HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, June 18, 1864-7 a.m.
(Received 7.20 a.m.)
I have received your dispatch and Hoke's order.* There is every reason to believe the enemy have no regularly fortified line between the one abandoned and Petersburg. If the time is given them they will make one. I have ordered the whole army forward, and directed the commanding officers on your right and left to communicate with you. It is of great importance the enemy should be pressed, and, if possible, forced across the Appomattox. I cannot ascertain there is any force in our front but Beauregard's, consisting of Hoke's, Ransom's, and Johnston's (Bushrod) division. They cannot be over 30,000, and we have 55,000. If we can engage them before they are fortified we ought to whip them.
GEO. G. MEADE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, June 18, 1864-10 a.m.
What progress are you making? General Martindale commanding on the right, reports he cannot advance till Gibbon advances, and I understood from Colonel Morgan that you desired General Neil to advance to cover your right. If you can give me any idea of what hour you will be able to assault I will direct Martindale to make a simultaneous attack. I think there is too much time taken in preparations, and I fear the enemy will make more of the delay than we can.
GEO. G. MEADE,
HEADQUARTERS SECOND CORPS, June 18, 1864-10.22 a.m.
Major-General MEADE, Commanding:
I have ascertained enemy's line and driven in skirmishers. Their position in my front is strong and I cannot be assisted by artillery. General Neill connects with my right. I am ready now to attack and will do so upon hearing from you in reply as to readiness of Neil and Martindale.
D. B. BIRNEY,
JUNE 18, 1864-10.40 a.m.
Part of my line (General Barlow's two brigades and Colonel Brewster's) is being advanced to obtain a more advantageous position. General Mott reports that the right of his division does not appear available for attack under the present aspect. I shall attack on my right (Gibbon), next to Neill's division.
D. B. BIRNEY.
[JUNE 18, 1864.-For Meade to Birney, 11 a.m., directing attack at 12 m., see Meade to Warren,p.176.]