War of the Rebellion: Serial 081 Page 0333 Chapter LII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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tacked by superior force Wright will have to withdraw, doubling on Birney, who will re-enforce him, as his line can be vacated by Wright's movement. I forward a plan of operations suggested by Warren, with my reply thereto.


Major-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure Numbers 1.]


June 23, 1864. (Received 1.15 p.m.)

Major-General MEADE:

I venture to suggest the following plan of operations to complete the destruction of the roads approaching Petersburg, which is simply to abandon all the positions we now occupy, take with us, say, six days' provisions and all the ammunition we need on our men or on pack-mules; First, reconnoiter and construct roads to facilitate our setting out, and send all our wagons of every description, except ambulances, to General Butler. Then let us set out with our whole army for the Weldon road. General Lee can only stop us by a battle in the open field, which is what we want if we are all together. We can return to our base if we can't bring up supplies. If this succeeds we will then know how to reach the next road. I venture to suggest this, as it seems to me better to abandon all our lines than to hold any of them with part of our force.



[Inclosure Numbers 2.]


June 23, 1864-2.10 p.m.

Major-General WARREN:

Telegram suggesting plan of operations received. I will forward it to the lieutenant-general commanding, stating what occurs to me at first glance as an objection, which is the danger that whilst Lee will take care to avoid a fight on open ground, he will seize the chance to interpose himself between us and our communications in some strong position where he can intrench, and where we shall have all the work to get back, which our experience gave us in the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, and the Chickahominy, and where, having only six days' supplies, part exhausted in destroying the road, we will not have the means of spending much time in flanking.



CITY POINT, VA., June 23, 1864-3.30 p.m.

Major-General MEADE,

Commanding, &c.:

General Butler can spare several thousand more troops for Smith, as soon as fortifications north of James River are a little stronger, which will enable Smith to extend over a greater front and give you troops to move to the left. I will direct Butler to send what he can at once and to order Smith to relieve Burnside's right division. I would not think of moving the whole of your command with less than ten days' rations,