for my troops to march until 9 a. m., waiting to receive the rations from City Point, but as they did not arrive I gave the order by signal telegraph for the head of the column to move. I also sent Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan, my chief of staff, to General Birney (who was to take the advance) with the same order, but the boat in which he crossed to the south bank grounded and he was delayed half an hour, to find on landing that the order which I had sent by signal telegraph had miscarried. In consequence the column did not get in motion until 10.30 a. m. I notified the commanding general that the expected rations had not arrived, and that I had given orders for my troops to move at once; this order was approved, and I was instructed to push forward to the position designated for my command behind Harrison's Creek. Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan, my chief of staff, was directed to remain with general Birney to conduct the march of the column. He was furnished with a map from headquarters of the army, on which our position behind Harrison's Creek was marked - by the map about four miles from Petersburg, and between that place and City