War of the Rebellion: Serial 081 Page 0644 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LII.

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ing the Second Corps to move toward the left on the Norfolk road. This was all the directions that he could give me. At my request he sent a staff officer to show me the road, and I turned the head of my column to left and moved toward the position. When the head of my column reached the Bryant house it encountered General Kautzs' cavalry column in the road. The general reported the enemy in great force and that he had been "hanging all day by the eyelids." At this time I received a verbal order from one of corps staff to form on left of Hinks' division. I sent forward a staff officer with one of General Hinks' staff to find the left, which was represented my division at about 7.40, and gave me orders to form on General Hinks' left, and left to find and confer with General Smith. The staff officers sent to discover General Hinks' left not returning promptly, I determined to push forward by a wood road that seemed to me to run in the proper direction. I did so, and reaching the Prince George or Jordan road moved cautiously toward Petersburg, throwing forward skirmishers. While on the march one of the corps staff came to me with an order from General Hancock to return and occupy the rifle-pits that General Smith had taken. Soon after this another officer of the corps staff came with a later order that if I held any important road, &c., not to return, but that General Gibbon's division would go in on my right, and that one of General Smith's staff would show me the position.

At about 10 p. m. I reached the works of the enemy at the Dunn house, and found them occupied by the colored troops. I took position in front of them, and a staff of General Smith's indicating where his left would be and the position he wished the division of General Gibbon and myself to occupy, I relieved the colored troops on left of the Prince George Court-House road, and General Gibbon those on the right to the point indicated. The enemy had a strong picket immediately in front, which, at several times during the night, opened fire on us. About 2 a. m. on 16th I received the order marked "6,"* directing me to take any points in my front commanding my position. As I had been furnished with no information or maps of the works, I made a personal reconnaissance, and was satisfied, so far as I could be in the night, that my position was entirely tenable. The light of the morning convinced me that there were no points in my front commanding it. At daylight the enemy were discovered on my left and front in force, and opened a sharp musketry and artillery fire upon me. Early in the morning (at 6 a. m.) I ordered the works still held by the enemy to my left assaulted by Egan's brigade, and they were carried in gallant style. This, I think, embraces all that the general commanding desires, as from the orders received I did not attach any special importance to the march of the corps to Petersburg beyond taking a designated position near it. The dates may not be strictly accurate; they are given from impressions and recollections in some cases. The receipts for the orders give the time with exactness. I experienced great difficulty in obtaining a staff officer from General Smith or General Hinks to indicate the position that I was desired to take. I was from 6.25 to about 10 p. m. in finding the position, and my success then was owing to my marching down a by-road without a guide, at night, in my effort to get into position and execute the verbal order of General Hancock. I had reported by staff officer to General Smith and had a personal interview with General Hinks. I presume the difficulty in finding the


* See 12.25 a. m., p.93.