War of the Rebellion: Serial 081 Page 0608 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

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CONFIDENTIAL.] HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

July 3, 1864 - 12 m.

Major-General BURNSIDE:

The lieutenant-general commanding has inquired of me whether an assault on the enemy's works is practicable and feasible at any part of the line held by this army. In order to enable me to reply to this inquiry, I desire at your earliest convenience your views as to the practicability of an assault at any point in your front, to be made by the Second and Sixth Corps in conjunction with yours.

Respectfully,

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS, July 3, 1864.

Major-General MEADE,

Commanding Army of the Potomac:

I have delayed answering your dispatch until I could get the opinion of my division commanders and have another reconnaissance of the lines made by one of my staff. If my opinion is required as to whether now is the best time to make an assault (it being understood that if not made the siege is to continue) I should unhesitatingly say wait until the mine is finished. If the question is between making the assault now and a change of plan looking to operations in other quarters I should unhesitatingly say assault now. If the assault be delayed until the completion of the mine I think we should have a more than even change of success. If the assault be made now I think we have a fair change of success, provided my corps can make the attack and it is left to me to say when and how the other two corps shall come in to my support.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. E. BURNSIDE,

Major-General, Commanding Ninth Army Corps.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 3, 1864.

Major-General BURNSIDE, Commanding Ninth Corps:

GENERAL: Your note by Major Lydig has been received. As you are the opinion there is a reasonable degree of probability of success from an assault in you front I shall so report to the lieutenant-general commanding and await his instructions. The recent operations in your front, as you are aware, though sanctioned by me, did not originate in any orders from these headquarters. Should, however, it be determined to employ the army under my command in offensive operations on your front I shall exercise the prerogative of my position to control and direct the same, receiving gladly at all times such suggestions as you may think proper to make. I consider these remarks necessary in consequence of certain conditions which you have thought proper to attach to your opinion, acceding to which in advance would not in my judgment be consistent with my position as commanding general of this army. I have accordingly directed Major Duane, chief engineer, and Brigadier-General Hunt, chief of artillery, to make an examination of