me on the perusal of a communication addressed to you by Major-General Butler, under date of June 25 , 1864, which communication you have submitted for my examination.
First. The discrepancy in the field returns alluded to was probably made in transmission through your headquarters. The aggregate of "present for duty" in the division to-day is 5,063, and I think has not exceeded 5,500 effective men since the 19th instant.
Second. While I heartily concur in the statement that Captain Choate, Battery B, Colored Artillery, is a good officer, it is proper for me to observe that his battery has not realized my hopes, but, under my own observations, has proved inefficient and unserviceable, and Captain Choate has made application to me (which application has been forwarded) for the detail of a sufficient number of infantry officers for gunners, to enable him to work his guns, as the colored gunners were incompetent.
Third. The three regiments of cavalry recently assigned to the division are unskilled in the use of muskets and entirely unfitted for operations in the field, by reason of having been taught only the single formations of ranks as prescribed by Cooke's Tactics, and it is impossible to move them in line of battle with any precision, steadiness, or effectiveness in action with their limited knowledge of the school of the company and battalion. Most of the officers of these regiments have no knowledge of infantry tactics, and it is proper for me to remark that two of the colonels of these regiments (both excellent officers) urged that their regiments should not be called into action in the field in their ineffective condition.
Fourth. The major-general commanding misapprehends the facts concerning "one of these regiments" and its action on the 15th. In forming line of battle in the morning, for the attack upon the enemy's works near Baylor's house, I placed the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry (dismounted) on the left of the second line of battle, and its awkwardness in maneuvering delayed my movement fully three quarters of an hour, and finally when it advanced, though nobly and heroically led, it was but little other than an armed mob, which was held up to its work by the almost superhuman efforts of its officers. Its losses were heavy, among them being its gallant commander (Colonel Russell) and Major Adams, while its power to inflict injury upon the enemy was nominal. I could but commend its gallantry, but considering its inefficiency, decided that to further engage it with the enemy would be a reckless and useless exposure of life to no purpose, and accordingly withheld it from participation in the final attack upon the enemy's works, which were carried by the five well-drilled infantry regiments of the division.
Fifth. There are two regiments of infantry in the First Brigade-the Tenth and Thirty-seventh-that have been recently recruited, and have had little or no opportunity for drill, and though not so entirely useless for field service as the dismounted cavalry, are yet far from being effective regiments.
The conduct of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Twenty-second Regiments, of Colonel Duncan's brigade, and the First Regiment, of Holman's brigade, during the whole operations of the 15th instant, as well as during the subsequent operations in front of Petersburg, I think affords conclusive evidence that colored men, when properly officered and drilled, will not only make soldiers, but the best of soldiers of the line. But in our exuberance of satisfaction at their deportment, we should be cautious lest we imperil the success of the project of arming