War of the Rebellion: Serial 081 Page 0356 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N.C. Chapter LII.

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HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

June 23, 1864-6.30 p.m.

Major-General WRIGHT:

I have ordered one of the two brigades from the Williams house to move up. Do not let the enemy turn your left flank; either attack or withdraw; the former is most preferable. Attack on your left and if there is no enemy on your right bring that up and attack with it. You cannot hold a line all the way to the Williams house, and if they interpose your men will be impaired in morale. Whatever the force of the enemy is it can only be developed by an immediate attack, which, if unsuccessful,you can by dark withdraw.

GEO. G. MEADE.

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.

June 23, 1864-6.30 p.m

Major-General WRIGHT:

I understood your dispatch to say you had withdrawn your small command from the Williams house. I do not wish the brigades of the Fifth Corps removed from there except in a case of extreme emergency. You can withdraw, if you think proper, the 600 men you have there. If the enemy does not soon attack you I think you ought to attack him and develop his strength and position. I cannot understand his movements unless it be to check your advance and prevent any further interference with the railroad. This we cannot submit to, and to-morrow,if you are both quiet to-night, you will have to attack. The enemy will gain more by delay than you an, as to-morrow,if he stays, he will have entrenched lines, and can extend still farther to your left. It is, of course better that he should attack, but if he does not, just before dark I wish you to attack him, unless there are reasons I cannot see here.

GEO. G. MEADE.

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS SIXTH ARMY CORPS,

June 23, 1864.

General MEADE:

Dispatch of 6.30 received. Shall I abandon what has been my front line and put all the troops between my left of this morning and the Williams [house]? I must do this to attack with any chance of success. Still all this may be a feint and the attack may come on my present front.

H. G. WRIGHT,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC

June 23, 1864-6.55 p.m.

Major-General WRIGHT:

I would attack at once wherever the enemy has shown himself in force. A brigade is moving up to support your left, and another can be sent if necessary. There is no time to change position, and not much for an attack if you hesitate much longer. It will be dark before anything decisive can be done.

GEO. G. MEADE.