HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS,
Near Petersburg, Va., June 27, 1864.
Major-General Hancock resumes command of the Second Corps. In so doing he desires to express his regret that during his absence from the command it suffered a disaster from the hands of the enemy which, under the circumstances, seriously tarnished its fame. The abandonment of the line by brigades and regiments without orders and without firing a shot, and the surrender to the enemy of entire regiments by their commanders without resistance was disgraceful and admits of no defense. It should be recollected that those officers who surrender their commands on the plea of saving the lives of their men, but in reality to save their own, will be held in contempt by the very men they surrender. A little firmness in defending themselves would have given time to have brought up troops to their assistance and would have enable us to gain a success. The guilty will not be allowed to go unpunished, and those officers who surrendered their commands to the enemy without fighting will be brought to trial when opportunity offers. The reputation of the corps has been deservedly so high in the army and throughout the country that it was not deemed possible that such a disaster could occur to it. It is necessary that the stigma cast upon it should be removed, and it can be done if the brave officers and soldiers of this command will only do as well as they have habitually done since this eventful campaign commenced. The war is one of endurance. Our numbers are greater than those of the enemy, and it is only required that each one should do his duty in this crisis when so much is at stake for the future of each individual to insure success. It is necessary to be patient and watchful. Each officer and soldier should feel that the fate of the army depends upon his personal vigilance. Hereafter those skulkers who abandon the field on the plea of carrying off the wounded, which in action none but the ambulance corps are allowed to do, and those who run away while their comrades are fighting will be shot down by the provost guard, who are required to execute this order.
By command of Major-General Hancock:
FRANCIS A. WALKER,
This order will be read at the head of every regiment or battalion, and will not be given to the press for publication.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD DIVISION, June 27, 1864.
DEAR GENERAL: The Second Corps threw up an intrenchment last night which connects with the skirmish line, which was the continuation of my line of battle on the left. They abandoned it with their line of battle, but left a strong skirmish line in the work. The line should have gone to the left of my line of battle, but they report not having the men. Morgan is now with me and we propose to act in concert. He moves Mott again into the works this morning. I take it up and connect with my line on the left of the road. This will give us 3,000 of Mott's, and by advancing Lyle will give over 2,200 on that line advanced, and will have my support in the rear line near the batteries.