JUNE 16, 1864-8 a.m.
The news from Smith continues to improve. Hancock joined him at 1 a.m., and formed on Smith's left. The conflict was renewed at 4.30 this morning. Smith has taken 17 guns, 9 by white and 8 by colored troops, who assaulted and carried their advanced works. Smith says they behaved admirably, and he is not a partial witness. This is the concurrent testimony of all. As the enemy have evacuated our front, I would respectfully suggest whether the steamers at Wilcox's Wharf might not take the troops of one of the corps to Bermuda. Then, in conjunction with the troops of this line, we could, I think, advance on the railroad and isolate Petersburg, and as only a part of Lee's army has passed down, cut it in two, and hold it cut. Our line would be a short one and we could protect our flanks. At least we should hold an opening from which to envelop Richmond on the south side and save marching. The suggestion is a crude one and is most respectfully submitted.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
JUNE 16, 1864-12.50 p.m.
General Turner is now at Port Walthall Junction with 530 men, all the tried soldiers he has, tearing up the Petersburg railroad. General Terry has moved out on the turnpike and is endeavoring to strike the railroad there. I have ordered Kautz's cavalry in, as I am very much in need of them to feel the enemy on the right.
B. F. BULTER,
CITY POINT, June 16, 1864-1.15 p.m.
Whilst the body of the troops are engaged at Petersburg I do not think it advisable to make an attack in the center of the enemy's lines. Their troops are now moving from Richmond to Petersburg, and at any time enough could be stopped opposite you to hold their strong works. It would detain a force from going to Petersburg, but would attract attention to a point where we may want to make a real attack some day hence. I have been up to-day and examined the work done by our troops. The advantages gained are important.
U. S. GRANT,
JUNE 16, 1864-3.15 p.m.
I have just received the inclosed dispatch* from General Terry. It would seem that if this is true that the evacuation of our front was a mistake or blunder of the enemy. I have very reliable information
*See Terry to Butler, 2 p.m., p.106.