HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, June 26, 1864-12.30 a.m.
Major General P. H. SHERIDAN,
Commanding Cavalry Corps:
GENERAL: The commanding general directs that when your command has crossed the James River, you proceed to take up a position on the Petersburg and Jerusalem plank road on the left flank of the army, sending a staff officer to these headquarters in advance of your reaching the plank road, to receive special instructions for your guidance.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
The officer who takes this dispatch to you will acquaint you with the position now occupied by this army.
CITY POINT, June 26, 1864-1.30 p.m.
Your dispatch of this date, directing me to take position on left flank of army, after crossing the James River, received.
P. H. SHERIDAN.
HEADQUARTERS, June 26, 1864-7.45 a.m.
General Smith had informed me that he intended to attack that advanced position last night. I heard sharp firing and supposed he might have done so. Upon the receipt of your telegram I inquired as to the result of his attack, and received the following telegram, which I give verbatim, although I suppose it must contain a blunder of the operator:
I thought it best to defer the attack indefinitely. On a second reconnaissance of the enemy's position, and in view of the small forces at General Turner's disposal last night [June 24], and reconnaissances to-day have developed the enemy's lines so strong that the loss of [life] could not be worth the hill.
WILLIAM F. SMITH.
In view of this opinion of General Smith, do you think it advisable to make the attempt? If so, I will go over in the course of the day and arrange the attack for to-night as suggested.
BENJ. F. BUTLER,
CITY POINT, June 26, 1864-8.15 a.m. [Received 8.40 a.m.]
It was on General Smith's report that I ordered the advance I did last night. I would not now insist on it against his judgment without knowing more about the ground and the feasibility of carrying it than I do.
U. S. GRANT,
29 R R-VOL XL, PT II