War of the Rebellion: Serial 081 Page 0285 Chapter LII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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June 21, 1864 - 9.20 a. m.

Brigadier-General Wilson,

Commanding Third Cavalry Division:

GENERAL: The major-general commanding directs that you move your command at 2 a. m. to-morrow, the 22nd instant, in execution of the duty assigned you of destroying certain railroads. Dispatch received from the White House state that Hampton's cavalry was before that place yesterday evening and that General Sheridan had also reached there, hence it is desirable that you should march at the earliest moment. In passing Petersburg you will endeavor to avoid the observation of the enemy and then move by the shortest routes to the intersection of the Petersburg and Lynchburg and the Richmond and Danville Railroads, and destroy both those roads to the greatest extent possible, continuing their destruction until driven from it by such attacks of the enemy as you can no longer resist. The destruction of those roads to such an extend that they cannot be used by the enemy in connection with Richmond during the remainder of the campaign is an important part of the plan of campaign. The latest information from Major-General Hunter represents him to be a few miles west of Lynchburg. He may endeavor to form a junction with this army. You will communicate with him if practicable and have delivered to him verbally the contents of the accompanying copy of a communication from Lieutenant-General Grant to the major-general commanding this army.* Lieutenant Brooks, who will accompany your expedition part of the way, should be informed where General Hunter will probably be found. The success of your expedition will depend upon the secrecy with which it is commenced and the celerity with which its movements are conducted. Your command will therefore have with it the lightest supplies and smallest number of wheels consistent with the thorough execution of the duty, the supplies of the section of country you will operate in being taken into account.

Upon the completion of the work assigned you you will rejoin this army.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General and Chief of Staff.

P. S. - The chief quartermaster was directed was directed yesterday to supply you with the implements and material for the destruction of railroads obtained for General Sheridan.

A. A. H.


June 21, 1864-12 m.

Brigadier-General WILSON,

Commanding Third Cavalry Division:

The major-general commanding directs me to inform you that General

Kautz is ordered to report to you with four of his regiments to form part of your command in the expedition on foot. He also directs that you leave here and effective command of about 800 men for the execution of reconnaissances and such other duties as may be required of it in connection with the present position of the army. This detail is not to


* See grant to Meade, June 21, p. 286.