War of the Rebellion: Serial 082 Page 0145 Chapter LII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

July 11, 1864 (Send 11.15 a.m.)

Lieutenant-General GRANT:

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

PROVOST-MARSHAL-GENERAL'S DEPARTMENT,

July 11, 1864.

Major-General HUMPHREYS,

Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: A deserter from the Sixty-first Virginia, Mahone's division, came into our lines last night between 12 and 1 o'clock; he brings important information. Wilcox's entire division went to Chaffin's Bluff (or farm) about a week ago, and is there now to the best of informant's belief. Heth's division was under marching orders yesterday with two days' cooked rations; they were expected to move at 4 p.m.; informant being on picket could not say whether they had moved or not. Wilcox's division went to Chaffin's Bluff to relieve Heth's, the latter division returning to our front, took a position on the right of Mahone's, extending nearly to the lead-works; this was about the 4th instant. Informant has heard of no other movement; saw some men from the division commanded by Breckinridge two days ago that were visiting in his division. He understands Breckinridge to be in Butler's front. General Early is absent with only Ransom's, Gordon's, and Rodes' divisions, according to informants' belief. The rest of his force he has taken from the Valley.

NOTE.-Early had certainly one brigade, McCausland's, that was under Breckinridge in the Valley, but it has never been in our front; also B. T. Johnson's Maryland Line was under Breckinridge at Cold Harbor. We think informant's statement correct, otherwise the force in front of Butler must be very small. General Ewell is in Richmond on the retired list, physically unable to do field duty. Informant heard the major of his regiment make this statement a few days since. No troops are being received via the Weldon railroad, of this informant is positive, though he states a very few furloughed men and convalescents may by returning that way.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNumbers C. BABCOCK.

Above forwarded for you information. This is the first intelligence of the return of Breckinridge and is not relied on. Have you any information of Wilcox being at Chaffin's farm, or what troops are in front of Butler? Up to yesterday I was under the belief Wilcox was in my front.

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major-General.

CITY POINT, VA., July 11, 1864.

(Received 12m.)

Major-General MEADE,

Commanding, &c.:

Wilcox's division crossed the pontoon bridge at Drewry's Bluff about the 2nd or 3rd, and took station at Chaffin's Bluff, where I think it still remains. Deserters come in daily in Butler's front, all saying they belong to Pickett's division. There is no other force between Swift Creek and Howlett's house. All the prisoners captured in Maryland say they belong to Breckinridge's command, but they may belong to McCausland's, Johnson's, and Imboden's brigades and Ransom's cavalry, all under Breckinridge, whilst the division he brought from West Virginia may still be here.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

10 R R-VOL XL, PT III.