HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
June 27, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded for the action of the lieutenant-general commanding, inasmuch as the occurrences to which Major-General Hancock refers took place on the evening of the 15th and morning of the 16th before my arrival on the field and assumption of the command of the Eighteenth Corps agreeably to the instructions of the lieutenant-general commanding.
Had Major-General Hancock and myself been apprised in time of the contemplated movement against Petersburg, and the necessity of his co-operation, I am of the opinion he could have been pushed much earlier to the scene of operations, but as matters occurred and with our knowledge of them I do not see how any censure can be attached to General Hancock and his corps.
GEO. G. MEADE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
City Point, Va., June 28, 1864.
GENERAL: The communication of General Hancock [June 26], inclosing a newspaper article and asking for an investigation of the conduct of the Second Corps and its commander, in the affair of the 15th instant, with your indorsement, is received. No investigation can now be had without great prejudice to the service, nor do I think an investigation necessary at any time. The reputation of the Second Corps and its commander is so high, both with the public and in the army in the army, that an investigation could not add to it. It cannot be tarnished by newspaper articles or scribblers. No official dispatch has ever been sent from these headquarters which, by any construction, could cast blame on the Second Corps or its commander for the part they have played in this campaign. I am very much mistaken if you were not informed of the contemplated movement against Petersburg as soon as I returned to Wilcox's Landing from bermuda Hundred, and that the object of getting the Second Corps up without waiting for the supply train to come up to issue rations to them, was that they might be on hand if required. I arranged to have rations sent down from Bermuda Hundred to issue as the troops crossed. Finding they did not arrive I then directed that the corps should march without them, and arranged that the rations should be sent in wagons from Bermuda Hundred to meet them on the road. This is not said in any spirit of fault-finding for any delay, for there was no fault to be found in what was done either by the Second Corps, its commander, or the commander of the Army of the Potomac.
The only delay that I know of was an hour or two arising from the report that the provisions which had been ordered down by water had arrived, and details from the different divisions that had already crossed had come to the river to draw them. This was after the order had been given to march without them, but I believe before the troops had received the order.*
*Original is in General Grant's handwriting unsigned, and filed with General Hacock's letter of June 26, 1864. It does not appear in Letters Sent Books, headquarters Armies of the United States, or in the Letters Received Books, headquarters Army of the Potomac.